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What is Zaza, Rare & Exotic Marijuana Strains?

Take one trip to a dispensary, watch one cannabis-adjacent movie, or talk to one cannabis enthusiast, and you will quickly discover that there is a lot of vernacular to learn about when you’re getting into marijuana. One of those terms is “zaza”. In this guide, we’re going to give you a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about a zaza strain, including:

  • What is “Zaza”?
  • What Makes a Cannabis Strain Exotic?
  • Is There a Strain Named “Zaza”?
  • What Are the Top Exotic Strains to Try?
  • Answering FAQs About Exotic Cannabis Strains

What is “Zaza”? 

Zaza is a slang word that refers to rare, premium marijuana. A typical zaza strain is going to be hard to find, and it will likely pack a punch, leaving an impression on just about anyone who indulges in it. The term came from a shortening of the word “exotic,” and zaza was made popular in a variety of songs and rap lyrics. 

In general, zaza strains are fun to explore when you already have foundational knowledge of cannabis and what strains you like. For example, if you’re a cannabis newbie, any strain might seem unique to you, but a seasoned cannabis expert knows there’s a distinct difference between Sour Diesel—a relatively popular and easy-to-find bud—and a zaza strain like Black Gold.

That said, just because a strain is referred to as “zaza” doesn’t mean it’s better than the more common strains you see regularly at your dispensary. Zaza strains are a novelty, and they’re fun to enjoy when the opportunity arises, but you don’t need to only enjoy zaza in order to enjoy marijuana.

What Makes a Cannabis Strain Exotic?

Different qualities can cause a cannabis strain to be elevated to the level of zaza, but typically, you’re looking at the availability of a strain, the appearance of the bud, and the taste and smell of the marijuana when deciding if it is truly zaza. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when shopping for zaza:

  • Availability: Every area of the country and world will have their own rare strains. For example, a strain that’s common in the Netherlands might be considered zaza here in the states. Availability is a key factor in determining if it’s just a great strain or if it’s going to be the magical exotic zaza strain you’re looking for. The downside, however, is this means zaza is hard to find in most dispensaries. 

  • Appearance: When you go into a dispensary for the first time, you might think that those big green nugs on the top shelf at your dispensary are the most exotic things you’ve ever seen. As you get more accustomed to cannabis bud, you’ll begin to see that the appearance of a strain can widely vary. Some bud is lavender, some bud is almost black, and other zaza strains look like gold nuggets. The unique colors of cannabis strains can help determine if something is zaza.

  • Taste & Smell: Everyone knows the classic marijuana smell. Then, as you get more accustomed to different strains, you branch out into fruity, skunky, gassy scented strains, with flavors that baffle the senses—like marshmallow or lemon diesel. These qualities, paired with availability and appearance, can push a strain into earning the zaza label.

Is There a Strain Named “Zaza”?

In the list of funny strain names, you will find a strain named Zaza or Za Za. It’s an indica-dominant hybrid that's more than just a strain; it's a crafted masterpiece by the ingenious minds at South Bay Genetic. Conceived through the union of Scotts OG and Gas Station Bob strains, Zaza beckons you like a lullaby in botanical form. Consider the taste: a symphony of sour lemony notes that strengthen with every drag. As for the aroma, close your eyes and inhale sweet-meets-sour hints of lemon with undertones of spicy diesel that fill your room. Pair those qualities with a 19-21% THC level, and you’ve got a strain worthy of the name Za Za.

What Are the Top Exotic Strains to Try?

The nature of exotic strains is that they’re hard to find, so it’s going to be hard to shop for the strains on this list. That said, you should keep an eye out for them because you won’t be sorry if they show up at your dispensary and you get a chance to try them. In no particular order, we recommend these top exotic strains to try:

Pinkman Goo

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

Introducing Pinkman Goo, a rare indica-dominant hybrid that comes from the genetic powerhouses: Granddaddy Purps, Grape Ape, and Northern Lights #5. Its name comes from a character in the Breaking Bad series, Jesse Pinkman, and it certainly stays true to its namesake. With a THC level of 18-19% and a hint of CBD at 1%, the Pinkman Goo strain is a great option for both newcomers to the cannabis world and seasoned cannabis experts. As for flavors, Pinkman Goo combines sweet berry notes with a spicy herbaceousness that is noticeable on the back end of your drag. Its aromas are something similar, spicy, and herbal, with a bit of berry and coffee mixed in an earthy brew.



Snowcap stands tall as a potent, balanced hybrid strain that has a short flowering time (8-9 weeks) but a decent yield of delicious green and rust color buds. The Snowcap strain tastes like it’s a mountain top, pairing menthol and pine with sweet citrus notes that make you want to have a cup of tea at a ski lodge. Its aromas, much the same as its flavor, can set the mood throughout the entire room, lulling you into feeling like you just got off the slopes and are settling in for a warm winter’s night. Just remember, just like you shouldn’t turn your back on a snow-covered mountain, you shouldn’t get complacent with Snowcap. It has a high THC range between 21-24 percent, so treat it like you would any good black diamond slope and go slow.

Malawi Gold


This landrace strain is 100% sativa and comes from exactly where its name implies—Malawi in Africa. The low THC levels between 9-13% found in Malawi Gold make it a great option for newcomers to the cannabis world. Interestingly, it has a delicate scent of banana, and traditionally, the bud is wrapped in banana leaves to cure. In addition to that banana scent, you might notice other sweet, earthy, spicy aromas, and you’ll find they pair perfectly with similar flavors. The Malawi Gold strain is the perfect landrace to indulge in if you can get your hands on it.

Ice Cream Cake

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

To the surprise of no one, a strain like Ice Cream Cake has to have some pretty prolific parents, and Ice Cream Cake doesn’t disappoint. This indica-dominant hybrid strain comes from the crossbreeding of Gelato 33 and Wedding Cake, making it the perfect dessert strain for just about anyone. Its flavor is like cheesecake, and its aroma is much the same with just a hint of earthy pungent notes that keep things from being too predictable about this strain. While you might serve up a slice of ice cream cake to just about anyone, this cannabis strain needs to be consumed with discretion because of its 20-25% THC—making it one of the strongest strains on this list.

Frisian Duck


Another balanced hybrid—50% sativa and 50% indica—the Frisian Duck strain also offers a different sort of balance with its cannabinoids. It contains between 14 and 17% THC and 5% CBD, creating a different sort of experience than one might expect if the strain had no CBD at all. Frisian Duck pairs its gentle cannabinoid profile with delicate flavors and aromas, a combination of sweet citrus and pine forest. Because of its mild qualities, many cannabis enthusiasts and medical marijuana patients pick up this strain when they find it on the shelves of their dispensaries.

Black Gold

Indica-Domiant Hybrid

If you’re looking for a truly rare strain, Black Gold should be on your list. This indica-dominant hybrid strain was created when Black Domina was crossed with Afghanistan, Canadian, Northern Lights, and Hash Plant. The result was a stunning deep green and purple nug worthy of the name Black Gold. It smells and tastes like citrus diesel mixed with some sour spice, an odd combination that this strain somehow makes work. With a THC level of 18-22%, Black Gold is worth a search on the shelves of your local dispensary to see if you can strike green.

Amnesia Haze

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

When you realize Amnesia Haze has between 20 and 22% THC, with a splash of CBD (1%), it becomes pretty obvious how this strain got its name. The Amnesia Haze strain came from a crossing of Jamaican sativa, Laotian sativa, and Afghan Hawaii—a prolific combination that created a prolific and hard-to-find strain. If you do get the chance to enjoy this sativa-dominant hybrid, you’ll note the sweet, citrus and lemon flavors, along with an earthy lemon aroma that will captivate the senses and make you forget what you were planning to do that day. While Amnesia Haze is a bit of a difficult strain to find outside of Europe, you’ll be more likely to see it on the shelves if you live on the West Coast or in Michigan.

NYC Diesel

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

If you’ve been in the cannabis world, you’ve likely heard of Sour Diesel, a popular strain available across the country. When Sour Diesel was paired with a landrace strain (assumed to be either Afghani or Hawaiian), NYC Diesel was created. The NYC Diesel strain is a sativa-leaning hybrid that contains up to 21% THC and 1% CBN, a unique combination of cannabinoids that’s worth exploring. Just be prepared for the sensory punch it’s going to give you—diesel flavors and aromas mix with sugary grapefruit to create a pungent mix that can’t be ignored once you spark up. Despite having NYC in the name, you can find NYC Diesel outside of the Big Apple.

Four Way

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

With a name like Four Way, you can only assume four strains went into creating it. A combination of the landrace strains Afghani, Indian, and Pakistani along with Skunk #1 gave us Four Way, and it smells just like you think it would. Skunky, pungent, herbaceous. There’s no way to hide it when you’re indulging in the Four Way strain. Speaking of hiding, even though Four Way has 2% CBD in it, that cannabinoid cannot hide the up-to-20% THC that can come in every nugget of this strain. All of that means one thing—prepare yourself if you are lucky enough to find and buy this strain at your local dispensary.

Malibu Mirage

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

Leaning into its indica heritage, Malibu Mirage is a hybrid strain that came to us after Legend OG was crossed with Jet Fuel Gelato. The result was a nearly balanced strain that tastes as good as it looks. The buds are thick and olive green, with orange hairs and lilac-colored trichomes. The flavor is sweet and citrusy with a splash of spicy nuttiness that can’t be matched. The aroma is much the same, save for the fact that it also has a pungent exhale that smells a lot like the gas you put in your car to get to the dispensary. While it looks and tastes like it could easily come from Malibu, don’t miss the Mirage part of the name. That is likely attributed to the high THC levels of up to 21%. Take it slow to avoid letting the Malibu Mirage strain take over your day.

Answering FAQs About Exotic Cannabis Strains

Don’t worry if you have more questions about exotic cannabis strains—we hear them all the time. Here are a few of the most common questions asked about zaza:

Is zaza cannabis more expensive?
Yes, zaza cannabis is more expensive. If you’re going to a dispensary to shop for zaza, plan to pay twice what you would for the same amount of a more common strain.

Why is it called “zaza”?
Zaza is a slang term that comes from the word “exotic.” It was made popular by rap artists.

Is zaza cannabis good?
Yes, zaza cannabis can be good, but just remember, a lot of what’s “good” depends on what you like. You may find that you prefer the more common strains you find at the dispensary and that’s totally okay. Enjoying cannabis is about your preferences and not about what someone else says you should like.

More About Exotic Strains

Because of the nature of zaza strains and the fact that there are so many, it’s hard to shop for zaza. Chances are good that if you go in looking for a particular strain of exotic cannabis, you won’t find it. So instead of looking for a particular strain, talk to your budtender and see if they have any zaza in stock. You may find something familiar from this list or a new strain to try.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio 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.