Cannabis Cultivars, Strains, & Landraces: What are the Differences?

cannabis landrace massachusetts

As research surrounding cannabis rapidly increases, proper education regarding this amazing plant is certainly becoming more and more important.

If you’ve been following along with our most recent blogs, our last piece explored the particulars of Bubble Hash, Wax, and Badder

Follow along with us as we dig into another vital topic: the differences between cannabis cultivars, strains, & landraces! 


Conscious Consumption: Why Cannabis Education is Important

Here at Society, we love to dive in and deliver the best updated and current information on cannabis

Most of us are familiar with the word strain when talking about cannabis, but when someone mentions cultivars or landraces it can sound like they’re speaking a completely different language. Not to worry! We’re here to help. 

As this kind of “newer” terminology grows, so do its inaccuracies. Well, these inaccuracies can still be just as easily committed by consumers and growers alike.

While we are eager for the normalization of the plant we all love so much,  using updated and accurate lingo will go a long way in these efforts. So, without further ado, let’s get into it. 


What is a Cultivar?

To start off, a ‘cultivar’ is a botanical term that describes plants that were bred for their distinct and desirable characteristics. 

The word cultivar is synonymous with “cultivated variety”. 

Furthermore, a cultivar can be a hybrid, selected from the wild, brought under cultivation, and must be distinct enough to warrant its own naming. 

In short, the origin of the plant and its “cultivar” naming is always going to be something that’s been touched by the human hand through selection such as cloning or vegetative cuts.


What is a Strain?

To continue, a ‘strain’ is most often used in popular cannabis culture to refer to a cultivar, mostly because the terminology is more simple. 

While in biology, strains are defined as genetic variants or ‘cultures’ within a biological species, the term has no official ranking nor is strictly correct within the status in botany. 

All of these varieties, hybrids, and clones we purchase as well as the seeds we grow are the genetic replicas of their parents.

So, what we’ve been referring to as ‘strains’ should most definitely be called ‘cultivars’! 


What is a Landrace Strain?

As mentioned above, hybridized cultivars (or strains) are what we see so much of in the modern cannabis market. The vast majority of cannabis strains available today are hybrids. 

However, these strains or cultivars had to come from somewhere to get us where we are today. This is exactly where the term landrace comes in. 

Landrace cannabis strains simply represent the oldest known cannabis strains and regularly carry the name of where they were cultivated. 

For example, many of us have heard of Durban Poison or Afghani / Hindu Kush as these landraces grew the best on their own in these tropical climates.

Therefore, landraces are the ancestors of all the different types of strains or cultivars that we see today. 

If you’ve been wanting to try some original landrace cannabis, there are actually a few landraces that have a decent enough following to stay available in the modern cannabis market.

To finish off, it should definitely be noted that these landrace strains are commonly referred to as “heirloom” strains. 

This is due to the strain being produced in small batches which carry the genetics of the landrace, but lack the original terroir—marijuana grown away from its natural habitat will more than likely always have different characteristics.  


Announcing 2 New Society Cannabis Co. Team Members! 

We’re excited to announce that we’ve got two new team members:

  • Nick M. will be joining us as an Operations Lead, with experience in both retail & production.
  • Nick C. – joins us as Inventory Lead, with an abundance of prior experience in retail, and with a focus on Society’s inventory.

They’ll surely make a great addition to the Society Fam, & we’re all beyond stoked to have them both on board!

Stop by, say “High,” and talk to any of our team members about some great cultivars we’ve got in stock and where they come from.

As always, we invite you to keep up with and bookmark our blog page.

And if you haven’t yet, connect with us on LinkedIn or follow us on our Instagram for new updates and happenings at Society!   

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