Exploring the Origins of Cannabis: A Look at Native Marijuana Strains

Native marijuana strains represent some of the oldest known cannabis varieties in existence today. Learn more about these heirloom varieties and how they have shaped modern cannabis culture.

Exploring the Origins of Cannabis: A Look at Native Marijuana Strains

The term “local race” comes from the Danish language and means “origin”. Native marijuana strains are the oldest known cannabis varieties, and are the ancestors of the many different types of hybrids that cannabis users enjoy today. Cannabis Sativa is probably the oldest scientific name given to a pure sativa strain that is not hybridized. Haze is one of the most cultivated and recognized 100% sativa hybrids in the world, with its origins dating back to the early 1970s in Santa Cruz, California.

This strain was created by two brothers known as Haze Brothers, who crossed different cannabis lines using seeds of the best imported sativa strains, most often offered by their friend and neighbor Sam The Skunkman. The original hybrid was created by crossing a Mexican sativa with a Colombian sativa. A year later, the best selected females of this hybrid were crossed with a native strain from southern India. Finally, the female offspring of this new hybrid were crossed again with a male native to Thailand.

Cannabis strains are pure or hybrid varieties of the plant genus Cannabis, which encompasses species C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis.

Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are the two most frequently cultivated species of the genus Cannabis. A third species, Cannabis ruderalis, is very short and produces only traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it is not commonly cultivated for industrial, recreational or medicinal use. However, because Cannabis ruderalis blooms regardless of photoperiod and age, it has been used to breed autoflowering strains.Hybrid varieties with varying proportions of these three types are common, such as the White Widow hybrid, which has approximately 60% indica and 40% sativa ancestry. These hybrid varieties exhibit traits of both parent types.

There are also commercial cross-hybrids that contain a mixture of ruderalis, indica or sativa genes, and are usually autoflowering varieties.Lowryder was an early autoflowering hybrid that maintained the flowering behavior of ruderalis plants, while producing appreciable amounts of THC and CBD. Autoflowering cannabis strains have the advantage of being discreet due to their small stature. They also require shorter growth periods, as well as having the added advantage that they don't rely on a change in photoperiod to determine when to bloom.For there to be genetic stability within a marijuana strain, the breeder has to go through selection and breeding, identifying the dominant and recessive genes within the two strains that are crossed. Different strains can survive in different conditions and, in general, marijuana is quite adaptable.There may come a day when global cannabis markets will open, giving us direct access to native varieties from all over the world.

Until then, there are some heirloom varieties you can find in your local store to keep you satisfied. All of these strains are a cross of two or more varieties of marijuana, as are the vast majority of their parent strains.Strainhunters travel the world to find and collect practically intact native strains to recover original genetic material that can be used to develop new strains with. A native marijuana strain is one of the earliest varieties grown in various regions of the world and often bear a name that hints at their origin: “Thai”, “Durban Poison”, “Acapulco Gold” and more are some well-known examples.If you get a true native strain, it will most likely be less potent than a strain you find today as current strains are usually created for greater potency.