Northern Lights Strain Review

One of the most legendary strains in the cannabis scene is Northern Lights. This indica-dominant hybrid is filled with history, features some of the best genes in the hybrid world, and creates an inexplicable therapeutic and euphoric buzz leaving the user wanting more.

Whether you’re new to the cannabis scene or you’re curious about how your favorite strain is made, here is our Northern Lights strain review!

Northern Lights Strain Review

Strain History


Containing no less than 95% indica genetics, the Northern Lights strain is undoubtedly an indica-dominant strain. While the exact genetic history of the strain is somewhat still unclear, it is definite that Northern Lights is a descendant of Thai Landrace and Afghani.

Northern Lights has also been crossbred to make other popular strains such as Shiva Skunk and Deep Purple.


The origins of the Northern Lights strain are something of a mystery, because while some say the strain was developed in Spain, others say it originated in Seattle. Despite this, the most widely accepted theory is that Northern Lights originated from Holland in the 1980s.

Since its creation, the strain’s popularity spread across Europe to the United States – particularly the west coast. The strain has won multiple awards, most notably the popular phenotype Northern Lights #5 which won three Cannabis Cup titles.

The name of the strain was given as a result of the full-bodied, dreamy high leaving the user feeling mesmerized – which isn’t unlike the feeling one gets when they experience Aurora Borealis, or the real Northern Lights.

Strain Appearance

Northern Lights plants are fairly short and bud quickly, with a height of around 3-4 feet and a dense, bushy structure. As with most indicas, this strain features a lot of leaves and densely packed branches.

The buds of the Northern Lights strain are predominantly covered in trichome with hints of brown and orange pistils, giving it a distinctive frosty appearance.

The buds are also covered with a natural resin, giving it a nice glow. When grown in cooler conditions, the strain appears slightly blue or purple.

Strain Flavor

If you’re new to cannabis, you probably won’t enjoy the taste of Northern Lights. This strain has an acquired flavor similar to most classic cannabis strains, resembling something like diesel and skunkiness. The more you smoke it, the better it gets as the earthy tones come out.

Once you get past the first few tokes, the user is hit with a curiously satisfying combination of woody tones with a hint of citrus.

Strain Aroma

As with the flavor, the Northern Lights strain features a woody, earthy aroma that is appealing among most smokers. The hints of pine matched with the slight citrus flavor creates a sweet, candy-like aroma that only experienced growers and smokers detect.

The overall aroma is pungent and will stink up a room within seconds, but it’s not the most unpleasant cannabis smell.

Strain Cannabinoids

  • THC: 19.5-28.0%
  • CBD: 0.025-0.03%
  • THCV: 0.46-0.8%
  • CBC: 0.36-0.62%
  • CBN: 0.1-0.21%
  • CBG: 0.15-0.74%

Strain Terpenes

The main terpenes in Northern Lights are Caryophyllene and Myrcene, with hints of Limonene and Humulene.

Caryophyllene is a hemp terpene that binds with the CB2 receptors, which is why this terpene is used as a food additive for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Myrcene is a monoterpene that features anti-inflammatory, sedative, and pain-relief herbal properties. This terpene has a citrus and wood-like aroma.

Limonene is known for its mood-lifting properties, as well as its ability to improve digestion and provide relief from stress and anxiety.

Humulene similarly has pain-relieving benefits and interestingly works as an appetite suppressant.

Strain Side Effects

With a moderate to high THC level (averaging at 20%), the Northern Lights strain creates a therapeutic and euphoric effect that releases all tension in the temples, allowing the user to completely relax into something of a sedative state.

It features a full-bodied effect that leaves the user feeling numb all over, which is why it’s not the best strain to take when you need to be productive! As a result of this, Northern Lights are best taken at nighttime to help you sleep.

Even though it is an indica-dominant strain, Northern Lights comes with a mellow euphoric buzz found in sativa strains, which is why it is consumed by people with anxiety or depression to brighten their mood before going to sleep.

However, as with any strain, there are some negative side effects to be aware of. Cottonmouth and dry eyes are common side effects in most strains, so make sure to keep yourself hydrated with a glass of water.

If you have a low THC tolerance, you might experience symptoms of paranoia or anxiety if you take too much Northern Lights.

Medical Benefits

Northern Lights (including its phenotypes) come with a wide variety of medical benefits, most notably its pain-relieving properties due to the full-body numbing effect. This effect is ideal for those with chronic pain, arthritis, muscle spasms, and general body pain.

Due to the strain’s ability to relieve tension in the temples, it is said to provide pain-relief for headaches and even migraines. However, it’s worth noting that the notion of smoking can also worsen headaches or migraines, so users should try edibles to cure their head pain.

As for mental health benefits, Northern Lights (like most cannabis strains) can stimulate a person’s appetite, which is ideal for those with eating disorders or difficulties.

Users struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression often turn to Northern Lights for its euphoric yet sedative qualities that help to slow down the mind and relax the body. Likewise, people with insomnia or fatigue consume Northern Lights to help them sleep.

Strain Review

Northern Lights is undoubtedly one of the most popular indica-dominant strains, and for good reason. With its ability to provide a full-body sedative effect, users can experience pain-relieving properties as well as effects that naturally aid mental illnesses.

While this full-body effect numbs the entire body and won’t be beneficial for improving productivity, Northern Lights is ideal for those struggling with insomnia and fatigue. Take this strain at nighttime, and be prepared for a relaxing sleep free from interruptions.

Strain Grow Info

Strain Seeds

Due to the popularity of the strain, Northern Lights seeds can be easily found across the United States and Europe.

In Europe, growers can buy the seeds from the original breeders of the strain, Sensi Seeds in Amsterdam. These seeds are considered quite easy to grow for beginner growers due to their simple growing cycle and flowering time.

Before planting the seeds, it’s important to note that Northern Lights grow best using the Sea of Green method. This is because the plants are quite dense and flower so quickly, so the Sea of Green technique helps to keep things organized.

Strain Flowering Time

The Northern Light strain has a relatively fast flowering time, averaging around 9 weeks depending on the conditions. Some Northern Lights plants are known to flower within 6 weeks!

As this is a fairly dense strain, it’s important to stick to a method that allows enough room for all the buds to grow and thrive, which is why the Sea of Green method is so recommended.

Strain Yield

While the Northern Lights plant is compact and quite dense, it is technically classified as a high-yielding plant. As long as you follow the right requirements for the strain, it’ll provide you with a healthy plant that produces thriving buds.

Luckily for new growers, Northern Lights is pretty hardy and will prosper in virtually any set-up due to its unique resistance to mold. Plus, the thick roots and stems makes the strain almost impossible for pests and insects to penetrate, thus extending the lifespan of the plant.

Northern Lights can be grown outdoors, but for the best results, it thrives in indoor conditions with a temperature of 71-84 °F. As mentioned before, the Sea of Green method is most effective for growing Northern Lights, just as long as there is enough airflow to prevent a build-up of humidity.

To help with the airflow, growers should prune the plants as often as possible, particularly towards the bottom of the plant where buds are less likely to receive ventilation and sunlight.

Generally speaking, outdoor set-ups will produce plants that are ready to be harvested in mid-October with a yield of 22-25 ounces per plant. Indoor set-ups will take around 7-9 weeks for the buds to flower, with the plants producing a yield of around 18 ounces per square meter.

Due to the plant’s preference of growing in warmer climates, places like California are most ideal for growing Northern Lights in both outdoor and indoor environments.

However, if you grow your Northern Lights plants in slightly cooler climates, they tend to feature blue and purple streaks in the pistils and leaves, which is probably one of the reasons for the strain’s name.

While this won’t affect the quality of the buds, it does add a nice coloration that isn’t often achieved when growing the plant in warmer climates where the pistils are brown and orange.

Dave Roberts
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