Lebanon, a country known for its diverse culture and breathtaking landscapes, holds a hidden gem within its borders,  the legendary landrace cannabis plants cultivated in the Beqaa Valley. Our adventure begins in the heart of Lebanon’s vibrant but chaotic capital, Beirut a city of stark contradictions, where ancient history mingles with the trials of modern life. As we make our way out from the plance and into the airport the excitement grows, we show our passports to the police man at the immigration and when he asks us where we’re going and where we’ll be staying and for how long and we reply a shiver runs the spine thinking he’d ask more question. Thank god he lets us all pass.

Our friend is waiting for us at the arrivals  inside the airport. Once out of the arrivals’s fence we hug and it’s like time hasn’t passed., like when you meet an old good friend and years don’t matter. We were there four years ago and his face was still the same. Once out of the airport and although  mid September, the warmth of the sun  envelops us, it’s strong, still in the 30’s Celsius and the air carries the salty aroma of the nearby Mediterranean Sea. We venture into the streets of Beirut  where life unfolds in a tapestry of colours and contradictions. People are everywhere and lots of beggars, a clear indicator of the serious economical crisis the country has plunged in since years and is still going through and enduring although our friend told us that the worst is over.

Amid the bustling streets, we witness the harsh reality faced by many Lebanese.  Precarious living conditions force some into begging on the streets, as they strive to provide for their families. The juxtaposition of thriving commerce and struggling citizens serves as a stark reminder of the resilience and determination of the people of Beirut.

The Journey from Beirut to the Beqaa Valley

Our journey to find Lebanon’s famed landrace cannabis seeds starts with a lot of bargaining with several drivers heading in the direction of the Beqaa valley and eventually leads us to the shared van waiting at a designated meeting point in Beirut among many other vans Here, we meet lots of locals travelling to and from Beirut, each with their own unique motivations. Some are mothers going to visit their families and others are young students travelling back and forth to university and back to their homes. We are asked many questions in the van, especially from women who are very curious to know what we ethink of Lebanese women and what drew us to Lebanon. Obviously we don’t tell them why…

As the van sets off towards the Beqaa Valley and thanks to the translation of our friend, we quickly form bonds with the other passengers. The van becomes a microcosm of Lebanon’s multicultural society, with lively conversations and laughter bridging any gaps between us, actually making us see that the world is one. The road winds through picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views of ancient-looking mountains resembling those from western Iran. The scent of fertile soil starts filling the air. The journey is as much about the camaraderie we discover as it is about reaching our destination. It’s a bit sad to see the passengers slowly getting off and leaving the van.

Part 2: Reconnecting in the Beqaa Valley

After a good three hours of travel, we finally arrive at our destination: the Beqaa Valley, where the legendary cannabis strains we seek are cultivated. Time seems to slow down in this rural oasis, where the rhythm of life is dictated by the changing seasons and the cultivation of this storied plant. Silence and stillness are everywhere. It is really a remote part of the country where time is still standing still and there is no sign of modernisation

Our journey takes us to the house of our trusted source who has become a friend over the years, a friend we have not seen in four years! The whole family is our family and it’s incredible and surprising to see that their faces have not changed much. We thought we would have seen faces hollowed and worn out by the problems of everyday but surprisingly they all looked in good shape. This shows how much resilient the Lebanese can be and indeed they are! The economical crisis doesn’t seem to affect them, or at least, nothing is shown on the surface. But after some chatting we realize that the family is l iving with 100 dollars a  month ! A sense of helplessness is perceived and we wanted to help as much as we could, bringing medicines for the young of the family who has serious health issues.

A Warm Welcome in the Beqaa Valley

Reunited with our friends, we are welcomed into the house with open arms. The entire family, from grandparents to children, greets us with warm smiles, reminding us of the enduring bonds forged during previous visits. The hospitality of the Beqaa Valley is both humbling and heartwarming.

Our hosts treat us to a feast of traditional Lebanese dishes. The flavours of tabbouleh, falafel, fattoush and freshly baked flatbreads transport us to a world of culinary delight. As we share stories and laughters around the dinner table, it becomes clear that the Beqaa Valley is more than just a place; it is a community of resilient individuals who have faced history’s trials together. Everyone knows each other in the village even if not personally and everyone is greeted.

Exploring the Beqaa Valley

Our mission in the Beqaa Valley is twofold: to learn about the cultivation of Lebanon’s legendary landrace cannabis strains and to collect samples for preservation. Over the next few days, we embark on a journey through the valley, visiting three distinct farms, each owned by a different farmer and located in diverse parts of the valley. There is one part of the valley, located at a slightly lower altitude (1280 metres) and with red soil that cultivates the plants that later will give the Lebanese Red hash whereas another part of the valley, situated at a higher altitude (1600 metres) and with a more golden blond soil that produces the renowned Lebanese Blonde.

Farm #1: Open to innovation

Our first stop takes us to a farm nestled in the northern reaches of the Beqaa Valley. Here, the farmer is a traditionalist who has cultivated cannabis for generations, using methods passed down through time. He is a friend of our source and also family related, an uncle, who gives us also his organic veggies grown in the garden where he has his plants. The cannabis plants thrive in relatively small plots, interspersed with olive trees and grapevines, receiving meticulous care and attention which consists of daily inspection of the plants to see when they’ll be ready to be harvested.


As we stroll through the fields, the farmer shares his deep knowledge and passion for his craft. He emphasizes the importance of preserving Lebanon’s landrace strains, which have evolved over centuries to adapt to the unique climate and terrain of the Beqaa Valley. He goes in his stable and thanks fo his generosity he comes back with quite a lot of seeds that he carefully pours in a plate. Here, we carefully collect samples, grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of these precious genetics. However, the farmer is not against innovation and open to strengthening of the Lebanese genetics.

As a matter of fact he told us that he would love to cross his Lebanese plants with some other genetics that can contribute to higher yields since Lebanon seems to be opeining to sinsemillas ganja along with the regular hash consumption. The difference being that the sinsemilla gaja could be sold at higher prices thus helping the farmers in terms of revenues as the dealer that buys hash from the farmers get a very cheap price and makes quite a bit of money when reselling it. Anyway, we stressed the importance to preserve these unique genetics as they may get wiped out if hybrids are introduced in the fields. It would be very sad to see those fields filled with hybrids!

Farm #2: The plant medicine man

Our next destination is the house of “The plant medicine man”, that’s how he is known in the village located in the heart of the valley, where the person grows literally everything. He also grows trees that he keeps in pots and then reintroduce them all around Lebanon. He makes medicine from all sorts of plants and has a deep knowledge of the property every plant and tree has. As a matter of fact he even made medicine for the sick person member of the family that has hosted us, giving him great relief from the condition he is suffering from.

You can see cannabis plants growing all around his place, both in big pots and also straight in the ground. He also has them in greenhouses He makes 3 different types of oil. One from cannabis seeds. He told us that you need up to 4 kg of seeds to make the purest cannabis seed oil ! He also showed us his own CBD oil, made from buds only. It was really dark and smelled like the best medicinal plant oil you could imagine. We tried just a few drops and the effect was pure bliss, quiet contentment, feelings of luminous thoughts, and quiet soaring happiness that lasted a good four hours.


The farmer explains that by combining the wisdom of the past with modern technology (he uses a machine to make the oil) he can produce high-quality cannabis oil that is very good to treat many stomach-digestion related symptoms. We collected samples here too,  the seeds were kepts in a glass jar and you could see that he had carefully selected them from his best plants. He poured a lot of them in another container and handed it to us with a big smile of generosity on his facea. We were listening to his explanations and diversity of approaches to cannabis cultivation in the Beqaa Valley and felt relieved when we understood that they haven’t changed until now.

Farm #3: The traditionalist and conservationist

Our final stop takes us to the cousin of our source. They are more brothers than cousins. He owns acres and acres of land and in his house he has everything one needs. The land is in the southern part of the Beqaa Valley, where the farmer is a passionate conservationist. He has devoted his life to preserving these amazing plants and year after year after year continues the work inherited from his father and grand father.


As we explore his farm, we see a remarkable collection of cannabis genetics in the fields with different shapes and sizes, from short and single-stemmed hash plants, to spherical-round bushes and anything in between. The colours vary from green to blonde, purple and orange. The farmer’s dedication to conservation is evident in meticulous record-keeping and genetic preservation efforts. He knows where the big plants  and where the colourful ones are. We collect samples from all the fields with a sense of awe, excitement and gratitude for the work being done to safeguard Lebanon’s cannabis heritage.

Part 3: The Warmth of Lebanese Hospitality

Throughout our journey, one aspect stands out above all: the warmth and hospitality of the Lebanese people. Whether it’s the friendly smiles in the van, the heartfelt welcome from our host family, or the generous sharing of delicious Lebanese cuisine, the people of Lebanon left once again an indelible mark on our hearts.

Leaving the Beqaa Valley with Gratitude

As our journey comes to an end, we are filled with gratitude for the experiences and connections we have made. We depart the Beqaa Valley with not only cherished memories but also three new genetic accessions from the most renowned place for hash in all of Lebanon.

Our quest for Lebanon’s legendary landrace cannabis seeds has deepened our appreciation for the Beqaa Valley’s cultural and agricultural heritage. It has allowed us to witness the resilience of the Lebanese people and plants growing in such harsh environment and in the face of adversity and to participate in the preservation of a living treasure that we are sure will be kept for many years to come.

In the heart of the Beqaa Valley, where the past and present converge, we have found more than just cannabis seeds; we have discovered the enduring spirit of Lebanon and the bonds of friendship that transcend time and distance and we look forward to our next meeting, perhaps documenting live the extraction from the plants of the prized Lebanese resin, the world renowned Lebanese hash