High-CBD cannabis landraces. In traditional Cannabis strains, individual plants with high CBD content are most common in northern landraces, i.e. within the populations of landraces cultivated north of the tropics in regions such as the Hindu Kush, Himalaya, or Near East.

The main Cannabis product for which northern landraces are cultivated is dry-sieved or hand-rubbed Cannabis resin, the old-school Asian luxuries usually distinguished by western aficionados as either ‘hashish’ or ‘charas’. CBD is commonplace in northern landraces because farmers have bulk-selected these crops, pooling seeds during the process of sieving or gleaning resin, meaning there has historically not been a strong selective pressure for potency.

By contrast, tropical landraces have undergone far higher selective pressure for potency because the traditional product of the tropics is ganja (sinsemilla or ‘semi-sensi’), which enables individual selection – i.e., utilizing seed found in exceptional individuals. The consequence of this custom of consumers and farmers keeping seed from standout batches of ganja to cultivate next season is that CBD has largely been bred out of tropical populations in any significant quantity. In a good ganja landrace, CBD is typically present in only trivial amounts, with the whole population exhibiting what’s known as a ‘Type 1’ chemotype.

Studies have found that in typical northern landraces approximately 25% of plants within a population can exhibit a high ratio of CBD to THC, aka a ‘Type 3’ chemotype. For further information, see CBD in Cannabis Landraces.

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