Cannabis ruderalis is a non-psychoactive plant of the genus Cannabis in the family Cannabaceae. Cannabis ruderalis originates from Russia and East-Central Europe. The distinctive traits of cannabis ruderalis describe a small sized plant with low-THC content and non-photoperiodic flowering traits when grown from seed.
Cannabis ruderalis develops into a smaller plant than cannabis sativa or cannabis indica species, rarely growing over two feet in height. The leaves of cannabis ruderalis are a thick, indica-like quality with often only 3 “finger” leaflets. The stems, stalks and petioles of ruderalis plants are thin and fibrous. The buds are moderately sized with ranging density.
In 1924, the botanist D. E. Janischewsky identified the species Cannabis ruderalis in Russia, describing the visible dissimilarities in growth structure, traits and seeds from other cannabis species. Researchers are not exactly sure whether or not to classify cannabis ruderalis as its own species of cannabis, or rather a subspecies of cannabis sativa.
Wild cannabis ruderalis plants are often found in areas where hemp cultivation previously took place. In the 1800’s Russia was considered one the largest producers of hemp in the world. Researchers speculate the genetics of Russian hemp may be the true origin of the cannabis ruderalis species, as similar populations are seen growing feral in Central-Eastern European countries. In North America, cannabis ruderalis can be found growing sporadically throughout the mid-western United States and Canada.
The word “ruderalis” is of Latin origin and refers to a “ruderal species” which are the first plants to colonize land after an incident.
Cannabis ruderalis is unique from the other cannabis species, as it does not depend on light to dictate its life cycle. Photoperiodism is the response of an organism to seasonal changes in day length. Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica species are both photoperiodic, while cannabis ruderalis is not photoperiodic, allowing the plant to flower in a range of lighting environments.
During the early growth cycles, cannabis ruderalis plants grow in a lively manner with a sparse “weedy” structure. Cannabis cultivators often crossbreed cannabis ruderalis plants with cannabis indica/sativa species to increase potency and growth characteristics in the next generation.
Cannabis ruderalis genetics have an internal time-clock mechanism that tells the plant when it’s time to start flowering (or producing pollen in the case of a male plant), to become ready to harvest. As early as only two months from germinated seed, the cannabis ruderalis plant may finish its short life-cycle.
The low-THC buds of cannabis ruderlis plants do not really get users “high”, or produce a very slight effect if anything.
Cannabis ruderalis affects users with a a headache, or slight buzz. The effects of smoking cannabis ruderalis are described as “nothing”, “almost high”.