Did you know that George Washington is said to have been an enthusiastic pot planter? Many suspected that he smoked weed to treat the pain from his rustic, 18th century dentures. What he may have not known is that growing a “ganja” garden (the word for weed in South Asia) is not easy.
Cannabis cultivation is not simple nor do the seeds come cheap. A small pack of 10 cannabis seeds can cost over a hundred dollars. You can imagine how expensive cannabis cultivation would be. Add to that, high price need not mean high-quality seeds. The reason for the astronomical cost of weed seeds goes a little deeper - right down to its genes.
Like most living species, the quality of weed is all in the genetic makeup. Seeds that produce the best buds are the ones that are most coveted. They need to mature before they are harvested for which they need to be stored in a cool, dry, mould-free place. Not planning to plant them just yet? Just freeze them or use them up within 16 months.
A plant’s phenotype (physical characteristics such as health, colour, smell, shape of leaves, production of resin) is dependent on the environment. But to complicate matters further, awarded seeds are more expensive than a strain that has never won the Cannabis Cup.
Oracle: This is one of the rarest strains in the world. The THC level of Oracle could spike up to 40%, making it one of the most potent. Seeds of this strain have earned nearly $200 for a single one. Power-packed with high-CBD, the Oracle is also another name for the ACDC strain. It is deeply relaxing and known to treat epilepsy. Oracle seeds aren’t as expensive as they once were but online shops still sell 10 Oracle seeds for over $600.
Fruity Pebbles: Quite like its name, Fruity Pebbles smells and fruity. The seeds of this strain have sold for an unbelievable $1,000 to $1,500 for just a pack in 2012. Imagine how lucrative a harvest would be from one plant alone! Just like its name, Fruity Pebbles is as stunning as it looks with rainbow-like multi-coloured accents on the buds, from vivid orange and purple to bright red and green, and tastes as good. It is easy to see why the seeds can cost up to $1,000. To grow one, you can also use a clone (cutting) if you are fortunate enough to chance upon one. In a climate fed with steady, soft sunlight, the plant can grow tall and stealthy like a sativa with healthy buds. Fruity Pebbles is a stress buster and perfect for a good night’s rest.
Isla O.G.: This strain is a cannabis connoisseur’s dream. Reputed as one of the world’s most expensive with highly potent strains rich with 45% psychoactive THC, this strain is priced at $800 per ounce ($28.57/gram). It comes in ⅛ ounce canned portions to seal its freshness.
Cannabis producers usually plant a variety of seeds and clone the best growths. But process is more laborious than it sounds. Harvesting identical strains using the seeds is elaborate and lengthy. Some countries have it easier than others though, thanks to their climatic conditions tailored to grow the plant.
Mexico and Paraguay are the largest producers of cannabis in the world but the country where it grows wild without any human hand to nurture them is Bhutan. You will find them growing all along the roadsides, creeping up through pavement cracks, filling up forests. But quite contrarily, the marijuana plant is considered a pest there. Much of the weed in Bhutan is used to feed livestock!