Is the Classic AK-47 Marijuana Strain Still the Powerful “One-Hit Wonder?”

Take a look at the dense, hard AK-47 bud photo for this article. For more than 20 years, cannabis connoisseurs have raved about the awesome “one-hit wonder” cannabis strain called AK-47, made by legendary Dutch marijuana seeds company Serious Seeds. Instead of being the name for a death-dealing machine gun, Serious Seeds’ AK-47 has long been known as one of the most potent cannabis strains, with one of the most interesting highs.

The one-hit name came from the fact that many people were be seriously too high if they took more than one inhalation. The Indica hits you first, and can be quite a pleasant shock. Then the Sativa kicks in to elevate the high.

Some people wonder if AK-47 is as strong as its reputation says it is. I’ll always remember a rainy, cold afternoon many years ago when I was in a private office with the manager of The Dampkring, one of Amsterdam’s best cannabis shops. The manager said he had a secret stash of AK-47, and spoke highly of Simon, the much-respected owner and founder of Serious Seeds. This strain is definitely a one-hit wonder, he said as he rolled me a joint, so be careful. I was already absolutely blazed from inhaling Dutch water hash, and I kind of scoffed at his potency warning as I smoked most of the AK-47 joint myself. Then when I got up to leave his office, I felt dizzy, then fainted and fell over on my face. The one-hit wonder had lived up to its reputation!

Fortunately, this classic, famous marijuana seeds strain is still available from Serious Seeds in regular and feminized photoperiod versions, and we tested it recently.

For sure, there are other very potent strains, most of them Indica or Kush, but they have shallow, one-dimensional highs with no “head” to them. They sedate the body but numb the mind. Really nice for medical uses, going to sleep, or fighting anxiety…but rather boring. In contrast, AK-47 is both potent and interesting—not just to use, but to grow. It’s one of a handful of legendary cannabis strains that has been properly maintained all these years so it has phenotype consistency.

The strain isn’t a confused mix of genetics like modern hybrid cannabis strains. It comes from simple, intelligent crosses of other heritage genetics including Thai Sativa, Colombian, Mexican Sativa, and Afghani. Simon of Serious Seeds describes it as a “mostly-Sativa” strain. He points out that the strain has won numerous cannabis awards, including a High Times Cannabis Cup. Also of note is that even 20 years ago the strain was competitive with the upper ranks of THC percentages in the best strains today, with some AK-47 buds testing at 21-22% THC.

Seeds from this strain grow into plants that perform like Serious Seeds says they will. Phenotype consistency is very uniform. None of the AK-47 plants I grew had any problems with hermaphroditism, and this strain seems to be resistant to gray mold and  marijuana insect pests.

I have grown AK-47 several times since its seeds became commercially available, but not in the past seven years, and not the feminized version. A grower associate recently procured some AK-47 feminized seeds and shared several with me for my grow room. Here are some technical details from my experience growing seven AK-47 plants from feminized cannabis seeds:

GROW ROOM LIGHTING: California LightWorks 550 LED grow lights.

Root Zone Media: Pro-Mix HP.

Grow Phase Nutrients: Advanced Nutrients Connoisseur Grow hydroponics base nutrients, Ancient Earth, B-52. Nutrients solution pH: 5.8. Parts per million: 150  ppm after seeds had two sets of true leaves, gradually increasing to 1000 ppm by end of grow phase.

Bloom Phase Nutrients: Connoisseur Bloom base nutrients. Bud Ignitor (weeks 1-2). Big Bud organic (weeks 2-7). Nirvana (weeks 3 to flushing). Bud Candy: (weeks 2-7). Overdrive (weeks 6 to flushing). Parts per million: 850-1050. pH: 5.8

Root Zone Containers: Seven-gallon individual cloth pots.

Germination Rate: 100%

Grow Phase Duration: 33-35 days.

Bloom Phase Duration: 64-80 days.

Finished height (excluding pots): 43-57 inches.

Resin gland color: clear to amber

Scent: Bubblegum, pepper, sweet fruit. Moderately strong scent while growing, not so much after drying and curing.

Yield: 831 grams total, from seven plants. The highest yield from one plant was 153 grams.

Details on Growing & Using AK-47

Serious Seeds’ AK-47 plants were grown in individual “smart pots” (made of porous cloth) in a large indoor grow room with two other strains; AK-47 outperformed the other strains.

Plants were topped a week before starting bloom phase. Bloom phase plant stretch was moderate, with some plants showing less than doubling in height.

The AK-47 plants were the shortest and densest plants in the room, and the best producer, which is unusual for a mostly-Sativa strain.

The strain is known for having two phenotypes. One phenotype leans towards the Afghanica genetics; it’s shorter, denser, and faster-finishing. The other leans towards the Sativa influences and is taller, with a longer bloom phase.

I had five plants of the Afghanica type, and two of the Sativa type, but both phenos were short, squat, and sturdy. Because this strain often grows naturally shorter and more horizontal than other Sativa-dominant strains, it’s good for indoor grow rooms with limited vertical space, but I don’t recommend it for sea of green or SCROG.

AK-47 was also the easiest strain to grow out of the ones I grew with it—able to handle more nutrients than other plants and sturdy enough to maintain upright branch integrity even though the buds were huge, dense and frosty. I didn’t need to do any branch support with this strain.

Scent, bud girth and accelerated resin gland development came on strong at week four of bloom phase and increased until flushing (flushing started five days before harvest, and consisted of using Flawless Finish and reverse osmosis water).

I was glad to see the buds fill out as peak bloom progressed, as the first 3-4 weeks of bloom phase had shown me buds with too many leaves, and I was worried about having leafy, green buds instead of buds packed mostly with resin heads. However, at week four of bloom phase, the buds started to thicken and goo up so much that the leafiness problem was absorbed into the overall bud structure and was no longer a problem.

By weeks 6-7 of bloom phase, some buds showed partial foxtailing. Foxtailing is the word used to describe when buds form turrets of thin stalks full of resin glands that extend like castle turrets off the main conical bud.

I carefully monitor resin glands for precise harvest timing, although I also pay attention to what breeder’s estimate for bloom phase duration. Serious Seeds specifies a 53-63 day bloom phase but in my experience and the experience of other AK-47 growers, this estimate is way too short. Nobody in our group of professional growers has ever seen this strain ready sooner than 60 days and many growers including me have had phenotypes that needed as many as 70-80 days to be fully mature and ready for harvest.

Out of seven plants, five were the Afghanica-leaning phenotype and ready for harvest at 63-66 days, with gooey, delicious-smelling, branch-bending buds with resin glands just turning cloudy.

The two Sativa-dominant plants were slightly taller, and slower to mature. Their buds were smaller in diameter but just as long, dense, and resinous as for the Afghanica-leaning pheno. It was a full 75 days before the resin glands were cloudy and the buds looked like fatten no more; I harvested at 80 days after five days of flushing.

After two weeks of drying and curing, I was eager to sample this latest incarnation of AK-47. I found it to be almost identical in taste and high to AK-47 I’d inhaled in Dutch cannabis coffee shops years ago when there was still a High Times Cannabis Cup event held in Amsterdam.

The high is very strong, both cerebral and physical, but not the kind that makes a person lazy or paranoid. If your garden produces AK 47’s two distinct Sativa vs Afghanica phenotypes, I recommend mixing buds from each when consuming, to get balanced psychoactive and body effects.

The taste is a very complex, attractive mix including bubblegum and spices. If the user is combusting instead of vaporizing the bud, the dense smoke tends to expand in the lungs to produce a coughing fit.

When I used to live in The Netherlands, I loved how cautious use of AK-47 produces a perfect high for going to the Amsterdam Van Gogh museum, the DJ shows on the North Sea beaches at Zandvoort near Amsterdam in summer, or any exciting place anywhere where visuals, music, and socializing are on tap.

The high comes on almost immediately, and can last 2-4 hours. Novice marijuana users are advised to use AK-47 cautiously, but if you’re accustomed to the best modern high-THC hybrids, this strain won’t cripple you.

Serious Seeds can be very proud that they’ve maintained (and some growers say even improved) AK-47 during a run that has gone on for more than 20 years. Too many legendary marijuana strains have been diluted or otherwise sabotaged by poor maintenance of mother plants and pollen plants, and other seed company problems.

In contrast, Serious Seeds has maintained its professionalism, customer-satisfaction priorities, and genetic purity. Simon, who founded and runs Serious Seeds, is one of the most intelligent, honest, friendly, and competent leaders in the cannabis seeds industry. He’s 100% dedicated to ensuring the reliability and superiority of his strains so growers across the world are very happy when they grow and harvest Serious Seeds plants.

If you want to grow the legend, Serious Seeds AK-47 is a high-yielding, hardy, super-potent strain true to its heritage, with a kind high that provides a potent, uplifting combo of Afghanica and Sativa.