Kimberly DelMonico OCBMAGONLINE Contributor

Different types of cannabis are generally divided into three main classes: indica, sativa, and hybrid.  How are they different?

-Indica Strains are native to the Himalayas and are more tolerant to cold weather.  Indicas generally have a sedative effect.  An indica strain is generally recommended for nighttime use.

–Indica plants are typically shorter with wide leaves.  Their buds will usually be dense.  

-Sativa plants are typically taller and have long thin leaves.  Their buds are less dense.  Sativas originate from the warm climates of Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia and thrive in the heat. 

-Sativas are prone to providing an uplifting and energetic effect.  They are associated with a cerebral effect and recommended for daytime use.

-Hybrids are a crossbreed between cannabis plants.  Hybrids can contain both indica and sativa plants.  Some hybrid strains are indica-dominant, while others are sativa-dominant.  There are also strains that are a 50/50 indica-sativa split.

How Are Hybrid Strains Created?

Breeders create hybrid strains to produce cannabis with specific effects and features.  Successful hybrids contain the best traits from their parent strains.

Breeding any plant involves pollinating a female plant with the pollen of a male plant.  In creating hybrids, breeders select the male and female plants for their traits, and combine them in a controlled environment.  

Some of the most popular medical hybrid strains of cannabis include OG Kush, Pineapple Express, Original Glue, White Widow, AK-47, Girl Scout Cookies, and Blue Dream.

Why Hybrids Appeal to Medical Cannabis Patients

Hybrids are growing in popularity with medical cannabis users.  This is because hybrids are a combination of the best of the indica and sativa traits.  Hybrids are typically good for patients who need potent relief while still being able to function or for patients who want to find just the right combination of effects to treat his or her medical solution.

For example, Girl Scout Cookies is a hybrid of OG Kush and Durban Poison.  It is primarily a strong indica with some sativa components.  The Girl Scout Cookies strain is popular with those who suffer from stress, depression, and anxiety.  The indica part of the strain provides relaxation and relief from pain and nausea.  The sativa part of the strain gives the mind a boost of euphoria.  Girl Scout Cookies is often used by patients who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and polymyositis and those who experience nausea because of chemotherapy.

Millenials and Hybrids

Hybrids also appeal to millennials who are increasingly turning to cannabis instead of liquor.  They cite reasons including avoiding calories and hangovers and saving money for their choice.  Millennials are also using cannabis to treat their physical and mental conditions, preferring natural to treat their symptoms with a natural alternative.

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