Did you know there are different types of cannabis plants? Each type of plant offers unique traits and effects, and various strains can fall under different categories of plants.
The plant type that a strain is made from, plus its terpene profile and other compounds in the plant (such as CBD and THC content), determine the effect, taste, and smell each strain offers.
Although there are two types of cannabis plants naturally occurring, growers and manufacturers have created a third type of cannabis plant: the hybrid.
Below, we’ll take a look at not only what hybrids are but also why they came to be. You’ll also find suggestions on hybrids to try and tips on choosing the right hybrid cannabis strain for you.
The Types of Cannabis Plants
When shopping online for cannabis, you’ll likely notice the products are sorted into different categories. Two of those categories are indica and sativa. These are the two types of cannabis plants out there. Let’s see what they are and what makes these two types of plants different.
First, we’ll look at indica plants. Indica plants have short, broad leaves. The plant itself is also tiny and rather bushy when compared to its sativa counterpart. Indica plants are also known for offering more of a full-body high, giving users feelings of relaxation, improving sleep, and even stimulating the users’ appetites. Because of these effects, most people recommend using indica cannabis strains in the evening or at night.
Sativa plants, on the other hand, have long, thin leaves. The plant itself is also tall and thin. This type of cannabis plant is also known for giving more of a head-high rather than full-body effects. Common effects of sativa plants include a euphoric mood, increased energy and creativity, and even improved alertness. Because of these energizing effects, many people prefer to use sativa strains during the morning and daytime.
Though it can vary, indica cannabis strains often have a higher THC to CBD ratio, which leads to the more calming, lethargic feelings people experience. On the other hand, sativa plants often have slightly higher CBD amounts, which is credited with the energizing effects these plants usually provide users.
Users should note that although each type of plant is perhaps best known for offering specific effects, everyone reacts differently, and the other compounds in the plant also play a role. So, your experience with a sativa may not be quite what is outlined here. These are just some of the most common effects these two plants provide.
Introducing the Hybrid
As grower’s knowledge and science continue to evolve, it only makes sense that growers started to think about ways to take the best aspect of each type of plant and put them into another. And, they did.
A hybrid is a cross-breed, which was created by crossing sativa and indica plants.
There are hundreds of hybrid strains on the market and thousands of strains in general. By creating hybrids, growers can take the most popular parts of different strains and use them to create a new plant that will appeal to more people. It’s almost like customizing a cannabis plant, creating one that has your ideal effects, taste, and aroma.
Indica and sativa plants each have a unique appearance, making it easy to tell which type of plant you are looking at. Hybrids aren’t so easy as their appearance can vary based on their parents and their makeup.
How Cannabis Hybrids Are Created
You’ve already learned that hybrids are made by crossing indica and sativa plants. But, how do growers do that?
They do it just like any other plant in nature makes new plants: by breeding different plants together. But, unlike in nature, growers create their hybrids in a controlled environment and with a specific goal in mind.
Cannabis plants are either classified as male or female. While males are important in breeding, female plants are the ones that produce the buds cannabis users smoke. Growers will use the male version of one strain to pollinate the female of another strain. The female plant will then begin to produce seeds that are a cross between the two parents.
Growers will carefully tend the seeds from the female until they grow into a new plant. This plant is a new strain, bringing traits from both parents to create a brand new strain of cannabis.
But, cannabis hybrids aren’t only created to bring together the best effects, taste, and aroma different strains have to offer. Growers are also always looking for ways to improve their crops. They may also look for plants to combine that have good growing traits, are hearty and easy to grow, and that may put up big yields.
Hybrids are genuinely a win-win for cannabis users and growers alike.
The Dominant Listing
Since indica and sativa plants also have unique effects (generally), what effects will hybrid cannabis plants offer? Well, it depends on which parent is the more dominant.
You will likely see hybrids listed as sativa-dominant or indica-dominant, and they may even break down the percentage of each that the hybrid contains. The dominant distinction shows which parent plant the hybrid has more of. The ratio indicates how big the difference between them is.
For example, a plant listed as indica-dominant with a breakdown of 80 percent to 20 percent will be indica-heavy. This particular hybrid will probably offer more indica-type effects.
A plant that has a closer split, such as one listed sativa-dominant with a 60 percent sativa to 40 percent indica split, will be sativa dominant. But the hybrid strain will likely have a more balanced effect. So, it may not be quite as sativa leaning as a plant that has a higher percentage difference.
Popular Hybrid Strains
As we’ve mentioned, there are thousands of different cannabis strains out there. Let’s take a look at some popular hybrid strains you may want to try.
- Pineapple Express. The child of Trainwreck and Hawaiian, Pineapple Express, first came to popularity after the release of the famous movie starring Seth Rogan of the same name. This strain is slightly sativa dominant and is known for its citrusy, pineapple taste and energizing yet calming effects. Many users find Pineapple Express to be a good afternoon pick-me-up, helping them power through the day, then calm down and relax in the evening.
- Gelato. This unique hybrid cannabis comes in with a typically 50-50 split between sativa and indica. Because of this even split, Gelato offers its users more balanced effects that can leave people feeling both relaxed and euphoric. Many Gelato fans also find it helps get the creative juices flowing. The child of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and Sunset Sherbet, this particular strain is a heavy-hitter with a high THC content, so it may not be the best hybrid option for cannabis newbies.
- Girl Scout Cookies. This cannabis strain is slightly indica-dominant, coming in at a 60 to 40 percent split. Though it is indica-dominant, users can expect first to feel euphoric effects followed by a more relaxing, full-body experience. The Girl Scout Cookies strain, created by crossing Durban Poison and OG Kush, is generally pretty high in THC, giving users a potent high.
- Mimosa. Created by crossing Purple Punch and Clementine, this hybrid strain comes in around 70 percent sativa, making it Sativa-dominant. It’s a potent strain, and different amounts can give you different effects. Taking lower doses of Mimosa can leave you feeling euphoric, happy, and motivated. Larger doses can provide the opposite effect, leaving you feeling relaxed and a little tired. Because its taste can reflect its namesake, many users will take a small amount of Mimosa in the morning to start their day.
- White Widow. This slightly sativa-dominant strain is known for its heavy resin production, making it quite potent. This popular hybrid strain was created by crossing the Brazilian sativa landrace and South Indian indica. This strain offers energizing effects and has also been known to boost creativity.
How to Choose the Right Hybrid for You
If a hybrid cannabis strain provides the best that the different sativa and indica plants have to offer sounds like the type of cannabis you want to try, you have many to choose from. Here are some tips to help you choose the right hybrid for you.
- Know the effects that you want to achieve. Though the type of plant is just one part of what determines your experience with a strain, knowing the plant type can help you determine what you are most likely to experience. So, knowing what you hope to feel when using the strain gives you an excellent place to start your search.
- Know your tolerance. Are you new to using cannabis? Or, are you looking for a more potent flower? As you choose the strain you want to try, you’ll want to look at the THC content it has. If you are new to using cannabis, you’ll want to look for a hybrid that has a lower THC content.
- What flavours and aromas do you like? One of the great things about hybrids is they are often created to get the flavours people want to enjoy most. So, as you shop for cannabis hybrids, look for ones you’ll enjoy using.
- Read reviews. Those who have used the strain you are often considering will share their experience in a post on the dispensary’s website. These reviews can give you an idea of the effects most users experienced after smoking the strain. They may include information on how the bud tasted and smelled and the overall experience after smoking it.
- Ask for recommendations. Finally, when searching for the best hybrid cannabis strain to try, ask for advice. Your online dispensary can offer suggestions, be sure to tell them what you hope to experience and even share some other strains you’ve tried and liked (or didn’t like). You can also ask fellow cannabis users what hybrids they’ve tried and think you may like.
Cannabis Hybrids: A Summary
There are two types of cannabis plants that occur naturally in nature: indica and sativa. These two plants have very different looks, with indica being shorter with broad leaves and sativa being taller with slender leaves. They also tend to offer users different effects.
Sativa plants are thought to provide users with more of a head high and are generally energizing. indica plants, on the other hand, typically offer more of a full-body high and feelings of relaxation.
Many years ago, growers started taking indica and sativa strains that they (and customers) liked and crossing them together to create these new cannabis strains. These strains are called hybrids, part sativa and part indica.
Hybrids can be classified as sativa or indica-dominant, or they may be evenly split. Those who are more evenly split offer users more balanced effects, while the dominant plant in those that have a more significant split will often dictate what type of effects you’ll experience.
However, users should remember that though the plant type plays a role in determining the effects that you’ll experience, it is not the only factor that does. The terpene profile, THC and CBD makeup, and other compounds present in the strain all play a role in determining the effects it offers.
So, though the type of plant you are using, indica, sativa, or a hybrid, can give you a clue as to what you can expect, your experience may differ. Be sure to read reviews from other users to get a better idea of the type of experience you’ll have.
Because growers created hybrids to bring the best of different strains into a new one, more and more are being made each year. Though the sheer number of options you’ll have when it comes to choosing a hybrid can be overwhelming, your dispensary, as well as fellow cannabis users, can help you choose the right one for your desired outcome.