High Rolling? The Top Five Most Expensive Strains in the World
A cannabis strain is a cannabis strain; they are pretty much all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The psychoactive and physical effects of different cannabis strains can be very unique. This is why patients develop a list of strains that they prefer, which may work better than others for their wellness needs.
But while you are hunting for the best deals at your local dispensary, it’s hard not to wonder how “high” cannabis prices can go. Not just in the United States but worldwide. Paying $90 to $130 per ounce can feel uncomfortable, but when you consider the most expensive cannabis strains in the world, start at $800 per ounce. Your perspective may change.
We went looking for some of the most expensive cannabis strains to learn which ones earned the “elite” status and why they cost so much.
What Makes a Cannabis Strain So Expensive?
When you visit a medical cannabis dispensary, one of the first things you’ll notice is that prices can vary significantly. Naturally, most patients are looking for the highest quality medical marijuana strains at the most affordable prices.
There are four different reasons why some cultivars of cannabis are more expensive.
1. THC Content
The general rule is that cannabis flower with more than 25% THC levels or content is going to come with a higher price tag. In the United States, most strains below 20% THC are less expensive.
There is a myth that higher potency strains provide better results. Patients using medical cannabis regularly to help with symptoms can achieve their goals with lower potency strains. Higher levels of THC do not equate to better results. But the myth is perpetuated by premium pricing in dispensaries for high-potency strains.
2. Unique Combinations of Terpenes and Cannabinoids
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is only one of hundreds of cannabinoids that may offer wellness benefits. When you research medical marijuana strains online, you will notice that many strains also have minor or secondary cannabinoid content.
Some of the other cannabinoids you may find in premium-priced medical marijuana include:
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Cannabicyclol (CBL)
- Cannabielsoin (CBE)
- Cannabitriol (CBT)
- Cannabigerols (CBG)
- Cannabichromenes (CBC)
Scientific studies into the effects of cannabis on the human body have revealed that while THC is the most psychoactive, other secondary cannabinoids are important two. Research suggests that cannabinoids work best together (the entourage effect) and can provide wellness benefits when combined.
Terpene Type and Ratio Affects Cannabis Prices
Terpenes are also very important when choosing medical cannabis strains. Expensive weed strains typically have higher than average terpene content. Terpenes occur naturally in all plants, but specific terpenes are present in the most potent weed strains.
There are over 20,000 different varieties of terpenes known to science that may have positive impacts on well-being. The cannabis plant is known to have about 200 terpene variations, depending on the strains.
Both caryophyllene and myrcene are commonly found in potent strains. Pinene, Myrcene, Limonene, Bisabolol, Humulene, Delta 3 Carene, Perpineol, Valencene, and Humulene are just some of the terpenes that can be found in cannabis strains.
Want to learn how terpenes work and which ones may offer wellness benefits? Check out this blog post, “Why Are Cannabis Terpenes a Big Deal?“. Find out which terpenes can help with symptoms of anxiety, inflammation, pain, and more.
Cultivation Difficulty and Rarity
Some cannabis strains are very easy to grow. Autoflower varieties, for example, mature quickly and are more resilient to environmental conditions that can make other cannabis plants fail.
Other types of cannabis plants have very specific agricultural needs. They have to be nurtured with precision amounts of light and darkness, moisture, and in some cases, specialized nutrients.
Sometimes cannabis plants may have a small bud structure and produce less flower. Generally speaking, the more difficult cannabis strains are not usually picked by commercial growers. They are more time-consuming and expensive to cultivate.
But some strains of cannabis are definitely worth the extra effort. And cultivators may produce small quantities of a specialty flower if there is a local demand for it. In those cases, you may find the “high maintenance” strains are less frequently available or sell out quickly because they are coveted for their unique medicinal properties.
If you have researched strains online at websites like Weedmaps or Leafly, you know that much of the information about strains comes directly from consumers. People who have experience with cannabis leave reviews that hint at some of the attributes that a specific strain can provide.
Some of the most popular strains believed to provide more medicinal benefits for patients include:
- Blue Dream
- Black Magic Kush
- Sour Diesel
- Northern Lights
- Dutch Treat
- LA Confidential
One of the most common uses of medical marijuana is to assist with pain management. It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans currently suffer from chronic pain. About 20% of the global population is believed to have moderate to severe intractable pain. And sometimes, conventional therapies do not work.
Other symptoms associated with chronic pain include mood variance, depression, anxiety, and emotional reactivity. Expensive weed strains may help reduce pain symptoms better and provide some relief for mental health disorders, which is why they may be premium priced for patients.
The Five Most Expensive Cannabis Strains in the World
If money was no object, would you spend top dollar for some of the most expensive cannabis strains in the world? Well, you may be tempted to try a small quantity of a few of these strains, assuming you can find them in the United States. After all, they have been cultivated from world-class genetic material.
Here are the top five most expensive weed strains in the world.
1. Island OG
This Indica dominant hybrid strain is known for producing both a head and body high. That is because it is almost pure Indica (97%). The common psychoactive and physical effects of Island OG are relaxation and euphoria. For a short period of time, if you manage to stay awake after taking Island OG, you may feel zero stress.
THC: 25% to 27%
Dominant Terpenes: Over 1.98% terpene content in Island OG. The dominant terps are B-Myrcene, B-Pinene, and D3-Carene.
Many people have reviewed the strain and commented that it doesn’t make them feel sleepy, however, which is different for a strong Indica dominant strain. High Myrcene content (also known as the “couch lock” terpene) is present. The Island OG strain was bred from Legend OG with Orange Blossom Trail.
Less Expensive Alternatives
- Alaska Thunder Grape
- Apple Kush
- Lemon Gelato
The flavors of Island OG marijuana strain are described as notes of peach, tar, and pineapple. The price per ounce for Island OG has been as high as $800 U.S. per ounce.
The XJ-13 is so loaded with secondary cannabinoids and terpenes they couldn’t come up with a better name for it. This strain is a 50% Indica and 50% Sativa hybrid and is recognized as one of the more potent strains.
In total, there are thirteen (13) different cannabinoids and terpenes present in this bud. This is why it makes the luxury strain list; few strains have 30%+ cannabinoid content. The XJ-13 strain sells for approximately $350 per ounce.
CBGa: 14.13 mg/g
CBCa: 4.16 mg/g
Dominant Terpenes: B-Pinene, Humulene, A-Pinene, 3-Carene, Terpinolene, Linalool, Y-Terpinene, and P-Cymene.
The XJ-13 strain may help with anxiety, concentration, focus, insomnia, muscle spasms, headaches, and fatigue. Many of the terpenes in XJ-13 are believed to provide a mood boost, so it may be good for patients who struggle with symptoms of depression.
Less Expensive Alternatives
- Jack Herer
What does XJ-13 taste like when you smoke it? Dank skunk, citrus, earthy and sweet. The XJ-13 strain is not impossible to find in the United States and averages around $350 per ounce.
When the Oracle cannabis strain was introduced, almost no one had heard of strains that topped 45% THC levels. That is more than double the average THC content found in strains sold in the United States. But the THC content and the legendary 4-week flowering time are topics of much debate.
The cost of a single seed for the Oracle strain has sold for more than $200 (per seed). And a cloned Oracle plant can sell for up to $1,000. It was introduced in America back in 2009, and one of the reasons why it is so highly-priced is that it is rare to find and has some impressive medicinal attributes.
THC: 25% to 45%
CBD: 7% to 9%
CBC: 0.14% to 0.55%
CBG: 0.40% to 1.2%
CBN: 0.06% to 0.25%
THCV: 0.39% to 0.52%
Dominant Terpenes: Carene, Geraniol, and Ocimene.
The Oracle marijuana strain may make you feel creative, uplifted, and energetic. If you have a lot of things to do, it may be the perfect strain to try if you have problems with chronic fatigue.
Less Expensive Alternatives
- CBD Fix Automatic
- Fruity Pebbles
- Isla OG (not less expensive)
The flavor profile of Oracle cannabis is described as nutty, with lemon (on exhale), skunk, and earthy undertones. Bred from three very rare cultivars, Oracle can sell for over $800 per ounce. But it may have some negative side effects, including panic attacks (anxiety), dizziness, and problems sleeping (insomnia).
4. White Fire OG
This hybrid strain is 60% Indica and 40% Sativa. You may also find this strain of cannabis under the name WiFi OG or WiFi Kush in some dispensaries. The White Fire OG strain was bred from Fire OG and The White, and it is a very popular type of marijuana strain.
THC: 22% to 30%
Dominant Terpenes: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Pinene, and Limonene.
Some patients that have used White Fire OG medical cannabis have shared that it can make you feel emotionally uplifted, focused, energetic, and relaxed. Which may make this strain ideal for daytime use.
Less Expensive Alternatives
- Jesus OG
- Tangerine Dream
- Jacky White
- The White
- White Wedding
White Fire OG has some interesting flavors, with sour citrus, spicy earth undertones, and notes of mellow herb. Some people state that it has a peppery taste at the back of the throat, which can induce coughing. This strain can sometimes be found for less than $200 per ounce but has been sold for an average of $400 to $600 per ounce.
5. Loud Dream
Another strain of cannabis to add to your luxury wish list is Loud Dream. In 2022, the cannabis strain was selling for an average of $800 per ounce. It has a number of unique attributes inherited from its parent plant, the popular Blue Dream strain.
THC: 14% to 16%
Dominant Terpenes: Myrcene, Pinene, and Limonene.
Loud Dream has a unique tropical flavor, with notes of spicy herbal and orange citrus. This strain has caused paranoia, according to consumer reviews, and dry mouth.
Less Expensive Alternatives
- Sweet Diesel
- Golden Strawberry
- 66 Cookies
Individuals looking for help with pain or anxiety symptoms may find that Loud Dream is effective. This strain has been sold for up to $800 per ounce.
Are Expensive Weed Strains Worth It?
For some people with debilitating mental or physical health conditions, the quest for strains that help is endless. You have to wonder if some of the most expensive strains in the world may work better. After all, they are priced high for a reason.
But you do not have to use a high THC strain to get good results. There are always cheaper alternatives available at your local dispensary. Do some research and create a list of alternative high-quality buds you can try instead. And ask your local dispensary for advice based on your symptoms and wellness goals.
I am a Chief Marketing Officer at DocMJ, a leading provider of medical cannabis health services to qualified patients. I have over 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing and communications, with a proven track record of delivering impactful and compliant campaigns that educate, inform, and empower patients to make better choices for their health and wellness.