It may seem commonplace to just walk into a store and buy marijuana today, but it used to be so much different — and so was the weed.
The marijuana market didn’t have companies with reward programs and logo-smattered merch — it was a sketchy dude named something like “8-Ball” or “Yo-Yo.” If you were lucky he had two options. It is likely that there would be something cheaper in Mexico and something slightly better in Colombia.
Nearly all marijuana had some seeds and stems, and it wasn’t a catastrophe. It’s just how it came. It wasn’t even in grams — you likely bought lids, quarter bags, or “finger” bags (two-finger, three-finger, etc.)
These strains were likely crosses, but they did come from the ground in this way. A landrace strain refers to a strain that is found in nature, and grows without any interference from man. Because plants pollinate in nature all the time, they have been breeding for hundreds of years before being discovered.
Essentially, landrace strains are the building blocks for the cannabis grown today — and there are still countless more to be discovered in the wild.
While many of the great strains of the 1960s & 1970s may be gone forever, some of them are still available in different forms.
Essentially, there are four things to look out for if you’re thinking about growing landrace strains or even some classic crosses.
What was the Story of Seed Creation?
There are many discrepancies within the seed world, especially between old landrace varieties. This stage requires serious research.
It is important to find out the origin of the seeds. Are they genuine seeds? Are they quality clones? Or did they just reverse engineer the effects and come up with something close to the original — then call it whatever they wanted. The latter happens more than you might expect — and it’s fine, so long as the vendor is clear about its origin.
These vintage seed dealers are more trustworthy and often open about their origins.
Original seeds and clones of actual plants are the best options.
Where did the strain originate?
It is crucial to understand the source of a strain in order to get the desired effects. One strain that did well in Afghanistan may not thrive in Washington, for instance.
Eybna is both a technology company as well as a terpene manufacturer. It has developed a line formulations that reproduce the classic terpene profiles found in some of these strains. The company offers a variety terpene solutions which can be applied to plants, manufactured products, or inhalables. The Enhancer terpene formulas were developed based on genetic research that looked at the original phytochemical composition of three heritage strains. The “Diesel”, “Skunk” and “Kush” terpene formulations give your existing bud or distillate product more of a classic feel by capturing some of those lost or diluted effects from the past.
Nadav Eyal (co-founder, CEO, Eybna) has spent decades researching classic strains.
“If you want to preserve the original taste, smell and effect of the original wildtype plant, you have to watch the climate,” Eyal said in a recent interview with Cannabis & Tech Today. “Being able to match the strain to its original climate is crucial to properly recreating the bud.”
He said that if you really want to experience Acapulco Gold, then you must find a way of re-creating the same environment where it first grew. You should monitor your humidity and temperature, as well as your light cycles, to ensure that they are similar to natural growth.
“Because of the places they were grown, they were able to develop and compound on their own,” Eyal said. “And they’re different from place to place.”
Most of the work can be handled by fans, humidifiers, fans, quality lighting, and timing devices. It doesn’t matter how much you spend to make it perfect.
An Outdoor Grow May Be Best
While most landrace strains can thrive in an indoor grow room, it’s not necessarily the best course of action.
An anonymous representative from the Old School Breeders Association worked on classic strains.
“Growers may want to let these strains grow out to their full stature. For example, just a few large plants per light, especially when grown from seed,” the OSBA representative said. “Clones of landrace cannabis genetics may finish a little faster and tighter than their seed parent — so select the phenotypes that work for your grow room for best results.”
He emphasizes the importance of not forgetting and growing. If something turns out to be great, you’re going to want to go back to it.
“Although you may pick a favorite that’s most suitable for your modern growing style, it may be worthwhile to keep clones of the others and occasionally grow them out,” the OSBA rep said. “You may find some that have natural resistance to common crop problems that your modern cannabis genetics do not.”
Reputable dealers are available for you to shop
There are many seed banks and dispensaries around the globe. Many are hardworking, honest cannabis lovers. However, there are some who are less honest. You can do your research and find out how others feel about previous orders.
The truth is that it is difficult to identify the source of a seed from just by looking at it. Trusting the seller is therefore crucial. Sellers who are able to prove that they have genuine landrace strains are usually very excited about them and will happily tell you all you need to.
“Besides having strains you want, the most certain way to qualify a seed supplier is the number of years they have been delivering seeds to their customers,” the Old School Breeders Association representative said. “There have been countless seed companies that have come and gone for a variety of reasons. If a company has been around for over ten years, it’s a pretty safe bet they have the means and intent to stay around at least that much longer.”
However, he is quick to remind that everyone must start somewhere. He suggests searching social media to find out if growers are happy with their products.
“Another quick and effective way to weed out the frauds is just to pick up the phone and give them a call,” they said. “Do they answer right away and are they able to answer your questions? Don’t hesitate to pick up a phone or send an email before your order. People do it every day, and it’s the best way to ensure you are happy with your purchase.”
Where Are They Now
Effects:Happy, uplifted, and energetic
Available from: Barney’s Farm
Origin:Durban in South Africa
Effects: Energetic, uplifting, and creative
Available starting at: Dutch Passion
Effects:Relaxation, Euphoria and Sleepy
Available from: Sensi Seeds
Effects:Happy, focused, energetic
Available starting at:The Real Seed Company stocks a range of rare Thai seeds, although it is believed that the original Thai is now lost forever. This is your best chance to be close with the many landrace varieties from the region.
Effects:Happy, uplifted, talkative
Available starting at:Ace Seeds also sells a feminized version that is adapted for modern growing environments. A close replica is also available from Ace Seeds, which is made from three sativas similar to those from Panama.
Origin:Santa Cruz, Calif.
Effects:Happy, uplifted, and energetic
Available from:Flying Dutchmen
Effects: Happy, Relaxed, Hungry
Available from: Old School Breeders Association
Malawi / Malawi Gold
Origin: Southeast Africa
Effects:Creative, energetic, uplifted and creative
Available from: Many are out of stock but Old School Breeders Association’s Malawi Gold x Thai cross is highly regarded.
Origin: Northern Afghanistan
Effects: Very Relaxing, Euphoric
Available from:The Real Seed Company
Origin: Most likely to have been Bay Area breeders from the late 1970s
Effects: Happy, Euphoric, Hungry
Available from: Skunk #1 is most likely the closest. This cross is available from Sacred Seed Co. and contains multiple classic genetics (Afghani. Acapulco Gold. Colombian Gold). It may be the closest thing to the original Skunk.
*The above information regarding classic strains includes some estimation. As much as could be verified, was, but there is minimal documentation or “proof” available. Eybna as well as the Old School Breeders Association team for helping compile this information.
This feature first appeared in The Fall 2021 Issue of Cannabis & Tech Today. You can read the entire issue here.