It would be easy to argue that the variety in the cannabis world is more diverse and exciting than ever before. As various jurisdictions welcome the legal supply of cannabis buds, many consumers around the world are spoilt for choice when it comes to different strains of weed. But in a market offering literally thousands of options, why do so many stoners still pine for the forgotten strains of the 90s, and all the nostalgia that goes with them?
It’s no secret that cannabis is much stronger today than it was in the 80s, 90s, and even 00s. In fact, according to a recent study, almost all (94%) cannabis samples seized by police in the UK were high potency. What’s more, a 2018 study also found that THC levels in herbal cannabis have doubled in Europe, from 5% in 2006 to 10% in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the price of cannabis also increased significantly during this time.
With all the negative press around modern-day cannabis and the potential harms of increased THC exposure, maybe it’s time to reignite the love for the forgotten OG weed strains of the 90s which tended to have a more balanced THC and CBD ratio.
Northern Lights is probably one of the most well-known and popular cannabis strains of all time. It is reported to have first grown in Washington state, USA, but it was later propagated in Holland in 1985. This Afghani-Thai weed cross soon became a favourite around the world, thanks to its, resinous buds, fast flowering speeds and its euphoric and relaxing high.
Featuring terpenes such as myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene, Northern Lights carries a spicy and earthy flavour and aroma. Despite being a firm favourite and fondly remembered by many cannabis users of the 90s and beyond, this so-called “Indica” strain appears to have fallen off the radar in recent years. As one Twitter user puts it: “Why do I miss Northern Lights. It must be an old strain.”
Another favourite with stoners all around the world, White Widow is an Indica-Sativa hybrid that is thought to have first been cultivated in the Netherlands in the 90s. Since then, it has been commonplace in most coffeeshops in Amsterdam and throughout the country, thanks to its status as an OG cannabis strain. White Widow was named for the crystal resin that is abundant on its buds which help to set it apart from other strains in both appearance and effect.
This popular strain is believed to be a cross between a Brazilian Sativa landrace and a South Indian Indica landrace, which may contribute to its energising and creativity-inducing effects. Known for its euphoric body high, White Widow has been used to create a number of other well-known strains, including White Rhino, Blue Widow, and White Russian.
Amnesia – another enduring favourite that is still commonplace on Dutch coffeeshop menus – is one of the most iconic strains of the 90s. With high THC levels and rich terpene content, this hybrid strain also boasts an earthy, herbal taste and aroma that helped to make it one of the most popular hybrids available.
From its Dutch origins, Amnesia is famed for its extreme head high (hence the name) with many supporting its claim as the best and most potent strains to ever come out of the Netherlands. Despite its potency, however, its fans claim that its euphoric and uplifting high boosts creativity and conversation!
Super Silver Haze
Next up, we have a multi-time winner of the High Times Cannabis cup: Super Silver Haze. This well-loved Sativa won the first prize in 1997, 1998, and 1999, earning its place as an icon of the 90s. Super Silver Haze, which (like White Widow) gets its name from the potent white trichomes donning the buds, was first bred by Dutch company Green House Seed and is still a go-to at many a Dutch coffeeshop.
Users report that its high THC content and combination of terpenes (dominant myrcene, followed by caryophyllene and limonene) make for an energetic and uplifting high that is great for relieving stress. As one reviewer online notes: “I treat depression and anxiety, and like other reviewers, I find that this strain features a great, long-lasting body high, alongside clearheaded mental uplift.”
Originally cultivated by a group of growers by the name “Exodus” in the UK, this early-90s hybrid strain is a phenotype of Skunk #1 which has become a favourite around the world. Known for its unmistakable “cheesy” aroma, UK Cheese has a savoury and spicy flavour profile that makes it difficult to miss.
Today’s iterations of UK Cheese (as with most 90s strains) may be more potent than its original, but its combination of terpinolene, ocimene, and myrcene still gives it the distinctly funky flavour that helped to make it a favourite to begin with. All in all, UK Cheese may be the most significant contribution that the UK ever made to the global cannabis strain scene.
Looking back, the 90s was an incredibly important time for the albeit slow and ongoing legitimisation of cannabis use. Despite use still being heavily stigmatised and cannabis users stereotyped, it was in this decade that cannabis really took hold of the mainstream, influencing movies and television shows, as well as hip-hop and rock music. Perhaps equally as important, the 90s also gave life to a range of nostalgia-worthy strains that keep many stoners looking back with fondness to this day.