Will Popular Marijuana Strains Become Like Fine Wines?


By Steven Maxwell

I’m a recreational cannabis refugee. I moved to the Pacific Northwest to avoid the potential of being thrown in a cage for smoking a flower that makes my life better.

I’m old enough to remember when good marijuana was rare and called “kine buds.” Kine comes from Hawaiian pigeon speak for “the good kind.” Since Hawaii has had a long love affair with potent pakalolo (crazy smoke), with strains like Maui Waui becoming world famous, kine became universal slang for “the good weed” even for a teenager like me in the 1990s in Connecticut.

Brick weed of unknown origin was much more common in those days. As the legalization of cannabis expands, so does the knowledge of the best strains and their effects. Today brick weed is all but extinct in the United States while genetic strains of cannabis are becoming very sophisticated.

Crowd sourcing experiences may prove more accurate than clinical studies could ever be. Sites like Leafly and others have curated thousands of experiences about how different strains and doses of cannabis affect people. Although marijuana effects seem to be unique for each individual, much like various alcohol drinks are, some common traits are identifiable.

In a previous article, I described the general differences between sativa and indica strains. Sativa has a more energetic, heady and creative effect, while indica is more pain-relieving and sleep-inducing.

cannabis infographic

But like fine wines, there are subtleties to consider.

Some strains are bred to maximize output of flowers with compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary mind-altering ingredient in cannabis. While other strains are bred to limit the THC and emphasize other beneficial compounds to help children cope with debilitating illnesses. Charlotte’s Web is a notable low-THC strain produced to reduce seizures in kids without getting them high.

Watch this brief clip of CNN’s special Weed about the people behind Charlotte’s web:

There are 5 major cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBN, CBC and CBG. Each strain of marijuana has a different composition of these cannabinoids in order to achieve different effects. Clever botanists then deliberately breed strains to optimize certain traits and features.

effects of cannabinoids

Original genetic strains of cannabis are called Landraces. They are the Holy Grail for strain hunters and breeders who will go to great lengths to acquire them. The short film below follows cannabis breeding legend, Arjan Roskam, and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades.

Landraces have been bred together to create some world-renowned strains like White Widow which is 60% South Indian indica and 40% Brazilian sativa and boasts 20-22% THC. The name White Widow refers to how the strain’s huge colas become snow covered with white crystal trichomes towards the end of their flowering period. White Widow has since spawned many other popular strains like White Russian, White Rhino, and Blue Widow.

Highly tailored cannabis strains are beginning to resemble fine wine whereby the richness is found in the varying scents, flavors, sensations, origin stories and growing method. Even name brands are beginning to take shape with celebrity brands leading the charge.

Music legend and longtime defender of marijuana, Willie Nelson, has launched a premium quality brand called Willie’s Reserve which sells multiple strains in elegant packaging. Will Willie’s Reserve White Widow become comparable to Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?


Blunt-smoking Snoop Dogg has gotten into the action with his brand Leafs By Snoop. Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge launched a cannabis-infused wine tincture “Private Reserve.”

What’s more, the day job of the current Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, who’s polling in double-digits against Clinton and Trump, is the president and CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc. The publicly traded company focuses on high-quality cannabis products and public policy.

With corporate green fever heating up, some people are worried that agriculture giants like Monsanto will bully their way into the market and create a mutant GMO weed to compete with organic and heirloom strains.

Ultimately, the competition in a legal recreational market will likely bring a rush of new kine buds. Move over wine snobs, make room for the cannabis connoisseurs.

Steven Maxwell writes for Activist Post. The article is open source and can be reproduced in full with attribution.

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4 Comments on "Will Popular Marijuana Strains Become Like Fine Wines?"

  1. Excellent information about marijuana and its pain-relieving properties. Like most people, and not using the product, I knew very little about it. I just didn’t like the smell of it, and had no use for it. Now I can appreciate that its use is of great benefit to people suffering from intolerable pain, and they should be allowed legal use of it.

  2. Let’s hope the wine snobbery part of it and the higher prices because of a great looking label syndrome doesn’t happen either. As a lifelong stoner…I mean cannabis aficionado that grew up here in Washington state and who’s also had a MMJ card for quite a spell as well, I admit it….we’re spoiled here. Like the state’s fine wines that are produced in vineyards that are mostly in the dry eastern part of the state, there’s so many different strains that’re grown everywhere that for the past couple of years I’ve never bought the same kind twice in a row. No matter how good it was. Where if I find a good wine that tastes like I like it to I’m more apt to practice a little more brand loyalty and continue to buy it as long as I can find it. But when top shelf cannabis is going for less than $150 per ounce (if you know where to find it) where as the recreational retail store are much more…cost prohibitive (IMO) though many coming from other areas of the US where it’s still illegal would think this place to be stoner heaven even in the recreational retail stores. Anyway, the last MMJ Farmer’s Market I went to there was several premium ounces of home produced cannabis for $100 an ounce and on up to about $150 for their best. Concentrates and medibles were everywhere and were also reasonably priced. My favorite new thing?? Screw on vapor cartridges onto an e-cig battery that hold anywhere from a half to a full gram of premium cannabis oil that’s strain specific. Whatever you want. There’s many different vendors with several different looking cartridges with that honey colored cannabis oil that usually runs 50% THC and up and usually up. The Afgoo cart I bought last tested at 67% and man is that some tasty stuff. It’s hassle free especially where a pipe wouldn’t or couldn’t be used and it’s discreet too as there’s very little smell. Prices run anywhere from $25 a piece on up towards $45 for a specific vendor’s product and last a lot longer than the same amount of similarly priced flower. Yep, life is good for the cannabis connoisseur here in the evergreen state…

  3. The rocky moutains aren’t all rocks.
    THC and CBD are in love with our DNA.
    Imbibe for the health of it.

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