A History of Landrace Strains: What is Hindu Kush?

Hindu Kush mountainThrough the decades that span modern cannabis culture, Kush has practically become synonymous with the word weed. And while some people might refer to marijuana as “Kush”, it’s actually a very distinct strain with roots that have spread for thousands of years. Kush is what’s known as a landrace strain, or a strain of cannabis that has developed over centuries in a specific natural environment. Kush is one of the oldest strains of cannabis that exists, native to the Hindu Kush mountains that run along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

What is Hindu Kush?

Seeds of Kush were first introduced to the US back in the 60s and 70s by people exploring a route known as the “hippie trail.” This popular trek was taken by countless members of the hippy counterculture and others, a trail that ran through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. With Kush found in welcomed abundance in this foreign land, there were many eager seed smugglers responsible for bringing this strain to the States.

Kush plant with no budsWhile a “true” landrace Hindu Kush may be hard to find, it is possible. Because the modern marijuana is saturated with countless strains that have been crossbred, landrace strains are less common, but they certainly haven’t completely disappeared.

What are the Characteristics of Kush?

A pure Kush is 100% indica. It’s definitely a classic couchlock strain that is combined with a euphoric sense that typically leaves users pleasantly and comfortably relaxed. It’s known to be extremely adept at relieving pain, making it a top choice for many medical patients. It’s also excellent for helping with nausea and a good choice for individuals suffering from insomnia.

The appearance of Kush is characterized by deeply green, highly sticky, dense buds. You may find a hint of purple in some of the leaves, with orange or bronze pistils. Kush maintains a very complex aroma. Typically always pungent, Kush can smell sweet and musky at the same time, while being earthy with hints of pine and sandalwood. The taste of Kush is distinct and reminiscent of the region it’s from, with an incense-like flavor with hints of herbs and spices.

Kush budsWhile the original Kush is known as Hindu Kush, there have been many strains bred from this popular original landrace. It’s a popular strain to breed with other strains, leading to a variety of cannabis strains that all have strong characteristics of this ancient cannabis strain that has withstood the test of time.

Following are the five most popular Kush strains available on the marijuana market today. While you might have trouble locating a true Hindu Kush, the following strains have all descended from the wildly popular original.

OG Kush

OG Kush is a legend. This extremely popular strain is thought to be a cross between the landrace Hindu Kush and Chemdawg, but its true origins are shrouded in mystery. Did it come from a bag seed at a Grateful Dead show like some claim? Does the OG stand for “original gangster” or the “ocean grown” cross of Chemdawg and a Lemon Thai/Pakistani Kush hybrid that many purport is the true foundation for this famous strain?

Despite the origins of this classic Kush strain, one thing is certain. OG Kush is straight fire. Uplifting and euphoric with a sense of increased focus is how many people describe this well-revered strain of weed. It’s also excellent when used in social settings thanks to the mental stimulation and lifted mood it’s known for.

Master Kush

Master Kush is a multiple award-winning indica-dominant hybrid. A cross between Hindu Kush and Skunk, this strain offers a blissful, relaxed state of mind that can lead to increased creativity and intellectual stimulation. Master Kush is known to relieve stress and anxiety and is an excellent strain for evening use.

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is another popular Kush strain that is believed to ascended from OG Kush and an unnamed Northern Lights plant from New Orleans. Bubba Kush is an indica classic, famous for the deeply stoned and sleepy sedative effects associated with most true indica strains. Couchlock isn’t just common, it should be expected. Bubba Kush is a descendent of Kush that is best used in the evenings when all you have to do is relax, eat, and then sleep (extremely peacefully).

Skywalker OG

Skywalker OG (or Skywalker OG Kush) is a cross between Skywalker and OG Kush, a strain that offers an extremely heavy high that offers all the classic indica effects. Stoned, sleepy, and comfortably numb. If you’re having issues with your appetite, Skywalker OG is famous for intense munchies. Consider yourself forewarned. Not typically recommended for the beginning cannabis consumer, Skywalker OG is one of the stronger strains available, with THC counts that can regularly be found at 26% or more.

Purple Kush

Purple Kush was named a Top 10 Kush Strain by High Times in 2016. It’s a cross between Hindu Kush and a purple variety of Afghani. Purple Kush is 100% indica and will leave users feeling perfectly relaxed almost immediately. It’s not considered a strain to use when you’re looking for focus and concentration but is perfect for when you want to zone out and feel blissfully content with your surroundings. Purple Kush is an awesome strain for relieving insomnia and is often used medically for pain, anxiety, and depression.

A History of Landrace Strains: What is Hindu Kush? was last modified: by
Jen Keehn

About the author: Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic therapy.