Mexico’s unique climate and mountainous terrain makes it one of the few global regions hospitable to growing cannabis. Mexico is home to several landrace strains, all of which have decidedly sativa characteristics thanks to the country’s high elevations. There are several distinct strains that could be called “Mexican,” many of which have proven useful in crossbreeding inventive new varieties. What follows is a summary of some of the prime characteristics associated with Mexican sativa landraces.
Sometimes referred to as “brick weed,” Mexican cannabis has an undeserved reputation for being of inferior quality. This is likely due to the fact that the overly dry and seed-filled Mexican cannabis that flooded the Southern U.S. market in the 1970s and 80s was pressed into solid bricks.
In their raw, unprocessed form, genuine Mexican sativas may have a striking appearance for American consumers accustomed to bud that’s been packaged by dispensaries and delivery services. Mexican flowers are typically elongated and spindly rather than nugget-like and tightly packed. Instead of curling tightly inward, these strains’ leaves are loose and piecey and may have a fluffy appearance when viewed from afar. The leaves are a bright shade of lime green and are threaded through with brown to vibrant orange hairs -- which are actually pistils, structure meant to catch pollen from flowering male plants. Due to cold nighttime temperatures in the high altitude environment where much of Mexico’s cannabis is grown, these flowers also frequently boast blue and purple hues in their leaves -- pigments called anthocyanins in the strain’s genetics that are stimulated by colder than average weather. Finally, cloudy amber-colored trichomes cover these leafy buds and give them a slightly yellow glow.
Mexican cannabis has a very earthy and dank odor, with a considerably skunky pungency. There’s also a woodsy scent lurking underneath while grinding up the buds releases spicy, peppery notes. Despite this funky flavor profile, Mexican sativas tend to burn with a smooth and palatable smoke when combusted. This smoke can have a tangy, diesel scent on the exhale.
These landrace sativas tend to creep up on the consumer -- but when they do hit, they’re noticeable right away. Smokers will notice a concerted pressure in the face, especially around the eyes and temples. Along with this novel physical sensation comes an uptick in cerebral thinking, as ideas jump from one to the next in free association. In its early stages, this mental stimulation can be helpful in aiding concentration or in making mundane chores and errands more interesting. As the high progresses, though, smokers’ mindsets can become more foggy and dreamlike and may not be as well-suited to work that demands acute focus. Some degree of physical relaxation can enable deep breathing and can eliminate any lingering muscular tension. Appetite stimulation is commonly reported. More so than with other varieties, Mexican sativas are often said to trigger a dry mouth and dry eyes. More appropriate for daytime than for evening use, Mexican bud is also said to have a shorter than average high.
Mexican sativas can also be of use to medical cannabis patients, thanks to their mentally stimulating and mood-elevating properties. They may help those with attention deficit disorders to sustain concentration on a single task. They can also provide temporary respite from mild to moderate cases of stress and depression. The subtle anti-inflammatory properties of these varieties may soothe bodily irritations like headaches and indigestion. Because the mental effects of these strains are not particularly intense, they may be appropriate for patients who are prone to panic or who have a low tolerance for THC.
Many sources purport to sell seeds or clones of authentic Mexican landrace strains; however, consumers should investigate the reputation and reliability of any sources, as the original stock of these strains is considered rare. Once obtained, Mexican strains can be grown indoors or out, and can be particularly resistant to adverse conditions if fostered outdoors. These plants grow tall and should be contained by trimming back branches and stems early on in the vegetative process. As with many pure sativas, Mexican cannabis has a long flowering period, in this case taking as many as 16 weeks before reaching maturity.