Deepak Chaudhary and the Indian Landrace Exchange connect indigenous farmers with modern growers in an equitable exchange. List of products tagged as Landrace in the Alchimia Grow catalogue. Discover the backbone of almost all modern day strains. Learn where they come from, how to grow them & where to buy the best landrace seeds.
Grow landrace cannabis strains with ‘fair trade’ seeds from the source
With so much attention paid to America’s push toward legalization, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that cannabis cultivation—and cannabis culture—date back thousands of years.
Throughout India and Southeast Asia, indigenous farmers continue to grow cannabis and make hashish using methods passed down for untold generations. Despite a boom in demand and a global push to end prohibition, these traditional cannabis production communities continue to struggle economically, as changes in climate and encroaching tourism and development threaten their existence.
And now they find their unique landrace cannabis genetics under threat. Many of these storied lineages date back farther than the oldest wine grape varietals. These landrace cannabis strains may also hold the genetic building blocks for breeding the next generation of game-changing hybrid strains.
Ancient Himalayan strains, grown at the source
This cannabis landrace strain is grown by indigenous farmers in Himalayan valley villages within the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The region was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. (Photo courtesy of Indian Landrace Exchange)
Find, support, and defend landrace strains
Attempts to locate, preserve, and proliferate these strains date back decades. But most such efforts have been led by geographic and cultural outsiders, often driven more by profits than preservation.
Over the past five years a grassroots, locally-led, globally crowdsourced effort has emerged to help defend and support these local cannabis-growing communities. The Indian Landrace Exchange describes itself as a “collective of Indigenous frontline farmers, seed collectors, and preservationists” with the goal of supporting these communities economically while helping spread and preserve their landrace strains.
Grown locally, harvested by hand
Landrace seeds are harvested by hand in the local villages where the plants grow. (Photo courtesy Indian Landrace Exchange)
Indian Landrace Exchange steps in
To learn more, Leafly spoke with Deepak Chaudhary (@irrazinig), the cannabis landrace conservationist who helped found the Indian Landrace Exchange and continues to coordinate the group’s efforts.
Leafly: When did you first become interested in cannabis?
Deepak Chaudhary: When I first started consuming cannabis, I was smoking hashish that was not always good. So I had fun, but it didn’t entice me to really dig deeper into this plant. It wasn’t until I entered college that I had a little more exposure because I met people from different regions with different cultures and experiences.
I started smoking with people from Himachal Pradesh, which is a Highland region. And I was like, “Okay, I want to go wherever this resin [hashish] comes from.” That was the inspiration that eventually led to the Indian Landrace Exchange.
Genetics and flower unique to the region
This is an example of the incredibly colorful strains offered by the Indian Landrace Exchange. (Photo and text via indianlandraceexchange.com/genetic-library/)
Leafly: Where did you go first?
Chaudhary: In 2016, I went to Malana, which is the Mecca of cannabis in India. It’s almost like a religious pilgrimage. There, for the first time, I saw indigenous people using very traditional techniques to maintain their crops and domesticate them. From planting to harvesting to making concentrates and getting them to customers, the whole process was just so raw.
As I learned more about these communities, I began to think we should be documenting and preserving this way of life because these remote regions are changing rapidly. Every year you see more tourism, more houses, more shops, and less cannabis.
“When I visited the village, the plants were fully flowered. The smell was thick in the air everywhere.”
– Deepak Chaudhary, Indian Landrace Exchange founder
The first time I visited, it was October. The plants were fully flowered. When I reached the village, the smell was thick in the air everywhere. There was no escape from it, and that’s so beautiful. It’s something that leaves a very deep imprint on you. At harvest time, you also see a lot of people sitting on their porches rubbing down the plants to make hashish, which is basically the crudest form of extraction. But while hand rubbing may sound very simple, there are actually a lot of details. There’s a real art to it.
Technically in India cannabis is not permitted, but in Malana there’s not much law imposed. The nearest police station is 12 miles away, and to drive that road takes three hours. Those police are also from the same area, so basically they understand that these people are not committing any violent crime or anything like that. They’re farmers who just happen to have a different choice of crop and are mostly left alone. So the environment of the village is super peaceful.
Being there made me want to visit all of these kinds of places, meet the people, try to understand their culture, and then educate others about it. That includes the challenges they face, and how the landrace varieties of cannabis they grow are endangered.
I went next to Kashmir, and eventually to Southeast Asia and Pakistan. Now we have a network of friends and communities of farmers in all of these places. That’s how the Indian Landrace Exchange developed in an organic way into a grassroots effort of close to a hundred people that has taken on a life of its own.
How sticky is that ancient local bud?
Members of the Indian Landrace Exchange show off their “hash hands,” with the sticky resin from handling landrace strain cannabis plants in the field. (Photo courtesy of Indian Landrace Exchange)
Leafly: What does the Indian Landrace Exchange do to help these farmers?
Chaudhary: We became a bridge between the indigenous world and the world of legal cannabis.
For people in this newly legal industry, there’s a whole galaxy of possibilities in terms of finances. But that’s not true for people in traditional cannabis habitats—even though they’re doing most of the work.
When these indigenous farmers want to sell their resin, they can’t go make deals on their own. They have to relinquish it all to organized, underground groups that control the distribution to major markets, where they can get a good price for it. Some part of that wholesale price flows back to the growers, but not enough.
No matter what indigenous community you visit, they’re all struggling—despite how much they’re growing. But if we can help preserve their landrace genetics, while also helping them sell seeds to people all over the world, that changes the dynamic.
Tall, stalky cannabis in Kashmir
Cannabis growing beside the Jhelum River in Kashmir, the disputed territory between India and Pakistan. (Photo courtesy of Indian Landrace Exchange)
Leafly: And these seeds are the “landraces,” right? What does that term mean when it comes to cannabis?
Chaudhary: A cannabis varietal which has adapted to one specific locale over time could be classified as a landrace cannabis variety, although there are many different ways to further sub-categorize it depending on how it has been developed. By mapping the genome of plants grown in indigenous communities, we have been able to prove these are unique native varietals dating back thousands of years.
“Our first priority is preservation. Then we make sure a fair share of the revenue generated by selling these seeds goes to the farmers.”
– Deepak Chaudhary, Indian Landrace Exchange
Our first priority has always been preservation. Then we make sure a fair share of the revenue generated by selling these seeds goes back to those farmers. Some people will go to these indigenous people and pay them $1,000 for a million seeds. That’s a lot of money in those communities—but they’re also doing the same colonialist thing that’s been happening forever.
What we do is create small collectives amongst the indigenous farmers. I tell them, “Every year we’ll come back and take some samples from each of your fields.” And then I show them all my costs and incomes and explain that their unique landrace genetics are even more valuable than the resin they produce.
That’s sometimes very hard for them to fathom, until I start paying them more money than they’ve been making off the resin. And what that does is not only help financially liberate people, it also assures them that—should anything happen to their crops—they must still save these seeds. Because as long as you have the seeds, you have everything.
Final product: Old-school hashish
Traditionally dry-sifted trichomes and baked hashish from South Kashmir. (Photo courtesy Indian Landrace Exchange)
Leafly: What’s a good example of how this changes the dynamic for farmers?
Chaudhary: In the town of Mastung, in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan, we worked with a grower who had a water crisis in a dry place where you have to dig a thousand feet down to reach ground water. That costs a lot of money. So we arranged a couple of seed sales—while preserving and documenting his genetics—and that earned him enough revenue to pay for digging a well. It’s not something that’s going to transform someone’s entire life, but it’s significant. We try to do things like that wherever we go.
Packaged cannabis seeds like these can be found at local markets in remote regions of India and Pakistan. (Courtesy of Indian Landrace Exchange)
Leafly: How are seeds made available to growers in Europe and North America?
Chaudhary: All of the information we have about the genetics we collect and preserve is available free on our website. From there, I basically work with a few selected seed banks, which you can find on my Instagram page.
Whether you’re an American grower or a European grower, my first suggestion would be to visit my Instagram feed and educate yourself about different genetics from different regions. We also document all of the tours we take so you can match each of these landraces to the community where it grows. It’s important to find one that will grow well in the climate where you live, so we make that information available as well.
Landrace cannabis seeds
Pure cannabis strains (also called landraces or purebreds) have developed in its natural environment and has never been crossed with any other strain but inbred through many, many generations. These varieties are very stable and present very few variations – if any – from one plant to another.
Most landrace genetics are then 100% Sativa or 100% Indica, although there are some exceptions. Normally, pure or landrace cannabis strains often include their country or region of origin in their name. Examples: Hindu Kush (Indica), Acapulco Gold (Sativa), Panama 74 (Sativa), etc.
Pure strains have the advantage of offering very original flavors and effects, pretty different of those from today’s hybrids, which often contain the same genetic basis (Skunk, Haze, etc.).
These pure strains will bring amazing memories to smokers from the 60s/70s, since at that time this was the type of marijuana normally available on the market.
Landrace cannabis strains
Here you’ll find a list with all the pure marijuana strains from our catalog. We also include in this category those varieties created from crosses between two and three pure genetics.
The Best Landrace Seeds
A deep dive into the 10 best landrace strains of all time. Find everything you need to know about the original weed varieties in this definitive landrace strains list.
The popularity of indoor-grown weed makes it hard to imagine that marijuana grows wild outdoors like any other plant.
Before marijuana cultivation ever became a thing, landrace cannabis strains were natively growing all around the world in places like the Himalayas, Jamaican fields, and Thai jungles. In fact, landrace varieties still grow wild in those places.
What’s a landrace strain? Simply put, it’s a non-hybrid cannabis strain that’s native to a specific region. Strictly speaking, all of today’s hybrids are derived from landrace strains.
Follow this guide as it covers the best of the best landrace strains for you to grow at home easily.
How to Choose the Best Landrace Strains
There are crazy amounts of hybrid marijuana strains to choose from. You might be surprised to find out there are just as many — if not more — landrace strains out there too.
The difficulty in selecting them is that many of them haven’t been stabilized into seed form, and those that have are often so exotic they can be hard to find.
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by assembling the best landrace strains on Earth into one comprehensive list. If you want to whittle the endless selection of landrace strains down to the very best, you must use strict criteria.
When choosing the creme de la creme of Earth’s original marijuana plants, use the following categories.
The concept of terroir is borrowed from viticulture but applies very well to landrace strains. Terroir is French for land — used in this context, it refers to where the cannabis variety is from, and how that place influences everything about it.
Appearance, flavor, aroma, and plant traits derive from a landrace strain’s terroir, making the selection of a strain based on its denomination fundamental.
Consider a landrace strain’s history before making a selection. Most of them have been used as backbone strains for today’s massive industry of hybrid cannabis genetics.
Wouldn’t it be cool to grow the original strains behind your favorite hybrids? The lemon rind, strawberry, and blueberry aromas found in certain hybrids come from landrace lineage.
Connecting with the history of marijuana by growing landrace seeds is a valuable lesson, indeed.
Rare Landrace Strains
Afghani and Hindu Kush are two landrace strains found in an overwhelming majority of indica hybrids. However, what about trying something new?
Many rare landrace strains haven’t been popularized in hybrids but make for exciting cultivation experiences nonetheless. Going off the beaten path is often a good thing, and will make for some interesting conversation as you pass to the left.
If you’re growing landrace seeds to try something different, it’s important to pull down enough during harvest for a long-lasting head stash.
Pure landrace cannabis plants often deliver high yields to reproduce in nature successfully. Varieties from harsh environments, however, don’t yield as much and might disappoint you.
Make sure to select a plant with a yield that matches your expectations.
The differences between indica landrace strains and sativas is enormous. On the indica side, strains like Mazar-I-Sharif contain narcotic physical effects. A sativa like Oaxacan Gold, on the other hand, is very racy.
Which effects are you after? Use the answer to that question to guide your selection.
Not all landrace strains are created equal — and thus, some are much harder to grow than others.
Align your selection with your skill level. Are you experienced? Then spring for landrace seeds that require your skillset. If you’re a novice, go with one of the many easy to grow varieties.
Value for Money and Effort
Growing out a rare landrace strain is great and all, but what if the difficulty and yield aren’t worth your time?
Choose a strain that rewards your efforts. Going based on rarity alone might lead to frustration if the plant doesn’t yield well, or is too time-consuming to grow.
The 10 Best Landrace Seeds to Grow At Home
The criteria mentioned above will help you choose the best landrace seeds to grow at home. But, just to give you a helping hand, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the best landrace strains for at-home cultivation.
These strains strike a balance between effects, appearance, yield, grow difficulty, and origins. You’ll find that many landrace strains come from Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s for a good reason, of course, but what about the rest of the world?
Every continent and island on the map has a history of cannabis plants native to the area. With the list below, you’ll discover an entire globe’s worth of fantastic landrace genetics right at your fingertips.
#10 Maui Wowie
If you want to mentally teleport yourself to a tropical paradise using only your imagination’s strength, smoke a bowl of Maui Wowie.
This landrace sativa strain hails from Hawaii, where it was discovered and cultivated by natives for centuries. By the time the hippies made it to the islands during the 1960s, this particular landrace had already been cultivated to perfection.
Anyone looking for an energetic strain giving pure euphoria, happiness, and a get it done state of mind will find that growing Maui Wowi truly delivers.
Originating from deep in northern reaches of Afghanistan, Mazar-I-Sharif is a stone indica landrace strain famous for its potency.
While Mazar is itself a phenotype descended from Afghani, it truly shines in producing an unmitigated full-body high akin to another one of Afghanistan’s famous exports.
Additionally, growers love this strain for its resin production, which allows you to create great bubble hash with ease.
What’s the difference between Mazar and Afghani? Mazar tends to be slightly more potent and leans much heavier on the side of sedative indica effects.
#8 Lamb’s Bread aka Lamb’s Breath
Bob Marley always went around puffing on a joint. Do you know what he was smoking? Yes, that’s right — Lamb’s Bread.
Lamb’s Bread is a landrace strain from Marley’s native Jamaica. As a potent sativa, Jamaican musicians have long relied on Lamb’s Bread to give a creative boost to the jamming process. It also goes a long way in explaining reggae’s good vibes — Lamb’s Bread makes you feel like everything’s gonna be alright.
Now that you know which strain powers the deepest dub, you’ll want to get your hands on some of these easy to grow landrace seeds.
#7 Acapulco Gold
Of all the landrace strains in the world, Acapulco Gold is one of the most famous. The reason why has everything to do with how it helped popularize cannabis in the US between the 1960s and 1980s.
As the first heavily imported cannabis strain to the US, Acapulco Gold’s name became ubiquitous, and, over time, synonymous with cannabis itself. Actors, politicians, college kids — people of all stripes tasted and loved Acapulco Gold.
People have loved Acapulco Gold for decades precisely for its uplifting qualities that also carry over to cultivation. This strain grows like a champion and boasts huge buds throughout the flowering process.
Besides its powerful sativa effects, which make it the perfect daytime strain, Acapulco Gold is also beloved for its resinous beauty and toffee flavor.
#6 Durban Poison
South Africa may not be the first country on the tip of your tongue when thinking of cannabis cultivars. Nevertheless, Durban Poison hails from the South African port city of Durban, where it was cultivated from an unknown African landrace strain.
Anyone searching for the ultimate good vibe will jive with Durban Poison. Amongst landrace varieties, none bring on the energy, hilarity, and positive perspective quite like Durban.
Moreover, extract artists love it for the massive amounts of sugar produced on the harvested buds, which is why Durban Poison is often found in concentrate form.
Uplifted, focused, energetic
Medium to Tall
If a rare landrace strain with incredible terroir and effects is what you seek, Aceh surely delivers.
Descended from the tropical volcanic islands of Indonesia, Aceh is a sativa landrace unlike any other. Rather than boost your energy levels and mood as most sativas do, Aceh brings on big surges of relaxed creativity, making it a must for artists, thinkers, and explorers.
While other landrace sativas tend to be about pure energy, Aceh delivers a good focus that is at once mellow and lively. Travelers in Indonesia have plenty of stories about coming across bricks of Aceh weed that, despite their compressed looks, provided some of the most chilled out experiences a traveler could ask for.
Interestingly, Aceh is a lower THC strain than many other landrace varieties, making it a great entry-level strain for novice smokers. Finding Aceh seeds can be challenging, but when you do, buy them on sight.
#4 Alien Technology
While the strain name Alien Technology is simply awesome, its qualities as a cannabis cultivar are even better. Alien Technology is a secret indica landrace strain from Afghanistan that made its way into the hands of Obsoul33t, a famous breeder, by curious means.
A US soldier returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan collected the seeds, then passed them off to his close friend Obsoul33t. The only certainty about Alien Technology seeds is their Afghan mountain denomination, leading many to speculate they are likely a superior Afghani pheno.
As a top-tier indica, Alien Technology is for anyone who loves hashy bud with a deep, meditative indica body stone. Obsoul33t’s genetics have won at Cannabis Cup competitions and are extremely prized by industry titans like the Jungle Boys.
Knowing that Alien Technology forms the basis of all of Obsoul33t’s elite genetics should genuinely make a case for getting this plant in your garden right away.
#3 Hindu Kush
When it comes to backbone strains for the entire marijuana cultivation industry, few can contend with Hindu Kush. Hailing from deep in the Hindu Kush mountain range’s valleys and majestic peaks, this landrace indica is an essential strain for any cannabis lover.
What makes Hindu Kush such a beloved strain? It delivers an incredibly well-rounded profile of relaxing effects. Happiness, blissful relaxation, euphoria, and deep pain relief are all on the menu when you load a bowl of Hindu Kush.
What’s more, growing Hindu Kush is none too difficult, even in small spaces, owing to the plant’s compact stature and robust characteristics.
#2 Thai aka Thai Stick
Did your dad ever tell you about the time he smoked weed? Maybe he was on leave in a Vietnamese village during the war, or passing a J around with friends in the 70s.
If you asked him the strain name, he’d more than likely tell you they smoked Thai Sticks. Sometimes referred to as just Thai, Thai Stick is an incredibly famous sativa landrace strain whose genetics have found their way into legendary strains like Blueberry, Northern Lights, and Trainwreck.
As a critical backbone strain to some of the most influential hybrids of all time, Thai has been relied upon for bringing relaxed focus, smooth energy, and exotic terpene profiles.
#1 Afghani aka Afghani Kush
The one and only Afghani, sometimes called Afghani Kush. Afghani represents landrace strain genetics at their very finest — pure, potent, and incredibly stable.
In your bowl, Afghani burns mellow, smooth, and hashy. Its effects are an unmatched balance of narcotic body stone, mental clarity, and mood-boosting euphoria on an order that few strains can match.
More importantly, growing Afghani is accessible to everyone because of the plant’s ability to grow big buds in compact spaces without technical challenges. No crazy nutrient mixes and feeding schedules required — Afghani is a very straightforward plant, making it the perfect intro to cultivating landrace seeds.
Growing landrace strains is uber important for attaining a deeper understanding of cannabis culture and the plant itself.
It’s easy to be amused by the increasingly creative names of cannabis strains. However, they also take people further away from the origins of cannabis by obscuring a plant’s roots.
While strains like Wedding Cake taste, smell, and look incredible, few can answer which landrace strains reside in its distant lineage. Interestingly enough, hyped hybrids being sold in Los Angeles dispensaries are mainly phenotypes of plants that grow, to this day, in the wilds of Afghan hillsides.
As proponents of the cannabis plant, it is of the utmost importance to not only remember where strains come from but to continue cultivating original heirloom genetics. Doing so protects them from disappearing due to over-selection, hybridization, and climate change.
Beyond being a goodwill gesture, choosing and growing landrace seeds for your garden helps sharpen your eyes, nose, and taste buds, elevating your abilities as a cannabis connoisseur. After cultivating your fair share of landraces, you’ll begin to recognize them in amazing hybrids like Tangie, Jack Herrer, and Gorilla Glue.
Lastly, landrace strains are very resilient to changing conditions. They’ve had to adapt over eons in harsh, wild environments. As a cultivator, these adaptations will make your life much more comfortable as landrace plants tend to be more forgiving of mistakes, temperature shifts, and other less than ideal conditions.
Whatever your reasons for growing landrace seeds are, make sure to enjoy the journey.
If you have come this far, you are probably still looking for your favorite seeds…
Fortunately, we have reviewed dozens of other varieties of cannabis seeds of different types that can significantly suit your needs!