In plain terms, an heirloom refers to a valuable item or artifact that has been passed down from one generation to another through decades and centuries. Heirloom cannabis strains have also been passed down through generations, but instead of being items and artifacts, they refer to cultivars of cannabis that have been around for a long while. These strains are revered and prized for their purity and historical value, hence the name.
This definition does not quite capture everything about heirloom cannabis strains, this is why this article will focus on everything you need to know about these strains, how they differ from landrace strains, as well as their benefits.
What are Heirloom Cannabis Strains?
Heirloom cannabis strains are strains that have existed for many generations. However, this is not the only thing that makes them unique. Heirloom cannabis strains are distinct from other cannabis strains because of the purity which they offer. Unlike most strains of cannabis, heirloom cannabis strains have never been crossbred with any strain, only existing in their pure, natural form. This unadulterated and unchanged state gives heirloom cannabis its status as a prized strain.
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Heirloom cannabis strains grow through natural pollination by animals, wind, and humans. In order to further understand what heirloom cannabis strains are, we will outline the major properties of heirloom cannabis strains.
Properties of Heirloom Cannabis Strains
Cannabis strains must have these three properties, in order to be referred to as heirloom cannabis strains:
Generations: One property of heirloom cannabis strains is that they have been around for generations. The timeframe of their existence is the major reason why heirloom cannabis strains have their name. Longevity is therefore a very important property of heirloom cannabis strains.
Purity: It is not a heirloom cannabis strain if it has been crossbred with another strain. Heirloom cannabis strains have their pure genetics as one of their most important properties.
Migration: Another important property of heirloom cannabis strains, is that they have been removed from their natural region to grow in another area. Most heirloom cannabis strains were transported from their original locations to a new geographical area by scientists and travelers.
Speaking about geographical 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.
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Landrace Strains and Heirloom Cannabis Strains
Heirloom cannabis strains and landrace strains are usually mixed up. Both terms are even used interchangeably sometimes, which is very wrong as they are two different things. Landrace strains are strains that grow without help from humans, usually in the wild. Like heirloom cannabis strains, landrace strains are pure and have not been crossbred with other strains. Landrace strains just like heirloom cannabis strains have also been unchanged through generations.
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The major difference between landrace strains and heirloom cannabis strains is geography. Landrace strains grow naturally in certain regions, while heirloom cannabis strains come from seeds taken away from these original regions. This means that certain landrace strains are native to specific regions around the world. Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, are known to be the early origins of landrace strains.
Going by 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 Heirloom Cannabis Strains are Important
In the cannabis culture, there is a lot of speculation that comes with conversations on just how important heirloom cannabis strains are. Below are three reasons why heirloom cannabis strains are very important.
They are The Closest Thing to Landrace Strains: As it has been explained in this article, landrace strains are among the oldest strains available in the world, being present through different generations. This makes them desirable for their purity and unique flavor. When landrace strains are not available, heirloom cannabis strains are the closest things to them. In the case of extinction of certain landrace strains, through unexpected events like war and natural disasters, heirloom cannabis strains of such strain that have been taken to other regions will still be very much available. Heirloom cannabis strains can therefore be seen as preserving some of the finest indigenous strains that the world has ever seen.
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Crossbreeding Cannabis Does Not Always Produce The Best Results: Heirloom cannabis strains alway share similar characteristics with their parents plants. This typically gives them an edge over crossbred strains, whose results are usually unpredictable. In crossbreeding, it is not always certain that a 50/50 offspring will be achieved when an indica-dominant strain is crossed with a sativa-dominant strain. Some offsprings often take sativa-like qualities, while others take indica-like qualities. 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 Might Have More Cannabinoids: It is believed that heirloom cannabis strains contains more beneficial compounds than hybrid strains. This claim can be supported with an argument about the high level of THC that new hybrid strains contain. The more THC content that these hybrid strains has, the better your high feels. However, increased level of THC come at a cost, as it results in reduction of other compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. Heirloom cannabis strains are therefore more natural, and contain the best balance of compounds for your consumption.
Heirloom cannabis strains have obvious benefits as they exist just the way nature designed them. Coupled with their rich history, these strains are among the most desirable of all the strains known to man. Their unique and unadulterated formation of compounds also means that you can be sure that you are smoking healthy cannabis.
Trying out heirloom cannabis strains should definitely be high on the bucket list of every cannabis enthusiast!
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.