After reading part 2 of our guide to hybrid strains of cannabis, you’ll learn:
- The history of how hybrid strains were created and how the growing process today differs from cultivation methods of several decades ago.
- What hybrid strains are popular today and their unique characteristics
- How to find the best hybrid strain for your needs.
In part 1 of our guide to hybrids, we defined hybrid cannabis and compared it to its cousins: indica and sativa. We also talked a bit about why people like hybrids and the effects you may feel after consuming a hybrid strain.
Before we dive deeper into popular hybrid strains and how to find the best strain for your needs, it’s helpful to take a step back and wonder exactly how cannabis culture got to this point. As stated in the first part, most plants today are hybrids of some shape, and there are very few pure indica or sativa strains available. While strains may fall one way or the other in terms of the indica or sativa characteristics it carries, these strains are still hybrids.
A Brief History of Hybrid Cultivation
The modern era of cannabis cultivation is defined by state-of-the-art indoor grow facilities, purposeful cross-pollination, and a deep understanding of plant genetics. This allows cannabis growers of the current era to develop strains with intent. They are trying to grow a plant with specific characteristics, such as high potency, quick flowering, or durability.
However, this isn’t how things used to be done. Previously, cannabis growers allowed nature to take its course with the plant. Cannabis was grown outside where pollination occurred naturally and not under laboratory settings. At the end of the season, growers would collect the seeds and then plant them the following season. They’d do this repeatedly, season after season.
These heirloom varieties had several advantages. Though it wasn’t a quick process, it would eventually create a type of cannabis plant that was naturally suited for where it was grown. This process is often referred to as natural selection as weaker or less-suited plants would soon fall by the wayside leaving only the strongest, most durable plant.
The flip side of this coin, though, is that these plants tended to lack genetic diversity. So, if land, air, or water conditions were to change, the crop may be unable to adapt to this new environment.
So, farmers would then trade their seeds with other local growers and continue their process of growing a crop, collecting the seeds, then planting them the next season. This process created “landraces” that are various plants with common characteristics that are still genetically diverse. That is this process created naturally occurring hybrids.
A Cannabis Growth Boom
As the world became smaller through planes, trains, and automobiles, growers could begin trading their seeds with farmers from further away. The 1960s and 1970s, in particular, was a boom period for American cannabis as growers began to purposefully breed potent cannabis plants high in THC that had long flowering periods.
During this period, some of the world’s oldest and still most popular strains were created, such as Original Haze and Maui Wowie. Soon other strains with lineages that still linger today were beginning to blossom. Northern Lights, Skunk #1, and Blueberry all emerged during this time.
Though they are hybrids by the nature of their cultivation, cannabis growers refer to these strains as inbreds. That’s because as each strain was developed, the next generation of seeds was created from plants of the same strain but displaying the characteristics the grower wanted to continue. These strains are also called “stabilized” or “true-breed” as each generation will continue to display the characteristics that make the strain unique.
Eventually, these stabilized strains were then cross-pollinated to create F1 hybrids. This type of hybrid tends to be a 50/50 mix of its two parents.
Current Day Cultivation
Modern-day cannabis cultivation has trended towards a more precise process for growing plants. While many of the practices remain in place, the advancement of genetics and technology has allowed modern cannabis growers a more controlled path to producing new strains that exhibit the characteristics they hope to achieve. So, even if the tools and equipment used today differ from the variety used in the 1960s and 1970s, the underlying methods of hybridization remain the same.
Popular Hybrid Strains
Hybrids are a very popular choice of cannabis strain. While some prefer indica-dominant or sativa-dominant plants due to the characteristics of each, hybrids tend to include the best of both worlds without compromising on taste, aroma, or effect.
When browsing any dispensary’s menu, you’ll notice that some of the names under the hybrid section tend to be similar:
- Blue Dream
- Girl Scout Cookies (or GSC)
- Gorilla Glue
- OG Kush
- Pineapple Express
- Sunset Sherbet
- Wedding Cake
There may be even a dozen other popular hybrids that are worthy of trying. It should also be noted that many of these hybrids have since become hybridized again.
For example, the Maximus OG currently listed on our menu is a hybrid of Gelato and Animal Cookies, another popular hybrid. When you see London Cake on our menu, too, you should know it’s a mix of Sunset Sherbet and Gelato.
How to Choose the Right Hybrid Strain for You
Just like with any strains, hybrids can offer different effects to different people, and the best way to discover new strains is to explore your dispensary’s menu. Trying out new strains lets you know how that specific one makes you feel and helps you uncover a new lineage for you to trace forward or in reverse back to its parent strains.
Creativity and Energy
Generally speaking, though, if you’re looking for a hybrid strain that’s energetic, it may help to start with these hybrids:
- Acapulco Gold
- Maui Wowie
- Pineapple Express
- White Widow
Pineapple Express and White Widow have also been known to boost creativity. Those looking to light that spark before launching into an artistic project may find those two hybrids especially potent.
Relaxing and Sleeping
Those seeking a soothing, relaxing vibe should consider some of these favorite hybrids:
- Blue Dream
- Bubba Kush
- Granddaddy Purple
- Northern Lights
These hybrid strains have also helped some cannabis consumers who are dealing with pain or restless nights. If you’re struggling with either, you may want to try these strains first.
Find the Perfect Hybrid Strain for You at OG Medicinals
OG Medicinals is the premier Denver dispensary with a deep menu of high-quality cannabis products. Our budtenders are knowledgeable and passionate about cannabis culture, and when you step into our dispensary, which is conveniently located near the Denver International Airport (just 14 miles away), you’ll immediately notice the welcoming atmosphere.
Whether you’re a cannabis veteran or a complete newbie, our budtenders are happy to guide you on your quest to find the right hybrid strain for your needs. Make sure to browse our menu in-person or online to see our diverse selection of medical and recreational hybrid strains.
Featured Image: julie deshaies/Shutterstock