Episode 87

Show Notes

Do you know the history of weed strains?

The original cannabis plants that have existed in the world for thousands of years are from Asia, the Middle East, Central & South America, and the Caribbean, and they are called Landrace strains.

Landrace cannabis strains have amazing characteristics – for years, people have enjoyed them to relieve pain or stress, help with sleep, or just relax & laugh. And despite cannabis being illegal, someone loved the effects so much – and yes, thought they could make some money from it– that they made a really big effort to share them across the world.

Landrace strains have originated literally thousands of new hybrid strains. On today’s show, we’ll share the secret history behind 5 classic landrace strains of weed:

Acapulco Gold, One of the most well-known sativa landrace strains, first found in Mexico.

Lamb’s Bread, A sativa dominant marijuana strain with energetic and uplifting effects, first found in Jamaica.

Durban Poison, A pure sativa landrace marijuana strain, from South Africa.

Thai, A pure sativa with a high thc content that provides an intense head high, first found in Thailand.

Afghani, One of the most potent indica landrace strains, it delivers a deep state of relaxation and euphoria Native to the mountains of Afghanistan, a natural climate optimal for its growth.

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Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:00):

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.

Sandra Guynes (00:06):

I like a strain that is predictable. That’s going to produce these results every single time. And for me, that is Afghani.

At night, I can take just enough for playtime with my husband or I can take just enough for me to be able to go to sleep and have a wonderful night’s sleep. So Afghani is my absolute favorite strain.

We grow it here at home and it’s just one that I love. And I find that I tend to seek out more of these Afghani strains, like Wedding Cake or Dirty Taxi. These all have these kinds of Afghan properties.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:43):

Welcome to How to Do the Pot, a podcast de-mystifying cannabis for women. I’m Ellen Scanlon. You just heard from Sandra Guynes, a California based nurse and home grower talking about a landrace strain called Afghani.

On our most recent episodes, we have shared so much about growing weed at home, which required some fairly technical knowledge transfer. Thank you for sticking with me.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (01:09):

Right now, in August, 2021, cannabis is legal for adult use in 18 states and legal for medical use in 37 states. But there’s a key part of the laws that you might not know about. The weed you buy in dispensary’s can only be grown in the state where you buy it.

There is no interstate commerce allowed for products that contain THC. So all cannabis is actually very local. Only a few cannabis brands sell outside of the state where they were founded and that’s through some complicated corporate arrangements. Even then, it still always means the cannabis plants are grown in the state where they’re sold.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (01:51):

Yet, weed is a lot more global than you might think. The original cannabis plants that existed in the world are from Asia, the Middle East Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They are called landrace strains and that’s our topic for today’s show.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (02:10):

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Ellen Lee Scanlon (02:25):

Since most growing and trading of cannabis in the past 100 years has been in the shadows, we don’t have a clear way to say, “This is the exact plant genetics of,” for example, “a strain called Durban poison.” A landrace strain, first found in the South African port town of Durbin, then brought to Amsterdam and then ultimately to the US. But what do we know about landrace strains and why do I think it’s helpful to think about them?

Ellen Lee Scanlon (02:56):

First, because it’s basically a secret history and I love a mystery. I also believe people who cultivate cannabis love the plant. These original strains have some amazing characteristics. For years, people have enjoyed them to relieve pain or stress, help with sleep, or just relax and have a laugh.

And someone loved the effects so much, and yes thought they could make some money from it, that they made a really big effort to share them. And now these original strains have helped create literally thousands of new hybrids. Cool, right?

Ellen Lee Scanlon (03:35):

Nicole Graf is the Washington based co-founder of the organic cannabis farm Raven, and the author of one of our favorite books called Grow Your Own. She shares why landrace strains can be very hard to find.

Nichole Graf (03:49):

The idea behind landrace strains is that there’s no hybridization so they are true to the way they grew on the land they originated from. It’s hard to say, with a lot of things that claim to be landrace, if they actually are, or if it’s more of a nod to the landrace spirit of that strain that once was, at this point. Typically, landrace strains are really, really difficult to find, maintain, and grow.

In theory, they’re going to be the most pure genetics to original from the land cannabis plants. In practice, actually finding that is very difficult. There are farms that specialize in landrace strains, and have spent their entire careers traveling to source those genetics. Those are the farms I would look to.

Or if your a grower has a really long story about how they got those genetics, maybe believe them. If you see pictures of the plants, usually the grower will want to share that, because they’re usually very unique looking plants.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (04:49):

I am lucky to know the author of the Indispensable, Scratch and Sniff Guide to Cannabis, Richard Betts, the New York Times bestselling author and master sommelier. He has written a really fun and accessible book about cannabis that I highly recommend, and it breaks down all the landrace strains. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (05:11):

Today, we’re going to talk about five classic landrace strains. Number one, Acapulco Gold. I first heard about Acapulco Gold from Shari Horne, the former mayor of Laguna Woods, California, who we featured in episode four.

I visited Acapulco on my first trip to Mexico when I was a kid and it’s amazing. So the strain name stuck with me. I’ve shared in earlier episodes, how much I like this strain and it’s considered by many experts to be one of the best weed strains ever cultivated because of its perfect cerebral high. Which basically means its effects are happy and energized with a clear head.

It smells like toffee and the products I’ve tried recently, are pre-rolls from California brands, Henry’s and Stone Road.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (06:02):

Number two, Lamb’s bread. I had the Bob Marley channel on in my car the other day and the announcer told a story about how the first artist signed to his Tuff Gong records was a woman. For some reason, the story just confirmed for me, yet again, that he is a visionary. According to many sources, Bob Marley’s favorite weed was a Jamaican strain called Lamb’s Bread.

The name comes from it’s buds, which were so thick they were like cutting through bread. It’s also known as Lamb’s Breath, but I don’t have a story about why. The strain is known for its energetic and uplifting effects and it helps relieve symptoms of chronic stress and depression.

It will be listed as a sativa in dispensaries. Often the strain has lower THC levels, under 20%, and may have some CBD in it too. If you can smell it, you’ll notice a citrus and spicy aroma.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (06:57):

Number three, Durban Poison. Durbin Poison is one of our 12 essential strains for women and you can hear more about it in Episode 37. It’s also our second most popular episode about strains. Harlequin is the most popular and next week we will share even more reasons why women love Durban Poison. So stay tuned.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (07:20):

Number four, Thai. This rare strain from tropical Thailand showed up in the US in the seventies and eighties. It’s also called Thai Sticks because of the way you smoked it, which was by skewering the bud on thin bamboo sticks.

If you’re in a hot humid place and you find this strain, it would be really fun to try because it’s notoriously hard to grow outside of that climate. It has a fruity citrus aroma and will bring on effects that most people associate with sativa strains, uplifted, happy and energized. Strains available in dispensaries that have Haze in their name are likely hybrids derived from the Thai landrace strain.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (08:03):

Number five, Afghani. At the beginning of the show you heard Sandra Guynes rave about Afghani. It is a landrace strain from Central Asia, where it grew in the Hindu Kush mountains, which span nearly 500 miles across Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s also called Afghan Kush and is considered a classic Indica strain.

It delivers a deeply relaxed, full body high with mood enhancing, mental effects. This strain, and any strain with the name Kush in it, can definitely make you hungry and you may find yourself couch locked.

It’s good for chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia, and has helped many people fall asleep. It has an earthy smell and a sweet flavor. Nicole has a personal story that shares the natural selection related challenges of growing landrace strains, outside of their original habitat.

Nichole Graf (08:59):

I did bring back a landrace sativa from Sri Lanka that was insane. But we had it flowering for I think, 25 weeks. And finally, we’re just like, this is never going to mature. It needs a proper jungle on the equator and we’re not there and we can’t really replicate those conditions indoors.

So by and large, we would wind up using our landrace strains as breeding stock versus maybe being really desirable in an open market. Because I think there are people who really value that landrace experience in theory, and then they try it and they’re like, “Oh, that’s not necessarily what I thought I wanted.”

Ellen Lee Scanlon (09:39):

As with any good travel story, since we weren’t there will we ever actually know what the original landrace strains were like? Maybe not, but I think it’s really fun to know what landrace strains are and I always look to see if they’re available at a local dispensary. I hope knowing more about these classic strains offers you some fun roadside stops on your weed journey.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (10:05):

Do you have a story about a landrace strain? We would love to hear it. Please reach out to or dm us @dothepot. Thank you for listening to How to Do the Pot.

For lots more information and past episodes, visit and that’s also where you can sign up for our newsletter, which comes out every other Friday. If you’d like updates on new episodes and some behind the scenes with our guests, follow @dothepot on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for updates.

Ellen Lee Scanlon (10:37):

And if you like How to Do the Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, it helps more people find the show. Thanks to Madi Fair, our brand manager and our producer, Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon and we’ll be back soon with more of How to Do the Pot.



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