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8 rare cannabis strains worth searching high (and low) for

I n our modern digitally connected world, pretty much everything rare and prized is also paradoxically readily available—at least if you have the means.

Want to chow down on the world’s rarest caviar , then wash it down with a glass of the world’s rarest fine wine ? Well, it’ll cost you a pretty penny (perhaps you can pay in 1944 Steel Wheat Pennies, worth over $110,000 a pop), but thanks to the internet, you’ll have no problem actually locating those items on the open market.

Looking to start your rare cannabis quest?

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Here’s another paradox: Anyone seeking out obscure cannabis strains of the distant past—far flung exotic landraces that never made a commercial impact to begin with, or the hottest new hybrids that haven’t yet hit the commercial market—will like have better luck dusting off their old underground dealer rolodex and chasing after leads and clues like some kind of dank detective than they will driving over to their friendly local cannabis store.

Which raises two very significant questions worth addressing before you set off on your rare cannabis quest: Which hard to find strains are worth the effort? And how will you know it’s really the “real deal” once you find it?

What’s to stop someone from claiming to be in possession of a rare cutting of Pre-98 Bubba Kush when all they’ve really got is a run-of-the-mill OG? Nothing really, except honor, decency, and a desire not to be labeled a human paraquat and banished from the scene.

But anyway, putting all that unpleasantness aside, I recently indulged in a pleasant little thought experiment by asking some of the world’s leading cannabis connoisseurs two questions:

  1. What’s the rarest strain you’ve ever had the pleasure of smoking?
  2. What’s the one rare strain you’ve never tried but would really love to track down?

Culling through their responses—plus some “big data” supplied by Leafly’s in-house researchers—I put together this highly-subjective list of rare and highly sought after cannabis varietals. Consider this only the start, so please add your “holy grail” strains in the comments. And yeah, if you happen to know where to track down a nice nug or two of Kali Mist , I can be reached via Twitter: @pot_handbook

Chemdog 91

The history of the Chemdog line of cannabis strains is long, convoluted, and fascinating , with an origin story that dates back to bag seed salvaged from an ounce of primo bud sold on a Grateful Dead tour back in 1991. Perhaps most famous for its incredibly potent progeny—including Sour Diesel , OG Kush , and their many variants and offspring—the original Chemdog varietal (now known as Chemdog 91) remains among the most potent, flavorful, and sought after cannabis cuts of all time. Known for its earthy, skunky, diesel aroma and euphoric high, it’s often imitated, but rarely located these days.

Check to see if someone’s got Chemdog 91 near you.

Mendocino Purps

Direct from the Emerald Triangle—Northern California’s famed cannabis growing region—comes Mendo Purps, one of the classic purple strains with a flavor profile redolent of caramel coffee and woodsy pine. A harbinger of the “Purps” craze that drove the underground weed market in the mid-2000s, the purple pride of Mendocino County started life as a clone-only cutting and remains in sadly short supply.

These dispensaries say they got the Mendo Purps.

Bubba OG

As any cannabis enthusiast in California can attest, there’s no shortage of OG Kush crosses on the market, but one of the oldest and best has largely slipped off the radar. And that’s a shame, because Bubba OG—a hybrid of Pre-98 Bubba Kush and Ghost OG from Canadian breeders Dr. Greenthumb Seeds—delivers the former’s flavor and the latter’s potency, a truly winning combo. BOG (as it’s known to those who remember) can work wonders for chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, and insomnia.

We heard you can find Bubba OG at these shops.

Four Way

Named for its four parents—three distinct landrace strains hailing from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, plus the legendary Skunk #1 —Four Way is one of the most pungent strains of all time, while also delivering a potent cannabinoid profile with up to 20% THC and 2% CBD. Predominantly indica with creeping sedative effects, this beloved but elusive strain retains the spicy, hashy taste and aroma of its exotic parentage, plus notes of pure stinky skunk.

These shops allegedly carry Four Way.

Sweet Tooth

This classic indica-dominant hybrid was on top of the world after bringing home 1st place at the 2001 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, but nowadays satisfying your Sweet Tooth will take some serious searching around. A remarkable blend of landrace strains from from Afghanistan , Hawaii , and Nepal , the buds come coated not in sugar, but in resin, and deliver a truly sweet smell of flowers and berries.

We’ve heard tales of Sweet Tooth’s availability at these shops.

NYC Diesel

Winner of five Cannabis Cup trophies back in the early 2000s, NYC Diesel was bred by Soma Sacred Seeds and is a slightly sativa-dominant cross of Mexican and Afghani landraces that retains highly cerebral effects and deep body sedation. Distinguished by its powerful lime and grapefruit aroma, it’s an uplifting, creative, buzzy varietal that doesn’t spark anxiety, making it ideal for social situations.

Find out if NYC Diesel made its way to a dispensary nearby.

Amnesia Haze

Winner of two Cannabis Cups for top sativa (more than a decade apart), Amnesia Haze has ironically been all but forgotten today. Still, it retains a place of high honor in the memory of anyone lucky enough to have sampled the strain’s citrus flavor and experience its uplifting, energizing, buzzy effects. A hybrid of South Asian and Jamaican landrace strains, it became a sensation in Amsterdam more than a decade ago as the featured menu item at a coffeeshop named after the strain.

Or was was the strain named after the coffeeshop?

Explore dispensaries stocked with this coffeeshop classic.

Hawaiian Snow

The Original Haze strain dates all the way back to the earliest cannabis breeding efforts of the late 1960s, and remains the standard bearer for all sativa strains to this day. Hawaiian Snow combines the genetics of three of the best Hazes of all time— Neville’s Haze , Pure Haze, and Hawaiian Haze —into one incredible varietal with the smell of spicy-incense accented by hints of citrus and eucalyptus. It also delivers a soaring cerebral high with THC levels that can reach 23% when properly cultivated and harvested a peak potency.

If you’re a cannabis connoisseur, you might want to learn more about these rare cannabis strains that are worth tracking down, if you can find them.

Catch them if you can: 11 rare cannabis strains you might never come across

Here’s what experts had to say about the most sought-after, seldom-found strains

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.

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    Article content

    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.

    Catch them if you can: 11 rare cannabis strains you might never come across Back to video

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    Here’s what experts had to say about 11 sought-after, seldom-found strains.

    Dr. Grinspoon/Quaze

    Named in honour of cannabis researcher Harvard MD Lester Grinspoon, author of 1993’s prescient Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine, Dr. Grinspoon is pure sativa and an excellent choice for any activity requiring extended concentration–barring driving, of course. Ryan Lee, founder of Chimera Genetic Resource Management, says that Dr. Grinspoon is often sold in Dutch coffee shops under the name “Grinspoon”, but is often referred to as “Quaze” or “Quaze Haze” for reasons unknown.

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    What makes it special: Grinspoon is a heady strain; offering an uplifted, cerebral clarity and an unusual “spicy” flavour when smoked or vapourized.
    Approx. cost: Unlike many strains, Grinspoon is only available for purchase in the form of seeds, meaning you’ll have to grow your own if you want to try it in Canada at $19.42 per seed.

    Customers use a MedMen iPad menu during the grand opening in Nevada. Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for MedMen

    Jamaican Lion

    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

    Panama Red

    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

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    Lasqueti Haze

    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.

    A man observes a sample of cannabis sample during the first Cannabis Cup in Mexico. Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images

    Black Beauty

    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.

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    Doug’s Varin

    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

    Hindu Kush

    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

    People at the opening of “Dr. Greenthumb”, the flagship medical and recreational marijuana dispensary in California. Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

    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.

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    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.

    Magic Jordan

    “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

    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

    Lamb’s Bread

    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

    Here’s what experts had to say about the most sought-after, seldom-found strains