Jamaican Strain, or simply Jamaican, refers to the varieties of Sativa endemic to the island of Jamaica. Although these strains are generally considered to fit the definition of a landrace, cannabis did not actually exist in Jamaica until brought over by Indian indentured servants in the 1840s and 1850s when the British Empire ruled both Jamaica and India -- in fact, the word ganja, often used in Jamaica to refer to cannabis, is a variation of the Bengali word for hemp. The plant took quickly to Jamaica’s tropical climate and has since become renowned for its potent cerebral effects. Often sought out by tourists in Jamaica, true Jamaican Strain can be difficult to come by elsewhere.
The Jamaican cannabis plant may be almost unrecognizable to consumers of more commercially packaged bud. Once cured, leaves from the plant’s long branches can appear sparse - they are thin and wispy and do not have the “shrunken” and compact appearance of indica and sativa hybrid buds. Leaves are forest green to dark green, with hairs that appear more brown than orange. Jamaican is famously pungent, with an almost eye-watering, skunky-sweet musk. The skunk scents are concentrated when this strain is burned. Users report inhaling a harsh, stinging smoke.
A true sativa, Jamaican has pervasive cerebral qualities. The high has mellow, buzzing bodily effects but is mostly marked by stimulation of mental acuity. Euphoria and perceptions of clearer thinking are common. Those lucky enough to have enjoyed Jamaican Strain claim that they experience talkativeness and an increased feeling of sociability. This is an energizing daytime strain and beneficial for deep creative thinking.
If you’re able to obtain Jamaican Strain seeds for cultivation, an outdoor growing environment is best, as plants can quickly outgrow the confines of an enclosed environment. Jamaican plants will also thrive in a tropical climate, so sharing an approximate latitude with Jamaica is a benefit. This strain is best for growers with patience, as flowering can take as long as 5 months.
Like many landraces, Jamaican Strain is prized for its stability and potency, having yielded popular crossbred strains like Lambsbread and Marley’s Collie. However, in a market that prefers novelty crossbreeds, more traditional cannabis consumers and horticulturists consider the pure Jamaican landrace to be in danger of falling into obscurity. The 2015 High Times World Cannabis Cup was held in Negril, Jamaica, specifically to encourage the participation of local breeders and to document and preserve pure Jamaican Strains.