Rafael (sometimes spelled Refael or Raphael) is a sativa-dominant hybrid that is rich in the therapeutic cannabinoid CBD. This potent bud’s name is not a reference to the Renaissance painter or the Ninja Turtle -- instead, it’s taken from a Hebrew term meaning “God is healer.” Rafael was developed by prolific Israeli company Tikun Olam (whose name, incidentally, is a religious and philosophical phrase meaning “heal the world”). While its genetics are unknown, Rafael is known to offer relaxing and pain killing effects. Its THC has been measured at between 1% and 2% while its CBD content ranges from 15% to 17%.
Rafael is marked by medium to large flower that adhere in irregular shapes. The chunky buds have long leaves that spiral outward in a sativa-like manner, appearing loose and fluffy. The leaves themselves are a dark shade of bluish-green. These flowers are also twisted through with brown and orange pistils and, due to being selectively bred for low THC content, have few or no trichomes.
When properly cured, flowers of Rafael give off a fruity, sweet aroma. On closer inspection, there are also some earthy, hashy notes. Meanwhile, grinding these large nuggets releases a family herbal odor. When combusted, Rafael burns with a smooth and easily palatable smoke that tastes like peaches and herbs on the exhale.
Typically strains that are in higher in CBD than THC have little to no psychoactive recreational effects. Not so with Rafael, whose sense of relaxation is so pervasive as to have an almost hypnotic influence on the user. Rafael’s high can be a creeper, taking several minutes to reveal itself after consumers have toked on its pleasant smoke. When the high does arrive, it tends to exert a strong numbing property on the limbs and core, leading any active smokers to take a load off on the closest comfortable couch. The spacey feelings that ensue may be enjoyable or disorienting, depending on the individual user’s mindset and surroundings. If this mood is welcome, though, it can be amplified through atmospheric enhancements like calming music or a trippy movie. Unlikely to bring about any intense or freely-associative patterns of thought, Rafale is a nice, subtle way to take the edge off of a long day or week of work. The strain can also loosen inhibitions in social situations, facilitating easy conversation and camaraderie when shared with like-minded friends or acquaintances.
Rafael’s applications for medical cannabis patients flow from its high levels of CBD. It can be a very effective analgesic for physical pain, whether that pain is temporary or deep-seated and chronic. The bud’s anti-inflammatory properties are good for a range of ailments, from headaches to fevers. Psychological benefits include possible temporary relief from the troubling symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. In the right set and setting, Rafael may even lull susceptible smokers to sleep. Because of its mostly physical effects, Rafael is a good option for patients who are prone to panic or paranoia.
Tikun Olam has not made seeds of Rafael available for sale online. It may also be difficult for home growers to obtain authentic clippings of the strain in order to grow genetically identical “clones.” If you are lucky enough to have the means of cultivating this exclusive strain, note that it can be grown indoors or outdoors in a semi-humid, Mediterranean-like climate.
Rafael (whose name may be a dual reference to Israeli scientist Ralph Mechoulam who first identified THC in 1964) is a powerful asset to recreation and medical consumers alike.