Northern Lights: the Most Versatile Strain

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Categories : Strain information

Northern Lights: the Most Versatile Strain

Northern Lights is perhaps the best known cannabis strain in the world. She's highly resilient, offers a potent and meditative high, and is super easy to cultivate.

The cannabis breeding domain is one full of competition, myth, and legend. The prohibition of cannabis in the recent past, and still in the present in many areas, means there has been no real place for breeders to associate their names and faces with their personal creations. Pseudonyms were and are used to allow skilled breeders to remain anonymous in the face of potential dire consequences. This forced secrecy has led to the questionable origins of many famous cannabis strains, with Northern Lights being one of them.

This world-famous specimen is renowned for her brilliantly intense highs and resilience to pests and the elements. You’d be hard pressed to find a smoker who hasn’t heard the name of this strain, and even many non-smokers would have come across the title of this variety via media and films. A lot is known about this strain, but the story of her origins is still up for debate. Let’s explore how Northern Lights entered the world and rose to fame, and then check out all of the traits that make her so unique and loveable.


Northern Lights is known to have descended from Afghani and Thai landrace strains that have been introduced to the western world via trade or at the hands of pioneering strain hunters seeking new genetic material from these regions.

Once these genetics made it to the United States, an unknown grower crossed them and gave rise to a strain that would take the cannabis world by storm: Northern Lights. However, early versions of the plant are reported to have been pure indica varieties. This first wave of plants boasted high THC levels, high resin production, and tastes of pine. It wasn’t until the later introduction of sativa genetics from Thai plants that the specimen became a hybrid.

Exactly who is responsible for having performed this breeding project isn’t known. This is where we start to enter the territory of hearsay and rumours. It’s believed that the grower responsible was a man known as "The Indian", a cultivator who bred cannabis on an island located near Seattle, Washington. In contrast, other reports state that Northern Lights was first bred in California before making its way to "The Indian".

Regardless of whether this unnamed man was the first to breed Northern Lights, he is said to have been responsible for its introduction to the European continent. These genetics ended up in the Netherlands in 1985 and made their way into the hands of one Neville Schoenmakers, the founder of the first seed bank in the Netherlands. Schoenmakers was gifted clones of the original plants, of which there were 11, all with varying traits. These genetics have been harnessed to create some of the best known strains of today, including Jack Herer, Lowryder, Skunk #1, and Super Silver Haze.

Northern Lights has a high resin production


The indica-dominant genetic profile of Northern Lights means the high is primarily very physical and body-oriented. A few tokes will quickly send a soothing wave of relaxation, washing over the body from head to toe. This initial stoning effect has therapeutic qualities, boosts the mood, and brings the mind into the present moment in what can be described as a tranquil meditative state.

But the effects aren’t all body-based. The introduction of Thai sativa genetics into the hybrid contribute a head high that is somewhat of an energy rush. Some smokers even describe the intensity of the head high to be borderline psychedelic in nature. This slightly stimulating effect also puts many users into a talkative and sociable mood and generates some interesting philosophical conversations.

The flowers of this strain offer a THC value of 18% and a terpene profile that produces pleasant flavours and aromas of pine, earthiness, and sweetness.


Some might think that due to her legendary status, Northern Lights is a difficult strain to grow. This couldn’t be further from the truth. One of many reasons this strain has risen to such levels of popularity is because she’s that easy to grow. She’s durable and highly resilient, putting up a ferocious battle against pests and is capable of laughing in the face of colder temperatures.

Northern Lights will easily achieve a large yield both indoors and outdoors, whilst maintaining a short height. She features a flowering time of 7–8 weeks and outdoor plants will be ready to harvest during the end of September.