What Are the World’s Oldest Weed Strains?

Cannabis first evolved around 28 million years ago–yes, you read that correctly–but the first reported case of use wasn’t until 2800 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. The pot Shen Nung puffed on wasn’t quite like the crystalized, 30%-THC weed we know and love today, which raises the question: what are the world’s oldest weed strains? To answer that question, we need to talk about landrace strains.

Landrace strains are the OG cannabis lines; consider them as the ancient fossils of marijuana. Over the years, cultivators have crossbred these original stains over and over to develop today’s modern strains. So, let’s take a deep dive into these ancient landraces and pinpoint which is the world’s oldest weed strain.

What is a Landrace Strain?

A landrace strain refers to cannabis that grows naturally in the wild and is indigenous to specific regions. What makes landraces different from modern strains is that they developed with minimal to no crossbreeding, making them pure or nearly pure sativas and indicas.

There are about 30 of these landrace cannabis strains, which originated in the Middle East, Central South Asia, Africa, and Central and South America (typically, landraces are named after their country of origin).

Due to the incessant crossbreeding of today, these landraces are becoming more and more scarce. Even if you find an ancient strain in a dispensary, it’s likely far off from its true form. To smoke a true landrace, it needs to come from its original region. So, now might be a good time to renew your passport if you’re a weed enthusiast on a quest to smoke them all.

What Are the Most Famous Landrace Strains?

Some landrace strains have managed to stand the test of time and still circulate today. So, here’s a list of the most famous landrace strains and a little bit about each one’s origins and characteristics.


Afghan is a pure indica strain originating in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. People in the region commonly used it to create hash, but the spread of its seeds popularized the chunky, resin-packed nugs. The strain has deep relaxation effects, dense buds, and sweet, earthy aromas.

Popular Offsprings: Trainwreck, Super Skunk, Purple Kush, Northern Lights, AK-47

Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush, or Hindi Kush, also comes from the Hindu Kush Mountains and is referred to as one of the world’s oldest weed strains. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, Hindu Kush is commonly used to produce hash. It’s a pure Indica with woody, spicy, and citrus aromas and offers full-body relaxation and a nice kick of euphoria.

Popular Offsprings: OG Kush, Purple Kush, Grand Hindu, K2

Thai (AKA Thai Stick)

Thai, also referred to as Thai Stick for the traditional method of drying it on a stick, is a pure sativa that originated in Thailand. It became popular in North America around the 1970s; however, it became known as a sensitive and difficult plant to cultivate due to its preference for warm, humid climates. In most cases, cultivators have to use indoor grow houses to meet Thai’s needs. But if grown correctly, Thai offers a tasty citrus, fruity aroma, and a heady, cerebral high.

Popular Offsprings: Chemdawg, Voodoo, Haze, Juicy Fruit

Durban Poison

Durban Poison is a sativa landrace strain from South Africa, and it’s one of the only pure forms you can still find on the market. The stain comes with a sweet, anis flavor with a tinge of spice and a high THC percentage. It’s been revered as one of the top strains to ease nausea. So, next time you’re feeling queasy, you know what to smoke.

Popular Offsprings: Cherry Pie, Girl Scout Cookies, Cabbage Patch, Blueberry Yum Yum

Lamb’s Bread (AKA Lamb’s Breath)

Lamb’s Bread is a pure sativa landrace coming from Jamaica. Rumor has it that it was Bob Marley’s favorite strain. Its spicy, herbal, and cheesy aromas resulted in the strain also being referred to as Lamb’s Breath – kind of gross, right? Well, don’t let the name fool you. Smokers can expect a wonderful, uplifting high, intense clarity, and a boost of energy.

Popular Offsprings: Black Tuna, Lamborghini, Blueberry Lamb’s Bread

Acapulco Gold

Acapulco Gold originates from Acapulco, Mexico, and is a pure sativa landrace. It grows as a gorgeous gold, brown, and green flower with vibrant orange hairs. When you light up Acapulco, you’ll enjoy tasty honey, coffee, toffee, and slightly cheesy flavors. Being a sativa makes it a perfect mood booster to say adios to depression and anxiety.

Popular Offsprings: Ape Shit, Monkey Paw, Devil’s Tit, Thor’s Hammer

What Is the Oldest Crossbred Weed Strain?

When all these landraces made their way to the U.S., savvy cultivators began crossbreeding strains, and the first popularized inbred strain was Skunk #1. In the mid-to-late 1970s, the collective Sacred Seeds in Northern California took Afghani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombian Gold to create the new hybrid. Skunk #1 even went on to win the 1988 High Times Cannabis Cup, and cultivators are still growing the strain today.

Final Thoughts

Marijuana is millions of years old, and although the original strains have been crossbred more times than Snoop Dogg has rolled blunts, some of the first known lines are still available. Sure, the landrace strains of the present might not be exactly as they were when Emperor Shen Nung was consuming, but they’re pretty dang close. So, if you’re looking to smoke a bit of weed history, keep your eyes peeled for these landraces and enjoy a true blast from the past!