Cannabis strains come in different varieties and offer unique effects to recreational and medical marijuana users. The two most prevalent subspecies of cannabis are Indica and Sativa. However, many of the cannabis varieties today are a combination of the two. We call these varieties’ hybrids.’
Each strain has its unique flavor, aroma, and cannabinoid potency. From a scientific perspective, weed strains refer to the ancestors or the origins of specific types of cannabis. The genetic lineage of the cannabis plant provides an insight into its potential benefits and effects.
Although ‘strain’ is the popular word used to refer to the particular variety of cannabis plants, many cultivators prefer to use the terms’ cultivars’ and ‘chemovars.’ In this article on hybrid strains, we will use the word strain for simplicity and uniformity.
What is a Marijuana Strain?
The marijuana strain is the classification of a cannabis plant determined by its chemical profile, physical appearance, and potential health effects. Cannabis strains differentiate the many types of weed from each other. Many cultivators also refer to these strains as chemovars, chemotypes, cultivars, or varieties.
Marijuana experts recognize nearly 800 strains, but there could be more than a thousand already in existence. With the advancement in breeding and cultivation technologies, many more can be produced through genetic manipulation and natural evolution.
The Creation of New Strains
Cultivators constantly develop new and better stains by breeding male and female cannabis plants. When the genetics of both Sativa and Indica are crossed, they create a new hybrid. If you are familiar with the Durban Poison and OG Kush strains, then you may be familiar with their hybrid result called Girl Scout Cookies (GSC).
A new strain can be produced by crossing two or more strains of cannabis. Cultivators experiment with different strains until they discover a strain that delivers exciting effects. Many interesting possibilities can arise from crossing different strains. However, the strain’s popularity depends on how cannabis users respond to the type of experience it provides.
The Different Strains of Weed
Cannabis plants can be categorized into three varieties: Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid. Although there is a fourth category called Ruderalis, it is not popular among cannabis users. Hence, we will not discuss it in this article.
Each particular strain has stereotypical effects attributed to it. However, It is not a good idea to generalize because cannabis strains often produce different effects based on their cannabinoid and terpene profiles instead of their specific genetic lineage.
A cannabis strain’s effects may also depend on the user’s weight, body weight, overall health, body composition, and level of cannabis experience. Hence, you may not respond to a cannabis flower the same way as others do. That said, let us give a general definition of each of the three different varieties of cannabis.
The Cannabis Sativa strain generally contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH), the most prominent and popular psychoactive chemical in marijuana. THC is responsible for the feeling of high and euphoria that follows cannabis consumption.
The Sativa plant can easily be identified with its tall and narrow leaves. The flowers usually produce floral, fruity, and spicy flavors and aromas. These flavors and aromas depend on the terpenes produced in the trichomes.
The Indica strains also produce moderate to high amounts of THC, but the difference lies in their higher cannabidiol (CBD) levels. CBD counteracts many of THC’s adverse side effects. In addition, CBD enhances the relaxing effect of cannabis.
You can easily identify an Indica plant by its appearance. It is generally short and stocky, and the leaves are much broader. While Sativa’s high THC concentration delivers a more energetic effect, Indica’s high CBD content makes it more relaxing.
Many cannabis strains you find in dispensaries are a combination of the genetics of Sativa and Indica. We call these varieties Hybrids because they combine both Sativa and Indica ancestry.
Some Hybrids contain a higher percentage of Indica and are called Indica-dominant hybrids. Those that contain a higher percentage of Sativa are called Sativa-dominant hybrids. Some contain an equal percentage of Sativa and Indica genetics. We call them balanced Hybrids.
We cannot generalize the effects of specific hybrids simply by determining which subspecies are more dominant. The most reliable way to determine their impact is by looking at their cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
Hybrids can have varying THC and CBD content based on how they were genetically developed. We can easily generalize the effects of pure Sativa and Indica varieties, but we cannot say the same with Hybrids because their effects are variable.
What are Hybrid Strains?
As was mentioned earlier, hybrid strains contain the combined characteristics of Sativa and Indica. Most of the cannabis flowers you can buy in a local dispensary or an online store are Hybrids. In today’s cannabis market, it is hard to acquire pure landrace strains.
The characteristics of Hybrids vary from strain to strain. It all depends on the qualities of the genetics they acquired from their parent strains. The plants may be tall with bushier leaves or short with slender leaves.
How Hybrids Differ from Indica and Sativa
We have been classifying weed as Indica or Sativa for a long time. However, it is not accurate to label one as Indica, and another as Sativa, unless we are referring to a pure landrace strain. Today, we hear about wide varieties of cannabis on the market. Many of them possess varying genetics.
The effects of the individual strains cannot be attributed to either Indica or Sativa genetics. Instead, the totality of the effects of a certain strain depends on the entourage effect of all the cannabinoids and terpenes present in it.
Although THC and CBD are the most prominent compounds in weed, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids that may contribute to the entire experience. We should also mention that the different terpenes and flavonoids contribute to the effects and benefits.
How do Hybrids differ from Sativa and Indica? They are not at all different in many aspects. However, they differ in how they affect the human mind and body depending on their unique blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Nevertheless, your experience with a Hybrid strain may differ from other persons.
The Best Cannabis Strains: Hybrids
There are hundreds of Hybrids out there. However, we cannot discuss them all here in this article. Here are some of the highly popular Hybrids. You may easily come across these in local and online dispensaries:
The White Widow gets its genetics from an Indican Indica and a Brazilian Sativa. It contains a balanced ratio of CBD and THC. For many users, the 1:1 ratio between CBD and THC is ideal for the entourage effect. Hence, many people turn to this strain for its recreational and potential medicinal benefits (e.g., chronic pain and anxiety).
The Original Gangster Kush or OG Kush is a hybrid developed by cultivators in Florida, the Sunshine State. It is a cross between three cultivars: Lemon Thai, Chemdawg, and the Hindu Kush. It contains a high level of THC that can produce a strong head high.
Gorilla Glue, also known as Gorilla Glue #4, GG4, or Original Glue, is a cross between Chocolate Diesel, Sour Dubb, and Chem’s Sister. It provides a deep relaxation effect, which makes it a perfect strain to use after work or at night.
The Pineapple Express is a Sativa-dominant hybrid. It is a cross between the Hawaiian and Trainwreck strains. As the name suggests, the strain produces a citrusy flavor with pineapple undertones. Trivia: the movie Pineapple Express made this hybrid popular.
There are wide other varieties to experience. Shop for Cannabis Hybrids now and widen your experience with cannabis.
How to Consume Hybrids
You may consume Hybrids the same way you consume other varieties of marijuana. The most popular method is to smoke them. Roll them in a traditional joint and smoke away. You may also use a dry herb vaporizer to produce a finer and less harsh vapor.
If you do not want to consume marijuana through your lungs, you may eat hybrids in edible form. You can infuse the potent compounds from the cannabis flowers into an oil base, such as butter, MCT oil, or olive oil. Then, you can add the cannabis-infused butter or oil to your favorite recipe. The process can be tedious. Fortunately, you can buy ready-made edibles at local or online stores.
Are Hybrids Right for Me?
Your cannabis experience is a matter of personal choice. Before you consume any marijuana strain, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are taking medication or have an underlying medical condition. Also, be sure to do your research into a specific type of strain you want to try.
A specific strain’s effects depend on its cannabinoid and terpene profile, not its genetic roots. In addition, your experience may differ from others. Remember that you have a unique set of cannabinoid receptors in your endocannabinoid system. Hence, a specific marijuana strain may affect you differently than others.
Start with a low dose, and do not go beyond your tolerance level. Stay within your limits to keep your cannabis experience safe and free from nasty side effects.
How to Choose the Best Marijuana Strains to Experience
First, you should consider your level of experience with marijuana. Do not start with high THC strains right away. Stick to varieties that contain less than 15% THC or consider CBD-dominant varieties with lower concentrations of THC.
As soon as you become comfortable with the psychoactive effect of THC, you may experiment with higher THC levels. For beginners or medical marijuana users, look for strains containing an 80:20 CBD to THC ratio. As you gain experience, you may progress to strains with a 50:50 CBD to THC ratio.
Second, you should consider your goal in taking cannabis. To be energized throughout the day, you should consider Sativa-dominant varieties that enhance energy levels. However, if you want to relax, look for Indica-dominant varieties with more CBD or relaxing terpenes.
Remember that CBD and THC are not the only compounds in cannabis. Terpenes also have various properties that may help enhance the effects of other cannabinoids. Some strains contain significant cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid that also produces relaxing effects. Others contain tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a cannabinoid that may help relieve anxiety and reduce appetite.
Lastly, consider the flavors and aromas that the strains produce. For instance, Pineapple Express has citrus flavors and aromas with pineapple undertones. Its terpene profile gives you a tropical vibe reminiscent of summer vacation.
Before you buy cannabis products, always ensure that you get them from a reliable source. Always buy cannabis from trusted sellers. It is always best to know what products contain before you consume them. Hence, be sure to research a particular strain before trying it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a marijuana strain deliver a more potent high than another?
Yes. The psychoactive high you experience from a specific strain depends on its THC levels. Always check the THC concentration of a strain before you consume it. Be sure that your body can handle the potency.
Remember that CBD counteracts many of the negative side effects of THC. Hence, it may affect the intensity of the high to a certain degree.
Can I start with a hybrid strain if I am a beginner?
We suggest that you consider a CBD-dominant strain if you are a beginner. A hybrid strain with a high level of THC may induce adverse side effects, such as anxiety, nausea, and vomiting. If you do not want to ruin your cannabis experience, stay away from high-THC strains until you have gained enough experience.
Why do cannabis strains have funny names?
The weed strains are usually named after people, specific places, and events. Some strains are named based on their flavor and aroma. For instance, Girl Scout Cookies smell like freshly baked cookies popularly sold by Girl Scout troops. Therefore, you can easily identify some strains’ specific flavors and aromas based on their names.