Though cannabis is all over the news these days thanks to its medicinal use, legalization and the growing potential for expanded legalization, we’re not naive to think that cannabis doesn’t have a rich history. In fact, cannabis roots date back thousands of years – as far back as 2900 B.C. –, as the plant has been historically cultivated for food, medicinal and religious purposes, among others. This post will take a closer look at the evolution of cannabis and how landraces have given way to CBD strains and a variety of CBD products. Here’s a closer look:

Evolution of Cannabis

The early records of cannabis indicate that it originated in Central Asia. Sensing its value, humans then cashed in on its bevy of uses and began growing the plant in virtually every part of the world. From Central Asia, it’s thought that it spread into Europe next, then to the Middle East, Africa and other parts of Asia. Eventually, it was introduced to the Americas and Australia.

While Central Asia is believed to be the birthplace of cannabis, it’s also worth noting that all subsequent landraces in other areas are the result of selective “breeding” by humans and plant adaptation to the surrounding environment (weather, soil, fertilization and more all play a vital role in the collective chemical makeup of cannabis). As cannabis expanded, different landraces have since been crossbred with others, so that today we’re able to experience a wide variety of different strains. Think of it like how dogs have been bred over time to create completely new breeds. Just as human intervention helped expand the availability of cannabis beyond Central Asia, the agricultural prowess of humans has led to the multitude of strains available today.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular landraces, all of which have different characteristics based on where they’re grown and cultivated:

  • Colombian, Sativa: Colombian strains are generally broken up into two categories: those grown in Atlantic regions and those grown in the mountains. Colombian Gold and Santa Marta Gold are two of these types of landraces.
  • Hindu Kush: These are landraces grown in the Afghan and Pakistani valleys (think: dry, arid climates).
  • Indian: The term generally describes cannabis grown in central and southern parts of India. Unlike other landraces, these are mostly used for ritual and religious purposes.
  • Jamaican: Landraces grown in Jamaica are well known for being more psychoactive than other strains. The Lamb’s Bread strain is well-regarded as the favorite of music icon Bob Marley.
  • Lebanese: We’ll round out this list with Lebanese landraces, which are typically used for making a type of hash with a narcotic-like effect.

Today, it’s uncommon to experience a pure landrace strain, as hybridization has helped to produce even more variety. While hybridization has led to strains with high THC, more are being developed today to include high levels of cannabidiol for medicinal purposes.

CBD and Types of CBD Strains

While many cannabis growers have moved, over time, towards developing a product with high amounts of THC for its mind-altering affect and the “high” it can produce, the chemical cannabidiol, or CBD, is becoming increasingly sought after in higher concentrations for medicinal purposes. Once reduced to trace amounts, CBD is making a huge comeback – as are its different presentations, such as cannabinol, CBD hemp oil and CBD oil. CBD, specifically, is proven to decrease anxiety and minimize the likelihood of seizures. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get users high.

Here’s a look at some of the more popular CBD strains:

  • ACDC: Though this strain is 50-50 THC/CBD, it’s designed to improve mood and also help fight symptoms of anxiety, nausea, pain, arthritis and inflammation.
  • Charlotte’s Web: With CBD content at 20 percent and very low THC, this strain can be used as a food supplement. It’s mainly used to help treat seizures in children, as well as muscle pain, fatigue and arthritis.
  • Ringo’s Gift: Sativa dominant, this strain has a 20:1 CBD/THC ratio. Designed to soothe and relax the body, it’s best for people who are treating chronic pain, as well as mental issues such as stress and PTSD.
  • Harle-Tsu: Another sativa dominant strain, Harle-Tsu consists of about 22 percent CBD and only about 1 percent THC. It’s the most popular strain for patients who are treating chronic pain.
  • Harlequin: This hybrid, sativa dominant strain has a higher level of THC than many of the other strains on this list, yet it is designed to keep users alert, energetic, as well as provide soothing feelings and calmness. It’s also commonly used to treat chronic pain.

As you may conclude from this post, the big difference between landraces and strains is that the former is the native cannabis plant and the latter is a pure or hybrid variety that’s derived from the plant. When you take into account the number of places where cannabis is grown and cultivated, and how technology has advanced when it comes to modification, there are an array of strains available today.