If you visit a dispensary, you might feel overwhelmed with options. How do you know whether you want indica, sativa or a hybrid? What’s the difference?


The marijuana plant is a pure sativa strain, indica strain or a hybrid strain. Most available strains are hybrids because pure strains, or landrace strains, are indigenous plants and more difficult to find. However, hybrid strains are just as potent as landrace strains. Also, crossbreeding allows growers to design plants with specific goals in mind. Breeders can develop a hybrid strain that is much stronger than a landrace strain if they wish.


There are many types of hybrid cannabis strains that produce unique effects. Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about hybrid cannabis and the benefits of the different hybrid strains. When you are ready to shop at a dispensary or begin medical marijuana treatment, you’ll know what to look for and what to expect.


What Are Cannabis Hybrids?


Cannabis hybrids are a mix of different strains. They might be bred from mixing pure indica with pure sativa strains, or by combining other hybrids. Unlike pure indica or sativa strains found in nature, hybrids are created by humans with the desire to develop specific qualities. In general, there are three different types of hybrid strains. Those are:

  • Sativa-dominant: Sativa bred with an indica strain with strong sativa characteristics
  • Indica-dominant: Indica bred with a sativa strain with strong indica characteristics
  • Balanced: An even mix of sativa and indica strains bred so neither is dominant

To imagine what a crossbreed looks like, consider the nature of each strain on its own:

  • Indica: Indica strains are typically short and stout and grow in drier climates.Users may consume indica to relax before bed or to ease pain from a medical condition. Indica is sometimes referred to as a nighttime strain.
  • Sativa: Sativa plants are taller than indica strains, and the buds are long, light and fluffy. A sativa strain is invigorating, energizing and helps users focus. Sativa is sometimes referred to as a daytime strain.


A hybrid strain contains characteristics of both indica and sativa strains for a more balanced effect. For example, a breeder might cross an indicia and sativa strain with a higher indica content to help the user feel relaxed.


How to Identify Cannabis Hybrids


As mentioned above, hybrid cannabis can be difficult to identify because it typically shares characteristics of both indica and sativa strains. However, it still helps to know what to look out for. You might expect the following bud features with an indica hybrid or an indica-dominant strain:

  • Small, thick buds
  • Heavy skunky odor
  • Bluish or purplish tint

A sativa-dominant hybrid may have:

  • Thin wispy buds
  • Light fruity odor
  • Fluffy or spongy feel


Effects of Cannabis Hybrids


Cannabis features such as look, smell and taste cannot always predict how it will affect you. Cannabis affects everyone differently. This means that some people may become energized by an indica-dominant strain or drowsy from a sativa-dominant strain — there are no set rules on how a hybrid will cause you to react.

With that said, here are some general features you might expect with different hybrids:

  • Sativa-dominant: Typically stimulates the mind while relaxing the body
  • Indica-dominant: Has a mild effect on the mind but provides a strong body high
  • Well-Balanced: Is an even mix of sativa and indica and affects both the body and mind

Well-balanced strains may also be called true hybrids. Blue dream is an example of a true hybrid. Blue Dream balances the sedating properties of its indica parent Blueberry with the energizing properties of Haze — its sativa parent.

Also keep in mind the general effects of each pure strain, to help you imagine how a hybrid might affect you. An indica strain is often described as:

  • Sedating
  • Relaxing
  • Calming
  • Soothing
  • Mellow

Sativa strains are commonly described as:

  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Invigorating
  • Stimulating

Hybrid strains offer characteristics of both.


Benefits of Cannabis Hybrids


Unlike landrace strains, cannabis hybrids had been bred for specific benefits. They are the result of careful selection and consideration. With a cannabis hybrid, users can find out what to expect and what ailments to treat beforehand, lessening the change of undesirable side effects. Overall, hybrids give users and breeders more control over the experience they wish to create.

For example, a pure indica strain might make an individual who does not want to sleep all day too sleepy. If the indica strain is bred with sativa, it might help reduce its sleep-inducing qualities for a more balanced effect. With hybrids, users can choose a THC to CBD ratio that works for them, whereas pure strains are not as flexible.

Cannabis hybrids are the most available form of marijuana medication. They are used to treat a long list of conditions 

including:

  •  Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea

Top Cannabis Hybrid Strains


There are many different cannabis hybrid strains on the market, and breeders are always competing to create the next best strain. However, some have been more successful than others. Some top cannabis hybrids include:

  • Amnesia Haze: A sativa-dominant strain from the Netherlands which features a sweet-spicy flavor and intense cerebral high
  • White Widow: A well-balanced hybrid with equal indica-dominant and sativa-dominant characteristics
  • Strawberry Cough: A sativa-dominant hybrid which produces a balanced but uplifting high, offers a strong berry flavor and high THC content
  • Skunk #1: A mix of three landrace strains for well-balanced effects
  • Blueberry: An indica-dominant hybrid with eight distinct strains in its lineage