In the world of cannabis, the saying “variety is the spice of life” seems to dictate our obsession with diversity in our selection of marijuana strains and products. There always seems to be an endless selection of different varieties available to try out, with some of the more unsung ones being landrace strains – the original progenitor of present day cannabis.
Ranging from the popular Girl Scout Cookies to more exotic strains like Pineapple Express, there never seems to be a shortage of options. However, the oversaturation of cannabis hybrids has led many connoisseurs to opt for something simpler, leading them back to the roots of it all. We are, of course, talking about landrace strains.
So what exactly is a landrace strain? What makes them so special? And why should you care about them? In this article, we will be giving you an in-depth guide about the history, characteristics, and rarity of a landrace strain. We will also include a list of all landrace strains. If you are curious about finding out what makes these landrace strains are so rare and sought after, keep on reading!
What is a Landrace Strain?
Landrace strains are commonly known as the crème de la crème in terms of pure cannabis genetics. These types of strains come from various native species of the cannabis plant that are endemic to areas around the world.
They are considered to be the “heirloom” strains of modern cannabis hybrids, as they are the building blocks from which many new variants are derived from. Because it is only the cannabis plants that are found in indigenous areas, landrace strains are usually very pure in their genetic composition, lending themselves to be either 100% Sativa or 100% Indica type strains. Landrace strains also and tend to hold unique characteristics depending on the conditions of the environment they were raised in.
These types of strains are also known to be very consistent in their characteristics and properties. This is due to these strains having survived multiple generations in a common natural environment, forcing them to inbreed with one another, spawning brother and sister plants with uniform characteristics.
It is also important to note that landrace strains do not undergo any cross-breeding, meaning that their genetic composition is far less diluted than that of many modern hybrids.
Landrace strains usually get their names from the location in which they are spawned from. For example, the Indica landrace strain Pure Afghan spawned from the Hindu Kush region located in Afghanistan while the Sativa landrace strain Panama Red originated in Panama.
Where Do Landrace Strains Come From?
These days, you can easily find landrace strains growing all over the world, but that was not always the case. According to historical archives from around the world, mankind’s affinity for cannabis has been documented for thousands of years, as early usage of the plant can be dated as far back as 2900 B.C. Being a great source of entertainment we can easily see how early man would have taken a liking to bud, but it was not just the THC that humans were after either.
Cannabis’ long-lived kinship with mankind has been accredited due to the diverse resources it provided for us. For thousands of years, humans have cultivated cannabis for its ability to provide a reliable food source, sturdy fibers, and therapeutic treatments for various medicinal purposes. With that being said, research tells us that the very first cannabis plants originated in Central Asia, namely the Hindu Kush region located in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
During the 1960s and 1970s, it was believed that much of the expansion and progress creating landrace strains occurred during this era. As hippie culture established itself in this time period, the use of cannabis accelerated rapidly and became widely accepted in the west. During this time, a popular route for backpackers developed between Europe and South Asia, known as The Hippie Trail.
Cutting through areas such as Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Nepal, The Hippie Trail enabled many people to travel cheaply for extended periods of time, exposing them to areas where cannabis use was common and accepted.
Naturally, many of the cannabis seeds from Central Asia eventually found themselves in the hands of several legendary cultivators around the world in areas like North California and Hawaii, and through several iterations of refinement, new heirloom strains were created. With time and refinement, cultivators were eventually able to create new landrace strains beyond Central Asia in various other countries, including Africa, South America, North America, and even Russia.
Cannabis that naturally grows freely outside of Central Asia and has had several generations to adapt to its environment are also considered landrace strains. This is due to the fact that extended inbreeding in foreign environments has helped these plants adapt from their own unique genetic composition, differing from their ancestors found in Central Asia.
What Are Landrace Strains Used for?
In the cannabis industry, most specific desired traits of marijuana can vary greatly from region to region. With the current market being obsessed with variety and novelty, cannabis users could be looking for anything from specific cannabinoid profiles, to unique aroma and flavor profiles in their cannabis. Being the building blocks of many of the cannabis creations you see in the market today, one of the main things landrace strains can be utilized for is the creation of more refined hybrid strains.
Over time, through selective breeding and refinement, growers have been able to manipulate the growth patterns of landrace strains to cater to specific medicinal issues. Furthermore, cultivators have been given the ability to get creative and experiment with breeding hybrids with other hybrids for boundless unique results. Through continuous refinement and iteration, growers have more control than ever before to experiment with the creation of innovative hybrid strains.
Landrace strains list
Pure Indica strains list:
Pure Indica strains with origins from Central Asia:
- Hindu Kush
- Lashkar Gah
- Mazar I Sharif
- Pakistani Chitral Kush
- Mag Landrace
- Pakistan Valley Kush
- Pure Afghan
Pure Indica strains with roots in the Hawaiian Islands:
- Hawaiian Duckfoot
- Puna Buddaz
- Moloka’i Purpz
Pure Sativa Strains list:
Pure Sativa strains native to South and Central America:
- Lamb’s Bread
- King’s Bread
- Punto Rojo
- Acapulco Gold
- Colombian Gold
- Panama Red
- Limon Verde
Pure Sativa strains spawned from Africa:
- Swazi Gold
- Red Congolese
- Durban Poison
Pure Sativa strains originally from Asia:
- Chocolate Thai
- Kauai Electric
- Luang Prabang
- Altai (South-Central Russia/Mongolia)
Are Landrace Strains Worth Trying? The Final Word
Chances are, you’ve already had an opportunity to try a bit of landrace genetics through smoking already popular strains such as Northern Lights, which was created by crossbreeding Thai and Afghani landraces. The fact is, most if not all of the cannabis strains available today have some landrace influence in them. If you enjoy these strains, chances are you’ll enjoy their landrace grandfathers.
While the psychoactive effects of many landrace strains may not be as potent as that of most modern hybrids, the beauty in these strains lie within their ability to recreate a nostalgic experience where the user gets to embrace the essence of natural cannabis in its most pure and authentic form.