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Beyond Indica and Sativa: What is Cannabis Ruderalis?

Any cannabis connoisseur can tell you the generalized differences between an indica and sativa. C. indica is a short, bushy plant whose flowers are known for their sedating and mellowing effects. C. sativa is a taller, skinnier plant whose flowers are characterized by their uplifting and energizing effects. However, this oversimplification of cannabis species leaves a lot to be desired in understanding the nuances of strains, including hybrids and hemp. It also ignores another variety of cannabis called C. ruderalis.

What is Cannabis Ruderalis?

  1. ruderalis was first classified in 1924 by a Russian botanist known as Janischevsky.

It is identified as a comparatively small cannabis plant and was originally seen as a wild breed. However, the wild theory has been largely ruled out. According to Leaf Science, C. ruderalis is now “commonly believed to be a hybrid of indica and sativa that escaped cultivation and managed to adapt to the colder, harsher Northern climate.” It is native to Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Its outdoor origins have lent a hand to this plant’s hardiness and pest and disease resistance.  

Its escape from cultivation, however, did not last. In the past few years, Leafy confirms, C. ruderalis has been cultivated indoors to help develop new hybrids. This particular cannabis plant is attractive to breeders because of its genetic strength, but also because it autoflowers, unlike other cannabis species. This means that despite light cycles, C. ruderalis will flower just a shy of a month after seeding. It also continues flowering for its entire life cycle, unlike sativas and indicas which only flower once.

While its bushy buds don’t contain much THC, they are CBD-rich, making them valuable for consumers seeking the medicinal and recreational benefits of CBD without the psychoactive effects of THC. Additionally, you can find ruderalis hybrids crossed with THC-rich sativas and indicas. Amnesia Haze Automatic, Royal Dwarf, and Royal Haze Automatic are three such sativa-ruderalis strains and Northern Light Auto, Royal Bluematic, and Sweet Skunk Automatic are three such indica-ruderalis strains.