What is a landrace strain?
After grounding yourself in the differences between indicas and sativas (and even the lesser-known ruderalis), you may feel quite self-satisfied and proud of your cannabis knowledge… until you come across yet another classification: landrace. “What? Another kind of marijuana?” you may ask in disbelief. The answer is no, not exactly.
What we call a “landrace” strain of marijuana is similar to an heirloom variety of tomato. Like other heirloom crops, landrace cannabis consists of strains that have developed in a particular region and handed down for generations. (This is in contrast to hybrids, which are blends of different distinct cannabis strains.)
As cannabis connoisseurs traveled the hippie trail in the 1970s, they collected many of these strains from India and elsewhere in Asia. Other enthusiasts collected strains from Africa and the Americas, and enterprising U.S. growers began planting them within our borders. From those beginnings in the 70s and 80s, we have the dizzying array of strains that exist today.
So, are landrace strains indicas or sativas?
We have already established that landrace varieties are not hybrids because they consist of a single strain that has developed in relative isolation. As such, landrace strains that originate in warm climates, such as Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold, or Thai, are sativas because that is the variety of marijuana that evolves in such regions. The warm climate and ample sunshine encourages these plants to stretch toward the sun. Strains from cooler climates, on the other hand, like Afghani and Hindu Kush, are indicas, which grow shorter and bushier with densely packed buds to preserve themselves against the cold.
Why do marijuana breeders love landraces?
Cannabis breeders love landrace strains because they are the beginning points of the multitude of varieties available today. All of the desirable characteristics we strive to produce in marijuana originate in these indigenous strains. Using them as a basis for creating new hybrids lends a higher degree of stability to the process.
Why do marijuana consumers love them?
Each landrace strain (like any strain) has its own particular set of characteristics. Some patients, as well as recreational users, find that a particular landrace strain gives them exactly the symptom relief, the healing effect, or the high that they’re looking for. African landrace strains, for example, are renowned for their levels of THCV, a psychoactive cannabinoid known for its short-lived but stimulating and highly euphoric buzz as well as medicinal properties that include appetite suppression, anxiety control, and potential benefits for suffers of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Landrace varieties can be more consistent in their characteristics because of the smaller number of strains in its heritage, making them a popular choice for users who value this kind of reliability.
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