Blue Dream, NYC Diesel, GG#4... There are thousands of cannabis strains. With the demand of the ever-changing legal market, new strains and cross-breeding are now the norms. However, while the cannabis industry has its eye on the future, it should also look into preserving its past.
We can attribute the cannabis plant as we know it to a variety of strains called landraces. According to an article published by Way of Leaf, "A landrace is a pure cannabis strain cultivated in its natural environment. Landrace strains have never been crossbred and have grown wild and indigenously for millennia."
Various strains of cannabis grew naturally across many parts of the world. From the Vikings to the monarchs of England, cannabis was a part of everyday life. It wasn't until harmful stereotypes and inaccurate information perpetuated by propaganda painted cannabis as the "Devil's Lettuce".
In a paper written by John McPartland and Ernest Small, they stress, "Central and South Asian landraces face extinction through introgressive hybridization". Their research highlights the encroaching loss of cannabis history and our need to preserve landraces.
Just like with pandas and tigers, saving historic cannabis strains like Acapulco Gold and Lamb's bread is an important part of preserving our planet and its history. Modern science is unlocking the benefits of cannabis our ancestors could never have dreamed of. But without preserving the landraces that have given us the thousands of strains we enjoy today, we risk losing our history, a part of our planet, and the heritage of the cannabis plant.