Skunk #1 changed the game by helping forge a path for US cannabis growers to be self-sufficient.
From one of California’s original underground cannabis breeding outfits—the legendary Sacred Seeds—came one of the first true hybrid cannabis strains.
Named for its powerful skunky aroma, Skunk #1 was bred over multiple generations to incorporate diverse genetics from three blockbuster landraces—Afghani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombian Gold. Combining the short flowering time and heavy harvest of Afghani (an indica) with the soaring high of the two sativas, this landmark achievement in cannabis breeding changed the game by helping forge a path for US cannabis growers to be self-sufficient, while bringing into the world one of the most righteously uplifting buzzes of all time.
Skunk #1 also later served as a key breeding stock for many well-loved second-generation strains, including Cheese and Super Silver Haze. In the UK, to this day, “skunk” is used as a general term to describe any high-potency strain.
Another classic first-generation hybrid, Northern Lights #5 was quite literally the fifth of its name. The first varietal known as Northern Lights was 100% indica, a result of crossing several Afghani landraces. Bred for high potency, a fast, heavy harvest, and a high bud-to-leaf ratio prized by growers, Northern Lights #1 was absolutely a stand-out in its heyday.
By the time we get to NL#5—the strain’s fifth incarnation, at least to those in the know—a bit of Thai landrace sativa had found its way into the genetic mix, bringing fruity flavor notes and a skyrocketing cerebral high to the party. Sensi Seeds won the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam with the strain in 1989, 1990 and 1992, while producing large amounts of NL#5 seeds that would find their way all over the world.
Northern Lights #5 changed the game primarily by being a truly kick-ass strain that’s incredibly easy to grow indoors or outdoors in a wide variety of climates. That encouraged countless hobbyist growers and underground commercial cultivators to grow it, allowing the mass market to develop a taste for something far more elevated than their typical schwag.
Haze delivered one of the most electric, uplifting, cerebral highs of all time, but it didn’t become a game-changing sensation until the 1980s.
The original Haze strains date back to the late 1960s, when a group of pioneering seed breeders known as The Haze Brothers discovered that the unique microclimate in Santa Cruz, California allowed them to experiment with growing heavily sativa-dominant hybrids. Blessed with a long, dry, mild autumn, those visionary Haze Brothers quickly became underground-famous among local heads for developing and growing Original Haze, a hybrid strain which blended landrace genetics from Thailand, Mexico, and Colombia.
As one of the Haze Brothers told High Times in 1980, “The stuff they grow in Northern California is mostly indica, but it’s harvested early to get it in before the frost. In our county the flowers pump out resin until December, [so we made] Haze pot from sativa seeds.”
A slow-to-mature, tall and finicky plant, Haze made up for all that by delivering one of the most electric, uplifting, cerebral highs of all time, coupled with a sharp piney smell and taste that’s instantly recognizable to anyone who’s had the extreme pleasure of smoking some. But it didn’t become a game-changing sensation or the world’s ultimate head stash until the 1980s, when Original Haze reached Amsterdam. There, an OG seed breeder named Neville tinkered with it until he produced a variety that was significantly easier to grow without compromising on potency, flavor, or effect. Neville then produced copious Haze seeds and shipped them all over the world.