Finding Cannabis Origins: What are Landrace Strains?
By the way, what do you know about cannabis?
We bet a lot of things are popping up in your head. But do you know where does cannabis come from?
Today, cannabis market is full of different strains of cannabis. Each of them has its unique complex flavor and various effects. However, these varieties have something in common: they all comes from particular ancestors.
The world history of cannabis brings us to 2 900 B.C. when people started to discover useful characteristics of cannabis and hemp. They cultivated it for religious, medical, and military purposes. Many growers believe that psychoactive cannabis strains root in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. From there, they started spreading to other areas, such as South America, Jamaica, Asia, Africa, and – surprise – Russia. These strains are now called landraces.
What does landrace mean?
A landrace is a local variety of cannabis that has adapted to a climate of a particular geographic location. It leads to a genetic variation among landrace strains, which have been used for crossbreeding of the new cannabis varieties we know today. You can trace the ancestors in strains’ names: Afghani, Thai or Hawaiian, along with its hybridized variations. A unique combination of environment and selective breeding by native populations gave these varieties an opportunity to become stable breeds that gave rise to all modern strains.
A movement of the 1960s and 70s aimed to collect landrace strains worldwide and to produce them in local gardens. Such strains, called heirlooms, were then propagated in Hawaii and California. However, on today’s market, we can rarely find these pure landrace strains. Obsession with hybridization left us with very few original genetics. Also, indoor growth and underground conditions led to changes in the development of plants.
Environment significantly affects the development of cannabis compounds. Cannabinoids and terpenes depend on climate, weather, fertilization, soil and even the time at which cannabis is harvested. Landraces, in this case, are considered to be optimally adapted to their conditions and have optimal synergistic levels of therapeutic compounds.
While they are pretty rare, you still can try some landrace varieties: