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Hello DGC,

I am no botanist or graduate student, so please be kind. I have been doing research into landrace cannabis though, and I have nothing but questions. Firstly, all the plants that we have regular daily contact with have had thousands of years of human cultivation and evolution. Thus no plant on earth is ‘old’ or ‘ancient’, it is only exhibiting recessive/fixed traits due to the lack of genetic variation. This is supposedly done by landraces grown in their natural fields, although properly done with direct guidance to keep a genetic cultivar. I have seen many of the Strain Hunters eps. and none of the fields were grown in this way. Even with good intententions cannabis pollen can travel 10-30 miles, so the likelihood that cross pollination occurring is still there causing significant outbreeding undermining any attempts. This is after totally disregarding that fact that in many of these countries this cultivation is totally illegal and unregulated, thus fields will be burned and the highest selling weed will be planted. Many of these people rely on the cannabis/charas as there only external income, so genetic preservation is not on their mind. Island landraces are the closest to a true inbred landrace cannabis plant that I can think of. Even these could still be cross pollinated, and could be selectively bread by native humans. The best preservation of genetic material that I’ve seen is literally freezing it in a seed bank to slow time, not by growing it in situ. The seeds that were harvested by Strain Hunters were done from the best cultivars, to my knowledge, not gaining the full allelic variations of the genomes. This is the opposite of why we’re getting wild cannabis plant seeds, domestic plants have fixed allelic variations thus they limit the diversity of the offspring. This is what we are saying when we say, “landraces give a full spectrum high”. They have more allelic variations that exhibit genetic information that is used to produce more/different terpenes or other cannabinoids, therefore providing a ‘natural’ high. Thus genetic preservation means without cross contamination or human intervention. Genetic drift is the random loss/fixation of alleles that cause a cultivar to lose diversity, this is more common in landraces due to their isolation from outside genetic pools. This causes them to become more homogenous in recessive alleles, at the expense of genetic variation and fitness. This is seen when a landraces doesn’t grow well in an alien environment, as it is super specialized for it’s native region. As it does not even contain the tools to show different epigenetic traits to better suit its environment . This is also why the landraces are usually stretchy, larfy bud, or slow growth. The best use for landraces I’ve reasoned are for genetic migration, where a genetic pool is mixed with an outside cultivar to minimize inbreeding (heterosis). This reintroduce the genes into a strong and healthy plant that can even have more vigor than it’s parents, known as hybrid vigor. With all that said it is hard for me to see the need to grow a landrace cannabis plant of my own, or anyone other than a botanist. So by my logic hybrids are stronger, more diverse, more potent, more fit, and can even help preserve cultivar genetics in situ by proper genetic migration. So, is the hoopla around landrace cultivars a bunch of ignorance for some exotic-super powerful cannabis? Sounds kinda elitist to me, granted I still plan on growing out some hybrid landraces to see if they do have a superior high. I can’t really speak on something I have not even grow and smoked, although science has never lied to me! So does anyone have FIRST HAND experience with these cultivars? Mind you anything grown by man is a cultivar, not a landrace.

 

Cultivar – selectively bread plant by humans (hybrids). eg. almost every ‘strain’ you can think of is truly a cultivar

Variety – natural mutations that lead to a new plant. eg. a fast flowering ‘Sativa’ leads to a new ‘Sativa Fast’

Landrace – heirloom plant that is heavily interbread, generally best suited for a particular environment; typically grown by its environment alone. eg. cultivar that grows on a remote island beach

Strain – genetic subtype, a collective of descendants that share a common structure or physical character. In further research this term is not used to rank plants so it’s misused. eg. Clone only

Epigenetic – nongenetic influences on gene expression. eg. Hair and age

Alleles – one of two or more versions of DNA sequence resulting in different expressions of a phenotype. eg. Brown eyes