When it comes to different cannabis strains, people generally use the sativa and indica classification, including the hybrid spectrum of weed. However, there’s also another cannabis variety that often gets neglected in the debate. It’s cannabis ruderalis. We believe that this cannabis strain should receive its much deserved spotlight, especially when we consider its influence on contemporary weed varieties. Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cannabis ruderalis, and how it’s different from sativa and indica.
What is Cannabis Ruderalis?Cannabis ruderalis is one of the cannabis species that was once believed to be the parent of other cannabis strains. However, it’s now acknowledged as its own species. It’s a hardy variety of the cannabis plant that grows wild throughout the regions of Central Asia and Eastern Europe, with high concentrations throughout Russia. It’s also a great strain for breeders, who have been using ruderalis with other varieties to create hybrids with an autoflowering effect. Cannabis ruderalis grows smaller than indica and sativa plants. It also has fewer side branches and leaves, so it often produces modest yields in comparison to other species. This feature is often used by medical marijuana patients who want to grow their own plants but can’t afford large indoor grow rooms. And since cannabis ruderalis doesn’t need special lighting, it’s also a convenient plant to grow outdoors at any latitude.
What are the Origins of Cannabis Ruderalis?According to the earliest historical records, cannabis ruderalis first appeared thousands of years ago in the regions of Asia as well as Central and Eastern Europe. The “ruderalis” name derives from “ruderal,” which means a species that was first distributed by humans to colonize the land and set it up for agriculture. Nowadays, ruderalis is a wildly growing plant there, even near high-traffic regions like roadways. Cannabis ruderalis first entered botanical annals in 1924, when a Russian Botanist D.E. Janischevsky noticed a plant with different seeds and leaves while studying the cannabis family.
The Autoflowering Effect of Ruderalis: Benefits & UsesAutoflowering refers to the plant’s ability to transition from the vegetative stage into the flowering stage without the need to introduce changes in the light cycle. The flowering stage is critical for medical cannabis users, as this is where the plant grows flowers with high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes secreted in the resin of the buds. The ruderalis plant will start to flower on its own up to 4 weeks after sprouting from seeds, no matter the light-to-dark ratio. This feature is unique to the ruderalis strain. Sativa and indica plants are “photoperiod,” so their transition between the two stages depending on how the grower modulates the light. Their flowers can start to grow only if you ensure a minimum 12 hours of darkness each day. It’s up to you to trigger the flowering stage with photoperiod strains by playing with the lighting system. Why is the autoflowering beneficial for growers? Having an autoflowering strain means that it can grow anywhere and be harvested throughout the year. You don’t need to bother yourself with creating a strictly controlled space for your plants unlike with photoperiod varieties.
THC and CBD Ratio in Cannabis RuderalisCannabis ruderalis is naturally low in THC and higher in CBD. This means that you probably won’t get high from smoking ruderalis strains, but you can still enjoy a wide range of benefits and effects provided by the non-psychoactive side of cannabis. Higher levels of CBD also allow breeders to cross cannabis ruderalis with indica and sativa strains to create autoflowering hybrids with higher ratios of CBD. Adding cannabis ruderalis when breeding sativa hybrids can also make them more suitable for indoor spaces.
How is Cannabis Ruderalis Different from Indica or Sativa?Here’s the list of telltale signs that you’re dealing with a cannabis ruderalis plant:
- Appearance: cannabis ruderalis grows typically short — below two feet — and they have similar genetic traits to indica plants. Ruderalis plants are short and bulky, with wide leaves making them look more like a bush than a tree.
- Flowering: cannabis ruderalis strains have the ability to trigger the flowering stage without changing lighting settings.
- Cannabinoid profile: ruderalis plants have higher concentrations of CBD and are usually low in THC. Consuming a ruderalis variety for psychoactive effects is pointless because of that, but you can use it to reduce anxiety, pain, inflammation, epilepsy, and other conditions where CBD helps patients.
- Yields: cannabis ruderalis doesn’t grow abundant in flowers. It definitely provides less yields than indica and sativa plants. The buds are also small and clustered, similar to indica strains.
- Uses: Ruderalis doesn’t have any commercial uses (at least not yet) and is mostly used for breeding autoflowering hybrid strains. It can be harvested a few months during one outdoor season, so they’re also easy to grow by novice farmers.