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What Does Hybrid Cannabis Mean?

In the world of cannabis, hybrid is a strain that contains characteristics of both Indica and Sativa. Most modern-day strains are hybrid, with pure Sativa and Indica strains becoming increasingly rare.

Hybrid strains are very popular in the cannabis industry, and most are intentionally made, with some occurring naturally.

What is Hybrid Cannabis?

Hybrid cannabis strains commonly develop phenotypes that are Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, or an even balance between the two. 

Strain descriptions are typically listed to display the split as a percentage. For example, 25% Indica, 75% Sativa.

Indica is known for its pain-relieving and relaxation-inducing properties that impact the body more than the mind. On the other hand, Sativa is better known for its cerebral and energizing effects, impacting the mind more than the body. For some people that need properties from both, hybrid strains are desired.

Hybrid cannabis is made by cross-breeding two or more plants, most commonly Sativa and Indica. Hybrids can be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Sativa-dominant: This strain provides physical and mental relief by providing a cerebral high and relaxing body effects.
  2. Indica-dominant: This strain provides full-body relief with a relaxing, cerebral high.
  3. 50/50 hybrid: This strain provides an even body and head high.

Hybrid cannabis plants can also contain genetics from ruderalis varieties — the third type of cannabis that’s not dependent on light exposure to start flowing. Ruderalis plants flower automatically, depending on how long they’ve been in the ground, and are commonly crossed with other cannabis plants. And therefore the offspring become “auto-flowering” varieties.

There are thousands of hybrid cannabis strains available today. The science behind hybrids includes creating plants with different flowering cycles, yields, THC: CBD ratios, and plant disease resistance.

The two stand-out cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Cannabinoids are the compounds responsible for cannabis’ medical and psychoactive effects.

Sativa contains a higher percentage of THC, which causes a more stimulating effect.

CBDs don’t contain psychoactive properties or cause impairment. But, CBD does offer medical benefits to users.

Cross-breeding allows hybrid breeders to create specific plants to address certain medical needs and conditions—for example, pain relief or nausea relief with little to no psychoactive effects.

What’s the Difference Between Sativa-Dominant and Indica-Dominant?

As we mentioned, hybrids can be Indica or Sativa-dominant. This simply means they express the characteristics of their dominant parent with fewer characteristics from the secondary variety. For example, Sativa-dominant varieties will produce more cerebral, invigorating highs, while Indica-dominant variants will produce intenser body highs and relaxation.

When hybrids are balanced (50/50), they produce an even mixture of both varieties. For example, Blue Dream is considered a true hybrid as it balances the Indica sedation of its parent A Blueberry with the Sativa energy of parent B Haze.