Latin America Cannabis
Latin America Cannabis

The Unexplored Genetic Wealth of Latin American Cannabis

Latin American marijuana strains hold a wealth of information and potential

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Friday Sep 27, 2019

The Unexplored Genetic Wealth of Latin American Cannabis

latin american cannabis

For decades, Americans smoked mostly Mexican cannabis that was smuggled into the country through the southern border. Of course, there has always been homegrown cannabis in the US, but for decades the Mexican schwag reigned supreme.


That is until legalization stepped in in the late 90s and changed the game. Slowly, state-by-state, cannabis was legalized for medical or recreational purposes. As a result, the free market hit the cannabis scene and strains went from “meh” to “OMFG THIS IS FIRE!!!” in a matter of two to three decades.


This put a strain on cartel production because the consumer base no longer desired “brick” and opted to pay more for higher quality cannabis. Since then, we have seen a significant decline of shipped cannabis and also an increase of illegal grows in the US (trying to compete with the legal market).


When it comes to strains, most people these days are smoking hybrids of some sorts. Whatever funky name they put on the plant, it’s usually a cross between one landrace with another hybrid to create “desired effects”.


For the most part, these seeds either come from the US, Canada or Europe mainly because the cannabis industry (and seed production) is far older in these countries. In Latin America, there aren’t any cannabis seed banks – and this is a shame.


Remember the old Landrace Strains?


Do you remember Acapulco Gold or Jamaican Red? How about some “Verde Limon”? If you’ve never heard of these, you won’t be in the minority. Old school stoners know these strains because they were the ones that were “different from brick”.


These saucy landrace strains had a higher THC content, more developed terpene profile and usually was priced higher. There are other landraces such as Durban Poison, Thai and so forth, which typically are region-specific.


Latin America continues to produce a whole lot of cannabis, except not with professionalism as the US or Canadian Markets. In places like Mexico, it’s all about quantity and velocity of production. They don’t separate males and females (in big grows) and they don’t spend any time on curing it either. The whole process is quick, low cost and produces subpar weed.


However, within this wealth of undocumented plants, are genetics the world has never known. There are strains that grow high up in mountains. Other strains thrive in desert areas. Some are heat resistant while others can withstand dynamic shifts in climate.


Tapping into the Gene Pool


It will take some time for people to start mapping the Latin American Cannabis Genetics, but when that comes to pass, we’ll probably discover some amazing plants which will birth a whole new world of hybrids.


Some countries are stepping up their cannabis game, such as Uruguay and Colombia, however, in places like Uruguay there is no real competition in the market. Most of the cannabis is run by the state. Mexico, on the other hand, will have private players in the cannabis game. We could easily start seeing specific strains popping up from Mexico once the legality of the industry is cemented in the law.


Strains like Acapulco Gold (the original) is pretty much extinct. You’ll never smoke a pure Aca Gold ever again. Verde Limon, usually found in places like Puerto Vallarta, is a wonderful Sativa strain that has some indica undertones, a rich and piney terpene profile and high THC content. It’s a strain that can compete with most US/Canadian strains.


The point is that the potential for new and powerful strains exist and Latin America is a big place. There are so many different climatic situations that shaped different characteristics within the plant naturally. Of course, we don’t have access to this gene pool as of yet, but things are changing.


A new generation of old strains


Once the genetic potential of Latin American cannabis is unlocked, we can expect to see a whole new generation of cannabis strains come to life, based on these untapped landraces. There currently aren’t many efforts in the works for finding and documenting these unknown landraces, but some growers (that I know), are doing so by themselves.


Once the legal market establishes itself, it’s only a matter of time before the tagging of strains begin. The obvious evolution from this point will be cross-breeding, which will mix the best genetics from the South with the best genetics from the North. This will expand the pool of strains we currently have and will dawn a new mini-age-innovation of cannabis cultivation.


It’s a shame that this couldn’t be done sooner because many strains went extinct before we could capture its genetic information, however, there’s still so much to discover that we’ll be finding new strains for years to come.











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