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Growing Cannabis Landrace Strains – A Complete Guide

Cannabis Landrace Strains – A Complete Guide

    cannabis growing in the wild in a tropical jungle

    What are cannabis landrace strains?

    Landrace strains are pure, original varieties of cannabis that have not been crossbred with other strains. They are typically indigenous to a specific region, and have adapted to the environment of that area over many years. As a result, landraces are considered some of the most authentic and high-quality cannabis strains available. These are the descendants of the wild species of cannabis that first developed in places like the Hindu Kush, and have been passed down through generations of growers. While they are less common than modern hybrid strains, landraces offer a unique and unparalleled experience for cannabis enthusiasts and may hold unique medical benefits.

    While landrace strains are no longer as common as they once were, they continue to play an important role in the development of new hybrids. By crossbreeding landrace strains with each other, or with more modern varieties, breeders are able to create new strains that inherit the best qualities of both parent plants. In this way, landrace strains have helped to shape the cannabis landscape as we know it today.

    How long have humans used cannabis?

    Humans have used cannabis for thousands of years. Historical documents and archaeological evidence from various regions indicate that cannabis was already in use during the Neolithic period in China, dating back as far as 2500 B.C.E. However, it is unclear exactly when humans first began using cannabis and the exact methods of consumption in ancient times. It may have been consumed for medical or recreational reasons as a food or drink for thousands of years before that before becoming the cannabis landrace strains we know today.

    early humans smoking cannabis landrace strains

    Browse cannabis dispensaries in Thailand

    Notable Cannabis Landrace Strains

    Acapulco Gold

    Sativa | Mexico

    The Acapulco Gold, known for its distinct golden hue, hails from the Guerrero Mountains in Mexico and takes its name from the nearby city of Acapulco. This cultivar was highly sought after in the 1960s, due to its higher average levels of THC. The strain is characterized by its terpene profile, including beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, and limonene.

    Afghan Kush

    Indica | Afghanistan

    The Afghan Kush originates from the Hindu Kush mountain region shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan. This strain is known for its high levels of myrcene, limonene with citrusy notes, and pinene. Over the years, it has developed a reputation for producing highly resinous buds, which makes it a popular choice for hash production.

    Chocolate Thai

    Sativa | Thailand

    Chocolate Thai, a landrace strain from Thailand, was a popular choice in the 1960s known for its unique chocolate-coffee aroma. However, due to its long flowering time, low yield, and difficulty to clone and grow, it’s unlikely to find the original strain today. Variations sold under the same name may have been crossbred for better growing traits, medical reasons or uncertain origins.

    Colombian Gold

    Sativa | Colombia

    The Colombian Gold strain takes its name from its brownish-gold coloring, and hails from the Colombian region. This strain became famous for its moderate levels of THC, and its distinct skunky, pungent aroma. The aroma of Colombian Gold is composed of humulene, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene.

    Hindu Kush mountain range and the origins of cannabis
    A village in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Maybe this is where the first wild cannabis plants were found many millenia ago.

    Durban Poison

    Sativa | South Africa

    Durban Poison is a well-established landrace strain from the South African port city of Durban, dating back to the 14th century. It is known for its higher levels of THC, low levels of CBD, and a high presence of other cannabinoids such as THCV and CBG.

    Hindu Kush

    Indica | Afghanistan & Pakistan

    Hindu Kush is a collection of landrace strains from the mountainous regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. These indicas are known for their bushier, broader plants with closely bunched leaf-to-calyx ratios. The Hindu Kush strains typically have beta-caryophyllene, humulene, and limonene in their terpene profile, contributing to their characteristic spicy, earthy aroma.


    Sativa | Tanzania

    Kilimanjaro, a pure sativa landrace from Tanzania, is a strain steeped in cultural significance. Originally used by native tribes for hunting and religious practices, it was referred to as the “elephant stomper” due to its powerful, energizing effects. Its unique aroma, featuring notes of lemony citrus and fruit, adds to its allure. Its tall growth habit makes it a perfect fit for outdoor or greenhouse cultivation.

    Lamb’s Bread

    Sativa | Jamaica

    Lamb’s Bread, also known as “Lamb’s Breath,” is a sativa strain of uncertain genetic lineage, known for its light green buds that are shaped like balls of sheep’s wool. The effects of this weed are thought to be invigorating and mood-lifting. Users report feeling more energized and creative after consuming it. The strain’s dominant terpene, caryophyllene, gives it a unique aroma that is both pungent and cheesy, with a sweet and spicy flavor. While the origins of Lamb’s Bread are not well-documented, it is believed to have originated in Jamaica and to have been a favorite of the legendary Bob Marley.

    Rural farmland in Jamaica used for cannabis landrace strains
    Rural farmland in Jamaica where strains like Lamb’s Bread might have been both grown and smoked by rastafaris.


    Indica | Iran

    Mag is a highly sought after and prized landrace strain from the mountains of Iran. It is known for its heavy buds that grow dense with vibrant purple and orange hues, making it a stunning addition to any collection. The aroma of Mag is a complex blend of earthy spice and diesel, with a distinct and pungent scent that is sure to leave a lasting impression. The effects are known to be relaxing and soothing, a great option for alleviating pain, stress, and restlessness. Due to its unique genetic makeup, Mag is a highly sought-after strain for breeders and cultivators looking to create new and exciting hybrid strains.

    Malawi Gold

    Sativa | Malawi

    Malawi Gold is a legendary landrace strain that has been passed down through generations in the Malawi region of Southeast Africa. This strain is known for its tall plants with long, resin-covered buds and a low calyx-to-leaf ratio. One of the most prized African landrace strains. The aroma of Malawi Gold is floral, with underlying scents of herbs and earth. If you have the opportunity to try this medical mythical strain, savor its powerful and uplifting effects, as you are experiencing one of the original strains of cannabis.

    Moloka’i Purpz

    Indica | Hawaii

    Moloka’i Purpz is a rare and highly sought-after Hawaiian landrace strain that hails from the lush island of Moloka’i. With vibrant purple hues and a rich aroma of grapes and berries, Moloka’i Purpz is known for its sedating effects that help alleviate insomnia and stress. The flavor of this strain is just as rich as its aroma, with notes of exotic berries and grapes mixed with a sweet skunkiness. This indica-dominant strain is incredibly relaxing, providing a sense of weightless tranquility for both the body and mind.

    Panama Red

    Sativa | Panama

    Panama Red is a pure landrace sativa strain that takes its name from the country of its origin. This strain is known for its mellow and uplifting cerebral effects that can be both euphoric and energizing. As a classic and rare sativa, Panama Red has a storied history, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s when it was considered the best weed among masses of hippies.

    Mekong river delta of the Golden Triangle in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
    The Mekong river of the Golden Triangle of Thailand. A historic site for the international trade of early Thai landrace weed.

    Puna Buddaz

    Indica | Hawaii

    Puna Buddaz is a rare and highly sought-after landrace indica from Hawaii. With its origins dating back to the 60s and 70s, this strain is a true vintage classic. Originally from the Puna District on the Big Island, Puna Buddaz has been grown on the “Red Road” for generations. This powerful strain is known for its incredibly potent effects and resistance to mold, making it a favorite among experienced cannabis enthusiasts. The plants are short, producing shimmering clusters of beautiful flowers that offer a strong, heady high that is not to be underestimated.


    Sativa | Thailand

    Thai, also known as Thai Stick, is a highly potent landrace strain that is known for its intense cerebral high. This weed has a unique tropical fruit aroma with undertones of diesel, and a subtle floral taste on the exhale. Thai is considered to be the parent strain of many well-known and popular uplifting and energizing strains, such as the original Haze.

    Cannabis landrace strains from around the world

    Explore the world of cannabis with our map of the origins of some of the most famous and notable landrace strains. Discover the origins of classic strains like Afghani, Durban Poison, and Thai, as well as lesser-known but equally impressive strains like Malawi Gold and Kilimanjaro. This map is a must-see for cannabis enthusiasts, breeders, and anyone interested in the rich history and diversity of the cannabis plant.

    World map showing the origins of most cannabis landrace strains.

    Also read: History of Cannabis in Thailand

    Are landrace strains better than hybrid cannabis strains?

    Landrace strains, while pure in their genetic makeup and rooted in indigenous origins, may not necessarily offer superior effects compared to contemporary varieties. In fact, contemporary strains have been specifically bred for desired effects such as high THC or CBD content. While landrace strains may not offer any unique benefits, they do offer a glimpse into the original genetics of the cannabis plant and can provide an authentic experience of the effects of the original wild species. The medical benefits from some landraces can highly sought after, but can also be found in more common strains. For those interested in history, science, or the preservation of pure genetics, landraces may hold value.

    What is the best landrace strain?

    This is a hard question, in the same way one could ask what is the best type of apple. If you are looking for the highest THC, take a look at Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold and Colombian Gold. However, some landrace strains known to be relatively easy to grow include Durban Poison and Colombian Gold. There really is no good answer as one would have to compare the strains either by growing them under the exact same growing conditions, or individually in their native habitats.

    Finding a true landrace

    Finding a true landrace strain can be a challenging task. Not only because of the rarity of these, but also because of the potential for genetic dilution. Even if a strain is labeled as a landrace genetics, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an authentic, pure landrace. This is because cannabis plants can change and adapt to different environments. For example, if a seed of Chocolate Thai is brought back from its indigenous location in Thai and grown in another country far away, it is likely that the plant will adapt to the new climate, elevation, and growing conditions, resulting in different flavors, scents, and effects than those of an Afghani grown in its native environment.

    This highlights the importance of understanding the origin and authenticity of landrace strains when searching for them. Moreover, one can also look for a reputable and authentic landrace supplier, who are experts in identifying and providing these varieties, which are truly true to their native habitat. This will ensure that you are getting the best and the most authentic version of the medical landrace cannabis you desire.

    Why is it called kush and where is weed from?

    There really isn’t a universal descriptor for what kush should be defined as. What we do know is that we word comes from the Hindu Kush region of the Himalayas. The Hindu Kush is an 800 kilometer long mountain range west of the Himalayas in Central and South Asia. The region is located in western and central Afghanistan, northwestern Pakistan and south east Tajikistan.

    The name Hindu Kush literally translates to Killer of Hindus. This is because many Indian slaves died in the region because of the harsh climate when being transported through the mountain range.

    This part of the Hindu Kush region is thought to be where the original wild cannabis plant came from before humans started cultivating it and spreading the love across the world.

    Map of the original Hindu Kush cannabis growing region covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The birthplace of the original cannabis landrace strain.
    Map of the original Hindu Kush cannabis growing region covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

    Are landrace strains more potent?

    Landrace strains are usually not more potent than more modern top shelf buds. Landrace strains are considered to be pure, meaning they have not been cross-bred with other strains. This means that the genetics of the plant are unique and have evolved to thrive in their specific regions. The potency of a landrace cannabis strain is largely dependent on the specific genetics of the plant, as well as the growing conditions.

    The potency of a landrace strain also varies depending on factors like the maturity of the buds, the drying and curing process, and the storage conditions. In general, landrace strains are considered to be pure and unique and can have distinct aromas, flavors, and effects.

    Cannabis Landrace growing tips

    Cultivating landrace strains requires a great deal of attention to detail and a deep understanding of the specific growing conditions that these plants require. To mimic the natural environment of these strains, growers need to consider factors such as sunlight, water, and temperature. In terms of sunlight, it is important to provide the right amount of light intensity and duration to ensure optimal growth.

    Landrace strains have evolved to thrive in specific regions, so it’s important to replicate the amount of light they would receive in their natural habitat. Watering is also essential, and growers should ensure that they provide the right amount of water and at the right intervals to keep the plants hydrated. Additionally, growers should be aware of the temperature range that the landrace strains are adapted to and make sure that the growing environment replicates that as closely as possible.

    Hands holding a cannabis landrace strain in soil
    Growing landrace strains can be extra rewarding but also challenging.

    Read more: 10 Seed Banks That Ship To Thailand

    Watch out for pests and diseases

    Another important aspect of cultivating landrace strains is being aware of the specific pests and diseases that may be present in the area where the landrace strain is found. This knowledge can help growers identify and treat potential issues before they become a problem. These can appear days, weeks or months into growing. Landrace plants are often highly susceptible to specific pests and diseases, so it’s important to be prepared to deal with them before and after bloom.

    Grow landraces organically

    Finally, growers should consider using organic growing methods to preserve the integrity of the plant. Organic methods are safer for the environment and can help maintain the natural flavor and aroma of the plant. Additionally, organic methods are less likely to introduce harmful chemicals into the plant, which can affect the quality of the buds. Overall, cultivating landrace strains can be a challenging but rewarding experience for growers who are willing to put in the time and effort to understand and replicate the natural growing conditions of these