Landrace Strains: The Roots Of All Cannabis
We live in interesting times. Easily the best times in the history of cannabis; there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of strains to choose from for almost every kind of condition. Strains today possess a wide spectrum of different medical benefits, flavors, and aromas. The world of cannabis today is so diverse, but where did these strains come from in the first place?
Many believe that the cannabis plant originated from Central Asia, and made its way throughout the world over the centuries. According to some historical documents, humans have been living with cannabis for thousands of years. It was cultivated for food and industrial purposes, as well as medicinal and religious. Cannabis is one of the oldest agricultural plants known to man.
As cannabis made its way around the world, they never became as pure as they were from where they came from. This happened because gene pools stabilized because of inbreeding, and this is why these strains are called landraces. Landrace strains are usually pretty rare, and it means that these strains were never systematically bred. These strains are pure because they weren’t exposed to other genetics which other strains do, due to hybridization.
Landrace strains are unique because they possess traits that are best suited for the region where it grows. This doesn’t mean that they are superior to hybrid strains but they certainly do possess unique characteristics. Examples of landrace strains include Thai and Afghan Kush.
Decades ago, Westerners would travel through the “Hippie Trail” in search of some of the best cannabis in the world. Countries in the Hippie Trail include Afghanistan, Lebanon, Manali, and Kashmir. These tourists came back home with unique genetics found in these countries and mixed it with landrace strains in their own country and this is how we got the strains that we have today. The strains you see at dispensaries are a result of thousands of cross-breeds with parent strains that originated from Asia and India.
Cannabis is a versatile plant that can adapt to different environments, which is why you’re smoking what you’re smoking right now. Strains are usually cross-bred on purpose to create an entirely new strain so that breeders can isolate certain characteristics of the plant, a process called selective breeding. There’s nothing wrong with selective breeding but landrace strains are becoming increasingly difficult to find. When you try to grow Afghan Kush in Canada, it will definitely lose some of its original properties. Naturally, the plant will grow in a different way and develop new characteristics. What you get now is a phenotype of Afghan Kush, unless you’re actually in Afghanistan and you’re able to get your hands on the strain where it can grow well in the wild.
Because of this, many cannabis enthusiasts and breeders now have an objective of rekindling the original landrace strains. Some have even taken it to a professional level; such as the show Strain Hunters.
The Thai varieties are landrace strains from Thailand. Thais became popular around the 1960’s and has been a popular choice for creating hybrids ever since. The original landrace strain is a a sativa and oftentimes tends to create hermaphrodites, so finding a true female Thai can be challenging. Thais are known to produce uplifting effects.
Afghani indica is a significant landrace. It’s produced many different phenotypes although it’s still considered a landrace because they all have similar smells, flavors, and other characteristics. This strain has a short flowering time so it’s usually cross-bred with other sativas which is better for commercial growing.
Durban Poison is a strong sativa landrace strain originating from South Africa, particularly the Durban area. Durban is the second biggest manufacturer of cannabis next to Johannesburg. Durban Poison is known for its fruity flavor and loved by users for the uplifting and cerebral high.
These are just a few of the popular landrace strains that we know about. As long as cannabis can grow freely in the wild and without having to use any selective breeding techniques, this can result in a landrace strain. Because of their rarity and importance, it’s become crucial for the cannabis community to preserve the unique genetics of landrace strains.