The Scoop: As celebrated and well-respected as any Indica found at your local dispensary, Northern Lights has been impressing connoisseurs since 1985. A staple for many of today’s talented breeders, this illuminating flower has genetically participated in the capturing of more awards than any other strain on planet Earth. With debated roots in the Pacific Northwest and California, grow master Nevil Schoenmaker cultivated and perfected this heavenly strain in Amsterdam. A genetic player in strains ranging from Jack Herer to Super Silver Haze, her most prized offspring is Northern Lights #5.
The Result: An extremely grower-friendly strain that’s commonly duplicated and frequently special; Northern Lights won’t throw a knockout punch to your daily productivity, but she’ll definitely deliver a nice right hook to any toxic stress.
The Verdict: Rarely eager to reinvent the wheel, many of today’s hash makers and growers continue to enter different variations of Northern Lights into various cannabis competitions with a steady return on their time invested. Known for minimizing anxiety and eclipsing pain, this stellar strain also quiets the subconscious mind while stimulating repressed earthbound appetites.
Also Known As: NL, Northern Lights Afghani
Genetics: Afghani Indica
How Stoned Will You Get: 8.5
Average THC: 18-24%
Average Price Per ⅛: $40
Awards: 1989 HTCC, 1992 HTCC
The Science: Northern Lights (NL) has been one of the most popular Indica strains floating around the Milky Way galaxy since Ronald Reagan held the highest office in the land. Steeped in her Afghani Indica heritage, this otherworldly strain can be found in every advanced cannabis country around the globe. From Holland to America and from Spain to Canada, if the local D doesn’t carry Northern Lights, it’s a stone-cold lock they carry a strain with Northern Lights in it. Prolific and powerful, this strain has been used to breed over 20 other modern strains. Some of its genetic downline include Northern Lights #5, Northern Lights #7, and Northern Lights #12. For an Indica, Northern Lights is distinctively tropical on the pallet and far fruitier than her Indica cohorts. Overall, Northern Lights has a distinct character that allows it to rival other top-line strains like G13 and White Widow in terms of mythology and quality.
Appearance: Generally appearing as large buds with a light green hue, these crystallized and trichome-covered flowers are most often finished with a tight and purposeful manicuring job. Northern Lights’ consistent lime green coloration and virtually golden-colored pistils glisten with a sticky and thought-provoking resin. Provided she’s been cultivated to full maturation, NL should have dark, fully mature amber pistils with cloudy trichomes and an even development throughout the flower.
Consistency: Sticky, like an interstellar black hole, Northern Lights requires the proper equipment for navigating its psychoactive landscape. Forget the scissors, and don’t even think about using your fingers, breaking this strain up with anything but a grinder would be a waste of good buds, and could potentially cause a massive time dilation.
Scent: When properly cultivated, a successful NL harvest should maintain the aroma of fresh lemons crossed lightly with a minor skunk overtone. As the flower’s bouquet seeps outward, a scent of a sugary citrus and a touch eucalyptus hits you square in the olfactory. When this fragrant strain is broken down for consumption, her ripe aroma can easily be detected from deep space – let alone any room in the house.
Taste: To taste her, is to love her — one light hit off a sweet and citrusy joint says it all. An earthbound flavor profile with hints of sweet pine, NL provides a savory smoking experience with a deep and resinous kick of fruit.
Effect: Like floating within a mysterious nebula with Neil deGrasse Tyson, this strain will have you calmly contemplating supermassive wormholes and the colonization of potentially inhabitable planets. Creating a sense of elevated euphoria, a few bong rips of Northern Lights and you’re instantly a NASA-approved astronaut traveling through the cosmos, from the comfort of your couch.
Strain Background: Northern Lights maintains one of the most complex, even confusing backgrounds of any strain on the market today. Around for over 25 years, with unquestionable Afghani landrace roots, NL cropped up in the United States in 1985 in the Pacific Northwest. Legend has it that a grower known as “The Indian” in Seattle, Washington had the prize cuts of Northern Lights that would later be developed by Nevil. Still, others may claim the strain was originally cultivated and breed in California. Either way, what we do know is the genetics ended up in the skillful hands of Nevil Schoenmaker. Through ongoing experimentation with inbreeding and hybridizing, Nevil created various seeds from the clones crossed with Afghani males, many of which are still available today. Caveat emptor: If it’s not from Nevil or someone close to Nevil, it may be extremely difficult to tell exactly which cut of Northern Lights you’ve truly received.
Medical Uses: Jettisoning tension and anxiety, discomfort and restlessness, Northern Lights fights off bouts of daily depression while stimulating hunger in those with a diminished appetite.
Growth and Seed Info
Note: The perfect strain for novice cultivators, Northern Lights is a fast grower, a high yielder — for an Indica — and a congenial strain for your garden.
Pros: High yield, fast grow, keify buds
Cons: Copycat NL genetics
Original Breeder: Nevil Schoenmaker
Current Breeder: Nirvana and Sensi
Known Phenotypes: Traditional NL phenos produce large buds w/ high flower to leaf ratio
Seed Bank of Choice: Nirvana
Flowering Time: 46–56 days
Growth Height: Short (3-5′)
Expected Yield: 120 Grams per 1,000 watt HPS
Garden Skill Level: Novice
Family: Indica, Afghani, Landrace
Related Strains: BC Skunk, Low-Ryder, Skunk #1, G-Force, G13, White Widow, Haze Mist
Breeder Quote/Advice: Heavy feeder, great strain for hydroponics
Main photo courtesy of Allie Beckett