Today it seems just about every strain of cannabis is some kind of hybrid or crossbreed. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with hybridization and crossbreeding. Innovative breeding techniques have yielded some of the most amazing strains we could ever imagine. However, the innovative crossbreeding techniques we know today are a relatively new phenomenon. For millennia, tracing back to biblical days, cannabis grew wild in native habitats. Whether a strain was an Indica or Sativa was dependent on what part of the world it came from. And, that's where we get the best landrace strains.
Having grown indigenously for so many years, landrace strains didn’t experience many variations from plant to plant and maintained an incredible consistency. Many cannabis connoisseurs are nostalgic for the days when landrace strains dominated the market, and who can blame them? Given their history, they developed unique and distinctive “personalities.” Today, most (but not all) are hard to come by in many dispensaries, so if you’re ever given a chance to try a landrace strain, don’t pass on the opportunity.
Below is a list of four landrace strains -- two Sativas and two Indicas -- that you absolutely need to try before you die!
As you may have deduced by its name, Durban Poison -- clearly one of the best landrace strains -- originated in South Africa in the port city of Durban. Widely regarded as one of the best -- if not the best -- all-around Sativas, it's no surprise that it consistently ranks as the most popular landrace strain and may just be the most popular Sativa strain of all time.
Unlike many landrace strains that are rare and hard to come by, Durban Poison is much more widely available. You can thank Ed Rosenthal for that. Back in the 1970s, Ed Rosenthal was on a mission to find new genetics and discovered this wunder-strain. After he brought it back to the U.S., its popularity exploded here and in Amsterdam.
While most dispensaries don’t carry Durban all the time, many do get it on a consistent basis. Given its unique psychotropic effects and popularity, it often sells out quickly so you may want to find out when and how often your shop has it.
Characteristic of a Sativa, Durban Poison -- the “espresso of weed” -- produces a stimulating, uplifting, mood and creativity-boosting cerebral high. However, most Durban fans report that the high is profoundly unique and it’s one strain that is unmistakable. Most people can’t put their finger on what makes it so unique; they just know it when they experience it. It could be that it makes most users feel incredibly happy and content after using it, and you can be incredibly cogent and productive on it.
Despite Durban Poison’s high potency, most people find it doesn’t alter them in the same way other strains with similar potency do. In fact, many fans claim they stay totally cogent while experiencing a big bounce in productivity and creativity.
Expect earthy, piney, and sweet aromas and flavors.
Durban Poison has a super high THC content, never testing lower than 16%, and generally testing in the mid-20s.
While Durban Poison has only trace amounts of CBD (>0.2%), it does have a robust cannabinoid and terpene profile. CBG (0.6 - 1.4%), THCV (0.2% - 1.8%), Myrcene (up to 0.5%), and D-Limonene (up to 1.2%)
The South American country of Colombia has a well-deserved reputation of having some of the best cannabis in the world. Warm and tropical with a heavy rainy season from May through November, Colombia’s equatorial climate provides ideal growing conditions for cannabis, particularly Sativas.
Another one of the best landrace strains, Colombian Gold originated in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, an isolated mountain range in the Andes with a unique tropical mountain climate. There, it can rain 160 inches per year and temperatures range between freezing and 80°F.
With its signature citrus and skunk flavors and aroma and an incredibly uplifting high free of paranoia, Colombia Gold is this nation’s most popular landrace strain, loved and sought after throughout the cannabis-loving world. Colombian Gold is also known for producing its famous offspring, Skunk #1, arguably the most prominent strain in hybrid breeding.
The high from Colombian Gold is described as happy, focused, relaxed, euphoric and tingly, free of anxiety or paranoia. It's great for days when you want to focus, get things done, or experience a boost in creativity. It’s a versatile strain that quiets negative thoughts and elevates the mood, making it popular with both medical marijuana and recreational users. Prepare yourself for an experience that seems like it came straight from heaven’s garden (or at least Mother Nature’s most treasured earthy garden).
Colombian Gold is known for its pungent, woody, citrusy, skunky, and piney aromas and flavors.
THC content in Colombian Gold usually ranges between 15% and 20%, while only possessing trace amounts of CBD.
Northern Lights is one Indica you absolutely cannot leave this earth without trying. Northern Lights is so iconic, it has created the standard by which Indicas are measured against. In fact, Northern Lights spawned the indoor grow revolution after being bred as a cross between Afghani and Thai landrace strains.
Technically, it’s not really a landrace since it was crossbred, but it’s generally lumped in with landrace strains because it’s a pure Indica borne of two landraces and it’s been incredibly influential in the cannabis community. Also, it is the very first strain bred specifically to be grown under grow lights.
From a cultivation perspective, there are few other strains that can compare. It performs consistently and reliably indoor like no other strain while producing incredibly large yields over an indoor flowering time of 45 to 50 days.
After you toke, expect to feel a burst of a cerebral rush. But the head high doesn’t last long. Shortly thereafter, you’ll feel relaxed, wanting to curl up on the couch, binge on Netflix, and chill.
Northern Lights is known for its rich and musky kush aroma and earthy flavor.
THC content is 21% average while testing as high as 33%.
One of the most ancient cannabis strains in the world, Afghan Kush has survived invasions, wars, droughts, and tribal conflicts. This central Asian landrace originated in the Hindu Kush mountain region close to Pakistan and northern Afghanistan near the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. For centuries, it’s been growing wild throughout the region.
Master growers from the region masterfully developed this iconic and historic landrace over centuries to have high levels of resin so they could produce handmade hash, called charas, that villagers smoke in their hookahs.
Afghan Kush has a distinctive scent that smells like hash dipped in Pinesol. The aroma is better than it sounds and many pot-lovers enjoy its sweet taste.
Afghan Kush has a large and loyal following among cannabis users, but not everyone is a fan. You’ll either love it or hate. For its fans, an Afghan Kush high provides them with an incredible sense of calm and tranquility unlike anything else they’ve tried. Others claim it gives them an overwhelming lethargic feeling that makes them not want to do anything except stay locked to their couch.
Whether you’ll be in the former or latter camp will be largely determined by your unique physiology, i.e. how your body reacts. If you’re partial to Sativas, this strain may not be for you. But if you’re a fan of Indicas and you have the opportunity to try it, go for it!
Afghan Kush features earthy, woody, sweet, and hashy flavors and aromas.
THC levels usually range between 13.5% to 17%.
Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education at the famous Harborside Health Center, has made a point to ensure that in the fast-paced, ever-changing world in which we live, we don’t lose sight of our heritage and the place landrace strains will always occupy:
“Original landrace and other heirloom strains are often lost in today’s hyperkinetic world of breeding. Our constant desire for new strains leads breeders to continually cross and re-cross existing strains looking for the next big thing. There is, however, a small but growing contingent of cultivators who are returning to our cannabis roots and propagating old landrace and heirloom strains.”
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to read: What Are Landrace Strains and Why Are Some So Rare?
If you haven’t tried these great strains, make sure you make it a point to do so sooner rather than later. You can easily check which landrace strains we have on our Tacoma Menu or Bremerton Menu, or simply ask one of our helpful budtenders.