Landrace strains are original strains that typically include the name of the location they originated from (for example: Durban Poison, Thai, Maui Wowie, Colombian Gold, etc.). Plants grow differently depending on the region they are naturally found. These environments play an important part in the different characteristics of these plants.
Heirloom strains are strains that have never been bred with another strain. Because of this, they are often said to be the most “pure” version of the strain. These strains have been around for generations but have been grown differently and have adapted to environments other than their natural territory.
So what is the difference between landrace strains and heirloom strains? Landrace strains are grown naturally in specific regions while heirloom strains are strains taken from their natural region and grown elsewhere. Humans have manipulated landrace strains over time to breed strains that have a desired bud structure, flavor or aroma, environmental resilience, therapeutic value, or psychoactive potential.
Most cannabis strains available today are hybridized varieties that come from landrace and heirloom strains bred over time. Depending on the strain and where and how it was grown, landrace and heirloom strains may not be as potent as what is available today. More of the strains we see now have been commonly bred for higher potencies.
If you do have the opportunity to get your hands on some of these OG strains, do it! These are not commonly found and might be cool to know you are smoking on a bit of history.