The contributions of the east coast to the cannabis world are all too easily forgotten in this new era of legalization, emerging in the west. But one classic strain – arguably NYC’s flagship strain - is likely to keep the Big Apple on the cannabis map for years to come. In my own observation, Sour Diesel strains have long been the sativa of choice for the northeast, where high-end strains are most often indica-leaning hybrids. Until Blue Dream came along, Sour Diesel was probably the most common of a small handful of high-test sativa strains floating around. NYC diesel is considered the cream of that crop.

The strain has also made a global impact. NYC Diesel has won 9 Cannabis Cup awards, prized for its cerebral effect, and pungent, grapefruit-citrus aroma. Soma Seeds were found in the original batch of seeds in New York City, hence the name. They went on to cross the original diesel with an Afghani/Hawaiian male, bringing some indica influence into the equation. The result is a 60/40 sativa dominant hybrid, with effects that tend toward those of a heady sativa, but with a robust indica base that can result in long lasting couchlock after the initial, more cerebral effects begin to dissipate. Despite its stimulating effects, the hybrid strain is valued by consumers trying to avoid anxious or paranoid side effects. The effect is more often described as happy and social, distinct from the harsher buzzes of many sativas.

The strain was responsible for bringing a level of international fame to Amsterdam based Soma Seeds, with NYC Diesel winning the Cannabis Cup sativa category several years in a row, in the early 2000s.

Photo by: Seeds Man

Photo by: Seeds Man


For someone used to indica strains, the aroma is pretty striking. While indicas tend to lean in a mild, sweet direction, the fuel pungency of the diesel is immediately evident on opening the jar. Once the nasal shock of that aroma wears off, the underlying citrus smell takes center stage, with hints of grapefruit and sweet lime. The fuel, diesel smell is unlike any other strain outside of the Sour Diesel family. The taste is a bit more subtle – a spicy first impression with a light, almost fuel-like, aftertaste.

The buds are light and airy, with layers of different shades of green on the calyxes, ranging from small dark hunter green leaves to a lighter, medium olive color on the surface. Tightly curled, sunrise orange hairs fill the space in between calyxes. The buds look potent, with a snowy dusting of trichomes throughout. These impressions amount to a much brighter and varied set of colors than in most strains, matching the robust aromas.

The effects set in fairly immediately, with a mildly stimulating wave of happy, friendly optimism. I have found that this is a great strain for going out and socializing with people. I also found myself strangely inclined to exercise, or at least move around – something I don’t normally expect from a cannabis strain. The effects walk a line between the happy mood of a sativa and the stress relieving effects of a great indica strain. Instead of simply acting as a sedative like some indicas, this strain builds on its sativa heritage to improve mood and yield a more positive line of thinking. As the stress melts away, the sativa effects give way to a more relaxing, indica sensation that may result in couchlock.

The result is a strain that tends to lean towards the direction of having the anti-depressant like properties of a sativa, while also offering a calmer experience with a relaxing indica tail end. NYC Diesel is favored by patients treating stress, depression, pain, and fatigue. The strain, with its east coast heritage, is a reminder that the west coast is not the only part of the country responsible for the revolution in the quality of cannabis. New York City is never a place willing be outdone, and this strain attaches the city’s name to one of the most well-loved sativas of the twenty-first century.