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Landrace Strains: The Complete Guide To These Rare Strains

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Landrace Strains

When it comes to cannabis, variety really is the spice of life. From Fruity Pebbles to Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, there always seems to be a strain for every occasion. But did you know that all the strains we have today trace back to a handful of original cannabis plant types known as landrace strains?

It’s true. In fact, botanists can trace the entire cannabis lineage back to an original landrace strain in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We know — mind blown, right?

So what is a landrace strain, specifically? What makes them unique? And should you drop everything, sell your car, and trek to the back of beyond just to try one?

 

An Extremely Brief History Of Cannabis

Landrace strain of the cannabis plant

Historical documents from as far back as 2900 B.C.E. (before common era) and archaeological evidence from various regions indicate that cannabis was already in use during the Neolithic period in China.

That means humans could have been smoking weed as far back as 10,000 B.C.E.!

Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Our ancient stoner ancestors probably consumed cannabis as an edible or as a weed tea. It probably wasn’t until later that some ganja genius got it in his or her head to inhale the smoke of a burning pot plant.

We really don’t know for sure about cannabis use, though, because Wikipedia didn’t exist back then and no one wrote anything down (they probably forgot because they were stoned off their weed tea).

Cannabis genetics are a different thing entirely. Botanists don’t need written records to do some pretty amazing things, like trace all the cannabis strains that we know about today back to single plant variety that first developed in the Hindu Kush region of what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Keep in mind that this area was a no-man’s land between Indian and Chinese civilizations way back then. But it’s not hard to imagine an intrepid Chinese explorer stumbling upon a crop of wild cannabis in this region, eating it, burning it, or just using the fibers for something, thereby kicking off our current marijuana revolution.

From that earliest discovery, mankind took cannabis wherever they went and the plant spread outside the Kush and China to Russia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and even parts of North America.

Through the intervening years, ganja growers have combined strain after strain of cannabis plants in order to produce different results.

Some growers wanted the plant to grow in cooler climates. Some growers wanted the plant to grow in warmer climates. Some growers wanted to isolate a particular flavor. That led to the production of the myriad strains we have now.

But everything can be traced back to that one original strain and the handful of landrace strains that followed.

What Is A Landrace Strain?

Marijuana plant

A landrace strain is a variety of cannabis plant that has less diluted DNA than other strains of cannabis. That means landrace strains have not been crossbred with another variety of cannabis.

To take the distinction even further, landrace strains are usually indigenous to a certain part of the world (meaning they have adapted to the environment of a specific geographic location). And since these landrace strains are the original cannabis plant from that area, descendants from those strains often bear part of the region’s name (e.g., Kandy Kush, Durban Thai, Super Lemon Haze).

Let’s think of it this way for clarification: The original strain that developed in the Hindu Kush so many thousands of years ago was a wild species.

Caveman potheads took seeds from that wild species and planted them in various parts of the world in the thousands of years between then and now. 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.

6 Landrace Strains From Around The World

Here, for your pleasure, is a brief list of six landrace strains from around the world. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just to give you an idea of where that Chem Dog you’re smoking came from:

  • Hindu Kush, Pakistan

  • Pure Afghan, Afghanistan

  • Lamb’s Bread, Jamaica

  • Acapulco Gold, Mexico

  • Durban Poison, Africa

  • Panama Red, Central America

Are Landrace Strains Unique In Some Way?

One of the landrace strains

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 just have less diluted DNA. 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.

That’s how you can look at landrace strains today. 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. We just don’t know.

Where Have All The Pure Landrace Strains Gone?

Pot leaf

You may be wondering why you haven’t heard about landrace strains before. Where have they all gone?

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).

See how quickly things can get murky and diluted? 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. You don’t have to get intimate with the subject. Just give a polite ‘sup nod as you pass by on your way to the local dispensary for a dime bag of Yoda OG.

Should You Try A Landrace Strain?

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. You’ll probably be disappointed. 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.

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      Here on the Central Coast, Santa Cruz Concentrates does it the old-fashioned way. Supervised by an intelligent chemist, the short-path distillation of a properly dewaxed and bleached CO2 extract yields just as potent oil as a wiped-film unit running crude B/PHO. Pressures and temperatures on the lower end of the supercritical spectrum during extraction also allow Santa Cruz Concentrates to achieve a shatter with no additional post-processing required other than a few hours in a vacuum oven to remove residual water content. And in an exciting move to more accessible cannabis-derived terpenes, innovation continues further as Paradigm has just provided an in-line terpene trap to add to its extraction units.
      With all the dollars flooding into this industry with the goal of mass-producing marijuana vaporizers, Santa Cruz Concentrates is just fine with being a micro-brew, proud to source from small organic farmers, like those at Love and Laughter Farms, who take pride in their process.
      Patients and recreational users should be encouraged to be picky about what they inhale; while our lungs may be able to take some hits, they are very sensitive and, especially in a smoker’s life, often the most susceptible to compromise by heavy metals or carcinogenic pesticides. Know your grower and your extract artist. Demand test results. Be very wary of bottom-dollar extracts. And #puffon.
    • Автор: [Grower Бот]
      Our yearly roundup of the best grow gear of the year started in 1998 and was dubbed the STASH Awards (for Significant Technological Achievements in Secretive Horticulture). Behold our informed choices for the finest cultivation equipment of 2018.
      BC Northern Nights Roommate
      Best Grow Box: The BC Northern Lights Roommate
      For almost 20 years, BC Northern Lights has created and innovated the highest-quality grow boxes on earth. The state-of-the-art units the company produces are still the only CSA/UL safety-approved boxes available, and the BCNL customer-service team provides round-the-clock support. Aspiring growers interested in growing a few plants for personal use will love the Roommate—a compact, lockable, odor-free and automated box on casters that’s discreetly shipped and ready to plug and play in soil or hydroponic applications.
      Price: $2250
      Ultra Trimmer
      Best Trimming Machine: The Ultra Trimmer
      The biggest knock on industrial trimmers has always been that they destroy the gland heads containing the essential oils we’re after. The units from Ultra Trimmer simulate scissors and avoid manhandling precious flowers while preserving the trichomes. The company’s even been giving live demonstrations with microscopes at our Cannabis Cups for over five years to show how gently the machines work. It’s no secret why Ultra Trimmers are the first products to be federally patented specifically for trimming cannabis.
      $4,250, Collective; $8,000, Industrial
       
      Quest Dehumidifier
      Best Dehumidifiers: Quest Dehumidifiers
      High relative humidity causes excess moisture and condensation that can ruin a ganja garden quicker than a rabbit gets fucked. Avoid potential issues with mold, mildew, and pests by employing one of the powerful dehumidifiers from Quest, each built to powerfully yet efficiently remove water from the air. At Quest, there’s a unit for every size and application, including portable and overhead versions. So take control of your environment and reap the benefits of a proper grow room climate.
      Prices vary
      Stash Box
      Best Grow Tent: The Stash Box from HighDroGro
      If you seek an affordable grow tent that’s easy to assemble and take down, look no further than the Stash Box. This sturdy tent is built with three windows, heavy-duty lightproof zippers, a ducting port for venting and air-purification equipment, and a removable inner flood-prevention insert tray. It’s shipped in a compact and discreet box with everything you need to get growing including T5 fluorescent lights to keep heat at a minimum, carbon filters, humidity and temperature monitors, and quiet but efficient fans.
      Price: $665
      Wiggle Worm Soil Builder
      Best Worm Castings: Wiggle Worm Soil Builder
      Nature provides the best plant food, and smart farmers know that earthworms are the workhorse of a productive organic garden. Rich in nutrients and trace minerals, worm poop makes for a perfect mild fertilizer and soil amendment. The odor-free castings in Wiggle Worm Soil Builder come with a money-back guarantee—so give them a try and your plants will be thankful. Mix the castings into your soil and top-dress your plants as needed for the best results.
      $9.10, 4.5 lbs.; $15.49, 15 lbs.; $26.89, 30 lbs.
      Suite Leaf Finish
      Best Flavor Enhancer: Suite Leaf Finish
      Proper feeding during the middle to late stages of flowering can make or break a harvest due to the specific nutritional requirements of blooming cannabis plants. Suite Leaf Finish is a vegan formulation designed to naturally enhance essential-oil production during this all-important phase of growth. Perfect for soil or hydroponics, this nutritional supplement greatly improves the flavor and scent of your flowers and will increase the terpene profile significantly. Grow loud and finish strong!
      $12.82, 250 ml.; $24.65, qt.; $56.95, gal.
      Green Cleaner
      Best Pest Control: Green Cleaner from Central Coast Garden Products
      We’re always looking for safe and natural ways to combat pests and powdery mildew in our gardens. Central Coast’s Green Cleaner kills mature bugs and their eggs while discouraging and repelling mold as well. The mixture coats and suffocates spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, broad mites, and russet mites. Spray it as a foliar application as needed, making sure to drench the surface of your medium and the underside of your leaves. Also, try Central Coast’s Root Cleaner to fight pathogens and pests at the soil level.
      Prices vary
      Mykos from Xtreme Gardening
      Best Mycorrhizal Product: Mykos from Xtreme Gardening
      Organic growers have learned the benefits of colonizing their living soil medium with a beneficial fungal network. These microbes work in conjunction with plant roots to break down nutrients and also act as an inoculant to protect the plant from pests, pathogens, and disease. OMRI-certified Mykos contains a single species found to help store plant food and water while enhancing root uptake and increasing yields substantially. Available as a granular spread or a wettable powder, this miracle product works wonders.
      Prices vary
      Under Current Evolution 9XL
      Best Hydroponic System: Under Current Evolution 9XL from Current Culture H2O
      Explosive hydroponic growth rates result when plant roots have access to highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The patented Sub-Current Culture system in the UCE9XL utilizes premium pumps to recirculate a supercharged fluid rich with dissolved oxygen for previously unattainable levels of absorption. The nine-plant model is perfect for a 10′ x 10′ room or tent under four 600-watt HID lights, and the XL version provides extra room for lateral growth, which greatly increases yields.
      Starting at $2,054
      Advanced Nutrients
      Best Wetting Agent: Wet Betty from Advanced Nutrients
      The plant scientists at Advanced Nutrients understand that when plant-food solution sits on top of hard soil, roots can’t properly absorb the vital liquid and food. Wet Betty, a non-ionic surfactant, lessens surface tension while softening and enhancing water droplets for better uptake, leading to stronger growth and bigger harvests. Great as a soil drench or foliar feed, Wet Betty helps your nutes permeate more efficiently and effectively to maximize yields.
      Prices vary
      Can-Filters
      Best Air Filtration: Can-Filters
      Clean air is absolutely crucial to any successful marijuana-growing op large or small. Can-Filters have been at the forefront of ventilation and filtration for nearly three decades, and the company is still innovating with its line of dependable filters, fans, ducting and accessories. The pelletized and activated charcoal in the units acts like a sponge, removing odor particles from the spent air and scrubbing it clean of any telltale scents before being expelled out of the space.
      Starting at $142.13
      Solis Tek
      Best Grow Lighting: Solis Tek
      Solis Tek has been at the forefront of indoor grow-lighting equipment research and technology for over a decade. Its complete line of products includes the best digital HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting systems including HPS (high-pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide) fixtures as well as cutting-edge efficient CMH (ceramic metal halide) units with both single and double-ended lamps. Solis Tek’s controllers, remote ballasts and reflectors make safely growing cannabis with multiple lighting systems heat-free and simple.
      Prices vary
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