Some strains are simply famous; Northern Lights (Afghanica), however, has reached legendary status.
If you are a regular cannabis user, there is a very high probability that you have tried either Northern Lights. Or one of the strain’s sister varieties, such as Sour Diesel and Shiva Skunk, just to name a few. Northern Lights’ exact lineage and history are shrouded in mystery and might be forever lost.
The most dominant theory is that the strain originated in the Pacific Northwest with little fanfare. Then made its way to Holland where the two best phenotypes were cross (Northern Lights #5 x Northern Lights #2). The NL #5 has taken over the most important roll in the cross because NL #5 adds potency and reduces flowering time. NL #2 gives the strain the awesome taste and smell and contributes to the overall vigour and strength of the high. Also, NL #2 is a hardier plant with better resistance to mould and pests than other phenotypes.
Looks and Smell of Northern Lights
This was a beautiful strain to gaze at, both up close and from afar. The eighth I received for this review was in the form of one large nug that had an artful trim. Showcasing all of the “inner-workings” of the bud while still leaving a perfect amount of leaf matter behind to look natural. The colouration was very light overall with crispy greens and almost golden-coloured pistils all over.
Northern Lights presents itself with compact, dense buds coated with a silvery-white frosting of trichomes often separated by a few centimetres of the stalk, making trimming a breeze and producing an excellent yield. While the buds are tight and thick (typical indica structure), they are not so impenetrable that bud rot is a major problem–as this can be a big problem for a lot of indica strains–making Northern Lights a nice indica to grow in even humid environments.
The aroma is a fresh, vegetal, and lightly skunky smell from a distance, which turns into a complex, sweet citrus-pine with notes of eucalyptus when the flowres are a squeeze. When ground up, the aroma gets even sharper, taking on a musky citrus quality that was reminiscent of burn orange peels mix with a bit of pine.
Lightly sweet and citrusy on the inhale, more piney and musky on the exhale. The Northern Lights strain definitely tasted much like it smelled, although a bit less pungent overall. The smoke and flavour have a smooth quality, best described as “buttery”, but also have elements of expansion that caused coughing fits on larger hits. Vaporizing the bud would probably help to alleviate this. The smooth experience with solid flavour preservation with each hit, the bowl finished out with a very light grey. Almost white ash, showing the grower did a proper flush.
Some say this is a “creeper” strain, but for me, the effects had instant feelings of euphoria and strong almost overwhelming cerebral effects–and that was just the first hit. After a few more tokes, accompanying the intense indica body high, you will start to develop a very nice and comforting sense of well-being and happiness.
Overall Northern Lights is a great example of old school genetics being invigorated by modern growing techniques. The stout, indica-dominant bud structure with its fat-headed trichomes. The array of light colours was wonderful to admire and almost made it hard to smoke such a beauty. (I said almost.)
While the smell and flavour both exceeded expectations, the indica dominance was definitely noticeable. Although technically a hybrid, most consider this strain an indica, and with a breakdown of 95% indica, 5% sativa. This, in turn, makes the strain a little heavy for daytime functionality. Advisable for moderate to experienced smokers. Primarily as an evening or day-off type of indica when strong relaxation is desire.
The high typically lasts 2-3 hours, and the Northern Lights strain is proven effective in the treatment of stress, anxiety, nervousness. Also IBS, nausea, depression, chronic pain, back pain, arthritis, and other body-related issues. I also found it very helpful for insomnia issues, and this is now my go-to strain on those sleepless nights.
The only drawback of Northern Lights is that it is becoming quite rare to find the original strain. The majority of dispensaries are not selling the real thing; they are closely hybrids, but not the true Northern Lights. So do your homework, talk to reputable people, and get your hands on this classic!