There seems to be an almost never-ending flood of brand-new crossbred strains, and we do our best to review as many as possible! All of these strains are a cross of two or more marijuana strains, which themselves are usually a cross of a couple of strains, and so on. Regardless of the strain you use, it shares a common ancestor with every other strain: The feral annual plant which probably originated in around 13,000 BC in Central Asia.
The oldest weed strains in the world are classified as ‘landraces’; a term used to describe a pure cannabis strain cultivated in its natural environment. Crucially, landrace strains have never been crossbred. As landraces have grown wild and indigenously for thousands of years with no variations from one plant to the next, they are incredibly consistent. Landrace strains also tend to be almost entirely Indica or Sativa.
Usually, landrace strains are named after their place of origin. Classic examples include Panama Red and Acapulco Gold. It is becoming harder to find true landraces for obvious reasons. Imagine taking Panama Red out of its natural environment and trying to grow it in California under different growing conditions in a new climate. Obviously, the strain will lose some of the traits that made it unique.
Once a landrace is away from its original growing environment, it must mature under new conditions. As a consequence, the plant takes on new traits and will not stabilize for generations. When that process finally takes place, you are left with a strain different from the original. Now it is a phenotype rather than a genuine landrace.
As far as the cannabis plant goes, research indicates that it originated in south and central Asia near the Himalayan Mountains and the Middle East. Throughout history, humankind spread weed across the world, which means the oldest strains have probably been lost due to crossbreeding. Therefore, it is hard to provide a 100% accurate list of the world’s oldest cannabis strains; but here are five we believe make the cut.
1 – Aceh
This marijuana strain comes from the hills of Aceh, an Indonesian province. It is rather unfortunate then that Indonesia has one of the world’s strictest stances on the herb. The Indonesian government is cracking down on the cultivation and sale of weed, and place the plant on the same scale as heroin and meth.
The region was also the scene of a brutal massacre on May 3, 1999, when the military murdered more than 1,300 civilians. In 2005, Aceh saw more tragedy as 200,000 people died in a tsunami. The Aceh strain has survived all of this, and much more, and the pure sativa strain is a tall plant known for offering a feel-good smoke.
It isn’t the strongest strain with around just 10% THC, but it has a wonderful mango and tropical fruit taste. Aceh is a good option if you need an energy boost in the morning, but it isn’t potent enough to negatively impact your perception of things. If you get your hands on Aceh seeds, it takes 8-9 weeks to flower, with a yield of 13 ounces per square meter indoors, and 18 ounces outdoors.
2 – Nepalese
Any strain that grows in Nepal is known as a Nepalese strain. While most of the world has banned weed by the middle of the 20th century, Nepal held firm until the 1970s. Up until 1973, it was legal to smoke cannabis in Nepal, and it was easy to find a hashish shop. Sadly, the Nepalese government bowed to American pressure and began closing down stores and arresting growers.
However, to this day, Nepalese police officers often look the other way if they spot someone using marijuana on a small-time basis. Visitors to this beautiful region can avail of incredibly cheap marijuana. A tola (equivalent to 11 grams) is no more than $15! You can get a kilogram for a few hundred bucks, but at this point, you are risking serious prison time.
The original Nepalese landrace is a pure sativa and is rather potent with a THC content of up to 17%; although we have heard of tests where the level climbs to a very impressive 22%. It provides users with a euphoric high that stimulates the mind and makes you feel completely invigorated.
Eventually, the high impacts the body and alleviates stress. If you use too much Nepalese, you could become couch-locked. It has a sweet, citrus taste with powerful earthy flavors that hit the palate hard.
Although it is a pure sativa, Nepalese actually has an Indica structure. It is a sturdy plant with resinous buds that grows to a medium height. Indigenous Nepalese is grown at a high altitude, which can reach 3,000 meters! As a result, it stands strong against mold and cold temperatures. Its flowering time is 8-9 weeks, and it offers a staggering yield of up to 35 ounces per plant!
3 – Thai
Marijuana was used in traditional Thai medicine until it was banned in 1934. Thailand was home to the world’s most potent and smoothest weed, which is why it was exported globally in the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, Thailand followed America’s lead and began its own War on Drugs in the 80s.
However, on December 26, 2018, Thailand legalized medical marijuana; becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. It could lead to a goldmine for farmers as it is estimated that if a household is allowed to grow six marijuana plants (as is being championed by a major Thai political figure), it could generate up to $13,500.
The Thai landrace strain is a pure sativa with a THC content that could reach 24%. Remember when people said weed in the old days was weak? Turns out it is nonsense. The reason the THC level was so low is because the weed illegally imported was of poor quality and contained seeds and stems.
In any case, Thai is a pure strain and provides users with a balanced high. You may feel elated when high on Thai, and it helps relieve stress and fill your mind with optimistic thoughts. Users often report feeling a burst of energy, along with a level of focus that few marijuana strains provide.
It is a creamy and sweet smoke that provides a citrus and herbal taste on the exhale. If you fancy growing Thai, please note that it needs the careful hand of an experienced grower. It has a lengthy flowering time of up to 11 weeks and provides around 13 ounces of bud per plant.
4 – Afghani
Marijuana has been cultivated in Afghanistan for centuries and was only made illegal in 1957. Even then, the Afghan government was far from strict when applying the law. The Hippie Trail of the 1970s involved countless weed-loving tourists traveling to Afghanistan to sample potent cannabis.
The Afghani Landrace strain is 100% Indica and has a THC content of around 17%. It comes from the Hindu Kush mountain range within Afghanistan and has become the base strain for some of the world’s finest hybrids. Afghani offers a strong physical high that acts as a powerful sedative.
It is ideal for insomniacs as it makes sleep hard to resist, and you may also have a severe case of the munchies. Users often burst into fits of giggles. The sweet fragrance is matched by the taste, and you may also get a hint of pine, which is noticeable when you inhale. On the exhale, it is all about the sweet and spicy notes.
If you are looking to grow a unique strain, Afghani is a fabulous choice due to its stable genetics. Its flowering time is 7-8 weeks, and indoors users typically get 16 ounces per square meter planted. Its yield increases to 21 ounces when grown outdoors in a Mediterranean type climate.
5 – Hindu Kush
This marijuana strain is regarded as one of the most important in weed’s history. This landrace was originally grown in the 800 kilometer stretch of the Hindu Kush mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a pure indica strain with a THC content of up to 20%.
If you are in the mood to relax, there are few better options than this strain. You will feel so chill that you won’t even feel the sleep coming. It is the perfect strain for the late evening when you are in dire need of rest. It will also provide you with happy vibes, so consider using it if your mood is low.
Like Afghani, Hindu Kush provides a sweet and spicy taste sensation and is a creamy smoke. You may also get hints of lemon and pine cone. This plant grows short and is easy to grow outdoors, as long as you live in a warm climate. Outdoors, the yield is approximately 16 ounces per plant. If you grow Hindu Kush indoors, the yield is about 14 ounces per square meter planted, and its flowering time is 7-8 weeks.
Final Thoughts on Ancient Weed Strains
You could view these ancient landrace weed strains as the OGs of marijuana. They are thousands of years old and have provided traditional medicine practitioners with a steady supply of source material. As these are pure strains, their effects and flavors are unique from hybrid strains, and they maintain distinct and consistent traits.
The properties of landrace strains vary depending on the region. As they have never been hybridized, they adopt the qualities best suited for their native area. In the modern era, cannabis users are becoming more drawn to high-THC hybrids, but now and then, it is a good idea to find a landrace and smoke a bit of history.