The Ultimate Guide to Heirloom Cannabis Strains

It’s often said that what’s old is new. And this phrase doesn’t just apply to style, spirituality, or scientific findings — it also applies to cannabis. More specifically, to heirloom cannabis strains.

New designer marijuana strains are invented practically every year, sure, but there’s something timelessly satisfying about going with a strain that was developed before our modern hybrids era of ultra-high THC and perfectly manicured nugs. These older marijuana strains might be eclectic, and they might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s part of what makes them so special. Keep reading to learn more about what makes heirloom strains so amazing.

  • What is heirloom cannabis?
  • Heirloom vs. landrace cannabis: what’s the difference?
  • Heirloom marijuana strains: where they come from
  • Why you may want to try heirloom cannabis (if you haven’t already!)
  • What to look for in heirloom cannabis
  • Heirloom marijuana strains from Mendicino Country, California

What is heirloom cannabis?

You might already know this, but we’ll say it anyway: the term ‘heirloom’ simply refers to something valuable enough to be passed down from one generation to the next. The term is generally applied to agricultural topics— heirloom tomatoes seeds, heirloom apple trees, etc — but it can be applied to just about anything.

When it comes to cannabis, heirloom refers to cultivars that have remained untouched for decades (if not much, much longer). Heirloom marijuana strains are held in high regard thanks to their purity, potency, and more. There’s a nostalgic element, too: the thought of smoking the same cannabis that our distant ancestors did is pretty dang cool!

Heirloom cannabis usually has a narrower, purer genetic makeup than most modern strains. It’s never been cross bred (pure genetics) with other strains or subjected to manipulative growing practices. Instead these heirloom weed strains developed through the whimsy of their environment — a natural product of the soil, sun, wind, and overall terroir of wherever it is they came from.

Heirloom cannabis may have been gently steered in the right direction by early cultivators, but it sure wasn’t developed in the same way that cannabis plant strains are today by cannabis breeders. Most heirloom strains are either pure Indica or pure Sativa. [1]

Heirloom vs. landrace cannabis strains: what’s the difference?

Heirloom cannabis and landrace cannabis strains share a good amount of overlap. Both types of cannabis:

  • Are prized for their cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid content
  • Possess a unique taste, smell, high, and appearance
  • Naturally occur in specific areas of the world
  • Have never been ‘crossbred’ with other hybrid strains
  • Have stable, highly specific genotypes

Even so, try not to confuse the two. There’s a big difference between heirlooms and landraces, and it all has to do with logistics. Heirloom cannabis has been extracted from its native region and brought into new cultivation areas; landrace and heirloom marijuana has not. Feel free to think of heirloom cannabis as landrace cannabis that’s just being grown outside its native habitat!

Landrace strains (landrace strains occur naturally) are typically classified according to their place of origin. The top geo-categories include Asian, South Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern strains.

Of all these categories, the South Asian landrace strains might just be most popular. These strains first gained notoriety during the Vietnam war era. You’re likely familiar with at least one of them: Thai Stick. Another popular landraces is Highland Thai.

African landrace strains, on the other hand, are known and loved for their heavy Sativa effects. The highlights include Durban Poison and Red Congolese.

Latin America’s top landrace strains include Colombian Gold, Acapulco Gold, and Panama Red. These strains combine relatively high THC content with a uniquely energizing buzz.

Middle Eastern landrace strains are also super popular. Among the highlights are several pure strains originating from the Hindu Kush mountain range, including Hindu Kush, Afghan, and Afghani Kush. These pure Indica strains are among the world’s best when it comes to kief production. [2]

Heirloom Cannabis Strains: Where They Come From

If today’s heirloom cannabis strains were once landrace strains growing in their native habitat, you might be thinking…then how’d they get here?

Good question.

Most of them made their way to the Western world during the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. It was around this time that cannabis enthusiasts began sending marijuana seeds from the Middle East to the US via checkpoints in Western Europe.

Soon enough this trade route came to be known as “the hippie trail.” ‘Hippies’ would start out in Iraq or Afghanistan and slowly meander up to Europe, gathering new cannabis seeds along the way. It didn’t take long for many of these cannabis seeds to make their way to pioneering growers in Hawaii and Northern California. As it turned out, California’s climate was nearly perfect for growing Sativa-heavy Kush strains.

Why you may want to try heirloom cannabis (if you haven’t already)

Fast forward to the present day and heirloom cannabis strains are once again getting the recognition they deserve. If you haven’t tried any such strains yet, you might be missing out! 

Here are just a few of the benefits associated with heirloom cannabis:

  • Stabler genetics. If you’re into DIY growing, you’ll be happy to hear that heirloom cannabis is generally easier to grow than its hybrid counterparts.
  • More balanced cannabinoid ratios. Most heirloom strains don’t have crazy-high THC levels, meaning they’re less likely to give you unwanted side effects like anxiety and paranoia.
  • Higher CBD levels. Many heirloom strains contain appreciable amounts of CBD, adding a whole other layer to cannabis’s normal medicinal effects.
  • More eclectic terpene blends. Any given heirloom strain has a characteristic terpene profile that provides its unique flavors (and unique effects).

Another reason to consider heirloom cannabis? Nostalgia. Anyone who grew up smoking exotic weed in the 60s, 70s, or 80s will likely have fond memories of at least one of the strains we’ve mentioned here. Smoking these strains might just bring you back a little!

What to look for in heirloom cannabis?

Ready to try heirloom cannabis? Great! There’s just one more thing you should know: not all heirloom brands are created equal. Below are a few things to consider.

Authenticity and intention

Intention is everything when it comes to heirloom cannabis. Truly premium heirloom strains will be made by brands that truly care.

Brands like Henry’s Original definitely fit the bill. This brand’s soul resides in the beautiful hills and valleys of Mendocino County. Henry’s growers make every effort to honor the legacy of the Emerald Triangle.

Growing experience

Henry’s Original’s multi-generational farming team has been growing for decades. The brand believes that everyone should have access to organically grown, lovingly crafted cannabis. Henry’s founders have been cultivating some of the best cannabis under the sun for well over 15 years.

Natural growing practices

Henry’s is one of the few clean green certified cannabis brands. (This certification is about as close as cannabis companies can get to USDA organic.) They cultivate their cannabis flower in small batches using time-tested heritage growing techniques. The brand doesn’t use any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Having honed in on 100% natural pest management and nutritional techniques, they don’t need to.

Henry’s Original keeps things natural for the earth’s sake, too. All of their packaging is made from sustainable materials. You’ll see much more glass than you do plastic if you order their products.

Heirloom cannabis strains from Mendicino Country, California

Without further ado, let’s get into the specifics. Below are 3 of our favorite Mendicino-grown, heirloom cannabis strains.

Acapulco Gold

Alcapulco Gold is one of the most popular cannabis strains…ever. Its effects are uplifting, inspiring, and energizing. Its aroma is earthy and slightly sweet, and its color combines hues of green, gold, and brown. You’ll see resinous nugs interspersed with golden orange pistils. 

The icing on the proverbial cake is Acapulco Gold’s reputation. It’s widely regarded as one of the best cannabis strains ever made! The strain has gained a sort of cult following for itself since the mid-60s. It first burst onto the scene in 1964 in — you guessed it — Acapulco, Mexico, and to this day there’s a little bit of mystery surrounding the strain’s origin. Acapulco Gold has been featured in Cheech and Chong bits, endorsed by celebrities, and gushed over by politicians. It’s such a great strain that its name was used to describe any type of premium bud at one point. 

Henry’s Acapulco Gold comes in the form of custom-grinded, slow-burning pre-rolls. Each smoke contains a perfect half-gram of this premium heirloom strain.

Strawberry Cough

Strawberry Cough is a pure Sativa strain known and loved for its berry-licious smell and skunky flavor. Named for its ability to overwhelm the lungs of even the most seasoned cannabis connoisseurs, Strawberry Cough has gathered a following almost as large as Acapulco Gold’s. 

Strawberry Cough’s powerful cerebral effects make it a much-needed ally to anyone who needs to cut down their stress levels a little. You might just find yourself uncontrollably smiling and laughing at everything. If you need to get your vibe up, this is probably the ideal strain for you.

Each of Henry’s Original’s pre-rolls is packed with half-gram of perfectly-cured nugs. As always, the brand grinds their flower in a custom grinder to set you up for a smooth, slow-burning smoking experience.

Do-si-do

Do-si-do is an heirloom cannabis strain with all sorts of upsides. Between the glittering trichomes, vividly bright pistils, and lime-green visuals, it’s hard to know what to like most about this one! 

And then there’s the smoking experience itself. Do-si-do has a powerful, in-your-face high that starts in your head and emanates down into your entire body. It’s a great strain if you’re feeling the need to relax at all costs.

Just like the brand’s other heirloom strains, Henry’s Do-si-do comes in the form of a premium pre-roll packed with half a gram of perfectly-blended, smooth-burning bud. It’s a smoking experience you won’t forget.

Heirloom cannabis: FAQs

What’s the difference between heirloom strains and many landrace strains?

Heirlooms are strains that have untouched lineages. Pure landraces are strains that have untouched lineages — and untouched geography. These strains may be growing in a new location, but they stay true to their original selves nonetheless.

Is heirloom cannabis better than the regular stuff?

That depends on what you’re going for. If all you care about is maxing out THC levels, newer strains are probably better for you. If you’re going for a truly well-rounded experience, though, heirloom strains definitely take the cake! Heirlooms feature incredibly well-rounded cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid levels. The experience they create far transcends just THC.

Where can I find heirloom cannabis?

Heirloom cannabis strains are available from many brands. But don’t be too quick to assume that every heirloom strain you see online is high-quality. Ensure the product you’re looking at meets the standards we’ve mentioned above before you buy. If you find an established brand that values transparency, intention, and its customers’ health…you probably have a winner. 

What are some of the top heirloom strains?

Any strain whose name ends with “Kush” is liable to be an heirloom strain. Other top candidates include Thai Stick, Durban Poison, Lamb's Bread, Northern Lights, Acapulco Gold, Angola Red, Swazi Gold, and Red Congolese. And this list is just the start. There are dozens — if not hundreds — more.

Heirloom cannabis: closing thoughts

At Flower Market Delivery we've made it our goal to make finding heirloom cannabis strains simple, fast, and convenient. 

Try one of them yourself if you haven’t already. You might be surprised at how good it is! These strains give you a firsthand glimpse into an older, more magical time…a time when cannabis was simple. Participating in cannabis culture’s history has never felt so good.

Citations

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576603/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604179/