What is a Landrace strain? I’ll not lie, this is one of the more interesting topics to talk about when it comes to Cannabis. A Landrace strain is, essentially, a crop or cultivar of Cannabis Sativa or Indica that can be found growing naturally in the wild.i These are your 100% pure Indica OR your 100% pure sativa. Often, these strains are named based upon the location of the world where they were discovered. Durban is an example. Afghani, also an example. Thai, Acapulco Gold, Hawaiian, the list goes on and on. We covered in the last newsletter that 100% pure Indicas and pure Sativas are extremely difficult to come by, however, everyone carries a Durban cut or Afghani cut… so why wouldn’t those be considered 100% pure?
The answer is, frankly, we don’t know but we can reasonably assume that they aren’t. The Clandestine nature of Cannabis makes it extremely difficult to determine whether genetics grown by various companies in the state of Massachusetts are actual clones or seeds from those places on the planet. You must understand, the reason hybrids are a thing is because breeders use pheno-hunting as means to get the best absolute qualities out of a cultivar—while also getting rid of qualities that make the plant undesirable. Most Landrace strains do not produce that much in the way of yield (that is how much weight you can pull from one grow), and they don’t really test that high in comparison to the super-hybridized strains that are popularized today which really makes it not worth it to most growers. This is a long way of saying, land-race strains are more-or-less obsolete. A novelty at best. Odds are, the Durban that we have stocked on our shelves has been cross bred with other plants to help increase yield or produce more resin or increase potency.ii Furthermore, a strain that naturally grows in the mountain ranges of Afghanistan for example will have qualities and traits attached to it because of where it grows. So, if you take a strain that grows in Afghanistan and attempt to grow it in California, it will have its own qualities and attributes that will make it different than if it was grown in its natural habitat.iii Most modern hybrid strains are bred and grown indoors and in controlled environments so you can reasonably expect the same sort of strain expression if they are from the same breeder and are the same phenotype.
Attached below is a popular picture from High Times Magazine. This infamous picture displays the strains that defined the year 1977. Most of the strains pictured are landrace strain…. You will see why they are not carried and sold by dispensaries anymore.
In the past few years, however, some people have sought out landrace strains going so far as trudging deep into jungles or hiking far into mountain ranges and that is essentially what you would have to do to ensure that you did acquire a true landrace. Also included in the footnotes is a brief documentary on The Strain Hunters, which is a group of men led by Arjan Roskam who works at a seed company based in Amsterdam. These are the men who would go to great lengths to secure these landrace strains to preserve the genetics and help bring the true medicinal qualities—not the recreational qualities—to a broader audience than those who can afford to trek deep into the great unknown. iv Landrace strains are the beginning of it all, however. Every strain we have today owe themselves to a rabbit-hole of genetics and lineages that, ultimately, lead you back to the Earth and the dirt beneath your feet as landraces are the apex of cannabis as we know it today. Next week we will talk about Pheno-hunting! ~ Sutten
This is my opinion, There is no way to know for sure short of asking a head-grower. Even then, they may not have a clue where a company or caregiver got their genetics from. That’s not to say that a company does or doesn’t
have a pure cut. More than likely, however, they have a cut that has been cross-bred time and time again therefore watering down the original genetics.