Cannabis is one of the longest-domesticated medicinal plants in the world. Today, there are hundreds of strains to try, each with unique chemical profiles. But which strain came first? Keep reading to explore what many believe to be the OG cannabis strain, Hindu Kush

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The Geographical Origins of Cannabis 

Is Hindu Kush the original cannabis strain?  The geographical history of cannabis suggests this as a strong possibility. Researchers believe that the cannabis species first evolved somewhere in Asia. Studies often name the He Huang River Valley, Southern Siberia, South Asia, Afghanistan, or the Hindu Kush Mountains as possible points of origin.  But the Hindu Kush Mountains, the range the Hindu Kush strain is named for, is most likely where the weed you love today was born.  The Hindu Kush is a mountain system spanning 500 miles long and 150 miles wide. One of the most compelling reasons supporting the Hindu Kush as the birthplace of cannabis? The sprawling range encompasses the area where Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China meet.  The Hindu Kush is the common denominator to most theories about cannabis’ geographical origins. This potentially explains the simultaneous adoption of domestic weed in cultures inhabiting Central Asia.      

The OG Stoners of the Hindu Kush 

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of cannabis cultivation reaching back thousands of years ago in Asia.  In 2008, scientists discovered two pounds of 2,700 year-old cannabis in a Gushi shaman’s tomb in the Gobi desert. Just eight years later, another group of scientists found a well-preserved stash of 2,800 to 2,400-year-old cannabis in a burial tomb located in Northwestern China. As recently as two years ago, scientists identified large amounts of THC in ancient smoking devices nearly 2,500 years old in the eastern Pamirs region (near western China).  What do these discoveries have in common? First, they make up a collection of the oldest examples of domestic cannabis use in human civilization. Second, they were unearthed near the relics of nomadic groups that likely traversed the Hindu Kush mountain system between regions in modern-day China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.  So how did this Central Asian plant become a beloved weed strain in the Western world?  Hindu Kush made its way to the United States in the 1960s and 70s thanks to the sojourners of the “Hippie Trail” — modern-day nomads who, like their Asian predecessors, found so much relief in the cannabis they found, they brought it with them and changed the world. 

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More About the Hindu Kush Strain

If cannabis first evolved on the Hindu Kush Mountains, it would’ve needed to survive some of the most volatile conditions on planet earth. The rugged range contains many peaks exceeding 23,000 feet and is located between two major climate zones in Asia. Monsoons, snowstorms, and intense heat are all typical conditions on the mountain range.  The Hindu Kush phenotype shows how cannabis answered the climate’s stressful conditions. The strain’s dense layer of trichomes, short height, and tightly packed flowers protect it from harsh conditions while making it an excellent plant for home cultivation. Those trichomes are packed with cannabinoids and the plant’s compact stature make it convenient to grow in smaller spaces. 

The Ghizer valley along Hindu kush mountains range, Northern Pakistan Source: Shutterstock
Hindu Kush has survived for millenia, so it's safe to say that its genetics are hardy. The disease and pest-resistant strain contains an average of 20 percent THC and a terpene profile consisting of caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, and humulene, a potent therapeutic and psychoactive combination for most cannabis users.  When Hindu Kush reached the U.S., breeders were thrilled to use it to create new strains. Why? They were working with a pot strain that’s thrived in the wild and domestically for thousands of years. Hindu Kush and its lineage have hardy, potent genetics that have proven they can stand the test of time. 

The Hindu Kush Lineage: Top 3 Strains 

Hindu Kush is such a popular landrace strain, it’s likely you’ve seen (and tried) its offspring. Here are some of the top 3 most recommended Hindu Kush strains:

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OG Kush

Perhaps the most well-known strain in the U.S., OG Kush is a sativa-dominant cross between Hindu Kush, Lemon Thai, and Chemdawg. It’s bursting with an average of 26 percent THC, a significant upgrade from the slightly less potent Hindu Kush landrace.  Commonly used to manage depression, anxiety, and nausea, OG Kush releases an aromatic bouquet spiced with myrcene and caryophyllene, terpenes known for therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammation, pain-relief, and anti-oxidation.    

Purple Kush

What happens when you put two powerful landrace strains together? Purple Kush is one answer to that question. The child of landraces Afghani and Hindu Kush, Purple Kush is, like its parents, a pure indica strain containing an average of 27 percent THC. 

Closeup of the Purple Kush cannabis plant Source: Shutterstock
Purple Kush is a High Times award winner, creating a soothing medicinal experience for those who choose to enjoy its fruity, spicy aromatic bouquet. People who consume Purple Kush report relief from insomnia, anxiety, and depression. 

Mango Kush

Mango Kush is a tropically-scented treat for cannabis enthusiasts looking for a flavorful but potent high. The indica-dominant Mango Kush is a cross between Hindu Kush and an unknown strain, producing effects that make this strain suitable for day or night use.  Mango Kush contains about 21 percent THC, so it’s not the most psychoactive strain on this list. That said, it’s a good option for consumers who intentionally want to avoid too much THC. Fans of this strain enjoy its mood enhancing and relaxing effects, making it a fun strain to consume with friends or to unwind with after a stressful day.    What’s your favorite Hindu Kush strain? Tell us in the comments!