Those plants that were directly descended from the original species are now known as landrace strains . From there (in, say, the past 100-200 years), mankind continued to practice selective breeding of the cannabis plant for genetic improvement. That produced the modern hybrid strains we enjoy today. Here, for your pleasure, is a brief list of six landrace strains from around the world.
It’s just to give you an idea of where that Chem Dog you’re smoking came from: Hindu Kush, Pakistan. It’s important to understand that the landrace classification only describes the strain’s genetic purity and indigenous upbringing. It does not mean that landrace strains will get you higher than a good batch of Blue Dream or cut your anxiety quicker than a high-CBD strain. In fact, modern strains are much better than landrace strains at generating the effects we’re all looking for (be they recreational or medicinal). That’s because growers have bred the plants for those specific effects. Landrace strains are not “better” than modern strains, or even really unique in any way. They’re closer to the original wild species than anything else we have available today. To put it in perspective, it’s like comparing the very first car (let’s say it was the Model T for simplicity’s sake) with the newest BMW. You’re going to enjoy cruising around in the BMW more than you would the Model T — the BMW is comfier, rides better, is easier to start, and goes faster (just to name a few) — but it’s still good to know where that BMW originally came from. They’re really only useful to historians, scientists, and pot purists.
The one benefit from trying a landrace strain would be experiencing more genuine effects that are closer to those produced by the original cannabis strain. Maybe the high or the medicinal effects were completely different. You may be wondering why you haven’t heard about landrace strains before. To answer both questions at the same time: the original landrace strains have been taken out of their native environment and endlessly crossbred with other varieties to produce something new. When a landrace strain is removed from its indigenous environment (say, Pakistan) and forced to grow elsewhere (say, Mexico), it has to mature in different growing conditions. In response to those new growing conditions, the plant will exhibit new characteristics (e.g., smaller flowers, longer grow time, higher THC). During that transition from indigenous environment to new growing conditions, some of the characteristics of the original plant will be lost. To get those characteristics back, you’d have to return the plant to its native environment. Even then, the “purity” would be in question because you’ve grown a plant in a different location (Mexico) — producing slightly different characteristics — and then tried to return the seed to the place where its grandparent plant came from (Pakistan). It’s enough to make your head swim and your eyes go googly (even without taking a toke). That’s why we recommend not thinking about it too deeply. It’s enough just to know that landrace strains exist. Just give a polite ‘sup nod as you pass by on your way to the local dispensary for a dime bag of Yoda OG. Our answer to questions like these is usually a resounding, “Yes!” There are a few times when we have to say no — like, should you make your own THC-O-Acetate or CO2 cannabis oil — but, for the most part, it never hurts to try. That said, don’t cash in your life savings for the chance to puff a landrace strain. Modern strains are often better at producing the recreational or medicinal effects that you’re looking for. Remember, landrace strains aren’t stronger, more potent, or better in some way. They’re just less diluted (genetically speaking) than other strains. And, honestly, even that’s debatable given how much time has passed since the discovery of the original landrace strain and man’s tendency to crossbreed plants to make them grow “better.” It’s good to know about landrace strains, but we seriously doubt they’re going to be the next big thing in cannabis consumption unless scientists find something in their DNA that cures cancer better than Rick Simpson oil or completely cures anxiety and depression. You’re better off using organic, pesticide-free marijuana than spending your hard-earned money on something that claims to be a landrace strain. What Are Landrace Strains and Why Are Some So Rare? No doubt, you’ve heard of Kilimanjaro or Afghan Kush, but did you know they are considered Landrace strains? Have you ever wondered what exactly a Landrace strain is, where they came from, and why they are so rare?
Man’s kinship with cannabis is documented as far back as 2900 B.C. In biblical days, cannabis grew wild in its native habitat where growers weren’t doing a lot of crossbreeding. Cannabis strains tended to be what today we call Landrace strains. Broadly speaking, a Landrace is a pure cannabis strain cultivated in its natural environment which has never been crossbred with another variety. Landrace strains, having grown wild and indigenously over the years throughout various regions in the world with virtually no variations from one plant to another, these strains maintain remarkable consistency.
You won’t find hybrid ‘landrace’ strains — generally, they are either 100% Indica or Sativa.