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Everything You Want to Know About Landrace Strains

sunrise over mountains

Cannabis comes in countless varieties, but each of these is descended from just a few native cannabis plants that were discovered and cultivated in mountainous regions across the world. These original plants yield “landrace strains,” and are considered the cream of the crop for cannabis enthusiasts. 

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about landrace strains, including: 

  • What is a Landrace Strain?
  • What Makes Landrace Strains Different?
  • What are the Different Types of Landrace Strains?
  • What are the Most Famous Landrace Strains?

Certain areas of the world have their own landrace strains. Learn more about Mexican, African, and Central Asian landrace strains today. 


What Is a Landrace Strain?

A landrace strain is a pure indica or pure sativa plant that is native to the area in which it was found. Cannabis was originally a wild plant, and it was cultivated thousands of years ago. 

You might be thinking about all the times you purchased a strain of marijuana that was labeled as indica or sativa. Were those landrace strains? Chances are, probably not. When you shop at a licensed dispensary, most people know you can look for a sativa, an indica, or a hybrid strain. The reality is, though, that the majority of strains you find on the shelves are hybrid, either an indica-dominant or sativa-dominant hybrid strain. This means they carry more genetics from their sativa or indica parent than the other parent. For ease of labeling, they’re known for their dominant strain. Landrace strains are usually the only strains you can purchase that are 100% indica or 100% sativa.
 

Understanding Landrace Strain History

Cannabis has been cultivated by humans throughout history for a variety of reasons, including treatments, food, building materials, and more. While we think that cannabis originated from Central Asia, the reality is that it is so widespread around the globe that it’s hard to determine whether or not that’s accurate. 

What we do know is that certain areas of the world, like the Himalayas or the coastal mountains of Mexico, cater to marijuana growth. These landrace cannabis strains have been bred together or with other, newer strains to create the massive variety that we find in the industry today. Heirloom landrace strains still exist and grow where they were first cultivated, and they are the closest to these strains from thousands of years ago that modern cannabis connoisseurs will ever know. 
 

What Makes Landrace Strains Different?

Landrace strains are different because they are similar to the first cannabis plants ever cultivated for consumption or use. They are pure sativa or pure indica, but, beyond that, they aren’t much different from other strains on the market. It is said by some enthusiasts that landrace strains produce more resin, and they’re more potent. The reality of this is hard to prove because there are so many strains available on the market today, and comparing the potency and resin content of each of them against a landrace strain is difficult at best.


What Are the Different Types of Landrace Strains?

There are two different classifications of landrace strains: indica and sativa. As more research is conducted about these different types of cannabis plants, we are slowly learning that there are less and less differences in the chemical makeup of indica versus sativa. Rather, how we experience them comes down to how the cannabinoids and terpenes affect our endocannabinoid system. That being said, some cannabis enthusiasts still swear by the experience they may have with a sativa compared to the experience they may have with an indica. Only you can decide if you notice a difference. 
 

Comparing Landrace Indica vs. Sativa

While you may or may not feel a difference when consuming a landrace indica versus a landrace sativa, you can definitely see a difference:

  • Indica: Indica landraces have big, broad leaves and tend to stay short. Their flowers are thick and stocky. 
     
  • Sativa: Sativa landraces are tall with long, delicate flowers and thin, spindly leaves. 

If you stood next to either plant, you’d know exactly whether it was an indica or a sativa by these telltale signs.
 

What Are the Most Famous Landrace Strains?

Because landrace strains are the first strains in existence, there are far fewer of them than there are of the hybrids you’ll find in dispensaries today. 

Acapulco Gold 
Sativa 

You can guess where this sativa landrace comes from just by the way it looks. Its bright orange, green, and brown shades mimic the coastal mountains outside of Acapulco, Mexico. It has a sweet, burnt-toffee flavor when consumed, and according to many cannabis connoisseurs, it’s the best strain ever grown. 
 

Thai or Thai Stick, Thailand 
Sativa

Another landrace sativa, Thai, was brought to the U.S. from Thailand in the 1970s. Since then, it’s been bred to create some of the most favorite strains on the market today, including Voodoo and Juicy Fruit. While it has a fruity aroma, many enthusiasts report its flavor is much more akin to tobacco. 
 

Hindu Kush or Hindi Kush 
Indica

You’d have to head all the way to the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan to find this landrace strain in the wild. However, that challenging climate is exactly what makes this strain so unique. Its thick layer of trichomes are harvested for hash, and it has a sweet, earthy aroma that is reminiscent of incense. 
 

Durban Poison
Sativa

This landrace strain is native to Southern Africa. Not only is it prized for its thick flower, it’s also loved for its giant resin glands that make it a prime candidate for growers interested in concentrates. Durban Poison has a sweet pine scent emanating from the trichomes that decorate every millimeter of its flower. 
 

Lamb’s Bread or Lamb’s Breath
Sativa

Hailing from Jamaica, this landrace sativa is jam-packed with terpenes, like caryophyllene, that offer a spicy, herbal flavor and aroma to them. The flower is bright green, and it contains up to 19% THC. 
 

Purchasing Landrace Strains

While landrace strains aren’t always easy to find, the best place to look is your local dispensary. Talk to the budtenders there and let them know the landrace strains you’re interested in. They can help you find it if it's in stock, send you home with something comparable, and even make a note for your dispensary’s purchaser to look out for more landrace selections. 

 

Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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