It’s no secret that not all cannabis is created equal. Some are legendary in their efficacy, some barely meet quality standards, and others are almost impossible to obtain altogether. It’s intriguing to note that rarity doesn’t always seem to correspond with high prices; most of these strains are affordable regardless of their status.
Here’s what experts had to say about 10 sought-after, seldom-found strains.
Bred to cope with back pain by secretive grower Shadrock in 2006, Jamaican Lion was one of the first strains to showcase CBD expression, making it a perfect blend for those who want the headiness of a sativa with the relaxation of an indica. “It came in second place in the 2011 San Francisco Cannabis Cup,” says Kevin McKernan, CSO at Medicinal Genomics Corporation, adding that it’s also at the center of a genetic patent fight between several research parties due to its complex composition. It’s a cross between “Mountain Lion” and “Jamaican Yarder”, hence its current name.
What makes it special: With its 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, this strain upholds a perfect blend of powerful pain-relief properties and light euphoria.
Approx. cost: $9 per g
If you grew up in the 60s, you might’ve come across Panama Red. Bright red in hue, this pure sativa plant was in keeping with the counterculture of its era; its heady properties are mostly psychedelic in nature. “Pure” strains like this one are going extinct due to increasing demand for hybrid strains.
What makes it special: Consumed mostly to evoke the 60s nostalgia, this strain’s attributes are its fiery appearance and the speed with which its mind-altering effects kicks in.
Approx. cost: $20 per 3.5 g
Lovingly referred to as “Lasqueti Sweetie”, this strain is super rare, and maybe even extinct. On its origin, Lee notes: “It was grown by an older hippie on Lasqueti Island in the 90s.” Lasqueti’s powerful cerebral effects aren’t for the faint of heart, with many consumers recalling an invigorating boost of energy and focus that can be intimidating. Connoisseurs report a “sweet” and “herbal” flavour, in tandem with a strong, pungent aroma.
What makes it special: Like Panama Red, Lasqueti gives an intense boost of energy that can provide symptomatic relief against fatigue.
Approx. cost: The extreme rarity of this strain makes it essentially unavailable online, so consumers will just have to be lucky to stumble upon it.
Named for its condensed, deep black-purple buds, McKernan cites Black Beauty as a contender for one of the most interesting strains–its fascinating appearance is matched by its exotic cannabinoid profile. Though THC values are relatively standard, it holds an almost unheard-of 4 percent THC-V (tetrahydrocannabivarin). Despite being psychoactive, THC-V is often the answer to “couch lock”, the tendency to be immobilized by particularly potent bud. It also curbs the voracious “munchies” appetite characteristic of the “stoner” stereotype.
What makes it special: Its black buds alone make this strain instantly recognizable–you’ll know it when you see it. Appearances aside, its unique THC-V profile means it relieves pain and stress without leaving you glued to your couch.
Approx. cost: Another finder’s gem, the rarity of this strain means you won’t easily find it online.
McKernan makes a point to mention Doug’s Varin in the same breath as Black Beauty; a strain whose background is as much a mystery as its name. All sources point to California as its origin, but its story has been lost to time. What is recorded, however, is monumental: Like Black Beauty, its THC-V value is one of the highest in recorded history; almost completely alleviating the “burnout” effect by keeping certain THC side effects at bay.
What makes it special: Zero couch-lock, an energy rush, and suppression of panic attacks are just a few reasons to give this strain a try… should it cross your path.
Approx. cost: $280 per ounce
If relaxation is your top priority, then Hindu Kush is the solution—a powerful, pure Indica. Indigenous to the Hindu Kush mountain region, you might’ve heard “Kush” used to describe various breeds of cannabis. The buds are typically thick and dense, much like their resulting full-body effects.
What makes it special: Few strains embody the “indica” spirit more than Hindu Kush. Its consumption is known to result in a deep state of tranquility, highly useful for both stress and pain relief.
How much it approx. costs: $6.75 to $10 per g
Lime & Pine
For those who demand flavour, Lee says he’s found a winner in the enigmatic Lime & Pine strain. “It’s a plant found from imported seeds, with a terpene profile of limonene and pinene–a rare combination. Both terpenes are known for their mind-focusing properties.” You can avoid the all too common haziness of most high-THC strains as well. “Pinene has been shown to counter some of the negative effects of THC, such as short-term memory loss and the ‘weed hangover’,” he points out.
What makes it special: Its flavourful profile makes it the ideal choice for consumers who value taste as much as the effect, and the lack of consequent burnout is particularly enticing.
Approx. cost: Like most good things, you’ll have to wait to see this one; while its availability is too limited for mainstream purchase at the moment, Lee says he expects to see it in a select few dispensaries following legalization.
“Any strain that makes cannabigerol (CBG), a lesser known cannabinoid, is worthwhile,” says McKernan. Although one of the most prominent cannabinoids in the plant (alongside THC and CBD), McKernan says consumers are unlikely to come across strains producing in this non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, pain-killing compound. “They are unique and medically differentiated.” One of the biggest names in CBG-generating cannabis is Colorado Seed Inc.’s Magic Jordan. Though its name and genetic heritage are an enigma, its effects are not: This is a mellow indica, highly useful for alleviating chronic pain and inflammation.
What makes it special: Relaxation is the name of the game with this plant, as its indica lineage suggests its part of the Kush family of strains. The few lucky enough to have tried it describe a profound release of bodily tension; inducing such a sense of calm that it could help treat insomnia.
Approx. cost: Consumers will have to apply this strain’s relaxed attitude to acquiring it—its scarcity means it’s not accessible for online purchase.
Malawi Gold was traditionally grown by native Malawi tribes and is considered one of the strongest sativas produced in Southeast Africa. It’s also one of the region’s largest cash crops with effects described by consumers as exceptionally cerebral and euphoric.
What makes it special: Its golden strands make it easy to spot, as does its sweet, earthy aroma. A pure sativa, its effects are those of most high-THC plants (uplifting, energetic and stimulating)–only stronger.
Approx. cost: $15 per 3.5 g
Purported to be the favourite strain of iconic songwriter and cannabis enthusiast Bob Marley, this highbrow sativa, as you might’ve guessed, is notable for its efficacy in creative pursuits. Also called “Lamb’s Breath”, the origin of its whimsical name is shrouded in mystery.
What makes it special: This sativa’s cerebral buzz makes it the perfect companion for creative activities. Consumers have also reported feelings of great introspection.
Approx. cost: $8.28 per g
Courtesy of Growth Op