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What is a Landrace Strain?

what is the landrace strain

If you are 40 years old or older, when you hear names like Acapulco Gold, Afghani Black, Chocolate Thai, Jamaican Lamb’s Bread, and Durban Poison, it conjures up images of the best weed strains from our youth. What is a landrace strain? I’ve just given you some examples of the most famous old-school weed strains that are considered landraces, and in some cases, they are the cornerstones of the modern ganja strains we see today. That’s cannabis facts 101.

Landrace strains are essentially types of cannabis that have grown naturally in certain areas of the world for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years without much manipulation from human beings. Currently, it’s been reported that there are over 750 newer and trusted weed strains, but the number could almost double. However, in comparison, there are only around 30 landrace strains in existence. So what makes an original landrace strain, and what does all that really mean? Let’s find out!

Understanding Landrace Cannabis Strains

Landrace strains have adapted themselves over the ages to the local climate conditions of certain parts of the world. If you looked at an Afghani landrace strain, it has been grown at high altitude in the mountains of Afghanistan, and because of this, it naturally secretes a resin to protect itself as it’s much nearer the sun. This results in a cannabis strain that is perfect to be processed into hashish. The climate had a massive effect on strains like this and those grown in the Himalayan mountains in Nepal and China.

Because landrace strains have naturally developed over time due to their location and climate, it creates unique strains that are specific to certain regions of the world. This is a stark contrast to the hybrid strains of today that have had their genetics forcibly merged in lab-like conditions. These ancient landraces have their own flavors, aromas, yield sizes, effects, and appearances that have been naturally forged by Mother Nature over time. And that’s what makes them so unique—and even sought-after today—because they have never been crossbred with other cannabis strains.

What is the history of landrace strains?

Consensus history states that landrace cannabis strains have been around since at least 10,000 years ago in Central Asia. They have been reportedly used in Chinese medicine and daily life since around 4,750 years ago. Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung is credited with recognizing the potential of this miracle plant and using it to treat over 100 ailments at the time.

One of the first accounts of cannabis being used for recreational purposes was in Hindu texts from 1,000 to 2,000 BC, where it was referred to as a major “source of happiness” for the people of the time. Ancient Egyptians in 1,500 BC were known to use medical cannabis to treat a number of health issues like inflammation.

Because travel was very limited and difficult in ancient times, landrace cannabis strains thrived without any outside interference from other parts of the world. For thousands of years, these landrace strains stayed pretty much the same in terms of genetics, and that really set these strains apart from other cannabis types across the planet at that time. In this day and age, growers scour the earth to find original landraces that have not been interbred.

Examples of Ancient Cannabis Landraces

There are known to be at least 18 landrace strains from the African continent alone. And that makes up over half of the entire number of landraces that are still believed to be in existence. When you buy weed in Bangkok or another decriminalized location like Amsterdam, Colorado, California, or Vancouver, you will very seldom find a landrace strain. In this day and age, it’s all about hybrid cannabis strains.

Here are some of the most famous landrace strain examples that you might have already heard about:

  • Acapulco Gold (Mexican and Central American region).
  • Afghani (Asian region).
  • Columbian Gold (South American)
  • Chocolate Thai or Thai Stick (South East Asian).
  • Durban Poison (South African).
  • Hindu Kush (Central Asian).
  • Lamb’s Bread (Jamaica and the Caribbean).
  • Panama Red (Central American)
  • Maui Wowie (Hawaii and Pacific region).

    See a full list of the Wonderland Strains here

The Evolution of Cannabis Strains

Landraces are now rarer than rocking horse feces. The commercial nature of the cannabis industry has seen weed strains evolve in ways we could have never imagined just 30 years ago, and the vast majority of it is all about marketing. The change and evolution of cannabis from landraces to crossbreeds originally started back in the 1960s and 70s along what is known as he
“Hippie Trail” in California.

Hashish from Pakistan, Nepal, Morocco, China, and Turkey was beginning to make its way into California at the time via international smugglers like Howard Marks, also known as “Mr. Nice.” Users started to enjoy trying different strains, and this need for variety changed everything. All of a sudden, growers across America started to experiment by mixing these landrace strains they now had access to, and this created new types of weed that we had never seen before. In some ways, this was essentially the death of landraces in a commercial sense, but fortunately, they still exist today in their original form.

Buying Landraces in the 2020s

what is a landrace strain
Cannabis Jars at Wonderland Bangkok


If you ever see one of these landrace strains in a Bangkok cannabis dispensary or another Thai weed shop, I recommend that you try one. They might not be the best weed strains in terms of THC concentration, but they are the building blocks of ganja genetics as we know it. Hybrid weed is great and all, but there is nothing more spiritual than smoking a strain that has been around in its original form for thousands of years.

If you live in parts of the world where weed is now legal or at least decriminalized, you can legally buy cannabis online or at your local cannabis store or dispensary.

At Cloud Nine Bangkok, we have a vast selection of handpicked cannabis strains for all your Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM) needs. If you get lucky, you might be able to buy original cannabis landraces to find out what all the fuss is about. You will definitely be able to buy Thai stick, otherwise known as “chocolate Thai,” which is a very effective Sativa landrace that is great for artists and writers due to its uplifting effects. Happy smoking, guys!  Don’t forget to check out more on our Facebook Page