What are Cannabis Hybrids?
By now, you’ve probably heard of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica — the two main classifications of marijuna plants and the products derived from them. These two classifications can provide reference to not only the types of the plants themselves, but also refer to a certain set of effects one can typically expect when consuming them.
This is not a perfect system by any means, but if you’re trying to go for a more ballpark prediction of how the strain is going to affect you, it’s still helpful.
While sativa and indica are the two main types of cannabis you’ll find in a dispensary, there is a third category that includes products created from a cross between the two. These are known as cannabis hybrids.
Although it may seem logical to conclude that mixing the two strains together to create a separate strain muddies the waters in some sense, it’s actually the opposite. In fact, most hybrids have been created to offer very specific effects, allowing consumers to find strains that are perfect for what they need.
Below, we’ll go into more detail about how hybrids are created, and why they may be among the best choices for your cannabis preferences.
Cannabis Hybrid Plants
With hybrid cannabis plants, it’s impossible to pin down exact characteristics and appearances. This is a stark difference from sativa and indica plants, which have very distinct differences.
For instance, sativa plants tend to do well in hot climates, and grow quite tall as they mature. Their leaves are long and skinny, and they often have a lighter green color. These plants are also great for making other products, such as ropes, hand creams, oils, and more.
Indica plants have a more shrub-like appearance, and do not grow nearly as tall as sativa plants. They have thicker leaves with a darker green color, and they are much easier to grow indoors. Indica plants also have a faster maturation rate.
Cannabis plants are like any other crop: they can be manipulated and bred to either overcome regional climate and environment issues in order to better thrive, or produce targeted characteristics for whatever purpose the cultivator prefers.
This is how hybrid cannabis plants are created. Growers crossbreed male and female indica and sativa plants, and then continue to re-breed them and implement other indica and/or sativa plants until they achieved the desired result.
Here’s how the process could go. Let’s say a cannabis farmer has a certain sativa strain that provides a substantial feeling of creativity and euphoria when consumed, but also tends to spike the user’s energy levels and stimulation a bit too much. The farmer can cross breed that sativa plant with an indica plant that is more calming, but perhaps not nearly as calming and relaxing as some other indicas. By breeding the two plants together, the farmer can create a hybrid strain that encourages creativity and mental stimulation, but also adds a touch of calmness and relaxation to help balance things out a bit.
That’s obviously the simple explanation of cannabis hybrids, but you get the idea. As you can imagine, with hybrids, the possibilities are endless.
Why Hybrids are a Good Thing
Sativa and indica classifications continue to be a solid way of differentiating characteristics and effects of cannabis, but they are not as cut-and-dried as they used to be. Ironically enough, this is due to hybrid breeding that began centuries ago, when farmers in certain regions began to implement aspects of either plant in order to help their crops grow and mature better in their climate and growing situation.
This has slowly chipped away at the black & white characteristics of each main strain type. However, today’s hybrids can actually provide a more targeted classification that varies from product to product. There are a number of famous hybrids that are now very well-established, and offer exact characteristics that are consistent.
So, while a hybrid cannabis strain may not offer the same effects as another hybrid strain, at least you have the ability to know exactly what its effects are.
Another positive result of the rising amount of hybrids available is the ability to find strains that don’t really lean one way or the other. There are plenty of hybrid strains out there that offer a balanced effect, resulting in a more generalized high that doesn’t make you too sleepy, too energetic and engaged, too hungry, and so on. So, if you’re looking for a balanced high, hybrids are typically the way to go.
Over time, this will eventually shift the entire classification process away from sativa and indica to something that’s more based off of terpenes and cannabinoids — the true catalysts in regards to the effects a strain provides.
Shopping for Hybrid Products
When considering a hybrid cannabis product, many of the labels will indicate the ratio of indica to sativa, and often the THC and CBD content as well. This labeling offers some better insight into the general effects and characteristics of the strain, but you’ll usually see a few bullet points providing information as to specific effects as well.
At Straiin, we carry a vast array of hybrid strains in several forms, including flower, edibles, tinctures, and of course our proprietary Straiin Elixir. If you’re unsure of what strain is best for your particular needs or consumption method of choice, our staff is always happy to consult with you and help you find the perfect product, whether it’s indica, sativa, hybrid — or maybe a little of all three.