Consumers love choice and nowhere is that more true than in the cannabis world. All you have to do is visit a marijuana retail store and you’re head will spin (and that’s before you smoke it)! Sweet Island Skunk, Purple Urkle, Jedi Kush … the list goes on and on and on. But back in the beginning, before humans began crossing one kind of cannabis plant with another and giving it obscure names, there were only a handful of types. Welcome to the time when landrace strains were all that existed.
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Think of landrace strains as the forefathers of cannabis. Before green thumbs, botanists and mad scientists began cross-breeding cannabis, consumer choice was limited my Mother Nature. Back in 2900 B.C. or so, the cannabis plant and humans lived together on this blue dot called Earth and the relationship was mutually beneficial. It is believed that the very first cannabis plant sprouted from the ground in Central Asia. The seeds first spread to Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As humans became more nomadic, the herb followed along.
The cannabis plant started to experience genetic and botanical changes depending on the climate. Over time, a set of landrace strains were developed and identified in the major regions where cannabis thrived.
According to Wikipedia:
A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species.
With today’s explosive cannabis growth, these landrace strains are become an afterthought. But if you are a cannabis enthusiast, it’s important to keep these “pure” types of cannabis alive and well.
According to Rick Pfrommer, a cannabis expert and director of education at Harborside Health Center:
“Original landrace and other heirloom strains are often lost in today’s hyperkinetic world of breeding. Our constant desire for new strains leads breeders to continually cross and re-cross existing strains looking for the next big thing. There is, however, a small but growing contingent of cultivators who are returning to our cannabis roots and propagating old landrace and heirloom strains.”
Nobody knows exactly how many landrace strains exist and experts love to argue about what is and isn’t included in the rare list.
Here are a few known landrace strains (by no means a complete list). What you will find is that many of the names are indicative of the region in which they flourished.
- Thai: Sativa from Thailand.
- Panama Red: Sativa from Panama.
- Hindu Kush: Indica from the Kush Mountain range on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
- Afghani: Indica from the Afghan area.
- Durban Poison: Sativa from Durban area of South Africa.
- Punto Rojo – Sativa from Columbia.
- Acapulco Gold – Sativa from Mexico.
- Lamb’s Bread – Sativa from Jamaica.
- Malawi – Sativa from Malawi, Africa.
- Luang Prabang – Sativa from Laos.