The origin of cannabis indica 2


Cannabis indica. Years ago, maybe too many, marijuana was cultivated and bought with seeds and without crosses of different genetics. The marijuana without seeds was a later invent, product of the commercialization.

Cannabis indica. Field research.

Cannabis indica. Years ago, maybe too many, marijuana was cultivated and bought with seeds and without crosses of different genetics. The marijuana without seeds was a later invent, product of the commercialization.

There weren’t hybrids among indica and sativa strains. Therefore, when you used any type, either indica or sativa, you could feel the real effect of each genetic. It was a true effect; 100%. The hybridation has had positive consequences. There is no doubt about it. But we have lost the origin of the different species and sub species that Mother Earth has produce along thousands of years. Right now is practically impossible to find pure strains.

cannabis índica

World map of cannabis indica and sativa

Before we deepen more in this subject, we show you a map of the world on which are clearly represented the Ecuador and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. You can also see that is between both tropics where the sativa strains are found. And is in the rest of the globe, in both hemispheres,  where indica varieties can be found.  The areas marked in black are the coldest zones of the world and it is impossible for the cannabis to grow up.

In Ecuador and both tropics the periods of light are always 12/12. Every day of the year has twelve hours of day light and twelve hours of darkness.  The sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 6. P.m. With this period of light only sativa strains can thrive.  In the rest of the world, in both hemispheres, except the zones marked in black, the different varieties are indica.  Cannabis indica thrives when the days begin to be longer, until they reach their highest peak. This is called  Summer Solstice and the day has 15 hours and 17 minutes of day light. From that day on, days start to shorten,  and when the hours of light reach certain level, the plants began to flower.  In the north hemisphere the plants begin their flowering period about the first days of august (North Hemisphere). But this fact can vary, more or less, depending on certain circumstances like the climate or the type of culture. For instance, in Lebanon, the cannabis is dry land cultivated. Therefore, the harvest is ready for the beginning of September. As we have said, it is this kind of light period what makes the cannabis be indica or sativa.

cannabis indica en Libano

Field of cannabis indica in Lebanon. Everything is red color.

Indeed, by the end of September or beginning of October, the indica plants reach the end of their lives. And is just a little bit before the end of their lives, when the plants reach their best moment, in order to get their best psychoactive effect. In the North Hemisphere this happens, more or less, between the end of September and the end of October. Once again I must insist: this fact depends on several factors.

As far as I know, no serious research has been made about the pure indica or sativa strains.  And when we say “pure” it means varieties that have never been hybridized. In places like Lebanon, North of India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and others, people started to cultivate cannabis thousands of years ago. It is very interesting to check that in many of these places, the genetics cultivated are identical among themselves.  For instance, it is believed that the cannabis that was produced in Morocco was a subspecies of the one cultivated in Lebanon: the famous Red Lebanese. And see that I write “ was cultivated”, using the past of the verb “cultivate”.  Nowadays it is almost impossible to find pure strains. Human beings have tried to improve the nature and have mix almost any variety available in the planet.

Phenotypes of cannabis indica

Indeed, as we have said already, many of these varieties belong to the same genetics. Why then sometimes seem to be different between them?  The answer is in the conditions of each culture. This phenomenon is named “PHENOTYPE”. You can cultivate seeds from the same strain but in different environmental conditions of cultivation. The same strain must adapt to different climates, watering system, etc. In order to adapt itself it must change its morphology and even the date of the harvest. For instance, the Red Lebanese is harvested so early due to its watering conditions. The lack of water makes the plant hurry up and be ready much earlier than the same strain cultivated in Morocco; where water is not a problem.

Javier Marín en plena cosecha de cannabis indica rojo Libanés

Our reporter, Javier Marín, with the peasants while they are harvesting

Let.s add a little bit more of light to this fascinating subject. For this purpose we are going to use a human simile. Imagine a mother who gives birth to twins. In the beginning they are identical. But the get separated and one of them goes to live with a rich family. He is given good food and all type of mod cons. He receives the best education and all kind of the necessary things to become strong, more intelligent and healthy. However, his brother goes to live in a poor family. He is given bad food. It is poor in quantity and in quality as well. He doesn’t go to school and never sees a doctor when is needed. Do you think they will continue being identical after 15 years? Not at all! The first one will be healthier, more nice looking and, probably, more intelligent. This is a fact checked by the science. These twins are phenotypes of the same mother and father. But their circumstances changed everything. Te same happens with the plants.

I mean, the same strain adapts to different environmental conditions and gives off plants very different between them. Their morphology is different. The harvest date is also different. The psychoactivity, the need of water, everything is different.

The lack of water produces short plants that will be harvested very early. They will produce a lot of resin. For instance, if you cultivate Red Lebanese plants in Spain and you water them regularly, the phenotype, the morphology, will be very different. You will get larger plants and the harvest will be later.

Cannabis indica LIBANO

Cannabis indica in Lebanon

I visited Lebanon in 1991. The civil war was going on and the Bekaa valley ( the place where the Red Lebanese is cultivated) was plenty of plants. Probably they cultivated more plants than never before. This was due to the financing capacity of the product. Selling those plants was an excellent way to obtain more money for their war. The area was enormous. As far as I could see, every single corner or small place was occupied by cannabis. All the plants were very similar between them. They were very red and short. Basically they didn’t reach more than 3 feet in height and they seemed like cuttings to me.

As you can figure out, during the civil war, it was impossible to find a westerner breeder investigating about genetics. Being westerner was reason enough to be killed or kidnapped. Therefore, I was the only jerk there. And therefore too, I had the unforgettable opportunity to smoke that wonder worldwide known as Red Lebanon. What can I say about the effect? It is absolutely indica “klck”. It is very relaxing; mentally and muscularly.

It has a high psychoactive effect too. This is due to its high content in THC (Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol). But, as I said, it is very relaxing and seems to be an analgesic due to the great content of CBD (Cannabidiol).

The highest mountains in the world, the Hymalayas, are full of valleys whose height is very tall. In one of these valleys, named Manalli, I have seen indica plants that basically are the same than those found in the Hindu Kush of Pakistan. But once again, the culture conditions changed the morphology and the plants could seem of another strain.

In Uzbekistan there is a variety of cannabis indica that is considered one of the best in the world.  The inhabitants have been cultivating it for thousands of years. The experts think this variety has evolved in the area that is between the south of Uzbekistan and the north of Afghanistan. In the province of Balj, to be precise. It is a well known zone due to its excellent cannabis production and for being the cradle of famous cultivars like Mazar – I – Sharif. However, the whole area is a center of diversity and in those zones further up the north of Uzbekistan, grow different types of excellent cannabis.  But, as we wrote in the beginning of this article, there aren’t serious studies about  the real number of pure indica strains in the world.  And now, with so many hybrids, it is almost impossible to find really pure strains.  I personally think this sad. I think that so many crosses have a positive impact. But it is also true that we have lost the origins. And this is shame.

Cannabis indica performance

Roughly speaking, Indica strains are more productive than sativa varieties. However, there are some exceptions  to this rule. Normally, the indica strains have a much larger production.

TEXT AND PICTURES: Javier Marín (Marqués de Esquilache). This article has been made exclusively for KETAMA SEEDS.

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2 thoughts on “The origin of cannabis indica

  • susan

    Lebanon and Pakistan both have volatile environments; at least that is what’s being reported to us in the USA. So, the circumstance that they both hold strong cannabis is kind of eye-opening.