Essential Strains


Episode 233

Show Notes

Blackberry Kush vs. Northern Lights

Get ready for a battle of the buds between Blackberry Kush and Northern Lights. We’ll dive into the origins, effects, and health benefits of each strain to see which one offers the best relaxation and pain relief. Will Blackberry Kush keep its spot on our Essential Strain list or will Northern Lights secure its place? Cast your vote by sending us a DM or emailing us hi@dothepot! We hope today’s show helps you navigate your choices at dispensaries more confidently.

Listen to the Episode


Listen on


Podcast Guests



Ellen Scanlon (00:00):

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over. Support for How To Do The Pot comes from Cann. A lot of social plans can revolve around alcohol. If you’re trying to drink less, I love low-dose cannabis beverages like Cann. It’s drinkable, delicious cannabis that’s as bubbly, refreshing, and sociable as your favorite cocktail, but hold the booze. Cann social tonics ship to more than 40 states so you can have them sent right to your door. Use promo code DOTHEPOT for 20% off when you visit That’s drinkcann. Try a can today and have a fun night without the hangover.


Welcome to How To Do The Pot, a podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis. I’m your host, Ellen Scanlon. In our recent listener survey, we asked what you’d like to hear more of in our episodes. Thank you to everyone who responded. We had so many requests for episodes about specific strains, and today you’re in luck because we’re talking about two strains, one which is already made How To Do The Pot’s essential strains list, and a challenger to its position. Have you listened to our Essential Strains series yet? It’s a growing list of strains that I think everyone should have in their stash. Not because you need them all, but because I want you to have two or three go-tos that you love. This can really help guide you when you walk into a dispensary so you don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the sheer number of strains available. Even telling a budtender the name of a strain that you’ve liked can be very helpful for them to guide you to more of what you’ll love.


We created a special strains playlist on Spotify so you can learn about all the essential strains, and the full list is on our website, I’ll link to the Spotify playlist in the show notes. Before we get into today’s show, I’m excited to report on the results of our last strain battle, which was in episode 215. The battle was between two energizing strains, one already on our essential strains list, Sour Diesel, and its challenger, Super Silver Haze. Well, the votes have been counted and sour diesel prevailed proving it’s a classic for good reason. Now we’re on the hunt for another challenger. Is there another energizing strain you’d like to see battle it out with Sour Diesel? Let us know.


In today’s episode, we’re switching the vibes. We’ll duke it out between two super relaxing and pain relieving strains. First up is one of our essential strains favorites, Blackberry Kush. Then I’ll tell you all about today’s challenger, Northern Lights. We’ll hear what women across the country think about it and you get to choose the winner. I can’t wait to hear from you. Please tell us what you think on socials or email


Before we get into this week’s episode, I want to talk for a second about How To Do The Pot’s newsletter. The newsletter is a twice-a-month resource that will help you feel confident about cannabis for health, wellbeing, and for fun. The newsletter is also our direct line to you. You can hit the reply button and let me know what topics or guests you’d like to hear on the show. There are already thousands of subscribers reading and responding, and the more, the merrier. We couldn’t do this without you, so please go to do the to sign up. Thank you, and I really appreciate your support for the show.


Will Northern Lights be worthy of the essential strains list or will Blackberry Kush win and we’ll keep searching for another essential strain? Let’s start the battle. Today’s show is a bit of a family feud because both strains, Blackberry Kush and Northern Lights, share a parent in a strain called Afghan Kush. Kush strains are some of the most popular available on the market today. The Afghan Kush plant is characterized by tightly packed and compact buds that are full of potency and flavor, and sweet lemon piney smells, citrusy and herbal. Kush strains come from an indica plant. They’re known for their body buzzes and strong relaxing highs. They’re often recommended for people who are seeking help with pain, insomnia, nausea, or a poor appetite. You’ll feel those effects in both of today’s strain contenders. And in last week’s episode, we went back to basics on strains and talked about the differences between sativa, indica, and hybrid, so check that out if you want a refresher.


What you need to know for today is the term indica tells you where the strains come from geographically. Indica strains largely hail from the Hindu Kush mountain region of South Asia. Indica plants are short and squat and have a quicker growing season in order to flower and ripen by that encroaching cold winter. Sativa strains on the other hand, are known to be activating, energizing, and are great for creativity, movement, and can also help with pain. They originate from areas that are closer to the equator like Central America, Southeast Asia. They’ve adapted to thrive in hot, endless summer climates. They’re much bigger plants and have a significantly longer growing season since there’s no race to winter. So while Blackberry Kush and Northern Lights are related, let’s find out why the two strains are different enough to deserve a face-off.


Let’s start with our current champion and one of How To Do The Pot’s essential strains, Blackberry Kush. The exact heritage of Blackberry Kush is up for debate. As I said, we know that one parent is Afghan Kush. It was also crossed with a berry. Some say blueberry, some say blackberry. If you buy flour, you may notice this strain’s dark purple color. Wherever it’s from, it’s got some Kush, it’s got some berry, and women love this sweet, fruity, earthy strain. If you’re a berry fan, you’ll probably want to grab this one. What will Blackberry Kush help with? It will help with pain, anxiety, sleep, and stress. It’s also iconic when it comes to bringing relief from painful periods. I have endometriosis, a painful disease that affects one in 10 women worldwide. One of its most common symptoms is incredibly painful cramps, so painful periods are very personal for me.


We’ve talked in earlier episodes about how cannabinoids have pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory benefits, and women’s pelvic regions have the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors after the brain. Blackberry Kush is a strain that can help you relax your menstrual cramps as well as the anxiety, stress, and insomnia that’s brought on by hormonal changes. How high will I get? Blackberry Kush reduces pain and delivers a knockout high, just enough to ensure that you stay horizontal. This is an intoxicating strain, so expect to feel it. When you’re shopping, please pay attention to the percentage of THC in the weed. High THC levels are what can make some people feel anxious. Until you know how you want to feel, stick to levels of THC around or below 20%, and I always recommend starting slowly, so any feelings of couch lock won’t take you by surprise.


Blackberry Kush is a beloved strain. Will it stay a champion or will our contender be today’s winner? Northern Lights is an indica-dominant eighties baby. It originates from Afghan Kush and a variety of other strains that still remain a mystery. What we do know is that the breeders, the Northern Lights crew, emerged from the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s and eighties. They really revolutionized the cannabis industry by leading the way in indoor cultivation and the development of strains developed exclusively for indoor conditions. This includes plants with buds that are compact and uniform, which maximize yield and quality for the grower. Northern Lights is considered elite and one of the world’s most celebrated relaxing strains. Some of the popular strains that came from Northern Lights are Super Silver Haze, which you heard about in our last strain battle, episode 215, and the CBD-rich strain, Nortel. Northern Lights is incredibly popular. If weed is legal near you, you can find some Northern lights.


For example, we looked around and of the 15 dispensaries in Grand Rapids, Michigan, more than half have it in stock. In Boston, there are 38 dispensaries and you can buy Northern Lights at 15 of them, and you can find it at more than a hundred dispensaries in Los Angeles. Janet Yee, the New York based co-founder of Cannabis Lifestyle Brand Issa Vibe, says it’s so popular, you have to buy it whenever you find it.

Janet Yee (11:11):

It was one of those strains that always sold out and I never understood it at the time, but nowadays, you get it. There were some strains back then that you know if you saw it, you just had to try it because they were sold out for weeks, maybe even months. Any Afghan strain, which Northern Lights is, Green Crack, White Widow, Jack Herrera, if you saw them, grab them by the bulk because you would not see them anytime soon.

Ellen Scanlon (11:38):

Northern Lights smells of sweet tropical fruit and earth pine with notes of herbs and spices and wood. What will it help with? Northern Lights is known to help with pain, especially headaches. You might find relief from anxiety and insomnia as well as nausea. How high will I get? Northern Lights is a higher-potency strain and it has very little CBD to even it out. Because of this, it provides a relaxed experience where you might feel euphoric, dreamy, blissful, tired, and expect to feel hungry. This is one strain that can really give you the munchies. Be prepared to happily spend your evening on the couch with hopefully no pain in sight. If you have a chronic illness, you may have heard of Northern Lights and its ability to help with pain. When we asked our followers on Instagram at Do the Pot how they liked Northern Lights, this idea of pain relief came up again and again. It really resonated with one of our friends who wishes to remain anonymous.

Anonymous (12:52):

I have several chronic illnesses, which means I am pretty much always in pain and that often leads to anxiety and insomnia, so when I’m looking for a new strain, I am usually looking to address those things. The most important thing to me is that a strain does not add to my anxiety, which I do find happens sometimes, though more with sativas than indicas. When we got Northern Lights, I was excited because I knew that it was supposed to be particularly helpful for things that I use it for, but to be honest, I don’t remember it being anything particularly special. Just that it did what I wanted. It helped relieve pain, it helped me get to sleep. I don’t know if I could say necessarily that it eased anxiety since I was using it more at night, but I know that it didn’t add to my anxiety or make it more difficult for me to fall asleep. I was happy with Northern Lights before and I would definitely try it again.

Ellen Scanlon (13:51):

California-based Tammy Pettigrew, also known as the Cannabis Cutie, is a cannabis entrepreneur and educator who also loves Northern Lights. Instead of putting her to sleep though, she actually feels energized by it. I asked her how she would spend an evening after trying Northern Lights.

Tammy Pettigrew (14:11):

I’m probably going to get creative or I’m going to be social, watch something funny, laugh. I really do like what are considered heavy sedating strains. I deal with pain, so for me, those strains actually make me feel pretty normal.

Ellen Scanlon (14:28):

Tammy points to something to keep in mind when you’re consuming cannabis for pain. When you try cannabis with the intention of finding pain relief, it will deliver more of that and less of a high. If you’re not in pain and choose to consume the same strain, the euphoric effects of the weed will be more potent. Isn’t this a magical plant? The science behind this phenomenon is something we’ll talk about in future episodes, but think of this like taking aspirin or ibuprofen. It knows where the pain is and helps to combat it. Proving that our strain battle is a tough one, Tammy can’t officially make up her mind between the two.

Tammy Pettigrew (15:11):

If I could go back in time, I would absolutely take Northern Lights. I remember that strain from back then and loved it, but today I am a Kush girly. I really love OGs.

Ellen Scanlon (15:22):

If you’ve gotten your hands on Northern Lights and are anticipating how it might make you feel, Janet Yee has some advice.

Janet Yee (15:30):

My first time smoking Northern Lights, I remember it just chills me out. It’s great for anxiety. It’s great to just get out of your head. It just chills you out. It definitely helps me sleep a lot. It’s a really great body high. Especially now that I’m older, I definitely lean towards more hybrid indica to help chill me out. I love it. It has that very familiar pine smell and taste. And as far as activities, no heavy machinery. Don’t go to the gym. No workouts. It’s your Netflix and chill type of vibe. For dosing tips, just one puff at a time, because you want to gauge how much of a couch potato you want to be. And highly recommend. 10 out of 10.

Ellen Scanlon (16:13):

So what do you say? Is Northern Lights a strong enough contender to make it onto our essential strains list? It’s going up against a famously popular strain, Blackberry Kush. Which strain will you choose? A quick recap. Both Blackberry Kush and Northern Lights are strong, potentially sedating strains that will keep you relaxed and stress-free. They help people dealing with pain, nausea, and insomnia. Blackberry Kush has that berry flavor, taste and smell, while Northern Lights leans towards citrus, earth, and pine trees. One of the top questions I’m asked is, “What should I buy?” I’d love to share more brands that you’re excited about. Who makes your favorite Blackberry Kush or Northern Lights? Please reach out and I might feature your picks on a future episode.


I hope you enjoyed this essential strains battle. Is this a tough matchup or a slam dunk for one of the two? If Northern Lights wins, we’ve got ourselves a brand new essential strain, and if Blackberry Kush remains our winner, we’ll be on the lookout for another worthy strain to add to the list. What do you think it should be? Help us choose our winner and recommend your favorite strain to make our essentials list. Please DM us on socials or email and tell me what you think. If you like this episode, please share it with a friend. We love new listeners and are here to help everyone feel confident about cannabis.


Thank you for listening to How To Do The Pot. For lots more information and past episodes, visit do the Are you one of the thousands of people who love How To Do The Pot’s newsletter? If you’re not getting it, please sign up at And if you like How To Do The Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It really helps people find the show. Thank you to writer Joanna Silver and producers Maddie Fair and Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon and stay tuned for more of How To Do The Pot.



How to Buy Weed
Everything Women Need to Know About CBD Oil Tincture
Cannabis Recipes: How to Make Cannabutter
The Next Best Weed Strains: 12 Alternatives

We cover legal weed

So you must be legal, too. Age 21+ invited to continue.


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.