Look & Feel








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The Review

CBD Sunday- 2021 | Episode #6 | Cheef Botanicals | Northern Lights

Very few strains have had the impact on the cannabis world like Northern Lights. This is a strong Indica strain that goes back to the early eighties, and has been the backbone of many breeding projects over the years. This powerful strain has the reputation of “two hit and quit”, owing to it’s legendary status as a kick-ass herb.

Back in the early eighties, legend has it, a grower named “The Indian” lived on an island near Seattle and planted eleven Indica seeds that all came up female. The genetics of these plants, which he called Northern Lights #1 – #11, were a bit of a mystery, but the story told is that they were seeds from an Afghani and Thai cross. Of the eleven plants, #5 was the winner. It was a deliriously wonderful Indica plant that flowered quickly, was very resilient, and produced large, beautiful, resinous, trichome-covered colas.

In 1985 seeds of #5 were taken to Amsterdam, and the strain took the breeding world by storm. Growers crossed Northern Lights with just about everything and created some well-known strains like Super Silver Haze, Skunk #1, Jack Herer and many more. Nowadays, there’s a bit of Northern Lights in nearly every hybrid strain if you go far enough back in the genetics.

The breeding magic hasn’t stopped – and now there is a hemp flower version of Northern Lights, and that’s what I took a look at this week. This high CBD, low THC version of Northern Lights was created by crossing the classic strain with a hemp flower, retaining the renowned Northern Lights look, smell, taste and feel while creating a flower with 20.73% CBD.

Shopping online you’ll find that just about all the hemp shops carry a version of Northern Lights, a nod to how popular this strain is, even after all these years. I choose to try the version from Cheef Botanicals. I’d read some good reviews of their herb so I thought we should give them a test run, and I’m glad we did!

Look, Smell and Taste

The jar presentation from Cheef was top-notch – appealing graphics, an opaque jar, a Boveda humidity pack included, beautiful nugs, and flavor-sealed to keep in the freshness. Cheef does four gram eighths and the herb in this jar weighed in at 4.33 grams – nice and generous!

The dark green and purple buds had a sweet aroma in the jar – sweet with earthy undertones. There was a spiciness to the sweet aroma that blended pleasantly. When I poured the buds out on the tray I could see they were well-trimmed, solid, dense nugs.


The cure was premium, just what I would hope for, as I cut through the first small nug and prepared to load up the bong…

The flavor of the first hit was earthy and sweet. The second hit brought in a spicy flavor. The smoke was smooth, thick and satisfying – very delicious! The smoke’s thickness was a fine precursor to the high that moved in very quickly… taking me to a contemplative place.

As I savored the second hit, thinking about the aftertaste in my mouth, my mind flew back about ten years to when I used to volunteer at collectives in Long Beach, taking photos and building websites. Northern Lights was a strain I photographed a number of times – it was an herb I saw regularly, and smoked more times than I can count.

The flavor of the second hit stirred my memories of those days, and took me back to an afternoon in 2010 when I was processing the photos I had taken that day and was smoking on some Northern Lights – the smell, the taste and the feel were sooo classically Northern Lights – unmistakable. The memory was vivid and palpable, thanks to the herb I was smoking…

The Effects

Northern Lights hits like a powerful Indica – thick, stony, eyes lidded, the body full of marijuana fuzzies, the mind active and following the rush of stream-of-conscious thoughts in a contemplative way. As expected, the herb made me quiet and withdrawn, but not in a bad way – in a thoughtful way.

I found this hemp version of Northern Lights to be very much like it’s cannabis twin, because it got me STONED just like this strain should. The high was a no-surprise stony experience. You simply take a couple hits and drift off into a pleasant smoky cloud of comfort and contemplation – easy-peasy, as they say. The reputation of “two hits and quit” is well-deserved. The high came on fairly quickly, lasted a good, long time and was a great ride all along the way.

The Wrap Up

For all the times I’ve smoked Northern Lights over the years – it has been nearly a decade since I last enjoyed this strain – this sure was a refresher course on what I was missing. I’ll be adding Northern Lights to my regular rotation of strains now, for sure. This jar of top-shelf herb cost just $29.95 and was easily ordered online from Cheef’s website. The well-packaged order arrived very quickly via the U.S. Mail. I love getting herb in the mail, it still feels a bit decadent, like I’m getting away with something.

For the budget conscious consumer (like me) Cheef sells ounce baggies of “smalls” of Northern Lights for around ninety dollars. Plus – if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll get awesome money saving deals in your inbox on a regular basis… and that ounce sure gets a lot more affordable, just saying.

Thank you for joining me here at the Red Bench – I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you for reading and watching our reviews, reading my posts and being a part of the Red Bench Review Crew! Keep those emails and comments coming – I love hearing from you!

Until later, best of health.

The Low Down

StrainNorthern Lights
GeneticsAfghani X Thai
BrandCheef Botanicals
Location PurchasedOnline
THC Level20.73%
Purchase Weight4 grams – 1/8 oz
Actual Weight4.33 grams
Look & Feel
PackagingOpaque Glass Jar
ColorMedium Green, Dark Green, Purple
FreshnessWell Cured
TouchLight Sticky
Look & Feel Rating4.25
Look & Feel ImpressionsVery nice jar presentation. Appealing graphics and an opaque jar.
Base SmellSweet
Secondary SmellsPine, Cheese
Secondary Smells – OtherEarthy
Strength – SmellPronounced
Smell Rating4
Flavor – OtherSour and spicy notes, very earthy.
Smoke TextureSmooth, Thick
Strength – TastePronounced
Taste Rating4.25
Taste ImpressionsNailed the northern Lights flavor!
How Much Injested?4-5 hits (over a 1/4 gram)
Speed of OnsetCreeper
Where Do You Feel It?All Over
Main EffectsCerebral, Physical, Relaxing, Contemplative
Strength – EffectsStrong
DurationOver an Hour
Effects Rating4.25
Effects ImmpressionThis totally hit the feel of Northern Lights – heavy, thick and sedative.
Total Rating4.2
Total Rating – Why?The cross-over of this strain to the hemp world is a total success!
Would I buy this again?Yes
Rating ScaleSCALE – 1 (Poor) 2 (Average) 3 (Very Good) 4 (Exceptional) 5 (Holy Grail)


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