The return to Standard Time on Sunday gave us an additional hour of sleep, but reminded Canadians that winter is on its way. Although we see benefit from a shift in daylight hours, time changes can affect sleep cycles and mood as people adjust to the darker days of the coming winter months.

As Canadians recover from the time change, Tilray launches Northern Lights, a limited-edition indica variety of medical cannabis. For patients unfamiliar with this variety, comparing it to our core variety of Rockstar might help patients decide which variety will work for them.

Lineage and Morphology
The first similarity between Northern Lights and Rockstar is their cultivar: indica. Rockstar, however, is a cross between Rock Bud and Sensi Star, which are both indica varieties. Although Northern Lights exhibits characteristics of an indica and is classified as such, its parent strains are the indica Afghani and a sativa landrace, Thai.

Essential oils that give plants and flowers their unique characteristics are called terpenes and they’re found in cannabis as well. Rockstar and Northern Lights varieties are often high in both caryophyllene, a terpene found in herbs and spices, and humulene, most often found in plants used in brewing beer. Rockstar, however, is also high in bisabolol, which is also present in flowers used to make tea, while Northern Lights is distinguished by the presence of myrcene, commonly found in tropical fruit.

When it comes to THC potency, our current batches of Rockstar and Northern Lights both have 21.2% THC, putting them into Tilray’s T300 Profile, our highest potency of medical cannabis.

Rockstar and Northern Lights share common characteristics. Where these two varieties diverge is in the terpene characteristics, those attributes which give plants their unique traits. The high potency as well as the indica classification mean that both of these varieties are appropriate for evening use.

Proper sleep, nutrition and staying active are key to good health and warding off seasonal illness. For a collection of peer-reviewed studies on sleep and medical cannabis, check out this previous blog post: Medical Cannabis and Sleep.