Cannabis Cultivation

What Are Cannabis Landrace Strains?

Cannabis Landrace Strains are cannabis strains that have been evolving for millions of years into the most basic strains of cannabis.

What’s the difference between today's modern Genetics and Landraces Strains?

I guess you could say that cannabis landraces in the simplest of terms are strains that are developed by nature with no human intervention. Today’s strains are what we refer to as hybrid strains of cannabis. Humans have taken landraces strains from nature and bred them together to make the strains that we have today. 

The difference between these two types of strains are, landrace strains grew over the years to help cannabis to survive in nature. Human developed hybrid strains were developed for high THC content, and not that it is becoming legal the world over, CBD and other cannabinoids that are found in the plants flowers.

Cannabis Landrace Strain
Cannabis Landrace Strain

Where do Landrace Strains come from?

Landrace strains developed over time in warm, tropical jungle locations while others developed in cooler mountain regions. The first landrace strains grew and developed in Asia. Because cannabis is such an amazing plant, it was quickly taken by early humans across the globe to use for hemp, and for its medical value. 

The first indica strains were believed to have come from the foothills of the Himalayas, this is now the Afghan/Pakistan border. 

In China many years ago, the people that lived there used landrace cannabis 5000 years ago as a herbal medicine. It was also used by the Hindu’s in the Indian subcontinent as a part of their religion. 

By the 18th Century, these landrace strains of cannabis had spread all around the world.

Do we still have Landrace Strains today?

Yes, there are still landrace strains out there today. With more hybrids from landrace strains they are slowly becoming harder to find. They are mostly found in places in the world that haven’t been subject to crossing out their cannabis landrace strains with other strains of cannabis creating hybrid cannabis seeds.

What is the difference between Indica and Sativa Landrace strains?

Both of these landrace strains originated in different parts of the planet. Sativa Cannabis Landraces developed and grew naturally in places that were warmer and closer to the equator. Sativa strains grew larger because of the longer summers, and hotter dryer conditions. 

While Indica Cannabis Landrace strains grew in cooler mountain regions of the planet, near Central Asia. Indica strains had to endure shorter growing seasons, and cooler spring and fall temperatures.

What are Cannabis Ruderalis Landrace Strains?

Ruderalis landrace strains were first identified in 1924 in southern Siberia and also have been found growing in other parts of Russia. A Russian botanist, Janischewski, while studying wild cannabis around the Volga River System, identified this new landrace species of cannabis. 

Ruderalis Cannabis developed naturally over the years, to grow more like a weedy strain of cannabis. It had very low THC content, and would produce cannabis flowers with no need for shorter days and longer nights to induce flowering of the plant. 

This strain has been used over the years to strain hybrids that we now refer to as “Autoflowering Cannabis Strains”.

Were Landrace Strains as High In THC as Modern Strains?

This question comes down to it depends. When humans started to hybridize the landrace genetics they would breed strains that were more consistent in the results that the cannabis breeders were working to achieve. This means more plants that had high potency on a more consistent basis.  

However to create these hybrid strains they needed Landrace strains that had high THC content in the plants genetic code. So, yes there were Landrace strains that were just as high in THC as today’s modern hybrid strains of cannabis. The only real difference is that there was more variety in the plants, with hybridization humans have created far less variety in their strains.

Why do Humans want less Variety in Cannabis Strains?

With landrace strains of cannabis you could grow 30 seeds, 3 of the plants that were grown could have a THC content from 20 to 25 percent THC while the other 27 plants had a THC level of 2 to 10 percent. 

Growers no a days also want to have strains that have a consistent terpene profile. Terpenes profiles in the cannabis flowers are what give the cannabis plant its beautiful smells and tastes. They can smell like all kinds of things such as; gas, bananas, lemons, pine, blueberries and many others. Growers these days also like to have consistent smells and tastes within their groups of plants.

Landrace Strains are the Building Blocks for all of Today's Cannabis Strains

To breed the high THC cannabis strains we have today, you need at least two high THC landrace strains to create it. Therefore high THC had to exist in Landrace cannabis strains. These strains were grown over time and tested for high THC levels in the seeds’ offspring. All high THC plants were kept while low THC plants were destroyed. As time passed over the years, slowly cannabis with high THC became the norm while lower THC plants were removed.

When you hear the media, and the government say that “Cannabis is stronger” nowadays. This is only a half truth, as high THC cannabis had to have come from somewhere. The difference is that nowadays when growing cannabis because of hybridization you are more likely to get more high THC cannabis plants from a smaller group of cannabis seeds then with a Landrace Cannabis Strain.

Can Growers still find Cannabis Landrace Strains today?

Well, it is getting harder to find landrace cannabis in today’s market. There are still some landraces that you can get. Some of the more popular ones are:

  • Acapulco Gold – This strain is from Mexico
  • Pure Afghan 
  • Hindu Kush Strains
  • Panama Red – This strain is from South America
  • Colombian Gold – This strain is from South America
  • Thai Strains – This strain is from Asia
  • Lamb’s Bread – This strain is from Mexico

Breeding Cannabis Landrace Strains

If you are interested in breeding cannabis, landrace strains are the best plants to get started with because of the large variation that you will find in the F2 offspring that you will grow. As a breeder you will be able to find traits in these plants that would be much harder to find in today’s hybrid cannabis. 

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