The King of CBD

“The whole thing about cannabis and CBDs, it’s really awesome. We’re here in Southern Humboldt, and we kind of made this happen here. I don’t know if it was an accident or made to be, but it is.  So the best thing I can do is try to make it available to everyone. I wish it wasn’t illegal, I’d give it to the world.” 

– Lawrence Ringo, Cannabis Consciousness

January 5, 2014

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  When word got out that cannabis contained a non-psychoactive cannabinoid called Cannabidiol (or CBD), and that it had incredible healing properties without the side-effect of getting high, many wondered whether all the growers in California had bred so hard for THC that the high-CBD varieties were being wiped out.  Fortunately, other forces were at work.

  Born in Southern California, Lawrence Ringo had lived with a serious back injury since he was 13-years-old. He grew exclusively sun-grown, organic cannabis in Southern Humboldt through the 80’s, and again in the early 2000’s. He bred for what he liked to smoke, and for what worked to make him feel good enough to ride a motorcycle, play his guitar, or work in the garden, without fogging up his brain. In 2010 he met biochemist Samantha Miller at Hempcon, when she was just starting up her Pure Analytics testing lab.

  Samantha recollected discovering Ringo’s unique genetics when I interviewed her on my KMUD radio show, Cannabis Consciousness. “I called to let him know that I had found something really unusual in his test results from his crop that year… He had me on speakerphone, and I told him that he had a high-CBD strain and the whole room erupted in cheers.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.23.38 PM  They had discovered that his Sour Tsunami, which he had carefully bred over four years, was 10%-11% CBD-rich. With that news, Lawrence dove into developing more CBD-rich and CBD-dominant varieties. He acquired clones of other newly discovered high-CBD strains, Cannatonic and Harlequin, and pollinated them with Sour Tsunami to breed Canna-Tsu, Harle-Tsu, and Swiss-Tsu. He then travelled around California to trade shows, making his seeds available, and distributing them through outlets like Wonderland Nursery clone dispensary in Garberville, California which also gives away clones of his CBD genetics.

  It is widely believed that Sour Tsunami was the basis for Charlotte’s Web, which gained fame from the Sanjay Gupta documentary on CNN. Ringo not only developed important CBD genetics, he dedicated himself to getting them out in the world, both as seeds and clones, and in the form of medicine that patients used with amazing results, treating a wide range of diseases.  Tommy Chong was just one of many people who credited Ringo with helping him kick cancer.

  I met Ringo through his wife, Kat Hart, sometime in early 2011.  His strong encouragement was a huge factor in my decision to launch my Cannabis Consciousness show on KMUD in October of 2011. Ironically, I was reluctant to have Ringo as a live guest on the very show he inspired, because he was so open in sharing everything he was doing to help the severely ill that I feared he would legally incriminate himself on the air. At that time, around early 2012, there was a fierce federal crackdown on medical cannabis in California. Federal D.A. Melinda Haag was on a witch-hunt, shutting down over 600 dispensaries. 

  But no laws could stand in the way of Lawrence Ringo making and getting medicine to sick people, or helping others learn how to do it at every opportunity. Ringo was bold and forthright and came from a long line of tough men. Anyone who knew Ringo wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that he was a direct descendant of legendary outlaw Johnny Ringo of Tombstone, AZ, known as “King of the Cowboys,” a contemporary of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.

  The next year the world changed when Colorado and Washington citizens voted to legalize. The cannabis genie was out of the bottle. Ringo finally came into my radio studio and that’s when I first met his Lost Coast Botanicals collective partner, Chris Larsen. They described their collective’s model, the different extracts they were making with Ringo’s High-CBD strains, and the vape pens and other delivery methods they developed. The two balanced each other, and after that interview I was profoundly impressed by the power of their partnership and the ideals they infused into their collective. It seemed like nothing could slow down Lost Coast Botanicals from skyrocketing as the premiere provider of the highest-quality CBD medicine.

But according to Chris Larsen, the day that powerful interview aired, January 5, 2014, was also the first day that Ringo showed signs of being seriously sick. Ringo and Chris were on the road, and streamed the show live from a hotel room in LA. Ringo started experiencing a violent cough. Chris thought it was a flu, and wanted to steer clear of it. But a doctor’s visit about a week later revealed the shocking truth: Ringo had stage 4 pulmonary cancer.

  My February 5th radio show became a love fest for Ringo as he listened in from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka. At that time, he was his usual gung-ho self, determined to beat it using his own cannabis oil. But the tumor was so large when it was detected that it was an uneven battle. He would only live 2 more months.

  Ringo embodied the best of the cannabis community. He was a tough outlaw hippie and a vocal champion for the healing gift of CBDs and the vital importance of getting them to patients. Generosity was his creed. Ringo’s three sons and his wife, Kat Hart-Ringo, carry on his legacy, continuing to grow and distribute his genetics through Southern Humboldt Seed Collective and Lost Coast Botanical Cooperative. Long live Lawrence Ringo, king of the CBDs. 

To learn more about Ringo, or Southern Humboldt Seed Collective, visit

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Emerald contributor since April 2019


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