Northern Lights Cannabis
3 min

Northern Lights: Cannabis Strain Review & Information

3 min

You've heard the name, but do you know the story? Read on for our review of a cannabis classic—Northern Lights!

An award-winning legend amongst stoners, Northern Lights is one of the most famous indica strains in the whole world. A go-to plant for all manner of cannabis users, the original strain was a 100% pure indica powerhouse. Since its inception, many derivatives have striven to capture the essence of the original. The newer blends are sure to impress in their own way, but nothing matches the splendor of genuine NL genetics. But what exactly is so special about this highly revered strain? Let’s take a closer look at Northern Lights.

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The original Northern Lights was designed in the 1970s by a man known only as “The Indian” on an island near Seattle, Washington. This pure Afghan indica was grown into eleven plants, the strongest of which was NL #5. In the mid-80s, the strain found its way to a familiar name to those who chose to buy cannabis seeds for home cultivation. Nevil Schoenmakers was the the owner of “The Seed Bank” (later “Sensi Seeds”), and began establishing his own line of Northern Lights.

Genetics 10% Sativa / 90% Indica
Parents Afghan
THC 18%
Flavours Citrus, Earthy, Sweet
Effects Relaxing, Happy, Euphoric

The Northern Lights variants we see today feature slightly different genetics than the original. The European versions developed by Schoenmakers, etc. are suspected to contain at least 10% Thai sativa, in addition to around 90% Afghan indica. This blend has set a precedent in the field of near-pure indica plants by retaining as much of the original’s 100% indica design.

Afghan strains are known to be heavy resin producers, and they induce a super stoning high sought after by many. Not only that; due to where these plants developed, they are hardy, resilient, and generally easy to grow. For a Northern Lights strain to be true to its heritage, it must contain at least a majority of Afghan genetics. That said, the sativa elements added to some variants are enjoyed by those users seeking a more well-rounded effect.

Other early Northern Lights strains were infused with a heavy serving of Kush to augment the indica effects.

Northern Lights (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Northern Lights
Genetics: 100% Indica
Flowering Time: 7-8 weeks
THC: 19%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod



Although the history of Northern Lights is a little unclear, there is nothing uncertain about how easy it is to grow. The strain is favoured by growers of all backgrounds and experience levels for a multitude of reasons.

Grow Difficulty Beginner / Intermediate
Best suitable to grow Indoor / Outdoor
Climate Warm, Mediterranean
Variety Feminized
Height Indoor 80–130cm
Height Outdoor 150–200cm
Flowering Time 6–8 weeks
Harvest period (outdoor) September/October
Yield Indoor 500–550g/m²
Yield Outdoor 575–625g/plant

Northern Lights is a low maintenance plant with a lightning fast flowering time of only 6–8 weeks! Clandestine and spatially challenged growers rejoice; this plant remains short and stocky but develops an abundance of bud sites on its bushy branches. It also features great defence against insects, mould, and mildew, making it a robust plant that will not require “round-the-clock” surveillance to flourish. You can thank the plant’s abundance of resin, at least in part, for its pest-deterring prowess.

Despite being so short and moving through flowering so fast, this plant is still capable of delivering a yield of around 500–550g/m² indoors.

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If you're looking to grow Northern Lights outdoors, it is worth noting that the plant thrives in warmer, sunnier, Mediterranean-like climates. You will see a difference in yield with this factor alone, with larger returns on average among plants grown under the blazing sun.

Also with this strain, aroma is not a worry, as its scent is rather mild during the flowering phase. Whichever growing environment you choose, you are sure to have a simple, pleasant, and stable experience.



When toking on Northern Lights, you can expect to be met with a light but earthy aroma with hints of pine and wood. It provides a unique experience that, while slightly pungent, will please even the most seasoned of palates with its sweet and full-bodied flavour.

This strain boasts favourable reviews among recreational users. Featuring an average THC content of 18%, it provides soothing body-numbing qualities and immediately chills you out. Those looking to wind down at the end of the day, or fall asleep completely, should consider this narcotic strain. Still, it remains a good option for low-key social settings too.

Final verdict

Steeped in such a rich and mysterious history, Northern Lights will appeal to those looking to try out a piece of cannabis history. As a strain that has seen numerous iterations, Northern Lights continues to be built on a foundation of powerful, versatile, and easy to grow indica genetics.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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