Cannabis has long been a part of our culture, dating back all the way to 2900 BC. It is widely believed that it originated in the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan before it started to slowly move to other areas of the world.

Landrace strains are both rare and unique, with a history that dates all the way back to the first cannabis plants. However, these strains can often create confusion for most people. This is particularly true given that there isn’t a lot of relevant education about them available.

Landrace Strains: What Are They?

A landrace strain is another way of referring to a strain of cannabis that is considered “local”. That just means it has adapted to its existing environment, based on its location geographically. There are repercussions and changes to the strain as soon as it is removed from its local and original location.

Most landrace strains are named after the region to which they are native. This is how we recognize such strains as Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison, and the Hindu Kush, for example.

Landrace strains have basically adapted over time, given their environment. This means that they have found the ideal balance needed to thrive in their current location. Those ideal conditions include such things as soil, weather, and climate. Landrace strains have basically set the foundation for the wide variety of strains we currently have available.

You can also think of landrace strains as the originals. These strains have essentially helped build the various hybrids currently available. Some of the most original strains include the Hindu Kush strain, which came from the Hindu Kush, the mountain range that stretches from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Therefore, it is a landrace strain to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Landrace strains have truly stood the test of time and continue to do so.

The Origins of Landrace Strains

We’ve highlighted here some of the most famous Landrace strains and from where they’ve hailed. The strains highlighted below represent the pinnacle of purity. They are often the bar of what growers and breeders from all over the world look to achieve. They also can serve as building blocks when creating new strains.

The Strains of Asia

It is largely believed that cannabis originated in Asia. However, there are plenty of historians who would argue that it originated elsewhere, most notably the Middle East.

From central Asia, it is assumed that cannabis was then brought to the rest of the world through human traffic. The absolute first strain of cannabis is largely believed to have been lost through cross-breeding.

Some of the most well-known Landrace strains in Asia include the following:


This stain is unique, as it is isn’t actually just one strain. Rather, it is a combination of several different strains of the area, which makes it pretty unique in terms of Landrace strains. It is an indica strain that is found in Nepal.


You’ve likely heard of this strain before. It is most popularly known as Thai Sticks and originated in Thailand. It has a fruity taste and smell, and it is a pure sativa strain.

This strain was brought to the United States later than some others, making its way in the 1970s and 1980s. The Thai Sticks nickname comes from this strain’s physical appearance, which is that of buds in long sticks. This strain has led to several others, including Juicy Fruit, Voodoo, and Haze.

This strain can’t really be grown successfully outside of climates that are tropical. Some growers find it possible to grow it in a greenhouse garden, which is as close to tropical as many growers can get. This strain also requires patience to grow because it flowers slowly and has a long growth cycle.

The Strains of Africa

Sub-Sahara Africa has just about perfect conditions for cannabis to flourish. Here are Landrace strains from this part of the globe:

Malawi Gold

This strain is obviously from Malawi, a country in Africa, and is a pure sativa strain. In physical appearance, Malawi Gold grows to form tall plants. Those plants have resin-caked long buds.

This strain is quite potent, with a floral aroma and a hit of herbs fragrance. Its effects are considered invigorating.

Durban Poison

The Durban Poison strain comes from the port city of Durban in South Africa. It is also a pure sativa strain, and its flavor is fruity and sweet.

This strain dates all the way back to the 14th century. It was originally cultivated by multiple indigenous tribes, including the Bantu, San, and Khoikhol. It was first smuggled into the United States in the 1970s.

The Strains of the Middle East

There are a variety of Landrace strains from the Middle East, but this isn’t really a surprise given the area’s climate. Some of the most popular are listed below.


This strain is a heavy indica one. Given its name, you’ve probably guessed that it originates from Afghanistan. It is also often referred to as Afghan Kush.

This strain is believed to be one of the oldest still in existence. Many individuals from Canada, Europe, and the United States traveled to find the stain in the 1960s and 1970s. Those travels brought them along the Hippie Trail, which is located in the mountain region of Hindu Kush.

Hindu Kush

Kush is a term used pretty frequently in the names of Landrace strains. It’s also pretty common to hear people use the term Kush to describe particularly good weed.

The origin of the term comes from the Hindu Kush Mountains, which is the location where the strain was first grown. That area is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This Landrace strain is an indica one. It is most well-known for its high production of resin.

Marijuana cones
Macro photos of marijuana cones with leaves covered with trichomes. The cannabis plant close view.

The Strains of Central America

This part of the world has created several different landrace strains that you’ve likely heard of in the past. The most well-known of these Central American Landrace strains are listed below.

Panama Red

This Landrace strain is most known for its orange hairs, which is where it gets some of its names. The red represents the orange hair, while the “Panama” in the name denotes the original location of the strain, which is Panama.

This strain first became popular in the 1960s, given its intense and quick effects. In fact, many users have described it as having psychedelic properties.

It has a very long flowering time at 11 weeks. This lengthy timeframe has left it behind as growers have deferred to cultivating strains that don’t have such a long flowering period. With that said, this strain is quite unique and offers a medicating experience for anyone who wants a strain that is smooth and sentimental.

Acapulco Gold

Similar to the Panama Red Landrace strain, this one is also known for its orange hairs. It originated in Acapulco, Mexico, and is a sativa strain. Specifically, this strain originated in the Guerrero Mountains, which sit just outside the city of Acapulco.

Acapulco Gold first arrived in the United States sometime in the 1960s. It was largely considered the “connoisseur pot” in the 1960s and 1970s. It was considered to be much better than anything available in Texas or California around the same time.

It was quite common for the strain to be smuggled to San Diego over the Tijuana border, given its popularity and demand. The strain is believed to get its unique coloring, which is a brown and gold mix, from the way in which the plants are dried in the wind that comes off the Pacific Ocean.

The strain does lose its potency when it is grown anywhere but its native environment, which is pretty characteristic of most Landrace strains.

Colombian Gold

If you think about production in Colombia, you likely jump right to cocaine, which is what the area is most known for producing. However, this is also where the Colombian Gold Landrace strain originated. The specific location is the Santa Marta mountains, and this strain is a sativa.

The mountain range of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the highest coastal ranges in the world. It reaches altitudes in excess of 18,000 feet and sits only 26 miles from the Caribbean coast.

The Colombian Gold strain has gotten quite rare over the years. It was smuggled into the United States sometime in the 1960s or 1970s and quickly become one of the most popular strains available. It was then used to breed a number of other common strains. An example of one of these strains is the Skunk #1.

Many historians most qualified in all things cannabis believe that there is no clone or seed of the original genotype of Colombian Gold still in existence.

The Strains of Jamaica

There are several strains that originate in Jamaica. Here, we’ve highlighted just the two that are most commonly recognized.

Lamb’s Breath

This strain is also often referred to as Lamb’s Bread. In terms of physical appearance, it is bright green in color, and it’s a sativa strain with a sticky consistency. It has effects that produce a lot of energy along with a positive introspection.

This strain is often used to help with the symptoms of depression, as it considered useful in helping to eliminate stress. It originates from Jamaica, and many believe that it was a strain celebrated and enjoyed by Bob Marley himself, as is the case with many Jamaican Landrace strains.

King’s Bread

This strain is considered to be native to Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. It offers euphoric and mellowing effects.

In terms of its physical appearance, the bulbs resemble long fingers in their shape. Those bulbs come out from buds that have a citrus scent. Additional therapeutic effects of this strain include appetite stimulation and pain relief.

The Uniqueness of Landrace Strains

Landrace strains are pure, which means that their effects and flavor are distinct and unique. This makes them completely different from the hybrid strains that most people more commonly know.

The plants that produce Landrace strains maintain their distinctness and consistency. What should be mentioned is that just because a Landrace strain is pure does not mean it is always the highest quality available. The term Landrace is really just used to designate that the strain is a pure one.

The properties of these strains vary quite considerably, depending on their location. They basically adopt their region’s qualities. This is due to them never being introduced to the genetics of hybrid strains. While they are not always the highest quality necessarily, they are absolutely unique.

With that said, many smokers seek out Landrace strains specifically because they are pure and have evolved without the introduction of any hybrid genetics.

The Rarity of Landrace Strains

The other reason these strains are often so appealing is that they have become quite rare. You would be hard-pressed to find one of these strains. There is a pretty obvious reason behind this.

You cannot take a native strain out of its location and try to grow it elsewhere. The strain simply will not be the same without the exact growing conditions and climate from its previous location.

The uniqueness from the original strain will be lost, which changes the strain altogether. When the native environment to the strain is changed, the plant must learn how to grow and mature in a brand-new environment. Because of this, the plant has to respond by taking on different characteristics.

It will then take a significant amount of time for the strain to stabilize and locate its equilibrium. That transition period will change the strain significantly enough that it will no longer be considered a Landrace strain. It will then be considered a phenotype.

This is part of why Landrace strains are so rare. As soon as the strain is removed from its original location, it takes on new properties that change it in ways that prevent it from maintaining its status as a Landrace strain.


If you have an opportunity to enjoy a Landrace strain, you’ll be enjoying something that is completely pure, with no hybrid properties whatsoever. Though the location of the actual first cannabis plants is not in total agreement, the history of individual Landrace strains is not contentious.

These strains are unique, native, and represent the purest properties you can find in cannabis plants. They are also quite rare, which can make enjoying them a once-in-a-lifetime experience.