Just as we see the use of wine and peyote as religious sacraments in differing mystical practices within the global religious community, cannabis also has spiritual roots. Most notably, the lineage of religious marijuana use can be traced back thousands of years in Western Asia as well as into the modern era with Africa and Jamaica. The Himalayan plateau in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India is the birthplace of cannabis indica—producing a plethora of famous strains, some with a 3,500 year old ancestry in Indian Hinduism (Sobocinska 9). In a relatively contemporary fashion, within the Rift Valley region of Africa as well as the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, the Rastafarian religion also sees the divinity in this sacred plant with their robust pedigrees of cannabis sativa.
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For the culturally sensitive and inquisitive Western cannabis enthusiast, it is possible to explore the spiritual roots of marijuana use with an appreciation for indigenous strains. Therefore, if interested in experiencing the cannabis varieties treasured by Hindus and Rastafarians first-hand, keep an eye out for the following strains:
This now infamous cannabis indica strain takes its name from a portion of the Himalayan Mountains traversing Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The origins of this cannabis sativa strain are traced back to Rastafarian farmers in Shashameme, Africa. Not far from the home of the Rastafarian divinity Halie Selassie himself.
This extremely notorious West Asian indica strain is renowned for its thick dense buds that are extraordinarily high in their cannabinoid content (Cervantes 13).
Named after the home country of famous Rastafarian reggae artist Bob Marley, this sativa varietal is a must try for the explorative smoker.
This aromatic indica strain is named after an area of Southern Afghanistan near the Hindu Kush: Kandahar is one of the most ancient human settlements on earth.
Malawi Gold is probably the most famous African sativa variety to date. With this pungent smoke, one can taste the flavors of equatorial Africa itself.
This strong indica strain is sourced from the mystical geographies bordering India and Nepal. One can only assume that Hindu sadhus have been packing their chillums with these genetics for millennia (Godlaski 1068).
King’s Bread is a powerful sativa landrace varietal that is thought to hail from the Rastafarian influenced topographies of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains.
This indica strain is named after the Hindu deity Kali who is revered as a monumental spiritual force signifying change.
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Perhaps the most famous of the Jamaican cannabis sativa varieties, Lamb’s bread is relatively available in most marijuana acceptant areas of North America.