Hybrid Strains

December 2023

The demand for cannabis is rising and so there is more experimentation. As a result most strains on the current commercial market are hybrids. These are plants that have been bred from several different cannabis varieties to elicit certain effects or characteristics. In this basic guide, you'll read all about hybrids and why they are so popular. Cannabis, like other plants, exists as a pure variety or as a hybrid mix of species. Because the industry is commercialized, both pure varieties and existing hybrids are constantly being mixed and recombined. These new plants are known as crosses or hybrids.





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Hybrid strains arise from people’s attempts to adapt plants with specific characteristics commonly found in ruderalis, sativa and indica varieties. Successful hybrids inherit the best traits from their parents. This is a guide for beginners where we explain where hybrids come from.

What Kind Of Hybrids Strains Can I Find?

In general, there are four types:

  • Sativa x sativa: two different sativa species are crossed.
  • Indica x indica: two different indica species are crossed.
  • Sativa x indica: such a variety is a hybrid with sativa-dominant properties. However, the variety possesses characteristics of both cannabis species. For example, consider a large plant with purple buds.
  • Indica x sativa: this variety possesses properties of both, but is indica-dominant.

In addition, there are also autoflowering hybrids. These are strains that have been crossed with ruderalis genetics at some point.

Growing New Cannabis Strains

Growing plants always involves the same basic process. This also applies to cannabis. A female plant must be pollinated with male pollen. This happens naturally. When creating a hybrid, however, growers engage in selective breeding in a controlled environment. In other words, they choose the female plant and the male pollen to bring about one or more specific traits.

Hybrid Strains

The seeds germinated in this process are the first generation hybrids of the male and female parent. The plants with the desired traits, undergo this process of breeding again. Once these traits are produced, breeders stabilize the species. In other words, they cross a young hybrid with the parent strain to enhance its characteristics. Stabilizing the characteristics of a species usually requires three or more generations.

Cannabis can also be reproduced “sexually” or “asexually.” The sexual reproduction process involves combining several parent plants. Vegetative methods also include cloning, cuttings, and even division of the roots. With asexual reproduction processes, the same plant can be produced over and over again.

Landrace Cannabis

Wild species fall under the heading of landrace cannabis varieties. This refers to plants that grow in the wild and have developed themselves without human interference. We can divide these varieties into three groups:

Indica Strains

These varieties are small and bushy. The high of the plants from indica strains usually culminates in a heavy “body stone”.

Sativa Strains

Sativa strains are known for their tall, tree-like growth and cerebral high.


This is a THC-deficient cannabis strain that grows in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. There is some debate as to whether ruderalis may be a subspecies of sativa plants. Currently, most experts assume that ruderalis is a species in its own right. The autoflowering property is the main reason why this is an important cannabis variety. This means that the strain thrives regardless of the light cycle. Photoperiodic varieties do depend on this. This trait is incorporated into both indica and sativa plants, which normally require a certain period of photosynthesis. If you grow an autoflowering strain, it has been crossed with a ruderalis at some point.

Hybrid Cannabis Strains

As the name suggests, hybrid cannabis strains are the result of crossing either pure varieties or other hybrids. One of the first crosses was “Skunk.” This is the first known cross between an indica and a sativa, but certainly not the last. Strains are crossed mainly because of:

  • A specific content of cannabinoids: Many hybrids consist of a mix of indica and sativa “parents.” This allows breeders to determine the effect of a strain. Going for a couch-lock? Then try an indica-dominant strain. Looking for cerebral creativity? Then look for sativa-dominant strains. Want an autoflowering strain? Then choose a hybrid of a ruderalis and another variety. As medical research expands, more and more strains are being created with a specific concentration of certain cannabinoids. Many cannabis plants are bred for maximum THC or CBD. Medicinal marijuana for children, for example, is produced from specific hybrid cannabis strains that are always low in THC but high in CBD.
  • The size: There are certain limitations to growing indoors or outdoors. Sativas grow tall, almost tree-like. Indicas tend to develop more bushy. However, hybrids can be selected based on size, bushy development and other characteristics. Some sativa hybrids may therefore be mistaken for indicas.
  • Autoflowering properties: These automatic strains have been crossed with a ruderalis parent at some point. This means that these types of plants flourish automatically, regardless of light exposure.
  • The resin: Some plants develop more resin than others. Some hybrids are crossed specifically for the amount of resin. Indicas often produce more than sativas, but crosses change this as well.
  • Terpenes and flavonoids: As more and more is understood about the whole plant as medicine, the role of essential oils is also being re-examined. Hybrids combining essential oils are now appearing on the market, but this process is still in its infancy.
  • The yield: The production of the plant has everything to do with its origin.
  • The resilience (and color): Some cannabis strains, especially indica strains, come from areas of the world where temperatures are cold and days are short. Such traits can be passed on to hybrids, including the ability to turn purple. Purple cannabis is an absolute favorite among enthusiasts. Today, this trait can be passed on without stressing the plant with cold during the growing process.
  • Resistance to diseases and pests: Like humans, certain plants are more resistant to the environment and natural enemies. So it’s a logical step to cross two strains in order to get the child to be more resistant.

Hybrid Strain | Frequently Asked Questions

When is a Hybrid Strain successfully created?

It usually takes at least generations to create a new strain.

What can a Hybrid Strain be a mix of?

It usually contains one or more of the following; indica strain, sativa strain and ruderalis.

Have all Hybrid Strains been crossed with ruderalis genetics?

Not all, but most auto flowering hybrids have.

Which reason do people have for creating Hybrid Strains?

They do it mainly to combine the good characteristics of several strains.

What is a Hybrid Strain?

It is a mix between two or more strains.