What Is a Landrace Strain?

Have you heard of old-school cannabis strains like Acapulco Gold, Maui Wowie, Afghani, or Durban Poison and wondered what makes them so special and how they got their names?

These strains of cannabis are known as landrace strains–which are strains of cannabis that have thrived in a certain region for centuries. These strains have adapted to the climate and growing conditions to the part of the word they’re indigenous to. As a result, they’ve developed unique genetics, flavors, aromas, appearances, and effects.

Landrace Strains featured

Landrace strains are named after the regions they’re found in. The thing that makes true landrace strains special is that they have not been crossbred with other types of cannabis. A landrace strain of cannabis can be thought of similar to a purebred dog or cat. And, it’s this genetic purity and consistency that sets landrace cannabis strains apart.

Since they have not been crossbred, true landrace strains consistently maintain their unique genetics, appearance, flavors, and effects. And since they are not mixed with other strains, landrace strains will be either indica or sativa dominant.

The History of Landrace Strains

There seems to be a consensus that cannabis was first domesticated in Central Asia around 10,000 years ago (8,000 BCE). And although there’s been recent growing interest in the use of cannabis to treat a wide range of health issues, its use for medicinal purposes can be traced back at least 4,750 years.1

One of the earliest documented uses of cannabis as medicine goes back to 2,737 BC when Emperor Shen-Nung of China recognized its healing potential for more than 100 different ailments.2

Between 2,000 and 1,000 BC, Hindu religious texts described cannabis as a “source of happiness” and a “joy giver”.  In 1550 BC it was noted in an Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge (Ebers Papyrus) that medical cannabis can be effective in treating inflammation among other things.2

Although the history of cannabis use goes back thousands of years, back then it wasn’t very easy for someone to travel from one region of the world to another. This made it unlikely that seeds of certain landrace strains would be introduced to different parts of the world. So, for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years, landrace strains thrived in their indigenous environments while keeping their unique genetic profile intact. But it’s not just their genetics that set landrace strains apart.

Each landrace strain is unique because of the specific environment, climate, and soil conditions they’ve adapted to. This is what gives them their unique chemistry, aroma, taste, and effects.

How the Hippie Trail Changed It All

Back in the 1960s and 70s, travelers along the “Hippie Trail”, enjoyed various landrace strains that were indigenous to various areas along the trail. The trail, also known as the “Hashish” trail, started in western Europe and made its way through Turkey, Iran, and the mountainous region that borders Afghanistan, Nepal, China, Pakistan, and India.

As travelers enjoyed various strains of cannabis along the way, they collected seeds of their favorites and brought them home. Once they arrived home, breeders went to work cross-breeding these landrace strains to create many of the popular hybrid strains we enjoy today. Through the years, breeders have created hybrids of these landrace strains that maximize certain desired effects, while minimizing any unwanted ones.

Fortunately, however, this was not the end of landrace strains. There are still a few landrace strains available that you might be lucky enough to enjoy.

Popular Landrace Strains

Acapulco Gold (AKA Mexican Sativa):

Origin: Guerrero Mountain range near Acapulco, Mexico
Strain: Sativa
Effects: Happy, uplifting, and energizing effects that promote creativity
Scent: Rich caramelized toffee scent with a woodsy undertone
Flavor: Earthy and pine-like with a creamy sweetness
Appearance: gold, green, and brown coloring
Helpful in alleviating: anxiety, depression, and loss of appetite
Famous Offspring: Skunk #1
Interesting facts: Named a Top 25 Best Cannabis Strain of All Time by High Times magazine and said to be a  favorite of Jack Nicholson

Afghani (one of the oldest landrace strains):

Origin: Hindu Kush mountain range in Central and South Asia that runs through Afghanistan and Pakistan
Strain: Indica
Effects: known to promote full-body relaxation along with feelings of euphoria
Scent: Pungent, diesel-like scent with a sweet hint of citrus
Flavor: Sweet, earthy, and spicy
Appearance: Pale green with orange hairs
Helpful in Alleviating: pain, stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia
Famous Offspring: L.A. Confidential and Cannabis Cup winners Blueberry & Northern Lights
Interesting Fact: ranks “among Cannabis royalty”, according to High Times magazine

Durban Poison

Origin: South African coastal city of Durban
Strain: Sativa
Effects: Uplifting and energizing, known to enhance mental focus and creativity
Scent: Sweet, lemon scent with a hint of anise
Flavor: minty with hints of citrus, vanilla, and cream
Appearance: Large forest green flower with a light sheen and peach colored hairs
Helpful in Alleviating: pain, migraines, stress, depression, loss of appetite, PTSD, and social anxiety
Famous Offspring: Cherry Pie and Girl Scout Cookies
Interesting Fact: Often called the “coffee” of cannabis because of the boost in energy and creativity it can provide

Lamb’s Bread (AKA Lamb’s Breath):

Origin: Jamaica
Strain: Sativa
Effects: Uplifting and energizing, known to enhance mood and creativity
Scent: spicy, cheesy, and skunky aroma
Flavor: sweet, creamy flavor with spicy lime undertones
Appearance: large golden-green flower with rusty-orange hairs
Helpful in Alleviating: pain, depression, stress, anxiety, loss of appetite, ADHD
Interesting Fact: Thought to have been Bob Marley’s favorite

Maui Wowie (AKA Maui Waui or Mowie Wowie)

Origin: The volcanic soil of Maui
Strain: Sativa
Effects: uplifting and energizing, yet calming, cerebral effects
Scent: citrus and lavender with a hint of pine
Flavor: sweet tropical pineapple flavor
Appearance: dense green flower covered in crystals with bright orange hairs
Helpful in Alleviating: stress, pain, anxiety, depression, migraines, and eating disorders
Interesting Fact: very popular in the 1960s and 70s for its energizing yet calming effects

Thai (AKA: Thai Stick):

Origin: The tropical jungles of North East Thailand
Strain: Sativa
Effects: uplifting and energizing effects that promote mental focus and creativity
Scent: earthy pine with sweet and spicy fruit scents
Flavor: strong earthy flavor with a strong sour pine undertone
Appearance: pale green to brown
Helpful in Alleviating: depression, anxiety, and loss of appetite
Famous Offspring: Haze and AK-47
Interesting Fact: Back in the 1960s & 70s, silk string was used to tie the flower clusters together around bamboo sticks or cannabis stalks before the cannabis was brought to market – thus the name Thai Stick.

Landrace Strains Are About More Than Just Genetics

It is important to note that true landrace strains can be difficult to come by. Just because a strain of cannabis has landrace genetics, it doesn't mean it’s a true landrace. For example, let’s say a seed of Afghani is brought back from its indigenous location in Afghanistan and grown in Northern California.

Well, the different climate, elevation, and growing conditions in Northern California will likely generate different flavors, scents, and effects than those you might get from a true Afghani grown in its indigenous environment.

Finding the Right Landrace Strain at a Bloom Medicinals Dispensary

Finding the right strain of cannabis for you involves a lot more than just deciding between an indica or a sativa. To help you out, Bloom Medicinals offers free, one-on-one consultations, so we can get to know you, your qualifying conditions, medications you’re taking, dietary restrictions, activity level, and any specific effects you’re looking to avoid. By doing so, our patient care specialists can help you identify the products and consumption methods that can help you enjoy a better quality of life.

So, make sure to give your local Bloom Dispensary a call to schedule your free consultation today!

In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring the world of landrace strains and you live in:

  • Ohio, then you may want to try our Maui Wowie vape cartridges.
  • Maryland, then our Durban Poison extract might be for you.
  • Missouri, you may want to try our Grapefruit Durban flower–which is a hybrid of Durban Poison and Grapefruit.

Otherwise, click here to explore our best deals on cannabis flower, oils, and concentrates at a Bloom Medicinals dispensary near you.


  1. https://www.hellomd.com/articles/cannabis-landrace-strains-what-they-are-and-why-theyre-hot
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-6000-year-history-of-medical-marijuana-2018-6