Harlequin’s story is rooted in the idea of being humbled by working with medicinal plants. That meant learning to listen to what they need because they do all the work.
In 2007, after 10 years of cultivating cannabis under Prop. 215 guidelines, Wade established such a relationship with the plants that he talked to them daily, calling them his “girls.” He would make sure to spend time with them, feed them the right food, create soil they would be comfortable in, and bathe them in nourishing water.
“I looked at them one day and said ‘You have everything you need, but you are not happy,’ Wade said. “I asked them what they needed and what I heard was ‘We are lonely.’”
I realized cannabis plants evolved in the earth and they need a connection to the earth, but growing indoor that was not a possibility. So he developed a system to deliver the same electromagnetic frequency that earth would emit of 7.83 Hz. His experiment began by taking seven identical plants and grounding four of them with a copper wire system that delivered “ground” to plants that were isolated from the ground. The four “grounded” plants began growing faster than the others, exhibiting traits the others did not have and producing flowers that doubled in size.
These special seven plants were all Harlequin; a name Wade later gave them. These early Harlequin plants were a sativa-dominant strain that is now renowned for her reliable expression of the cannabinoid known as CBD.
Harlequin got Wade’s attention right away for her rainbow-like display of colors and happy leaves (when grounded), thus the name “Harlequin”. He harvested the flowers, cured them and offered them to his medical cannabis collective members.
“Patients loved everything about it, but it wasn’t getting people stoned,” he said.
However, one patient in particular gave a review that got Wade’s attention. He was medicating for pain in his reconstructed shoulder and although Harlequin did not give him the psychoactive effects that he was used to, the pain in his shoulder totally stopped.
By 2007, Wade was regularly providing his unique strain to Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA. Wade took a sample to Harborside, which at the time was already requiring testing of the medicine they carried. Harlequin was then tested at Steep Hill Laboratories and the results were unusual:
Among the 14,000 samples of cannabis product Steep Hill had ever tested up to that time, only a dozen contained CBD above 4 percent. The only live plant samples in that dozen came from three strains: Jamaican Lion, Omrita and Harlequin –all from the San Francisco Bay area.
In spite of this amazing discovery, Wade quickly ran into some challenges: most dispensary employees didn’t know anything about CBD at the time, and most people who were looking for and needing CBD did not want to smoke it.
So Wade teamed up with the co-founders of Project CBD, Fred Gardner and Martin A. Lee, to educate the public about CBD and the potential in the plant.
Today, Project CBD is an established California-based nonprofit that promotes and publicizes research into the medical uses of CBD and other components of the cannabis plant. The organization educates physicians, patients, industry professionals, and the general public. Project CBD and its founders believe that the reintroduction of CBD-rich cannabis into the grassroots supply in Northern California in 2009 has given doctors and patients a unique opportunity to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol (CBD).
In sum, Wade’s decades-long and insatiable thirst for knowledge has fueled his passion for research into the cannabis field. In addition to cultivation methods, he is interested in how patients benefit from cannabis that has THC and CBD in it.