Where Cannabis Comes From: Landrace Strains
Our relationship with cannabis dates as far back as 2900 B.C., but what does that mean for the strains that exist today? Back in the good old days, cannabis grew wild in its natural habitat when there wasn’t an abundance of cross-breeding like there is today. Back then, cannabis strains were what we refer to today as ‘Landrace’ strains. Landrace strains are pure cannabis strains that were cultivated in their natural environment, never crossbred, and unique to their specific area of the world.
Having never been crossbred with any other variety, true Landrace strains are pure Indicas and Sativas – a hybrid is not a true landrace strain. These strains would maintain consistency in growth patterns and bud production, as well as there would have never been any foreign genetics bred to interfere with their own.
Both our inbreeding with these strains as well as natural crossbreeding as resulted in Landrace strains losing quality genetics, another reason we don’t see any of them today. A particular combination of environmental conditions and selective breeding choices must be met for these strains to thrive, which was difficult to achieve when both knowledge and equipment relating to growing cannabis was lacking.
Landrace strains are generally named after their region of origin; an ode to an area that was the perfect home to a unique strain. You may find strains in today’s world (even in our boutiques) that have names indicating the area in which it was grown.
A majority of strains found today will be hybrids; sativa-dominant, or indica-dominant. Landrace strains are kind of like the fossils of cannabis; they’re old, interesting, and we’ll never get to experience them alive and kickin’ like they used to. These strains don’t exist in today’s industry due to the rapid interest in cross-breeding to see what different strains would produce – which brought us some kick-ass hybrids, no doubt – but left us lacking in some of the real old-school authentic strains. Think about it, would you rather see 50 choices on Netflix or 5? It’s the same with cannabis; if Landraces had never been cross-bred we wouldn’t have some of the fantastic strains we do today.