Essential Strains

What is Good Weed – the Secret History of Strains

Episode 158

Show Notes

Learn about Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison, Lamb’s Bread, Thai and Afghani

On today’s show, we’ll talk about the original cannabis plants that have existed for thousands of years, called Landrace strains. We’ll reveal the secret history behind 5 of the best-known Landrace strains: Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison, Lamb’s Bread, Thai and Afghani, and hear from cannabis experts about what makes them so special. You’ll also discover that these original strains have helped create thousands of new hybrids that are consumed today, which is pretty incredible if you ask us.

Thank you to our guests Lana Van Brunt, Hayley Dineen, Sandra Guynes, Nichole Graf and Kim Reyes.

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Ellen Scanlon (00:00):

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

Lana Van Brunt (00:06):

What is good weed? Good weed to me is all about the vibe. I do not want anything that’s going to put me even further into my head than I already am. I want to be back in my body, centered, grounded, and a general calm wash over me.

Ellen Scanlon (00:26):

Welcome to How to Do the Pod, a podcast demystifying cannabis for women. I’m Ellen Scanlon. You just heard from Lana Van Brunt, the co-founder of the cannabis accessories company, Sackville and Co, answering the question, what is good weed? Welcome to the fourth episode in our series, What Is Good Weed? In these episodes, we are digging into what is good weed for how you want to feel, and which strains will help you feel that way, whether that is more relaxed, more balanced, or more energized. So far in this series we’ve talked about a few essential and beloved strains, OG Kush, ACDC, Bubblegum, and Harlequin. On today’s show, we’ll talk about the secret history behind some of the best cannabis strains in the world and get inside tips from cannabis experts about why we all love them.

Ellen Scanlon (01:28):

Right now, in October 2022, in the US, cannabis is legal for adult use in 19 states, and legal for medical use in 38 states. But there’s a key part of the laws that you might not know about. The cannabis you buy in dispensaries 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 is through some complicated corporate arrangements. Even then, it always means the cannabis plants are grown in the state where they are sold. 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 is our topic for today’s show.

Ellen Scanlon (02:49):

Since most of the growing and trading of cannabis in the past hundred years has been in the shadows, we don’t have a clear way of saying this is the exact plant genetics of, for example, a strain called Durban Poison. It’s a landrace strain. It was first found in the South African port town of Durban, 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? 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 laugh. And someone loved the effect 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 to create literally thousands of new hybrids. It’s pretty cool, right?

Ellen Scanlon (04:07):

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

Nichole Graf (04:24):

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 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 wants to share that because they’re usually very unique looking plants.

Ellen Scanlon (05:28):

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 Scanlon (05:51):

Ready to learn about five classic landrace strains? Number one, Acapulco Gold. I first heard about Acapulco Gold from Sherry Horn, 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 is amazing. So the strain name stuck with me. It’s considered by many experts to be one of the best weed strains ever cultivated because of its ‘perfect high’, which basically means its effects are happy and energized with a clear head. It smells like toffee. And during the summer and fall, at least in California, you can usually find it in dispensaries. If you’re curious to learn more, we have a whole episode about Acapulco Gold that will probably entice you to buy it whenever you see it, which is what I do. That’s episode 143, and I’ll add it to the show notes.

Ellen Scanlon (06:57):

We believe you can never have too many favorite podcasts, but with so many to choose from. I also know that finding the right shows to add to your rotation can require some legwork. So we started How To Do The Pot’s Podcast Club, where every so often we’ll share some really great podcasts that we think you’ll like too. If you want to share a show that you think we might enjoy, please reach out to or you can DM us at Do the Pot.

Ellen Scanlon (07:28):

What do you get when you take two childhood friends, a dozen books and a whole lot of booze? You get the Goofiest game in history, you get Queens Podcast. Some history podcasts are dry and boring. And also, they were mostly by straight, white dudes about old, dead dudes, for dudes. Boring. Katie and Nathan, the host of Queens Podcast, wanted to tell the stories that people might not know. You may know the names and the places, but believe it or not, history is more than the stories of dudes on a battlefield. And Katie and Nathan believe that the female perspective and roles are just as deserving of their time in the spotlight. I really like the episode on Aretha Franklin, and I can’t wait to check out the show all about Catherine de’ Medici. So please check out Queens Podcasts wherever you listen.

Ellen Scanlon (08:38):

Number two, Lamb’s Bread. I had the Bob Marley Sirius channel on in my car, and the announcer told a story about how the first artist signed to his Tuff Gong Records was a woman. It’s a small thing, but 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 its buds, which were so thick that they were like cutting through bread. Kim Reyes, a San Francisco based marketing manager shares what she loves about it.

Kim Reyes (09:17):

Lamb’s bread provides a kick of creativity that clears my head.

Ellen Scanlon (09:20):

The strain is known for its energetic and uplifting effects, and it helps to 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 Scanlon (09:45):

Number three, Durban Poison. Durban Poison is one of How To Do The Pot’s 12 essential strains for women, and you can hear more about it in episode 89. You can tune in for my personal story about why Durban poison definitely lives up to its name as the espresso of weed. Number four, Thai. This rare strain from tropical Thailand showed up in the US in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s also called Thai Sticks because of the way you smoked it, which was by skewing 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. Number five, Afghani. I’ll let Sandra Guynes, a nurse and one of our favorite medical experts share why she loves it.

Sandra Guynes (11:02):

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 kind of Afghan properties.

Ellen Scanlon (11:36):

Afghani 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 Graf has a personal story that shares the natural selection related challenges of growing landrace strains outside of their original habitat.

Nichole Graf (12:29):

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 were 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 Scanlon (13:14):

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. I’ll leave you with a final thought on what is good weed from the other co-founder of Sackville and Co, Haley Dineen.

Haley Dineen (13:49):

I think good weed really is about quality. It’s about how it’s grown, it’s about who is growing it and the care that they are taking to ensure that the plant is the best that it can be. So that means really taking care not to have pesticides. I love sun grown weed, but there’s also really good indoor weed, so don’t hate on that. But good weed is weed that is grown with care.

Ellen Scanlon (14:18):

Stay tuned for next week’s episode, our final episode in the series, What Is Good Weed, which is all about good energizing strains. For lots more information and past episodes, visit, and that’s also where you can sign up for our newsletter. For sneak peeks behind the scenes, please follow us on socials @dothepot. And if you like How To Do The Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, it really helps more people find the show. Thanks to our writer, Meliá Grasska, and our producers, Madi Fair and Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon, and thanks for listening to How To Do The Pot.



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