Sunday December 27, 2015
By Tyler Terps
According to historical documents, we have cultivated and lived alongside cannabis for medicinal and spiritual purposes since 2900 B.C. The earliest strains initially grew in the Hindu Kush area of Afghanistan and overtime, spread to places like South America, Jamaica, Africa, and Asia.
By definition, a landrace is a variety of cannabis that has been grown in and adapted to the environment of its native land. The unique alterations of these strains are caused by its environment and isolation from other populations of species. Names typically come from the native region to the strain. Commonly known strain names include Afghani, Thai, and Hawaiian. The lack of awareness and abundance of curiosity has driven a lot of these pure landrace strains out of reach. Unfortunately, original genetics often get lost with crossbreeding with other strains and the development of natural compounds are hindered when indoor growing takes place. The pure strains represent an antique and original flavor profile that gets diluted as types are combined.
The formation of cannabis compounds including cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, etc.) and terpenes are heavily affected by the environment a plant is grown in. Things like the soil, weather, and the time of harvest can change the chemical makeup of cannabis. Since landraces are made to grow in the area that they’re from, they are considered to have optimal synergistic levels of therapeutic compounds.
Landraces that fall under the Cannabis sativa category originated in Asia and North Africa, but was able to get an early introduction to the West. Later on, they were sent to the Americas, where they tend to thrive in the southern area. These plants are usually taller and have greater internodal lengths than other kinds. Sativa landraces won’t be able to mature properly if they are planted at mild northern or southern latitudes.
Examples of Cannabis sativa include: Thai Passion, Sour Diesel, and Tangerine Haze.
Traced back to the mountains of Afghanistan and India, this landrace tends to be shorter, more compact, and more resinous than sativa types. In 1979 when soldiers returned home from conflict in Afghanistan, fresh indica landraces started flowing into Europe and the West. Growers also began forming hybrids by combining indicas with sativas.
Indica landraces are ready for harvest early and do well growing in mild, northern latitudes. Typically, kushes are the favorites within the indica categories which come from the Hindu Kush region.
Examples of Cannabis indica include: OG Kush, Northern Lights and Blueberry.
Europe, the Himalayas, and Siberia play home to this standout landrace that only grows to a few feet tall. Growing in the harsh northern climate, this type isn't potent as it doesn't contain large percentages of THC. Having said that, there is still a purpose for Ruderalis as it's key for breeding, both in marijuana and hemp.
The flowering stage is based upon age rather than exposure to light, which sets this kind apart from sativa or indica strains. Days can be as long as twenty hours in the North, so this specific trait is necessary to survive. Breeders use this adaptation, appropriately called "auto-flowering", to produce strains that mature faster.