When Serious Seeds’ signature strain first hit the coffee shops in Amsterdam, it was so common for users to fall off of their barstools mid-joint that people would jokingly remark that it looked like they’d been hit by an AK-47.
Though it is named after the deadly Kalashnikov, the cannabis strain AK-47 is imbued with powerfully therapeutic amenities. This strain has a history of use as a medicine for pain, anxiety, bipolar disorder, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. AK-47 is known for the euphoric and sedating high it produces, often accompanied by an increased sense of creativity. With an average THC content of 20%, AK-47 might not be the strongest strain on the market, but, like its namesake, it carries a lot of power in one hit.
AK-47’s trademark fragrance and potency are a result of its relatively high flower to leaf ratio. Compared to flower, cannabis leaves contain trace amounts of THC. While they are usable, cannabis buds are the most decadent part of the plant’s anatomy. In contrast to many other strains, AK-47 produces dense flower clusters coated with trichomes, the resin glands of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are packed with cannabinoids and terpenes, the compounds responsible for the psychotropic effect, perfume, and therapeutic qualities that make cannabis such a desirable alternative to many other medicines and recreational substances. AK-47’s aroma is skunk-like and spiced with the fragrance of citrus, pine, and sandalwood. The indica side of AK-47 will provide users with a deeply relaxing body high, while its sativa-dominant side will—in most cases—keep them awake and introspective.
Imbibing AK-47 comes with the typical risks associated with cannabis consumption: dry mouth, red eyes, paranoia, and dizziness are potential side effects. These reactions will disappear as the high subsides. Despite these adverse reactions, AK-47 is a beloved strain that has been around since the early 1990’s. The fact that it remains stocked on shelves in an industry constantly engineering new breeds is a testament to its legacy.
AK-47 is the culmination of exhaustive research and breeding experiments conducted by Serious Seeds’ master breeder, Simon. Once a non-smoking student of biology, Simon became convinced of the benefits of consuming cannabis while traveling through Africa in 1986. His personal revelation of cannabis’ medical properties marked a turning point in his life. He devoted himself to collecting the seeds of various strains and placing them in his personal genetic library. He found deep satisfaction in growing and experimenting with cannabis genetics, and formally entered the cannabis industry by working for Sensi Seeds, a cannabis seed bank. In 1994, Simon partnered with two Americans to form their own seed bank.
Simon gave the AK-47 life in 1992, finally realizing the aspiration of creating a high-quality hybrid with significant potency. In 1994, the same year that he launched his own seed bank in collaboration with two others, AK-47 won prizes at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. This success propelled Simon to begin his own seed bank, Serious Seeds. In addition to AK-47, Simon and Serious Seeds are responsible for the creation of the award-winning strains Chronic, Kali Mist, White Russian, and Blue Bird. The company prides itself on its emphasis on quality over quantity, so it only sells fifteen strains. However, Serious Seeds promises an exceptional experience from those fifteen. Today Serious Seeds is based in the Netherlands and has won High Times Cannabis Cup prizes in the Seed Cup category in 1994, 1995, and 1996 as well as first place at the ExpoGrow Cup in the Best Seedbank category in 2016.
It is Simon’s practice to continue to maintain the strain’s signature qualities but to reinvigorate it by rebuilding the strain with plant matter from the same genetic line, but with new and improved accents. Since its conception, AK-47 has won an astounding 26 awards. Its most recent awards include second place in the Bio-Weed category at the HighLife Cup 2016 in Amsterdam and second place in the indoor category at the Copa Cata Zona Norte 2017 in Argentina.
The Genetics of AK-47
While the exact genetic makeup of AK-47 remains a mystery, Serious Seeds’ Simon has revealed the seed stock from which the strain was bred. AK-47 is a sativa dominant hybrid (approximately 65% sativa) parented by strains hailing from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and Afghanistan. Though the names of specific strains from these locations are unknown, their environments play an enormous role in the natural occurrence of cannabis in those regions. Sativas typically grow in warmer climates, specifically in places near the equator. The sativa’s tendency to grow tall and with ample space between the leaves is a protective measure against mold, an especially important evolutionary feature in the wet tropics. Indicas, on the other hand, are short and stocky, providing them with the durability and anchorage needed to survive the windy and arid climates of the Middle East and close proximity.
While the following strains are not necessarily the ones used to breed AK-47, they certainly share qualities to those that are and give us insight into the one-hitter’s genetic makeup.
Colombia’s location on the map provides growing conditions in which sativas thrive. Though enormously popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s and well-known by cannabis connoisseurs worldwide, Colombian Gold, a landrace native to the northern part of the South American nation, has become one of the hardest strains to find. This strain is known for its heady and energizing high.
Like Colombia, Mexico’s proximity to the equator makes it home to sativa strains like Acapulco Gold and Highland Oaxaca. Acapulco Gold is a classic strain known for its cerebral high that comes without an overwhelming sense of euphoria. It is used to treat chronic pain and mood disorders. Highland Oaxaca Gold has lost its popularity due to the emergence of more potent strains, but it was once lauded for its psychedelic effect of color distortion.
Thailand is home to the landrace strain after its own name. A uniquely potent landrace sativa, Thai hits its users quickly, providing them with a highly productive and motivating high. This strain makes an excellent wake and bake, with some users comparing its effects to those created by caffeine.
Though AK-47 is primarily a Sativa strain, its Indica genetics are responsible for the strain’s sedating body high. Afghani is the nation’s namesake landrace strain, and its effects are emblematic of what pot users have come to expect from indicas: deep sedation conducive to sleep.