Cannabis has been crossbred in order to obtain cannabis strains with a specific profile. The first cannabis hybrids were crossbred to produce THC-rich strains. Currently, we can find many hybrid strains such as CBD-rich ones (Charlotte’s Web, Cannatonic) and even strains rich in CBC, CBG, with a specific terpene profile, etc. Today, most of strains are hybrids but this wasn’t the case for centuries. Original cannabis strains or natural strains are known as landrace strains.
A cannabis landrace strain is a strain that has grown wild and indigenously for centuries (feral cannabis).
Cannabis is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but it has also grown wild in many other parts in the world. A landrace strain is commonly used to define strains that has naturally developed in a specific location.
What is it?
A landrace strain is either 100% Sativa or 100% Indica or Ruderalis. Many of these strains are named after the place of origin. For example: Kush strains (from the Hindu Kush mountain range), Acapulco Gold or Durban Poison.
Most of cannabis strains you vape today are hybrid strains and it is difficult to find landrace strains.
Are Landrace Strains More Potent than Hybrid Strains?
It’s hard to tell as cannabis strains have very different profiles. Some hybrid strains are THC-rich (sometimes even above 25% of THC) while some other hybrids strains are very low in THC and high in CBD (Charlotte’s Web is a good example of a hybrid strains with very low THC and high CBD concentrations).
Usually, landrace strains are not as potent as hybrids. Hybrids are crossbred to achieve higher concentrations of THC or CBD. Many cannabis growers focused on THC-rich strains with THC concentrations that are almost impossible to find in landrace strains.
It is easier to find hybrid strains than landrace ones. However, it is possible to find heirloom strains. Heirloom strains are landrace strains that are cultivated away from their native habitat. Both heirloom and landrace strains are “more natural” with a balanced profile. Like heirloom strains, landrace strains are naturally pollinated.
One of the most common theories about landrace strains is that they originated from the Hindu Kush mountain range and eventually they spread to other Asian locations, the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Landrace strains are not grown on a large scale, but heirloom ones are sometimes found on a small scale (remember that heirloom strains refer to cannabis (landrace) strains that have been taken from their native lands and propagated to other places around the world.
Types of Landrace Strains
Cannabis is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. However, it has grown wild in many parts of the world. There are mainly six types of landrace strains: Asian, Indian and Afghan, Mexican, South American, Jamaican, and African.
Cannabis is a plant that can easily adapt to different regions and climates. Landrace cannabis strains express unique phenotypes and genotypes to easily adapt to these different climates and regions.
Landrace Strain: Conclusion
Most of cannabis strains that are produced on a large scale are hybrids. These hybrids strains have been crossbred to produce THC-rich or CBD-rich strains.
Landrace strains are similar to heirloom strains. The main difference is that landrace strains grow in their natural location while heirloom strains have been taken from their native lands and propagated to other places around the world.
A landrace strain has a more “natural” profile with a moderate THC concentration. Hybrid strains can adapt better to different environmental conditions and that’s also why cannabis growers choose hybrids over heirloom (landrace) strains.
In the future, it’s very possible that both landrace and heirloom strain disappear. It will be harder to find pure strains in the future.