As you start to look at the various marijuana strains, you will notice that most are classified as indica, sativa, or hybrid. Hybrid strains combine the genetics and characteristics of indica and sativa, offering a balance that is otherwise unavailable.
Take a closer look at marijuana hybrids and what makes them different from indica and sativa.
Most people classify hybrids as indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or balanced, with the terms’ meaning implied by the names. Indica-dominant strains have more genetics from indica than sativa, and sativa-dominant strains have more sativa genetics. Balanced strains offer the two sets of genetics in a nearly 50:50 ratio. Hybrids may also contain some genetics from cannabis ruderalis, which is not a category of marijuana people usually smoke.
Familiarizing Yourself with Indica and Sativa
Knowing that hybrid cannabis strains are a combination of indica and sativa does not provide much information, unless you know more about those strain categories. Keep in mind that, between indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, and balanced hybrids, you can find any combination of appearances, effects, flowering times, and other factors. Taking the time to learn more about indica, sativa, and even ruderalis will help you better understand a strain.
Sativa cannabis strains are naturally found in dry and hot climates that tend to have longer days with lots of sunlight. These strains naturally grow in Central America, Southeast Asia, western Asia, and Africa.
Sativa typically has higher THC concentrations and lower CBD concentrations. The strains are also typically more widely associated with providing energy or reducing anxiety. This leads to sativa being more commonly recommended for daytime use.
Sativa plants grow thin and tall, featuring leaves that are thin and finger-like. Not only can these plants grow 12 feet tall or higher, but they can also require more time to mature than other strains.
Indica strains do well in dry, harsh, and turbulent climates. They are native to areas like the Hindu Kush Mountains, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
Indica usually has high levels of CBD with lower levels of THC. This strain is usually associated with intense relaxation, along with the ability to increase appetite and reduce pain and nausea. Indica strains’ relaxation effects make them more popular for nighttime use.
Indica plants are short and stocky, featuring chunky, wide, broad leaves and bushy greenery. They produce more buds than sativa plants and tend to grow more quickly.
Cannabis ruderalis usually has almost no THC, which leads to it being non-potent from the perspective of producing psychoactive effects. This is why most people are unfamiliar with ruderalis strains, as you are unlikely to find them in your dispensary or online. Because of the lack of potency, you could theoretically use a ruderalis strain any time of day.
Ruderalis strains are more commonly used in breeding hybrids, as breeders work to incorporate some of their features.
Ruderalis plants are very hardy as they evolved and adapted in the harshest areas that cannabis grows, including the Himalayas in India, Russia, Siberia, and Eastern Europe. These plants have evolved to grow quickly, even with minimal sunlight.
Cannabis ruderalis tends to stay shorter than 12 feet in height and grows quickly, sometimes taking around only a month to get from a seed to harvest. The plants are usually bushy and small.
A Note on Effects
While most people associate sativa strains with energizing and indica strains with relaxation, this is not always the case. In reality, the effects of cannabis vary based on the individual strain, not just its classification. This means that you should not just assume that an indica-dominant hybrid will be relaxing or that a sativa-dominant hybrid will be energizing. Instead, you should take a few minutes to research a given strain’s common effects.
Traits of Hybrids
Most hybrid cannabis strains are specifically bred to maximize a specific trait, although some do occur naturally. As expected, the appearance, effects, and concentrations of CBD and THC will depend on the ratio of sativa to indica and the specific parent strains.
Most breeders who create hybrid marijuana will do so with a particular goal in mind. It is common to find hybrid strains with high THC concentrations, since this leads to the potency that heavy marijuana consumers typically prefer.
With the rise in popularity of CBD, there have also been many recent hybrid strains that minimize the THC content while maximizing CBD. Of course, you can also find hybrid strains that optimize nearly any desired effect you want, whether it is pain management, stress reduction, or a boost in appetite.
Examples of Popular Hybrids
When you visit your dispensary or look at your online dispensary, you are likely to find a long list of hybrid strains to choose from. The following are some of the more popular hybrid strains.
This hybrid is a cross of sativa-dominant Haze and indica-dominant Blueberry. It delivers a smooth high and smells and tastes like blueberry with hints of pine and citrus.
Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies is the result of OG Kush and Durban Poison, both of which are also hybrids. Marijuana enthusiasts love this strain for its delicious taste and intense high. It has won numerous cannabis awards and also has high THC content.
Gorilla Glue #4
Gorilla Glue #4 rose to fame when it won the Cannabis Cup, quickly building a positive reputation for its ability to deliver relaxation and euphoria.
OG Kush delivers an earthy, piney taste and is the result of combining Hindu Kush and Chemdawg. It is among the most popular hybrids.
Pineapple Express combines Train Wreck and Hawaiian. It tastes and smells delicious, combining pineapple and cedar.
This strain is among the best-known hybrids. It delivers an intense high along with plenty of energy. It tastes and smells earthy. This strain’s parents include a South Indian indica and a South American sativa.