Northern Lights is one of the most revered strains on earth, winning more Cannabis Cup awards than any other. It has also been bred into legendary hybrids like White Widow and Jack Herer.
If you are a cannabis enthusiast, chances are you’ve come across the legendary Northern Lights variety somewhere along the line. True to its namesake, the indica strain’s effects can bend and shift in opposite directions depending on the phenotype: generally NL#1 and NL#5. The NL#1 phenotype is 95% indica and NL#5 is 95% sativa.
Originally born from a landrace Afghani strain, Northern Lights began as an almost-pure indica. Later on, it is believed that Thai Sativa genetics were added to its gene pool, creating the sativa-dominant phenotype, Northern Lights #5, or NL#5.
The pure indica lineage of the more commonly found NL #1 creates a wonderfully pleasurable mind and body experience. NL #1 typically tests around 18% THC, making it tolerable for the novice consumer. The smell and taste are similar to most other pure indicas - earthy and piney, but with an added fruit undertone creating a taste explosion.
NL #1’s counterpart phenotype, NL #5 is 95% sativa and has the highest THC levels of any other Northern Lights phenotype, testing at around 21%.
As with most classic cannabis strains, there has been a debate over the identity of Northern Lights’ creator and continued propagation in the underground cannabis market for roughly 50 years. There seems to be an almost-universal consensus that the strain hails from the Pacific Northwest – most likely near Seattle, Washington. Northern Lights then found its way to Amsterdam where it was genetically perfected.
Once the new stable version made its way back to the states, it quickly became solidified as a staple of the cannabis catalog. Northern Lights’ genetics are present in so many other strains, its legend is now timeless.