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What are Landrace Strains? 3 Different Types and How to Identify Them

We look at the oldest purebreds of cannabis from around the world. Landrace strains are the originals and form the base for the plant we know and love today.
Hayley Smith
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Landrace Strains in a Nutshell

You can look at cannabis Landrace strains as the original cannabis flowers that grow natively in various parts of the world.

First references of the healing and spiritual qualities of the cannabis plant came out of India almost 5000 years ago. Those cannabis plants were untouched and wild growing in the Hindu Kush Mountains. The plants later travelled across Asia to the Southern tip of Africa and later to the Americas and even Hawaii.

In places where the cannabis plants got a foothold and blended with the local flora and fauna, is where we get the Landrace strains that we use to classify and crossbreed a lot of our weed of today.

The most widely known Landrace strains are;

  • Hindu Kush
  • Afghani
  • Thai
  • Durban Poison
  • Acapulco Gold
  • Panama Red
  • Colombian Gold
  • Hawaiian
  • Lamb’s Bread

You might think of these locations in the same way that you do with Terroir for wines. The specific natural environment, soil and native blend of flora along with the historical local farming practices is what defines the chemistry, flavor, effects and appearance of the cannabis flowers.

Landraces are the purebreds, the mustangs, the memory of a perfect time when cannabis was nothing more than a healing crop of green gold.

Landrace strains from around the world

3 Different Types of Strains

1. The Sativa Landraces

The main Sativa Landraces can usually be traced back to South East Asia, Africa and to a certain degree in the Americas. Durban Poison, Lamb’s Bread, Hawaiian and Thai are quintessential Sativa strains that have been used for decades are the parents of some of our most beloved buds.

These strains tend to mix very well with Haze strains to produce powerfully uplifting and psychedelic effects.

You can tell a Sativa cannabis apart from Indica’s by the tall and lanky plats that sway harmoniously in the wind. The leaves are thinner with long finger-like leaflets.

The classic sativa plant

2. The Indica Landraces

The main Indica Landraces come from the Hindu Kush Mountains that covers Hindu Kush and Afghani flowers. Kush strains are notorious for their relaxing and couch-locking effects. They have pain-relieving qualities and tend to leave the consumer with a blissful and harmonious high.

The plants themselves are shorter and bushier than Sativa strains. The harsh environment in which they grow has forced the plants to get more sturdy and bush-like.

The classic indica plant

3. The Ruderalis Landraces

The Ruderalis Landrace comes from Europe, Northern Russia and The Himalayas. The very harsh climate in these places has made Ruderalis plants resilient and strong. You don’t hear nearly as much about Ruderalis as you do about Sativa and Indica.

The reason you don’t hear much about it is because the Ruderalis plant tends to be relatively low in THC and has less overall effect than its siblings.

Ruderalis plants do fill an important roll in crossbreeding and auto-flowering seed production however. The fact that the Ruderalis plants can grow so far North has made the plants able to flower based on time-span instead of light exposure. The long summer days and cold nights has caused this slight but important genetic variation.

The classic ruderalis plant

Can You Still Find Landrace Strains?

Cannabis breeders and home cultivators started crossbreeding cannabis flowers in the early 70’s. They would take one strains and mix it with another, then another, then another etc. until we ended up with the great variety of strains we have today.

This evolution was great since it has allowed us to get much more specific and exotic cannabis with effects that border on miracles.

However, it has made it much more difficult to get your hands on an actual and original Landrace strain. Some are easier than others to find. Durban Poison and Lamb’s Bread for example are quite popular still today. Acapulco Gold is an elusive strain that most people love but can be quite difficult to find.

If you are strain hunter, you are best advised to visit each location to learn from the locals. In the jungle of Thailand you are bound to get some fabulous Thai and in the Kush Mountains you should have no problem finding spectacular Kush flower.

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