Northern Lights Strain

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Some marijuana strains are simply well-known, but Northern Lights is a legend among legends. Northern Lights is one of the modern era’s premier, almost pure indica cannabis strains, and its reputation predated the millennium.

If you want to grow your own Northern Lights strain of cannabis, you’re in for a treat. Not only is this one of the most popular and well-known strains out there, but it’s also relatively easy to grow. In this article, we’ll give you a basic growth guide for Northern Lights, as well as some information you need to know before getting started with its growth, including its history and effects. With some care, you can have your high-quality cannabis in no time.

Where Does Northern Light Come From?

The Northern Lights strain is a hybrid cannabis strain that was created by crossing two other strains: Thai and Afghani. The resulting plant is a hardy and potent one that is popular among growers and smokers alike. 

The strain was created by the renowned cannabis breeder Neville Schoenmaker in The Seed Bank of Holland. Schoenmaker is also responsible for creating other popular strains, such as Skunk #1 and Haze. Despite its name, the Northern Lights strain is indigenous to the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan.

When Did Northern Lights Come Out?

Most history sources say Neville Schoenmaker discovered the Northern lights strain during one of his visits to the United States in the early 1980s. According to the stories, he carried female clones of the Nothern Lights back to the Netherlands, where he was testing cannabis genetics from around the world.

He released the first variety of the newly discovered Northern Lights strain in his “The Seed Bank of Holland” in 1985. He marketed Northern Lights #1, a pure Afghani inbred indica, which flew off the shelves and rapidly became a bestseller. 

It didn’t take long after Northern Lights was introduced to the cannabis world to start winning countless awards worldwide. Today Northern Lights is popular among growers and smokers worldwide.

What Does Northern Lights Look Like?

Northern Lights buds are densely packed, with large, prominent sugar leaves protruding slightly outwards. When you open a Northern Lights package, the colorful buds remind you of the aurora borealis.

They are a deep olive-green color with a heavy coating of trichomes. Purple and sometimes blue hues will appear among the green flowers of a well-grown batch.

With their brassy yet deep orange color, the pistils blend seamlessly with the sugar leaves. The water leaves are frequently a darker shade of green, with glimpses of dark blue on the tips.

What Does Northern Lights Taste Like?

The smoke of the Northern Lights is smooth and flavorful. Northern Lights has a skunky, full-bodied flavor that isn’t overpowering. The flavor is pungent with sweet undertones that will please your taste buds.

It smells like fresh pines and earth with a hint of sweetness. A hint of lemon can be detected when smoked, leaving a sweet, dank aftertaste in your mouth.

The flavor of Northern Lights are distinct and refreshing; it’s like waking up early in the morning in the middle of a coniferous forest. The excellent flavor will not disappoint even the most jaded cannabis connoisseur.

What Does Northern Lights Smell Like?

Northern Lights has a distinctive scent. If you wish to get there, you will be transported to the world of the Pacific North West by the earthy and pine aromas of Northern Lights. 

Northern Lights has a sweet and spicy aroma best described as an aromatic bouquet of fresh soil and pine with sweet floral undertones. Its sweet and spicy notes linger, punctuated by a smidgeon of bitter lime.

Some people have reported smelling ammonia in this strain, but with the slight touch of citrus, it makes for a pretty exhilarating-smelling strain. Depending on the phenotype, some plants will have more earthy pine aromas, while others will have a floral and sweet cherry fragrance.

Is Northern Lights an Indica or Sativa?

Northern Lights is a feminized, almost pure indica strain that serves as a model for all other Indica strains. It is one of the purest indica strains available, with 95% indica and 5% Sativa, making it a very soothing strain. 

This also means it will produce more physical, couch-locking effects typically associated with indica strains. Northern Lights, like most of its indica-dominant lineage, is usually best for the evening.

What are the Different Variations of Northern lights?

Northern genetics is so legendary and illustrious that it has produced numerous renowned hybrids, including Haze, G-13, Hash Plant, Big Bud, Skunk #1, and Northern Kush.

There are so many hybrids that classic Northern Lights genetics are currently complicated to obtain – those mythical Northern Lights #5 – Northern Lights #2 are no longer commercialized (if anything is available, it’s in some seasoned grower’s private grow).

Northern Lights #5 was the most remarkable original Northern genetics – it’s thought this variety was never launched in the market.

How Much THC in Northern Lights?

Northern Lights does not have a high THC content by modern hybrid standards. Nonetheless, at around 18% on average, it is unquestionably potent enough for most users and should provide a pleasant high when used responsibly.

Northern Lights has a THC level that varies between 16% and 21% depending on the cultivation and curing techniques, so check the label to determine the appropriate amount.

How Much CBD in Northern Lights?

CBD is one of many cannabinoids and compounds found in cannabis plants. Northern Lights contains very little CBD. Indeed, testing has revealed that it contains an average of 0.1% CBD.

CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not produce a “high” when consumed. When consumed, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various functions, including sleep, appetite, and mood. CBD has many potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and improving sleep. 

What Effects Does Northern Lights Have?

Northern Lights induces a marvelously numbing, lazy state in the body. Even in low doses, the urge to sit on the couch and listen to the strain’s call may overwhelm new users.

A pleasant sense of well-being and joy accompanies this body high—anything troubling you before that first puff is assured of going out with the smoke.

While indica strains may slow the mind’s racing thoughts, consumers perceive them to be less cerebral. The high experienced may mellow you rather than increase your focus or spark creativity. Fans say it works best at the end of the day when all essential tasks have been completed, and it is time to unwind.

What Conditions is Northern Lights Good For?

Many people believe that indica strains can help both recreational and medical users. By acting as an analgesic, when inhaled or ingested, they can reduce pains and aches all over the body.

Due to its high potency, Northern Lights is effective in pain relief, the relief and relaxation of cramps caused by various conditions such as muscle spasms, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS, arthritis, and many others. This strain has also been beneficial to mental illness patients. Northern Lights is also a powerful relaxant that can help those who suffer from insomnia and restlessness fall asleep.

Northern Lights strain has also proven to be a suitable choice in scenarios where it helped cancer patients recover from lack of appetite due to radiology and chemotherapy. It can help alleviate nausea and effectively curb hunger.

What is the Northern Light Flowering Time?

If cultivated under the recommended conditions, your Northern Lights plants will be in the flowering phase in week six from seed, with the buds enlarging exponentially, and with flowering comes the trichomes. The trichomes store cannabinoids and terpenes, so make sure you have a carbon filter installed.

The average time for the Northern Lights to finish flowering is around eight weeks, but even if you grow them in hydroponics, it may be reduced to six weeks. Remember that our Northern Lights is an auto flower, so you do not need to alter the light cycle; auto flowers grow from start to end under the same light cycle; you can grow it under an 18/6, 20/4, or 24/0 light cycle, whichever suits you best.

How Tall Does Northern Lights Grow?

Northern Lights is sturdy and robust compared to other strains, making it easy to grow in various environments. Northern Light’s convenient height allows you to easily manage the plant, even in an indoor grow setup, while still producing excellent yields.

Despite the numerous varieties of Northern Lights available today, the plant typically grows to 100-160cm in a typical indoor setting but can grow to over 2 m tall outside. It will have relatively wider internode spacing and long thin leaves, indicating its Sativa ancestry.

When to Harvest Northern Lights?

It’s best to wait until the flowering period is over before harvesting your plants. When the buds of the plants are 50% milky white and 50% amber, it is time to harvest your cannabis. Examine the trichomes with a magnifying glass to determine when your marijuana plants are ready to harvest.

The Northern Lights strain should be harvested when most trichomes are milky white or amber. Harvest earlier for more energetic effects and later for more narcotic/sedative/anti-anxiety effects.

Allow the soil to dry out 2-3 weeks before harvesting. Use these few days to prepare and ensure your drying room is ready; as soon as you harvest your plants, they must be hung upside down in the drying room, so get everything ready.

To harvest, growers cut down the plants and hang them upside down to dry. Once the plants are dry, the buds are trimmed off, and the remaining leaves are discarded. The buds are then ready to be smoked, eaten, or used to make other products.

How Much Does Northern Lights Yield?

The Northern Lights Strain is a very high-yielding cannabis strain. Harvesting at the right time is critical for producing a high yield of potent buds.

Northern Lights will produce an average of 50-60 g per plant or approximately 500 g per square meter under a 600w light. It can yield up to 625 g per square meter when grown outdoors, but it requires an excellent warm environment, which may require more work to maintain in an outdoor setup. Northern Lights will grow into a tree and produce excellent yields with good lights and enough food and water.


The Northern Lights strain is a classic, almost pure indica strain that has been around since the 1980s. It is a cross between two well-known strains, Afghani and Thai. The resulting plant is short and stocky, with dense buds covered in trichomes. 

The Northern Lights strain has a moderate THC content and is known for its couch-locking effects. The flavor and aroma of the Northern Lights strain are earthy and sweet, with hints of citrus. The plant is relatively easy to grow and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Still, it is easier to grow indoors since it is easier to control growth conditions indoors, unlike outdoors, where it is nearly impossible. 

The Northern Lights strain is a popular choice for medical marijuana patients since it provides relief from various conditions. It is also a good choice for recreational users who want an energetic high that will keep them feeling euphoric throughout the night. 

The Northern Lights strain is a good option worth considering if you are looking for a strain that offers both physical and mental relief. It is a high-yielding marijuana strain that is relatively easy to grow.

To learn more, check out the Best Strains for Pain Relief.

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Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is an experienced cannabis grower and the founder of IndoGrow. The IndoGrow editorial team has over four decades of combined growing experience. Learn more.