Cannapedia Encyclopedia of cannabis strains

Landraces: The original strains

Landraces: Původní odrůdy

Scientific theories and historical sources tell us that cannabis probably first appeared in Central Asia, gradually spreading to all around the world. All the “original” strains (landraces) are essentially descended from “wild” cultivars that had spread from Central Asia and gradually adapted to new environments. It is certain that this process was aided by humans, who have used this plant for many purposes during the course of history.


Afghani and other landraces

These factors explain the genetic differences between the original strains that are known to us. Such strains are often named after the region from which they come or where they became domesticated (e.g. Afghani, Thai, Hawaiian, Mexican). Their traces can sometimes be found in the names of their “descendants”, which originated by crossbreeding over a long period of time and which we smoke today. These predecessors to all current strains originated thanks to a combination of natural conditions and selective growing by our ancestors.

Due to the widespread obsession with diversity, purely original strains are very hard to find on the market today. Most sativas you will encounter are not in fact pure sativas. They are hybrids where sativa genes are prevalent over indica genes. And the same is true for indicas.


Seekers of original strains

As a result of hybridization, only a few original strains remain. However, they have not disappeared completely. In the 1960s and 70s, breeders across the world began collecting these strains with the aim of growing them themselves. These landraces were then introduced to different environments, such as California or the Netherlands.

One of the best known of these “strain hunters” is Arjan Roskam, founder of the legendary Amsterdam-based Green House Seeds seedbank. Together with his colleague and friend Franco Loja, who unfortunately died in spring 2017 when looking for original strains in Congo, they’ve preferred the original landrace strains for selective breeding of their Green House strains.