Marijuana has taken quantum leaps since your parents were smoking grass back in the day. Strains from the 60s and 70s had THC counts with such low potency that cannabis connoisseurs would (and do) simply scoff at this day and age. Far away are the days of a dime bag actually costing a dime and all marijuana being “schwag” or “just some grass.” When you open up a dispensary’s menu on WeedMaps.com or walk into a Dutch Coffeeshop, you are instantly met with a plethora of strains and options ranging from sativas to indicas to hybrids that have all sorts of different smoking profiles and THC levels. A lot of these strains have fancy or catchy names (like Snow White, Skywalker OG, the list goes on); with such an abundance of options at hand, it would lead one to believe that every known strain and cannabis seed has been discovered and cultivated. So to the naked eye, the modern landscape of marijuana strains would appear to be a rather over-saturated one.
However, believe it or not, there are pockets in this world that are home to some indigenous -and incredible–strains. These extremely rare and relatively unknown genetics that have either not been assimilated into North America’s (or Europe’s, for that matter) cannabis culture or simply have not yet been cultivated outside of their natural habitats. Some of the countries that hold claim to such prized and pure plants are Pakistan, Afghanistan, and, the focus of this discussion–Africa. All of these countries have a plethora of different types of marijuana tucked away in mountains that the average Joe Blaze would never be able get his hands on. Africa is where the future of Sativas lies. It is the mothership for strains that, in due time, are going to be a huge factor in the future of medical cannabis that most people outside of the grow community have never even heard of.
What makes these African Sativas so special and potentially revolutionary?
Most people associate hazes with Sativas, which is accurate on a basic sense. Yet, most of these hazes have very low, if any, traces of THCV in them. And a common thread found in these African strains is that the active cannabinoid in them is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). Strains with THCV in them are extremely useful for patients suffering from diseases like Parkinson’s which makes them particularly relevant in the medicinal world of cannabis.
Numerous studies, mainly on lab rats but also from some human testimony, have drawn the conclusion that “Given its antioxidant properties and its ability to activate CB2 but to block CB1 receptors, Δ9-THCV has a promising pharmacological profile for delaying disease progression in PD and also for ameliorating parkinsonian symptoms.” In other words, yes, while THCV is certainly not a cure for Parkinson’s disease, it definitely eases the pain that those inflicted with Parkinson’s deal with.
So where exactly are these hidden strains popping up?
Well, you can’t exactly pinpoint their location on a map, but these types of strains are typically discovered in either mountainous terrains or equatorial ones. A couple African countries that we can definitely say host many of these FP1’s (parental/wild types that have not been tainted because of their locations) are Macato and Ghana. Niches within these lands’ mountain, along with their high, unique altitudes, give marijuana plants in these regions UV exposures that plants can simply not receive anywhere else. And that’s one of the reasons they possess such unique qualities.
Some of the strains (currently very unknown to the general public) brewed with these African genetics include MILF (a combination of four different African sativas), Malawi, and Power Plant. While some of the genetics found in Africa have certainly made their way out of Africa and into your local dispensary, we have only begun to scratch the surface over there.
Are any of these African strains ready available to the general public yet?
These specialized African Sativas are certainly scarce, but there is one particular African strain that can be attained at certain medical marijuana dispensaries and that strain is Durban Poison. Durban Poison is an outdoor plant indigenous to Africa that has been adapted for indoor growth. And like all of these African strains, Durban Poison is a Sativa with the active cannabinoid THCV in it. It’s also worth noting that these African Sativas differ in high from other sativa-dominant strains–they have a more cerebral or psychdelic affect along with different THC counts compared to a typical haze or Sativa. While growth periods and yields always vary based on setting, care given, and cannabis seed quality, Durban Poison Seeds have a general flowering time of about 10 weeks, growing up to 10 feet tall in the wild and up to 8 feet tall indoors with an expected yield anywhere from 8 ounces to a pound of cannabis.
In due time, there will likely be many exciting new Durban-esque Sativa strains coming to America. These strains, once fully assimilated into modern, mainstream cannabis culture, will complete change the landscape of sativas and alter the future of the game.
This article originally appeared on DrugText.org