To understand what a hybrid strain is, you’ll need to know about the difference between Sativa and Indica. You can read up on those here: Indica vs Sativa
When a grower or farmer takes two different breeds or strains of cannabis and crossbreeds them, you get a hybrid strain. The two strains the farmer starts with are sometimes referred to as the Parent Plants. The possibilities are endless, which is why you see such a plethora of strains to choose from and new strains becoming available constantly.
A farmer can cultivate a quick hybrid strain, or they can take years to develop the characteristics and terpenes they want. You could almost compare it to the way wine is developed. Many factors go into achieving the desired result; such as if it was grown indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse. The type of soil used, the PH level in the soil, the lighting, humidity, and many more variables will alter the end result. Cultivating a hybrid really is an art in and of itself.
Let’s talk percentages. Each hybrid strain will have a unique profile consisting of various levels of cannabinoids and terpenes but the
most discussed and asked about compounds are THC and CBD. There’s a much longer and scientific definition for these but I’m just going to describe them to you in everyday terms. THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive component in cannabis that gets you ‘high’. The higher the percentage of THC, the more you may feel a head or body high, speaking generally. There are a lot of other factors that come into play, like terpenes (these are a big part of how a strain will affect you), THCA, CBN and CBG but we’ll get into those later.
CBD stands for Cannabidiol and does not have intoxicating properties. There are a great deal of medical studies being done to determine the efficacy of CBD on conditions like anxiety, cognition, movement disorders and pain. Many consumers report that CBD has a noticeable impact on their condition. Many pet owners will even give their dogs CBD to relax them during times of high stress, like fireworks. CBD has been known to balance the effects of THC as well. More study needs to be done but it’s clear in the medical community that CBD definitely has an effect on the chemical makeup and consequently how it affects you when combined with THC.
So, then a hybrid strain is the combination of two parent strains, and it can be any combination; sativa + sativa, sativa + indica, indica + indica OR they could even combine a hybrid with and indica or sativa. The THC and CBD percentages will vary based on the parent strains and all the grow factors. Keep in mind, you might get a better effect with a lower percentage. Higher percentages don’t always equal better.
When shopping for a hybrid some great questions to ask yourself/things to keep in mind are:
- Do I want to be active and stimulated or do I want to be relaxed and/or sleepier?
- Am I taking this for a specific condition? (i.e. pain relief) If so, ask your dispensary what they recommend.
- Am I looking for specific psychoactive effects? (i.e. a head high or a body high) Ask which strains might be best.
- Do I primarily want one thing (i.e. help with insomnia and sleep better) or a combination of effects? (i.e. help with insomnia and back pain)
- Am I looking for more of a medical use with no intoxicating effects or do I want a combination of both?
- What method do I want to consume cannabis in? Do I prefer vaping or smoking flower? Would I rather take a capsule or tablet, or do I prefer edibles? Is a tincture best for me? Your dispensary should be more than willing to discuss these things with you and find a good recommendation.
- Think about your medical history and any medications you’re currently taking. Consult with your doctor or another healthcare professional to make sure there won’t be any interactions or undesired side effects.
- Consider your tolerance to previous strains and how they’ve affected you.
Hybrid strains may not be for everyone, however, since they are a combination of two parent plants, the potential to have the right blend for what ails you is much higher. Hybrid strains have more compositions so there’s the possibility you can find just the right recipe for you. It might take some time to find just the right strain but with a little experimentation, you’re likely to find something you tolerate well and the effects achieve the desired result.