When most people think of cannabis, indica and sativa usually come to mind, as these terms are used to describe the two major species of marijuana. However, hybrid strains are gaining popularity as a stronger option, thanks to their combined indica and sativa properties. In fact, you may already have experienced hybrid weed effects — and not even have known it.
When your budtender asks what kind of high you’re looking for, they’re most likely referring to what category of cannabis you prefer. In the past, many people didn’t have a choice in cannabis. But now, legalization has opened up the opportunity for customers to make informed decisions about the strain they consume — which can make all the difference when trying to calm down or find creative inspiration.
Read on for the lowdown on hybrid cannabis and why embracing the best of both worlds may be right for you.
Different Strains of Cannabis
There are three commonly known categories of cannabis: sativa, indica and a hybridization of the two, or a hybrid.
Sativa strains are usually known for producing a stimulating with effects that include an energetic buzz that elevates mood and boosts creativity. Instead of experiencing the relaxation and rest-inducing effects of indica, sativa users often compare this cannabis to a stimulant of sorts, much like coffee.
Indica strains are primarily used for their relaxing and calming effects, making them a good choice for night-time use or for individuals suffering from chronic pain and insomnia. Indica strains often induce pleasant sensation throughout the body often called a “body buzz,” and a sleepiness that make them ideal for insomniac cannabis users.
A hybrid strain is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a combination of sativa and indica plants thought to offer the best of both ends of the cannabis spectrum.
The Origins of Hybrid Strains
To understand the effects that you can expect from a hybrid strain, it is much more important to know the background of your strain of plant rather than just the ratio between Indica and Sativa. The characteristics of a hybrid strain are directly related to the genetics of the parent strains. As a result, hybrid strains tend to fall somewhere in the middle on the “effects spectrum” often leaning more in one direction than another.
Hybrid strains are cannabis strains created by crossbreeding cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. There may be only a single grandparent plant with sativa genetics in an indica hybrid, or it could be an even split. Basically, hybrid strains have genetic ancestors that include both cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.
Some of those hybrid cannabis strains may also include genetics from another strain of cannabis plants, known as cannabis ruderalis. Believed to have originated in Russia, cannabis ruderalis has grown in popularity in hybrid use due to its tolerance of extreme weather and three-season environments.
Hybrid Weed Effects
When choosing a sativa-dominant hybrid, the marijuana will usually look light and fluffy, have a floral or fruit scent and a lemony taste. Some say, smoking a hybrid with more sativa traits, will make you feel more energetic and creative, as well as highly productive.
Conversely, signs your weed is more of an indica hybrid include buds that are heavy and dense, a pine-ish scent and an earthy taste. Like pure indicas, an indica-heavy hybrid can lead to a more relaxing effect and somewhat of a brain fog.
Reasons to Choose a Hybrid
In addition to being easier to find in illegal places rather than pure strains, hybrid cannabis may also sometimes be stronger than a pure strain, according to NIH. In fact, VICE recently reported that some of the world’s strongest hybrid strains are now pushing nearly 35 percent THC, resulting in stronger weed than ever.
Another benefit of choosing a hybrid strain, is a wider selection. With more blends to choose from, patients that need both sativa and indica qualities in their medicine may benefit more from a hybrid. For example, for someone suffering from chronic pain, a hybrid strain would allow him to reap the benefits of indica’s pain relief without becoming too drowsy.
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