What exactly are heirloom marijuana strains?

In plain language, an heirloom refers to a valuable item or artifact that has been passed on from one generation to the next over decades and centuries. Heirloom cannabis strains have also been passed down through the generations, but rather than being objects and artifacts, they refer to cannabis strains that have been around for a long time. These tribes are revered and valued for their purity and historical value, hence the name.

This definition doesn’t quite capture everything about heirloom cannabis strains. Because of this, this article focuses on everything you need to know about these strains, how they differ from landrace strains, and what benefits they have.

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What are heirloom cannabis strains?

Heirloom cannabis strains are strains that have been around for many generations. However, that’s not the only thing that makes them unique. Heirloom cannabis strains differ from other cannabis strains in the purity they offer. Unlike most cannabis strains, heirloom cannabis strains were never crossed with a strain, only in their pure, natural form. This pristine and unchanged state gives heirloom cannabis its status as a valuable strain.

Heirloom cannabis strains grow through natural pollination by animals, wind, and humans. To better understand what heirloom cannabis strains are, we will outline the main characteristics of heirloom cannabis strains.

Properties of Heirloom Cannabis Strains

Cannabis strains must have these three characteristics in order to be called heirloom cannabis strains.

Generations: One characteristic of heirloom cannabis strains is that they have been around for generations. The timeframe of their existence is the main reason heirloom cannabis strains got their name. Longevity is therefore a very important property of heirloom cannabis strains.

purity: It is not an heirloom cannabis strain when crossed with another strain. Heirloom cannabis strains have their pure genetics as one of their most important properties.

migration: Another important characteristic of heirloom cannabis strains is that they have been removed from their natural region in order to grow in a different area. Most of the heirloom cannabis strains have been transported from their original location to a new geographic area by scientists and travelers.

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In terms of geographic location, it is necessary to discuss the difference between landrace strains and heirloom cannabis strains in order to fully understand what heirloom cannabis strains are.

The 10 strongest sativa strains on the market in 2021Photo by Christina Winter via Unsplash

Landrace strains and heirloom cannabis strains

Heirloom cannabis strains and landrace strains are usually confused. Both terms are sometimes even used interchangeably, which is very wrong as they are two different things. Landrace strains are strains that grow without human assistance, usually in the wild. Like heirloom cannabis strains, landrace strains are pure and have not been crossed with other strains. Landrace strains like heirloom cannabis strains have remained unchanged for generations.

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The main difference between landrace and heirloom cannabis strains is geography. Landrace strains grow naturally in certain regions, while heirloom cannabis strains come from seeds taken from those original regions. This means that certain landrace tribes are native to certain regions of the world. Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are known to be the early origins of landrace tribes.

From the explanation above, heirloom cannabis strains can be described as landrace strains that have been removed from their natural region to be grown in another region.

Why didn't you get the kind of cannabis you think you got?Photo by Zummolo / Getty Images

Why Heirloom Cannabis Strains Are Important

There is a lot of speculation in cannabis culture that comes with conversation about the importance of heirloom cannabis strains. Below are three reasons why heirloom cannabis strains are very important.

They are closest to the Landrace tribes: As explained in this article, landrace strains are among the oldest available strains in the world, and have been found across generations. This makes them desirable because of their purity and unique taste. When landrace strains are not available, heirloom cannabis strains are the closest to them. In the event of certain landrace strains becoming extinct due to unexpected events such as war and natural disasters, heirloom cannabis strains of this type that have been moved to other regions will continue to be very available. Heirloom cannabis strains can therefore be seen as the preservation of some of the best indigenous strains the world has ever seen.

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Crossing cannabis doesn’t always produce the best results: Heirloom cannabis strains always have properties similar to those of their parents’ plants. This typically gives them an advantage over crossbreed strains, the results of which are usually unpredictable. When crossing, it is not always certain that 50/50 offspring will be achieved when an indica-dominant strain is crossed with a sativa-dominant strain. Some offspring often take on sativa-like traits while others take on indica-like traits. It will then take years of backcrossing to achieve the desired result. The pure genetics of heirloom cannabis strains make them very stable and predictable when it comes to breeding.

Heirloom cannabis strains could have more cannabinoids: Heirloom cannabis strains are believed to contain more beneficial compounds than hybrid strains. This claim can be supported with an argument about the high levels of THC found in new hybrid strains. The more THC content these hybrid strains have, the better your high will feel. However, increasing THC levels come at a cost as other compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes are reduced. Heirloom cannabis strains are therefore more natural and contain the best balance of compounds for your consumption.

Bottom line

Heirloom cannabis strains have obvious advantages as they exist exactly as nature designed them to be. Along with their rich history, these tribes are among the most desirable of all the tribes known to man. Their unique and unadulterated formation of compounds also means you can be sure that you are smoking healthy cannabis.

Trying out heirloom cannabis strains should definitely be high on any cannabis enthusiast’s bucket list!

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and was republished with permission.

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