A Guide to the Original Landrace Strains
Published on 8/12/22
Today's market boasts hundreds - if not thousands - of cannabis strains to choose from medically and recreationally. There are original strains with origins dating as far back as the 18th century. Where do these strains come from? How do they differ from other cannabis strains, and why are they important? What is a landrace strain? Let's dive into landrace strains and what you should know about them.
What Is A Landrace Strain?
Evidence suggests that humans have been using cannabis for various reasons, medicinal, spiritual, religious, and recreational, for thousands of years. Yet, most of what we smoke today is not what our ancestors used. So, where did the cannabis that we know today come from? That's where landrace strains come in. Landrace strains are indigenous cannabis strains that humans discovered in the wild over the last few centuries - strains that have been growing much longer than modern cannabis have been crossbred. These strains are most likely the most direct link to the cannabis our ancestors used thousands of years ago.
It should be noted that heirloom strains are slightly different than landrace strains. When we talk about landrace strains, we're discussing weed that occurs naturally in a specific region (i.e., the strains in our list below). On the other hand, heirloom strains come from landrace strains seeds that were taken away from their original location and grown elsewhere. So, when we say in the list below that landrace strains are available in United States dispensaries, there's a very good chance what you're finding are heirloom strains.
Many of these landrace strains have also been used to grow different, newer strains. These modern-bred strains have an entirely different naming convention. Most strains today are named after the people who bred them, their flavor profiles, physical attributes, or famous people they're associated with. This differs from landrace strains which, as you'll see in our landrace strains list below, are named primarily based on their name of origin.
The Five Best Landrace Strains
There are dozens of landrace strains, but a few are more common (and more popular) than others. Below are our top picks for the best landrace Indica strains and Sativa strains.
This Sativa-dominant landrace strain is named after the South African port city of Durban, where it's known to originate from. It has been on the market since the 1970s and is known for an earthy, spicy citrus aroma that is almost sweet with an herbal, peppery flavor. It is considered a classic heirloom, landrace marijuana varietal, and because it grew in the hot, arid environment of South Africa, it is also very resistant to infestation. It's potent, provides a crystal-clear head high, and can be purchased in many local dispensaries throughout the United States.
Also known as Lamb's Breath, this hard-hitting Sativa strain originates from Jamaica. It has been grown in Jamaica for hundreds of years but rose to fame alongside Bob Marley and The Wailers. It was thought to be Bob Marley's favorite strain and, unlike many landrace strains, is named after a common phrase and theme in Marley's music: lamb's bread. This iconic strain is an energizing, uplifting, cerebral Sativa with a lemony, peppery, skunky aroma and a similar strong flavor. Its medical benefits are believed to provide relief against depression, anxiety, and stress. While it's not quite as easy to find as Durban Poison, you can still find this strain in local dispensaries, depending on where you live.
Known as one of the purest Indicas on the market, Afghani is a popular landrace strain from the Middle East that was brought to the United States in the 70s. Named for its geographic origins (modern Afghanistan), this strain is incredibly potent and provides a heavy body high with some surprising mental clarity. Its aroma is sweet and floral, and it tastes earthy and herbal with a slight piney spice. While you can likely find Afghani in a couple of your local dispensaries, you're most likely to find its offspring like Blueberry and Northern Lights.
This heavy-hitting Indica landrace strain originates from the Hindu Kush mountain range between the Pakistan and Afghanistan borders - which is also the strain's namesake. While it's been growing there for hundreds of years (if not longer), Hindu Kush was first brought to the United States in the 1960s and can still be found in many local dispensaries today. It is known for its earthy aroma and relaxing flavors of pine, lemon, and citrus, and it provides a euphoric yet relaxing high.
This energizing Sativa strain originates from the regions in and surrounding Acapulco, Mexico. The strain's physical features are golden-orange hairs with lots of green and gold resinous colors, making buds look faintly like gold nuggets. Its physical features and geographic origins gave birth to its name: Acapulco Gold. It's considered one of the most popular Indicas on the market, and while it's a landrace strain, it's also fairly common to find in modern dispensaries throughout the United States.
Have you ever smoked a landrace strain, or do you have a favorite strain that comes from a specific landrace strain? Let us know in the comments below!