Oh, the endless debate over the best strains—and in this case, the very best of the balanced. Well, the debate is over, because we’ve managed to assemble the ten best hybrid strains out there right now.
But let’s just slow our roll for a second and talk about what’s coming. In this post we’ll quickly discuss what indicas, sativas, and hybrids are, and what kinds of cannabis might have which effects. We’ll then launch into a discussion of hybrid cannabis strains and what makes them so popular.
Then we’ll reveal to you which are the top ten hybrid cannabis strains and why you need to try them.
Indica vs. Sativa
It’s a common belief that indica and sativa cannabis plants also have specific benefits and effects, but the most recent research doesn’t bear that out. Instead, it seems more likely that it’s the strain’s overall cannabinoid and terpene profile that controls its benefits and effects. Given that there are hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis in varying proportions, this actually makes sense.
Still, in general people tend to be searching for indica and sativa strains with specific effects when they’re shopping for cannabis. In reality, however, they’re searching for strains that offer sedation and are best at night—indicas—or strains for wake-and-bake use and an energy boost, or sativas. In other words, it’s a kind of shorthand for describing effects and intent.
Complicating this even more is the fact that after decades of intensive breeding, it’s truly difficult to find a pure indica or pure sativa at all. Instead, most strains are hybrids to some extent—some blend of indica and sativa effects and phenotype.
For now, though, let’s revisit the basic differences between indicas and sativas and how those differences in effects impact hybrid strains.
What is an Indica Strain?
Growers love indicas because this is one areas where there truly is a difference. Indica strains typically exhibit a smaller size and a denser growing pattern, making them ideal for indoor grows and even stealth operations. Often stopping around 6 feet in height, indica plants may even stop shorter. These cannabis plants resemble a squat pine tree in terms of shape.
The effects and medical qualities cannabis users typically associate with pure indica strains include:
- Decreased nausea
- Muscle relaxation
- Improved appetite
- Increased dopamine production
Indica strains typically have lower THC levels but higher CBD levels than sativa strains.
What is a Sativa Strain?
Compared to indicas, sativas are tall, spindly giants. Reaching heights of up to 12 feet and thriving in sunlight and warm weather, they often thrive when cultivated outdoors although many strains can be sensitive. Unlike the denser leaves of indica strains, the buds, colas, and leaves of a sativa cannabis plant are usually spread apart.
But that’s not usually why people are shopping for sativas! The typical sativa consumer is looking for a surge in creativity and energy. These are the daytime strains that lift the mood and help you power through the day, especially if you suffer from fatigue or mood disorders.
The effects and medical qualities cannabis users typically associate with pure sativa strains include:
- Anti-anxiety, anti-depressant
- Chronic pain treatment without sedation
- Boosting focus and creativity
- Increased serotonin production
In general it is tougher to grow sativas, and they have higher THC levels and lower CBD levels than indicas.
What is a Hybrid Strain?
A hybrid is just like it sounds, the literal offspring of two or more strains of cannabis. But in a very real sense we also use the word to refer to any strain that captures the best qualities of its parent strains, whatever they are. In other words, even a deep, stoney indica bred from two other indicas is a hybrid—it’s just not what people are usually looking for when they shop for hybrids.
More commonly, we think of hybrids as the more balanced strains bred from indicas and sativas—the best of all worlds. The idea is to take the better qualities of a great sativa strain, such as a high THC level and uplifted mood effect, and combine those with the best effects from a popular indica strain, such as a nice body buzz and some pain-relieving CBD.
Hybrids typically allow you to get that daytime pain relief and mood boost, but without as many negative side effects such as anxiety or paranoia that sometimes bother users of pure sativa strains. But in general, hybrid strains can treat just as many things as any other type of cannabis.
In fact, the very best hybrid strains blend the effects users love most about their indica and sativa genetics to appeal to even more users. There’s nothing quite as nice as a psychoactive, stress-busting euphoria that has a strong body stone backing it up.
People use hybrid cannabis strains to treat a huge range of issues:
- Chronic pain
- Menstrual cramps
Of course, every marijuana strain is unique—and that’s where this list comes in. Here are the ten best hybrid cannabis strains on the market today.
- Space Queen
- Blueberry Headband
- Wedding Cake a/k/a Pink Cookies
- White Widow
- Pineapple Chunk
- Face Off OG
- Bubblegum Chem
- Grease Monkey
- Sour OG
Space Queen, sometimes called Space Jill, is a sativa-dominant hybrid. Known for seriously strong head effects that send you into space along with a nice medical grade body buzz, Space Queen hails from Europe, a cross of the sativa strain Cinderella 99 and the heavy indica Romulan.
Space Queen first hits you with a fruity aroma, lots of cherries, apples, and pineapple. This is followed by a sweet, earthy taste of fruit, vanilla, and wood.
Space Queen offers an intense, psychedelic, fast-moving buzz ideal for medicating in the morning. This popular strain is often used for treating anxiety and mood disorders, as it produces a happy, euphoric, elevated mood along with a boost in energy, focus, and creativity. These high-flying cerebral benefits can be a serious gift to those with ADHD and PTSD.
Although Space Queen is not the best strain for the worst pain, it is great for mild to moderate aches and pains, including the chronic kind. You can also use Space Queen to treat nausea, headaches including migraines, and arthritis.
In terms of growing, Space Queen demands some skill, but rewards the patient grower with large, high-yielding plants heavy with resinous buds covered by orange hairs. These plants do best indoors with plenty of canopy support. Space Queen plants like SOG and SCROG methods.
Verdict: Blast off into an incredible mood with Space Queen.
Blueberry Headband is the perfect example of why hybrids are awesome: it combines two amazing genetic lines to offer something even better. The well-balanced high you get from Blueberry Headband comes from a complex web of high quality cannabis genes: Blueberry, Cali Sour D, Emerald OG Kush, and Pre-98 Bubba Kush are actually the parent strains.
As soon as you smell Blueberry Headband you’ll understand the first trait the breeders were selecting for: scent. Deeply aromatic, this strain has major bag appeal, with a strong, fruity, berry, citrus scent. Once you grind the nugs, you get more pine and wood, and those certainly come through in the smoke.
If you’re a Headband fan and you enjoy that sensation you get around your crown from smoking you won’t be disappointed here. Those effects were passed down in this strain, not directly from Headband, actually, which wasn’t the parent! Instead you get that same kind of feeling from this strain, a snug but not painful constriction around the temples that, counterintuitively, can actually soothe a headache.
Thanks to the citrus notes you can expect some cerebral energy from this strain, but the Blueberry elements are strong too, and you won’t feel overstimulated. You may feel time stretch, or other trippy, psychedelic effects around colors, music, or other sensory input. But even so, this is a great daytime strain and you should be able to get plenty done with Blueberry Headband’s mental calm and balanced vibe.
Medical cannabis patients use Blueberry Headband for attention deficit disorders, arthritis, aches and pains from minor injuries, fibromyalgia, as an anti-inflammatory, as an anti-nausea aid, and to treat symptoms of depression and stress. Blueberry Headband is also excellent shared with friends, a fine social, multi-purpose hybrid.
From a grower’s perspective, Blueberry Headband enjoys a semi-humid, Mediterranean climate along with plenty of pruning during the veg stage. This strain flowers in 8 to 9 weeks indoors—and you will smell it coming, so you’ll need exhaust fans or carbon air filters to maintain a discreet operation. You’ll love seeing these big, chunky buds pop though, densely structured, threaded with yellow to orange pistils, and a honey-colored shine from a coating of amber trichomes.
Verdict: Get like four amazing strains in one you can use all day with Blueberry Headband
Wedding Cake aka Pink Cookies
Wedding Cake is a commitment, just like the dessert or the deed. Riding the wave between 20 and 30 percent THC levels, it remains among the most potent hybrid strains on the market. So if you want to hit it and quit it—this is not your strain.
Instead, if you’re the kind of person who is down for the whole day, no question, let those bells ring if you see this at the dispensary. A fast-acting high, Wedding Cake hits you with euphoria and then climbs over your body, melting in for the long haul.
The parents of Wedding Cake, also known as Pink Cookies due to its heritage, are Cherry Pie and the world-famous Girl Scout Cookies. Both are powerhouse hybrid strains in their own right, with serious medical benefits.
Some of the sweetness implied in its name comes through in Wedding Cake’s aroma in flavor, with a powerful vanilla undertone and then hints of pepper, earth, and sweet spices. An almost candy-like aftertaste rounds out this delightful recreational experience, with high THC levels bringing the cerebral thunder and a relaxing body high to match.
However, Wedding Cake is now also known for its therapeutic qualities in the medical marijuana community. With a gentle yet reliable mood boost, Wedding Cake is a popular choice among those treating anxiety, depression, stress, and PTSD. This strain also has powerful analgesic benefits that consumers use to treat arthritis, gastrointestinal contractions, headaches including migraines, joint pains, menstrual cramps, and sore muscles. And for insomniacs out there, a higher dose of Wedding Cake can provide a sedating buzz that sends you off to sleep.
Growers enjoy Wedding Cake because it is predictable, compact, and responsive to advanced growing techniques. Its indica-leaning growth profile makes for less maintenance and shorter flowering times. Wedding Cake does demand some pruning for its dense foliage to avoid mold and mildew, but it is a breeder’s powerhouse.
Verdict: Wedding Cake is a fabulous anytime option for recreational users and patients alike.
We women love White Widow for treating cramps, headaches, fibromyalgia pain, and other issues that make it one of the most popular cannabis strains out there. This may have something to do with White Widow’s off-the-charts resin production, which is legend at this point. This sativa-dominant hybrid was bred way back in the 1990s in the Netherlands from South Indian indica and Brazilian sativa landrace strains, and became a Dutch coffee shop staple ever since.
The smell of White Widow tends toward the piney, earthy, ammonia-like, and when you grind the buds you get a more incense, hashy aroma. The smoke is smooth and not that deeply flavorful, especially if you are used to very tasty strains.
However, White Widow’s quick-acting, powerful, energizing cerebral effects more than make up for any lack of smell or flavor, and you may soon find yourself noticing all kinds of things around you on this strain. You can also expect a boost in energy and an uplift in focus and mood excellent for creative pursuits or problem-solving. If you are sensitive, beware of mind-race and paranoia, but overall this is a very kind, balanced strain.
Successful growers of White Widow, which is especially valued in hash production, see whitish-gray buds covered completely in long-stalked trichomes and THC levels of 26% or higher. The flowers have a bud structure that lends to the sativa side, that is looser and less dense, with buds that are somewhat tapered and conical.
Growers enjoy how mold-resistant and pest-resistant this strain is, but its real strength is in its breeding genetics. White Widow is excellent for crossbreeding and has produced fantastic hybrids of its own, including The White and White Russian.
Verdict: White Widow is simply one of the most reliable medical hybrid strains—especially for women—and it’s a grower’s dream.
Yes, we’re getting trendy—for a reason. Runtz is a hot new strain and it’s not going anywhere. This relatively new cannabis strain is a perfect example of what happens when breeders get serious about terpenes and strains.
For all of you sweet candy-like strain fans, Runtz is your joint birthday and holiday gift. It is like the best version of a Candyland sativa and Zkittles indica in a full-throttle hybrid for all day. (It’s not actually a relative of Candyland, but we want to give you a picture, here.)
Runtz is definitely a child of Zkittles, though, and you can smell and taste that background there, with a pineapple, fruity, candy finish. But where Zkittles is a knockout indica that’s really best at night, Runtz takes that sugary-sweet candy experience and uplifts you with some awesome daytime euphoria, energy, and a happy mood. Medical marijuana patients like Runtz for anxiety, stress, and chronic pain—although so far this is still a more popular recreational strain.
So while Runtz is very well-balanced, for the uplifting mood alone you might say it’s a touch in the sativa direction, though it retains that seriously relaxing Zkittles vibe. Its other parent, Gelato, affords similar sweetness along with that awesome recreational body buzz we all love from the Cookies line of genetics.
From a grower’s perspective, Runtz has tons of bag appeal, with a vibrant array of hues often found in the buds. Blues, dark greens, purples, and bright oranges might all be packed into a baggie or jar of this sweet- and fruity-smelling dessert strain.
Verdict: Pick this up as soon as you see it, it is a new classic, and seriously fun and delicious.
Ah, you’re going to love this one if you haven’t tried it yet. Pineapple Chunk is SO deliciously stony. This indica-dominant hybrid will take you down a few notches in just the right way.
A 2009 High Times Cannabis Cup winner, Pineapple Chunk offers serious full-body effects and high THC levels between 16 and 26 percent. Its CBD levels are typically around 1 percent, so overall you get both the great recreational and medical experience from this strain.
Pineapple Chunk is a cross of the original Cheese and Skunk #1 with Pineapple, so obviously it was bred to be deeply pungent, not just fruity. It is this next level taste and aroma that boost the pineapple undertones and make Pineapple Chunk as successful as it is for concentrates.
Recreational love Pineapple Chunk because of its long-lasting, deep stone, which some find induces couchlock on command as it relieves even strong pain. There’s still a nice head high here too, though, thanks to the sativa genetics that are still there, so you’re not missing that psychoactive feeling as you rest, relax, and feel better physically.
Pineapple Chunk plants come up quickly, flowering in about 60 days indoors. This is a great strain for a first time grower, with strong, stable, high-yielding plants, assuming they have the right conditions. They are not too picky and are very resistant to pests, mold, and disease.
Verdict: For a tasty concentrate strain with a smooth, pain-relieving mellow that can’t be beaten, Pineapple Chunk is even better than Pineapple Express.
Face Off OG
Is my skin dripping off my body, or is that just THC? Well neither, really, because it’s a whole plant thing, but you know what we mean.
This is not about the dumb John Travolta/Nicholas Cage movie from 1997—although the Face Off OG strain might make watching that more tolerable. No, Face Off OG was named for its effects before that movie came out, and it was named well.
This OG Kush phenotype is an indica-dominant strain known for that feeling of your face literally melting off. That may not sound great, but trust us, it truly is. With THC content around 20 percent or so and low CBD content, this is a heavy-hitting, long-lasting, potent hybrid marijuana strain.
The combined cerebral pause and heavy body buzz from Face Off are great, but what really sets this strain apart is the tingly sensation. The heavy Face Off OG high is a calm, relaxing experience that can also be sedating for those who cope with insomnia. Medical marijuana patients also use this strain to treat anxiety, chronic pain, depression, headaches, lack of appetite, muscle tension, and nausea.
These lime green, leafy, medicinal buds are super-dense, and covered in tiny white trichomes and red hairs. The aroma and taste is nice, but not very strong in this strain—Face Off OG has a sort of woody, earthy, herbal flavor. For growers, Face Off OG demands some skill, because it is a clone only strain.
Verdict: For a warm, tingly feeling that makes your stress and skin feel like it’s floating away, there is no better strain.
This is another newer hybrid, the child of a serious power couple: Bubblegum and Chemdawg. To us it deserves inclusion as the best of both, and something new and awesome to try.
Bubblegum, an indica-dominant, four-time High Times Cannabis Cup winner, creates powerful mood-lifting euphoria and body buzz with a delightful sweet smell and flavor just like its namesake. Chemdawg, a legendary, balanced hybrid that has spawned countless heavy-hitting strains, adds a psychedelic, medical effect to this strain.
The result is a terpene-rich, delicious strain with high THC levels, awesome medicinal benefits, and a superior recreational experience.
Bubblegum Chem offers much of the smell and taste of Bubblegum with some of the diesel and chemical undertones of Chemdawg. The result is an unparalleled flavor that is perfect for concentrates and dabs. This is a strain that was bred for flavor and for the user’s experience, and it shows. It is also great for creative, daytime work—thank Chemdawg for that!
Medically, Bubblegum Chem is great for treating anxiety, stress, insomnia, eating disorders, PTSD, migraines, and nausea. Many users say Bubblegum Chem gives them a tremendous sense of physical relaxation without that couch lock that can end your day.
Bubblegum Chem is not world’s easiest strain to grow, so not ideal for first-timers. Chemdawg itself demands vigilance indoors and outdoors, and that labor is duplicated in Bubblegum Chem to some extent, although the Bubblegum strain is easier. The pungency of this strain is serious, as both parents are seriously aromatic, and that’s among the strain’s main traits. If discretion is your goal, odor-control measures will be important.
Verdict: Bubblegum Chem is one of the tastiest strains you will try in concentrate form, plus the absolute best of two dynamite hybrid strains—like getting at least two in one.
Remember that first time Gorilla Glue got you so couch-locked you couldn’t remember where you were? SO good. Well, Grease Monkey is the indica-dominant strain bred from Cookies and Cream and Gorilla Glue, and it is next-level amazing. For a sweet, delicious stone that affords a lazy, thick, heavy body buzz, Grease Monkey is the only choice.
Grease Monkey is a high-potency hybrid, clocking in between 16% and 30% THC levels. You’ll smell the skunk in Grease Monkey, courtesy of its genetics all the way back to Sour Diesel and Chemdawg, but it’s the unmistakable Cookies and Cream and GG4 notes that you will recognize at once. Both astringent and sweet, you’ll experience vanilla, pepper, and spice as well.
Grease Monkey’s high starts with slight facial pressure followed by warmth that relaxes the muscles. As the sense heighten, trippy conversation and free-flowing daydreaming are next. In higher doses, the indica-forward side of Grease Monkey comes on, bringing increased appetite and even couch lock. But for most users at a lighter dose, Grease Monkey is great all day long, and in social situations. For medical cannabis patients, Grease Monkey can treat depression, stress, aches and pains, nausea, and insomnia.
Grease Monkey growers will find characteristically indica looking, dense buds and flowers with conical shapes. The pale green leaves are veined with dark orange pistils, and coated in sticky white trichomes. This is not a tough strain to grow, and works indoors or outdoors with the right temperatures and light. Expect high yields—and a nice dank, stinky crop!
Verdict: Grease Monkey is a sweet way to take everything you love about Gorilla Glue and sweet cookies strains and bake all day long.
Last and never least, it’s Sour OG, also called 818 Headband. This powerhouse is a crossbreed of two heavy-hitting strains: Sour Diesel and OG Kush.
A 50/50 hybrid strain, Sour OG offers that truly balance experience between indica and sativa effects, and a relaxed body with an uplifted mind. With THC levels typically around 20 percent and low CBD levels, Sour OG took first in the hybrid category at the 2011 High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Michigan.
Fans of sour, pungent cannabis are going to love Sour OG, which smells like pine, citrus, diesel, and lemon, with sweet, fruity notes lingering underneath. It has a slight Kush sweetness added to that classic Sour Diesel profile, and the taste and aroma are like nothing else.
Sour OG will produce an uplifted mood and a peaceful outlook. You will feel motivated to accomplish everything on your list, but you will not experience anxiety. The mood is as up as the actual high, which hits hard and fast, yet stays with you, intense, ultimately leaving you relaxed.
Medicinal users love Sour OG to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, lack of appetite, pain, and stress. Recreational users see an entirely different animal in Sour OG, a fast-acting psychedelic heavy-hitter that produces dreamlike effects, a euphoric high, and a talkative vibe.
Sour OG is a pleasure to grow, with well-structured colas, dense, round buds. Sour OG has a good yield within an average flowering time of 8 weeks.
Verdict: Sour OG is truly the best of both the recreational and medical cannabis worlds.
Everyone loves a sweet hybrid marijuana strain. It can take you from wake-and-bake through a long night of partying, or just into a restful slumber, if you choose the right one. These are the best hybrid strains out there right now, in terms of what you get from them. If you see any of these great strains, try them!