What Is a Hybrid Cannabis Strain and Why are Canadians Choosing Them?

If like many Canadians, you consume cannabis on a regular basis, you will be well aware that not all plants are the same. The ‘high’ produced when you smoke different varieties can vary wildly from one bud to the next. While this may represent an element of mystery for cannabis novices, there is a relatively straightforward explanation for this. 

Essentially, it all comes down to the chemical composition of the plants and the compounds that it contains. This is why effects can differ not just from one strain to another but also among plants from the same strain. As you’ll see below, hybrid strains are a mix of indica and sativa plants.

This natural variation is one of the things that sets cannabis apart from drinking alcohol or consuming other drugs. When you drink alcohol, the taste of beer, wine and spirits varies, but the end result is more or less the same. However, when you smoke cannabis, the variation in the ways that different species can make your mind and body feel can be profound.

As a result, knowing the effects given by various strains as a consumer can help you to tailor your experience or receive the medical benefits that you desire. For the most variety of cannabis strains in Canada, turn your attention online.  Browsing a dispensary comparison website helps as there are dozens of online dispensaries to buy from. 

The Difference Between Indica and Sativa

If you browse an online dispensaryin Canada, it will not be long before you come across the terms ‘Indica’ and ‘Sativa’. But what exactly do they mean?

Indica and Saticva are the names for the two main categories into which all cannabis strains fall into. Plants in both categories may look the same at first sight, but there are some subtle differences between the two genera in both appearance and effects.

Indica plants tend to be short and squat with bushy, broad-leaved foliage and fat buds. Strains of Indica are often associated with an ability to sedate users, leading to full-body effects that promote relaxation and get rid of anxiety. These properties make Indica plants a top choice for Canadians who suffer from pain and nausea, while they also find favor among sufferers of insomnia for their promotion of sleep.

Sativa plants usually grow taller than Indica plants and are known for their narrower, lighter-green leaves. Sativa strains produce flowers which are long and wispy compared to the short, dense flowers commonly associated with Indica strains. Sativa strains are more sensitive to colder climates. They are thought to produce more energetic and euphoric highs that allow you to go about your daily business without succumbing to couchlock. 

Although you will find ample reference to the differences between Indica and Sativa strains, the limited research that has been done into their effects indicates that these labels are not as instructive as might be thought.  There are lots of sativa and indica strains available online now, but you should choose top indica strain if you wish to feel relaxed and sleep, indicas are the best when it comes to relaxation.

The Rise of the Hybrid

In order to come up with a whole new variety of cannabis, breeders need to crossbreed one plant with another. The resulting plant is often referred to as a ‘hybrid’. It is possible to do this with two Indica strains or two Sativa strains; however, in weed parlance, when we talk about hybrids, we often mean a strain that crosses the genetics of an Indica strain with those of a Sativa strain.

Hybrid strains result from the experimentation of breeders. A breed will typically choose two strains with effects that they like to use as parents – other reasons for crossbreeding include increasing yield, maximizing THC content and enhancing taste. By necessity, one parent will be male and the other will be female. 

As an example, let us take the legendary Blue Dream hybrid strain. Originating in California, its parents come from both sides of the cannabis genetic pool. A blend between Super Silver Haze (Sativa) and Blueberry (Indica), Blue Dream marries the full-bodied relaxation of Indica with the motivating cerebral high associated with Sativa. 

Dominant Strains

You will often come across strains which are labeled as either ‘Indica-dominant’ or ‘Sativa-dominant’. Blue Dream, for instance, is known as a Sativa-dominant strain. 

Dominant strains are created by a practice known as ‘back-crossing’. Once a hybrid strain is created, a grower may decide that they would prefer it to be just a little bit more like one of its parents and a little less like the other. They will then back-cross the hybrid with the favored parent until they get a phenotype that is just what they are looking for. The end result will be a hybrid strain that is dominated by the genetics of either Sativa or Indica.

Hybrid Strains: Why So Popular?

The first thing to say about hybrid strains is that they tend to contain higher levels of THC. This increased potency makes them popular among recreational users as well as with medicinal users who need THC to control pain and inflammation. 

Apart from their increased potency, hybrid strains like OG Kush, White Widow, Gorilla Glue and Pineapple Express offer an attractive blend of the full-body, sedative high of Indica with the psychoactive, cerebral high of Sativa. It is the fact that they offer the best of both worlds that explains the incredible popularity of hybrid strains.