What is a landrace cannabis strain?

Landrace cannabis strains are the original genetics growers used to create hybrids in the 1970s

Cannabis strains have wildly evolved since the 1970’s but the original, naturally occurring strains can still be found today.

Cannabis genetics have drastically changed over the last few decades as growers have altered and crossed strains together. What people were smoking in the ‘60s is massively different from what is available today, and while there is an endless sea of cannabis strains available now, the original genetics of certain regions can still be found and are now known as landrace strains. 

Until the 1970s, the genetics of cannabis on the sativa and indica spectrums weren’t crossed together by growers. Cannabis referred to as “sativa” grew tall, thin and wispy, originating around India and finding its way east eventually through Africa and the Americas. Indica plants, on the other hand, were shorter, stocky, dense and located in mountain regions throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

From both sides of the spectrum, the strains took on the names of the regions where they originated. Some commonly found sativa landrace strains include Thai, Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold or Panama Red. Indica landraces you’ll most commonly see are Afghani or Hindu Kush. 

Can you still find landrace strains easily?

Once growers started crossing indica and sativa strains together in the 1970s, hybrids across the spectrum became the norm. The vast majority of cannabis strains you’ll find today are hybrids and will lean more towards the indica or sativa side of the spectrum, depending on what genetics a grower is crossing together. 

Genetically pure indicas or sativas are technically still around today but are considered an “heirloom” of the landrace strain. Some growers are still using seeds that will carry as close to the original strain’s tendencies for growth and general effects, but they don’t come from the original region.

Pure landrace strains require the correct seed carrying those genetics and are grown in the correct region to take on their original form. Still, heirloom strains are as close as you’ll get to a pure landrace with similar effects to the original strain.

Are landrace strains better or stronger than newer strains?

Landrace strains aren't more or less potent than other strains since that mostly depends on growing conditions. If you manage to get your hands on a landrace strain, it’s likely going to be a touch less potent than most cannabis strains available today though since new age hybrids have developed to create stronger potencies over the years. 

Common landrace strains

Pure landrace strains are less common today, but many heirlooms are accessible in the cannabis industry. They may be grown in small batches and be something you’ll have to keep an eye out for, but if you’re looking to find something close to the feeling of consuming cannabis from decades past, it isn’t impossible. 

Here are some common landrace strains to keep an eye out for:


Afghani is a strain of heavily resinous, dense buds built for hash production. If you’re looking for a heavy indica cannabis strain to relax with, this is the perfect landrace for that feeling. It originates from a dry, mountainous region and tends to grow mould easier in settings with high humidity, so growers should be careful to set their conditions with this in mind.   

Acapulco Gold

Sativa smokers on the hunt for an exhilarating and uplifting strain will love Acapulco Gold. Originating from Mexico, this landrace is quick to flower and commonly used for breeding sativa hybrids since it provides one of the best racy-feeling highs. In terms of flavour, it brings hints of cheese and smooth toffee with a sweet aftertaste. 

Lamb’s Bread

Also known as Lamb’s Breath, this strain hails from Jamaica and rumours state it as Bob Marley’s go-to strain. The buds grow dense and bright green with a classic sativa set of effects offering an uplifting and energetic feel. Flavour-wise, Lamb’s Bread delivers a thick taste and aroma in the earthy and woody range. 

Durban Poison

Emerging from South Africa’s third most populous city Durban, this sativa strain is wildly popular worldwide and known for its sweet smell and uplifting effects. It’s great for a daytime adventure or a spark of creativity and carries a piney, sweet and earthy flavour. Growers interested in making concentrates will love the plant’s conditions as it produces bulky, oversized resin glands. 

Hindu Kush

This indica strain comes from the mountain range sprawling between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The dry and harsh climate made the plant develop a thick coating of crystally trichomes to protect itself, making it highly sought after for hash producers. The taste and aroma of Hindu Kush bring an earthy and woody range with an almost sandalwood-like flavour shining through. 

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