Hybrid Marijuana

A 101 guide to hybrid cannabis growing, harvesting, and effects for consumers.
Last Modified: February 07, 2019

Along with indica and sativa, hybrid marijuana strains play a huge part in the diversity that makes up the world of cannabis plants. Understanding the characteristics and benefits of hybrid cannabis can help consumers tailor their recreational experience, as well as choose better medicine for particular illnesses and ailments.

What Is Hybrid Marijuana?

Hybrid cannabis plants are a combination of indica and sativa strains. While discussions about types of cannabis tend to focus on the differences between sativa and indica, these only examine one part of the picture. In fact, most marijuana strains found today aren’t pure sativa or pure indica. Typically, they will be indica- or sativa-dominant hybrids, and sometimes they’ll be an equal mix of both kinds of cannabis.


Indica vs Sativa 101

To understand what effects (or type plant) a particular hybrid strain is likely to create, it’s helpful to know the differences between indica and sativa. The characteristics of indica and sativa marijuana strains make a big difference to recreational consumers who would like to guide the type of high they receive, as well as medical marijuana users who need to target specific symptoms.

Indica Marijuana

Indica cannabis is known for its sedating, relaxing effects. The strongest of these strains are even known to cause “couch-lock,” a condition where the body feels heavy and the person simply wants to sit or lie down until the high has worn off. Indica strains are often recommended for those who suffer from anxiety, as well as people who have muscle pain or spasms.

Growers also value sativa cannabis plants for their signature characteristics. Indicas tend to grow shorter than their sativa counterparts. In addition to this, the plants are bushy and the leaves tend to grow close together.

Sativa Marijuana

Meanwhile, sativa cannabis stimulates and uplifts. Sativa strains are often used to boost focus and productivity. They’re ideal for people who struggle with ADHD or depression. Indica and sativa strains both have pain-relieving qualities.

Sativa marijuana plants grow much taller than indicas and are usually recommended for outdoor growing. They are thinner and more sparse, with leaves that grow much farther apart.


Hybrid Marijuana Effects

Plant genetics can play a large role in the effects people will experience when they consume it. Sativa-dominant hybrids tend to be more uplifting, while indica-dominant strains incorporate more relaxing effects.

Sativa vs indica only paints a partial picture of a strain’s effects, however. It’s also important to look at the ratio of THC and CBD, lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, and THCV, as well as individual terpenes. These all play a role in how a hybrid strain works. Having a knowledge of these factors can help consumers choose an ideal strain. Even so, it can be difficult to know what effects a hybrid will produce before consuming it to find out. The best policy when trying any new strain is to start with a small amount and consume slowly.


Growing Hybrid Cannabis

In addition to creating specific effects for consumers, hybrid marijuana is very attractive to growers. Indica cannabis strains tend to have a shorter flowering time and higher yields. Meanwhile, sativas have longer flowering times and lower yields, but many of them are mold- and heat-resistant, making them a more viable crop.

Creating new hybrid cannabis strains takes lots of time and effort. It isn’t as simple as just breeding a new strain, as the results will vary until the strain is stabilized. This involves “back-crossing,” or inbreeding that hybrid strain for generations until its characteristics become consistent.


A World of Variety with Hybrid Marijuana

When thinking about the different marijuana strains that are available, the picture is much more nuanced than just indica and sativa. Hybrid marijuana strains offer the best of both worlds. This lets consumers truly customize their recreational marijuana experience or choose a strain that’s best-suited for treating a medical condition. It also allows growers to choose crops that work well for their growing space and harvesting needs.

While sativa and indica strains offer a wide variety of options, hybrid strains mean that the choice needn’t be energizing or relaxing, all-or-nothing. They help ensure that the world of marijuana strains is also a world of variety.


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  • Cannabis Ruderalis - A guide to the effects, uses, and characteristics of the cannabis ruderalis plant.
  • Cannabis Sativa - An exploration of sativa effects, medical uses, and characteristics of the sativa plant.
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  • Sativa vs Indica - The difference between sativa and indica: from effects to plant characteristics.
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