There is an extensive number of cannabis strains available on the market today, most of which would not be possible without discovering the OGs of the weed world – landrace strains.
Take a minute to consider the sheer number of different sativa and indica strains at our disposal, each with its own unique genetics and qualities to produce a wide range of desirable effects. That’s not even mentioning hybrids!
Some may target pain. Others inspire creativity. Some can even help with insomnia or combat adverse symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Over the years, there have been extensive advancements in cannabis cultivation, breeding, and even cannabis culture. If you were to trace it back, we all have landrace strains to thank!
But what exactly is a landrace strain, where do they come from, and how are they used in the modern cannabis industry?
Lucky for you, today, we’re taking a deep dive and shining the limelight on landrace cannabis strains to tell you everything you need to know.
What is a Landrace Strain?
A landrace strain is basically a cannabis plant or cannabis strain isolated to one specific geographic location. They’re cannabis plants that have adapted to a particular set of environmental conditions and climates and are indigenous to their unique region.
These circumstances develop incredibly stable genetics over time, with plants adapting and eventually flourishing in the same geographical climate.
Another title for landrace marijuana strains is heirloom strains. In the world of cannabis breeders and seed sellers, the latter term is more common.
If you’re looking for a tip for how to spot a landrace strain, it’s not hard to determine. Usually, it’s in the name!
For example, names of strains landrace include Durban Poison, Colombian Gold, Hindu Kush, and Acapulco Gold.
There are both indica and sativa strains that fall under the landrace category.
These original landrace varieties are the only genuinely pure sativa and pure indica strains. In other words, these babies are thoroughbreds! If there were a royal cannabis bloodline, these would be at the top of the list.
Over time, these sativa and indica landraces have been bred with one another to create a new sect of marijuana known as hybrid strains.
The cool thing about this fact is that every modern strain, hybrid or not, can be linked in one way or another to these earlier landrace cannabis varieties.
As people acquired these original landrace strain seeds and travelled to other countries worldwide, the cannabis plant continued to evolve.
Early migrations and movements saw landrace strains popping up in several different regions, including South Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Later on, these strains spread to Jamaica, Central America, and South America through merchant and trade ships.
Some of the most familiar landrace strains come from India, Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The actual OG isn’t 100% confirmed, but some believe it’s the indica cannabis landrace Hindu Kush.
Examples of sativa landrace strains include Chocolate Thai, Panama Red, Durban Poison, Lamb’s Bread and Acapulco Gold. Indica landrace strains include Northern Lights, Pure Afghan, Afghan Kush and G13.
Where do They Come From?
As we outlined in the previous section, they aren’t unique to one specific geographic region or location.
They can be found all around the world!
That said, the list of existing landraces is too extensive to outline here, but just know that there’s a lot of them.
However, as we said before, the secret to determining whether cannabis strains are landrace lies in their name.
Landrace strains are often labelled according to where they grow. For instance, Afghan comes from Afghanistan, Acapulco is in Mexico, Durban is a city in South Africa, etc.
That said, it may be a bit of a challenge to find these genuine strains widely available on the cannabis market.
Instead, what you’ll likely discover are strains that have a landrace lineage in their genetics but aren’t authentic landrace strains in their own right.
Are There any Genuine Landrace Strains Left?
Yes! There are still landrace strains that naturally grow today.
If you’re in the mood for a trip to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Panama, or some regions of Asia or South America, you’ll likely be able to find landrace strains in the wild.
In regions where hash is popular, such as the Middle East, you’ll likely find landrace cultivars there, as well.
However, with new advancements in breeding techniques and cultivation practices, pure landrace strains are becoming increasingly harder to come by as they are being removed from their original home and transplanted and bred elsewhere.
This transport causes the plants to grow differently and produce different characteristics than they would in their original setting, causing them to lose some of their more authentic qualities and attributes.
So, if you want these plants to grow as authentically as they can, you’d have to take them back to where they originally grew.
How are These Strains Being Used Today?
Landrace strains form the basis for much of the innovation in the world of weed.
They may be a bit more scarce to come by now, but this is mostly because of advancements in hybrid breeding practices and indoor cultivation.
In other words, breeders are continuing to play match-makers with different weed strains to produce new hybrids. Weed engineers, or ‘weedgineers,’ look to landrace strains for their hardiness, resistance to stress and adaptive ability.
However, this hybridization takes place mostly indoors. As such, it’s challenging to create the precise environmental conditions that landrace strains have grown accustomed to.
Even one false move can set the whole situation out of whack, causing the natural development and growth of these strains to become skewed.
While innovation has been at the forefront of the cannabis movement, the desire for old-world strains is making a comeback. For instance, the demand for regionally specific strains, such as BC Bud, is steadily on the rise.
Landrace Strains – The Backbone of Modern Marijuana
Over time, cannabis has experienced an extended evolution that sprouted from humble, natural beginnings into a new age of modern technological, cultural and biological advancement.
Landrace strains are the benchmark for modern-day weed and the classic cultivars contributing to its epic and extensive origin story. In this sense, just about every strain you’ve ever consumed is guaranteed to have some variation of landrace parent strain in it somewhere.
See? Even your favourite tree has its own family tree!
So, the next time you roll a J or hit a dab, take a moment to consider just how much work went into creating these various products for you to enjoy.
You may just come to realize that you’re puffing on a piece of history!