strains

Landrace Strains: Discover the Power

There has been a lot of talk about Landrace (LR) strains over the last few years. From Acapulco Gold to Malawi, people across the world claim to have landrace variants of many popular strains. These cultivators claim that their genetics are some of the oldest known to man. They take pride in the native, indigenous or heirloom nature of the cannabis strains under their care.
As humanities scientific understanding continues to grow, we have found that CBD may be better for treating pain and muscle spasms than THC. Without access to strains that had not been selectively bred, people would not have been able to create strains like Charlotte’s Web or LSD. Breeders needed to combine plants with new characteristics than what the market had available so they turned to the untapped potential of landrace strains.

What is a Landrace Strain?

Landrace Strain 1
A landrace strain never been crossed with a different phenotype and has grown in its natural environment for as long as people can tell. Like the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos Islands, these plants have spent a long time in genetic isolation. Cultivators have taken the best of each generation and bred it with the next for many human lifetimes.
This isolation (and the resulting ) makes these varieties highly stable and extremely vigorous since only the best were kept. Over generations, people grew the plants that performed best for their environment. In the jungles of Durban South Africa, the plants needed to be able to grow above the trees so only tall plants grew well enough to survive.

Where Did Landrace Strains Come From?

Historical records (some dating as far back as 2900 B.C.) tell us cannabis has lived with humanity for thousands of years. Cultivated for food, fiber, and for religious and medicinal purposes, cannabis is one of the oldest known agricultural plants and has many uses.  According to the best available research, cannabis originally evolved in Central Asia and spread to nearly every region of the planet thanks to humans.
Outside of Asia, landrace strains are the result of escaped cultivars (strains that were selectively bred by humans) which gradually adapted to their environment over time. Over the centuries, other cultivars would have interbred with these feral escapees.  Due to the complex nature of the winds and plant/animal interactions, even the wild plants native to Central Asia are not believed to be untouched indigenous strains.

 Why Are Landrace Strains Important?


Not all cannabis is created equal in the eyes of growers. Plants that produce large colas full of cannabinoids like THC are traditionally prized over low yielding variants. Over generations, certain traits get bred out of or in to the genetic lines. People use this to make bigger and stronger plants than could be obtained otherwise.
This breeding method also has the effect of removing many of the less understood compounds. Since the same trichomes produce THC and CBD (and only one is psychoactive) growers selectively bred out the ability to produce CBD. That way all of the trichomes could focus on producing THC instead of some deciding to make CBD.

Where Are the Real Landrace Strains?


In today’s cannabis market people rarely see the pure landrace strains. On sites like Leafly and Cannafo, most of the sativas (the red tiled ones) are not pure sativas. Instead, they are sativa-dominant hybrids that exhibit strong sativa-like attributes. Same thing goes for indicas and hybrids. Landrace strains also exhibit these hybrid traits but to different degrees.
Landrace strains were embraced worldwide during the 1960s and 70s by growers who began collecting them in their own local gardens. Once the landrace strains were removed from their local growing environment, they became heirloom variants. For marketing reasons, most breeders don’t differentiate between landrace and heirloom.
These heirloom strains were then propagated in places like Hawaii and California. As the landrace movement grew, people who hunt for these hard to find strains became sought after. People like Arjan Roskam, founder of Amsterdam-based Greenhouse Seeds, and his colleague Franco Loja have spent millions obtaining these landrace varieties for use in their selective breeding.

What Landrace Strains Are There?

Here is a short list of some popular landrace strains:
Malawi Gold:
landrace 2Malawi Gold originated in Southeastern Africa. Grown on the shores of Lake Malawi (the third largest lake in Africa) the plant was adaptable to its local conditions. It’s genetic flexibility was perfect for the wildly changing environment which is why many phenotypes can be found in the market today. Aromas and flavors given off by the phenotypes of Malawi Gold help differentiate between the varieties. Two main phenotypes exist. One gives off a fruity smell while the other is a woody one. The fruity plants are normally smaller than the woody ones.
Afghan Kush Indica:
The plant is medium height with dark, broad leaves which makes it perfect for growing in the northern Afghani mountains. Its heavy, sweet aroma and taste mix with spices and incense to create a deep flavor. New smokers often find that this strain gives a very potent high that easily turns sedating. Perfect for people that are having trouble sleeping.
Hindu Kush Indica:
Cultivated in the Hindu Kush Mountain range for generations where it grows wild, the flowers of the fertile hillsides and valleys make the world’s finest hash. Years of selective breeding for resinous, indica-dominant plants with feral varieties have resulted in short, stocky bushes covered with huge, shiny trichomes. Known to relieve symptoms of pain, nausea, and stress while providing a pleasantly strong, earthy scent.
Lambs Bread Sativa:
Also called “Lamb’s Breath” Lamb’s Bread produces a bright green and sticky flower with a sativa dominant high. The effects have been known to help generate energy and positive introspection. Stress melts away under the warmth of the Lamb’s Bread buzz. This plant comes from Jamaica and it has been reported that Bob Marley himself enjoyed it.
There are literally tens of thousands of strains across the globe with a small percentage of them being landrace varieties. Because of the geographical nature of the landrace title, most strains retain the name of the area where they originated. Yet some places have made more of a name for themselves than others and it can be far easier to obtain their seeds or clones
 

mcanna

A History of Medical Cannabis Part 1: Ancient Cannabis

Medical Cannabis is known by many names.

Whether you call it; ganja, weed, dope, grass, or the medical cannabis, it all means the same thing. Cannabis is one of the earliest plants known to be harvested by man. In fact, the oldest human artifact on record is an ancient sandal made from cannabis fibers known as hemp. The fibers of the cannabis plant were used in the oldest civilizations like Rome, Assyria, Egypt and China.
Some of the oldest known medicine was also made from cannabis. The earliest record of medical marijuana use was in 2900 BC by Chinese Emperor Fu. He and a majority of his citizens used the herb for medicinal purposes. From treating headaches and nausea to acting as an aphrodisiac, the ancient Chinese were pioneers in cannabis research.

Over the centuries, marijuana was used medicinally all over the world.

Many festivities and religious ceremonies involved cannabis as well. Cannabis was so important to ancient religious rites that it was an integral part of many rites including the process of anointing. Early Christians were well aware of how cannabis worked and used it in many of their most sacred rituals.
Christians inherited many of their religious practices directly from the Hebrews. The word Christ actually means ‘the anointed one’ and many scholars believe that Christ was anointed with chrism, a cannabis-based oil. The ancient recipe for this oil recorded in Exodus (30:22-23), included over 9 pounds of cannabis flower which the Hebrews called kaneh-bosem.
The Hebrews extracted the cannabis into about 11 pints of olive oil. This cannabis concoction was then mixed with a variety of other herbs and spices in very specific ways. The mixture was normally used in anointing and rituals that would allow the priests and prophets to commune with the divine.

Cannabis was used by more than just the ancient Chinese and Hebrews though.

India has a deep and long history with the plant.  Ancient chefs created a drink known as bhang out of cannabis paste, milk and spices. Shiva is said to have loved the drink so much that he took the title “Lord of Bhang”. Bhang has remained a medical remedy/ preferred beverage in India for centuries and is prepared there to this day. Zoroaster is also said to have listed cannabis as the most important of 10,000 medicinal plants.
The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission described the history and culture of cannabis in India: “To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy. A guardian lives in the bhang leaf… To see in a dream the leaves, plant, or water of bhang is lucky… No good thing can come to the man who treads underfoot the holy bhang leaf. A longing for bhang foretells happiness.”
Cannabis has been popular in India since the beginning of recorded history and is often drank. Nuts and spices like; almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, pepper, ginger and sugar are mixed with cannabis and boiled in milk. Yogurt can also be used instead of milk. While popular in the east, bhang has never caught on with western pallets the same way.

Romans used Medical Cannabis as well.

The Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides from around 40-90AD was a Roman army doctor who traveled widely on campaigns throughout the Roman empire. He studied many plants, gathering his knowledge and assembling it into a book he titled De Materia Medica (On Medical Matters).
Published around 70AD, De Materia Medica became the most important medical text for the next 1500 years. Virtually all medical texts were based off of this single work. Within its pages were contained the most important and useful plants known to mad. Included in the tome was cannabis, both kannabis emeros and kannabis agria, the male and female respectively. Dioscorides stated bluntly that the plant used in the making of rope also produced a juice that treated earache and suppress sexual longing.

Even the Egyptians were into medical cannabis.

In the ancient world, Egypt was a center of trade and information. Their position at the mouth of the Nile provided a base of strength for millennia. Part of that strength was advanced medical techniques that were passed down through the use of writing. Ancient Egyptian doctors and pharmacologists would use papyrus to record their work.
One of the oldest texts to survive to modernity is the 2nd century Fayyum Medical Papyrus. This ancient Egyptian text is believed to contain the earliest record of cannabis as an ingredient in cancer medicine. While they didn’t record enough for us to assess the successes of ancient Egyptian cancer treatments, cannabis continues to receive interest as a cancer therapy today.
Cannabis pollen was even found on the mummy of Ramesses II. He was a powerful Pharaoh who died in 1213 BC. It is unclear how the cannabis was used but prescriptions for cannabis in Ancient Egypt also included treatment for the eyes (glaucoma), inflammation, cooling the uterus, as well as administering enemas.

Cannabis is actually new to the Americas.

By the late 1700s, American medical journals began recommending hemp seeds and roots for the treatment of inflamed skin, incontinence and venereal disease. But it was Irish doctor William O’Shaughnessy who first popularized marijuana’s medical use in England and America.
O’Shaughnessy was a physician with the British East India Company during the years leading up to the American Revolution. He found marijuana eased the pain of rheumatism and was helpful against discomfort and nausea. Patients were prescribed cannabis most for cases of rabies, cholera and tetanus. Truly, Dr. O’shaughnessy was an integral part of the rise of medical cannabis in Europe and the Americas.

In the age of scientific innovation, cannabis was in medical texts.

In 1621, medical marijuana made its way into the English Mental Health Book, the most popular medicinal textbook from the time. Of all the things it could have suggested, it recommends marijuana to treat depression, the same as modern scientific research has shown.
Early Settlers had cannabis but mainly used it for fiber. The Jamestown settlers brought the marijuana plant specialized to produce fiber commonly known as hemp, to North America in 1611.
Throughout the colonial period, hemp fiber was an important export. By 1762, cannabis cultivation can become so common that Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture along with imposing penalties on those who did not produce it.

It wasn’t until the 1900’s that cannabis lost its medical, economic and spiritual prominence.

With the invention of television and the consolidation of media during the 1900s, cannabis moved from medical staple to outcast with surprising speed. Due to the efforts of Larry Anslinger and his associates, medical cannabis was stripped from medical texts and scientists were effectively banned from studying it.
Top image: Bigstock