Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian cannabis landraces. Probably the most renowned traditional Cannabis cultivars come from Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Laos. These are tropical Sativa-type domesticates (i.e., landraces) selected for the production of ganja, meaning seedless or lightly seeded high-THC female inflorescences. The finest Thai Stick ganja of the ’60s and ’70s came from northern Isan, an ethnically Lao region of Thailand, and neighbouring Central Laos.

The so-called “sinsemilla technique” for producing seedless bud was already employed in the East Indies in the 16th Century and perhaps as early as the 12th Century. Accounts by European merchant adventurers from the late 1600s indicate Southeast Asian ganja was a prized commodity among Indians, specifically exports from Aceh in Sumatra.

Authentic Southeast Asian ganja strains (i.e., Cannabis landraces) are at high risk of extinction due to the introduction of modern hybrid seed, particularly in Cambodia and Thailand.

Mainland Southeast Asia is also a crucial centre of biodiversity for hemp, especially in the northern highlands bordering China. Some Thai and Lao ganja strains may be hybrids with Chinese hemp landraces, perhaps including our ‘Highland Thai’ and ‘Burmese’ accessions from the Shan / Tai Yai border regions of Burma.

For some interesting ongoing breeding projects using Thai strains check out this Thai THCV.

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