Hybrids are one of the three major types of cannabis (the other two being sativas and indicas). A hybrid strain is a cross between two different strains of cannabis. For example, let’s say a cannabis breeder crosses the sativa strain Haze with the indica strain Blueberry. The resulting hybrid strain, called Blue Dream, gives its users the effects of both its parent strains.
The advantages here are obvious.
While sativas and indicas may put you on opposite ends of the effect spectrum (energized vs sedated), hybrids can put you right in the middle, giving you the best of both worlds while minimizing the parent strains’ negative side effects.
You can identify hybrid strains on dispensary menus and cannabis directories by looking for a green label next to the strain photo and description.
The Three Different Types of Hybrids
- “True” hybrids
In sativa-dominant hybrids, the strain primarily expresses the characteristics of its sativa parent (uplifting, energizing effect), while the effects of the indica parent (relaxing, sedative) are secondary.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t feel the effects of the indica at all – only that you’ll be largely affected by the strain’s sativa properties.
Conversely, users who consume indica-dominant hybrids will largely feel a body-based, relaxing effect, while the sativa effects will be secondary.
In the case of a “true” hybrid, the sativa/indica effect ratio is 50/50. Users will experience an even, balanced blend of the two parent strains.
Medical & Recreational Benefits of Hybrids
Hybrids are ideal for medical patients and recreational users who don’t have a lot of previous experience with cannabis.
The balance of both the head and body effect will help keep users from going to either extreme end of the effect spectrum.
Here are three hybrid strains and the medical conditions they can be used to treat:
Blue Dream: pain, depression, nausea
Girl Scout Cookies: severe pain, nausea, appetite loss, PTSD
WiFi OG: anxiety, depression, cancer, glaucoma, appetite loss
Fun Facts About Hybrids
- In truth, there are very few pure sativa and indica strains in existence. Because of worldwide breeding programs, most strains available on the market are hybrids of some kind.
- Most hybrids that occur naturally in the wild are considered “unstable” because their genetic mix varies greatly. There’s no telling how the newer generation of strains will express the traits of their parent strains.
- In order to stabilize a hybrid, breeders must inbreed generations of the same hybrid in order to get consistent gene expression from future generations.
- Cannabis ruderalis is a species of cannabis with low concentrations of THC, making it of little direct value to cannabis consumers. However, ruderalis has autoflowering properties (the plant will flower regardless of the level of sunlight exposure). Additionally, c. ruderalis is believed to be insect- and disease-resistant.
- For this reason, breeders will cross ruderalis with c. indica strains in order to create tough, autoflowering plants with high levels of THC.