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What is Zaza, Rare & Exotic Marijuana Strains?

In the cannabis industry, there are slang terms and nicknames for a variety of products and tools, as well as consumption methods. The term “zaza” is one of them. 

In this guide, we’ll break it down for you and explain:

  • What Does “Zaza” mean?
  • What Makes a Cannabis Strain Exotic?
  • What Are The Exotic Strains To Look For?

What Does “Zaza” Mean?

In general, the term “zaza” refers to premium flower strains of cannabis that are considered highly potent and rare for the region. It’s actually a play on the “X” sound in the word “exotic.” The term “zaza” can also refer to an actual strain of exotic marijuana. 

What Makes a Cannabis Strain Exotic? 

Exotic is a label that means different things to different consumers, so there are a number of factors that go into whether or not a strain is highly sought after:

  • Potency: Strains that are considered exotic often have high THC percentages, but that’s not the only factor that cannabis connoisseurs consider. Unique terpene or cannabinoid profiles are just as important when it comes to the experience of the strain. (This is called the Entourage Effect.)  

  • Appearance: Cannabis flower is just like any other type of flower–it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Exotic strains often have unique buds that are covered in colorful pistils and layers of trichomes  

  • Taste & Smell: Consuming cannabis is all about the journey, and the flower’s flavor and smell contribute to the overall experience. A strain that has a truly unique aroma or an unexpected taste will likely make it quite popular in the cannabis community.  

  • Availability: Finding a rare, hard-to-find strain of cannabis is a real treat for cannabis connoisseurs. Whether something is not readily available to a specific region - West Coast and East Coast markets can have very different selections - or it’s a strain that is difficult to grow and makes its flower rare, ease of access contributes to a strain’s status as “exotic.”  

It’s important to note that when we talk about exotic strains, we are referring to cannabis flower. Vapes - whether disposable or cartridges - use distillate, extracted terpenes, and other phytochemicals to mimic a strain. While you can have a similar experience to the original strain, there are nuances that simply cannot be recreated in a lab.

What Are The Exotic Strains To Look For? 

There are a large number of exotic strains on the market, and if you visit your local dispensary, you can likely even ask the budtender if they have any exotic strains in stock. These are just a handful of some of our favorites:  

Malawi Gold


You’ll find that many landrace strains - strains that are native to a certain part of the world - are exotic and difficult to find. Malawi Gold is a 100% pure sativa strain that grows wild in Malawi in Central Africa. It has floral and banana aromas, and offers moderate levels of THC (9%-13%).

Grandaddy Purple

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

This strain is a popular and exotic “purple strain,” created by crossing Big Bud with Purple Urkle. It’s an indica-dominant strain that offers sweet, berry flavors and aromas. Because it’s such a desirable taste and experience, Grandaddy Purple has been crossed with other strains many times. 

Bubba Kush

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

While not a pure indica, this infamous strain was likely bred from the famous Afghani landrace. Its origins are unknown, adding to this exotic plant’s mystery. Bubba Kush has a high THC content (14%-25%), and the overall experience it provides is highly desirable to cannabis connoisseurs.

Finding Exotic Flower Strains Near You

If you’re interested in experiencing some of these unique strains for yourself, head over to your local dispensary. While you may not find one of the three we listed (they’re exotic for a reason!), there’s a good chance your dispensary carries a different strain that may be worth trying.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in New York and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.