What is a hybrid?
Not quite a sativa and not quite an indica either, Hybrids are a categorization of marijuana strains that tend to produce a balance between sativa and indica effects. Sativas are classically known for having more cerebral effects, potentially being energizing and helpful for productive, daytime use, while indicas are known to have more body effects, being more relaxing and sometimes causing lethargy that is more suitable for night time use. So what does this mean for hybrids? Sometimes that means the strain is neither energizing nor is it relaxing (rather they can be a mix of the two), or it could mean that it has both cerebral and body effects. The effects of hybrid strains vary greatly given their lineage, cannabinoids, and terpene content, allowing individual strains to be rather unique!
Hybrids can be great options for patients because of their generally balanced effects. Some people may not be comfortable with the raciness that can be associated with sativas but also don’t want to feel concerned about the sedation that is associated with indicas. While it would be both too simple (and not correct) to say that all sativas are energizing and all indicas are sedating, with hybrids there are a wide range of strains that can provide effects that are somewhere right in between and can be a more comfortable option for patients looking for a balanced effect. It can be tricky to pinpoint what specifically hybrids are good for treating, because, as previously mentioned, their specific effects are unique to the strains based on a number of factors- including lineage, cannabinoids, and terpenes. For example, the hybrid strain, MAC, has high limonene and caryophyllene content that make it a great option for anxiety, inflammation, and pain. This isn’t to say that strains can only be good for a couple things, but rather that different hybrid strains have the potential to be helpful for a number of different symptoms and ailments.
Here’s some marijuana truth tea: there is no such thing anymore as an absolute true sativa or an absolute true indica. In recent decades (and centuries), we’ve played around with the breeding and genetics of pure strains so much so that most, if not everything, is at least a little bit muddled. It’s part of the reason that not all sativa and indica strains have the same effects; the crossing of genetics over time has affected these strains, making their cannabinoid and terpene profiles increasingly unique. Now, the terms sativas and indicas are largely used by growers to define the plant structure and strain identification (as sativa plants are taller in stature with long narrow leaves and indicas plants are short with fatter, broader leaves). That isn’t to say that sativas and indicas aren’t legitimate, they certainly are, just technically speaking there aren’t many “true” sativas and indicas left.
Hybrid strains can sometimes tend to lean sativa or indica dominant, meaning it may have more sativa-like, or indica-like effects (i.e. a hybrid that is high in limonene or terpinolene may be sativa dominant). These can often be great options for patients who are looking for certain kinds of effects from their marijuana products, but still seek some balance (i.e. an indica-dominant hybrid may be good for someone who wants to feel a bit more relaxed, but not too sleepy).
Are Hybrids Right for Me?
Because of how diverse hybrid strains can be, there’s a lot of potential to be a good option for a lot of different people. That being said, because of that diversity, it can take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect hybrid strains for you. A helpful thing to look at can be the terpene content, as you may find you like certain terpenes, and using this a guide, you can find other similar strains! Another thing to look for is the strain’s lineage. Say you like the strain Tangie or Jack Herer; you can see if there are hybrid strains that are derived from one of those strains!
Though finding good hybrid strains for you may require some trial and error, because of all the options it may prove that there are a great number of hybrid strains that can fit what you are looking for! It’s a vast area worth exploring!