Cannabis ruderalis
Cannabis ruderalis is a putative species of Cannabis
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fibre , for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a...

originating in central Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. It flowers earlier than C. indica
Cannabis indica
Cannabis indica is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. A putative species of the genus Cannabis, it is typically distinguished from Cannabis sativa. Schultes described C. indica as relatively short, conical, and densely branched, whereas C. sativa was described as tall and laxly branched...

or C. sativa
Cannabis sativa
Cannabis sativa is an annual herbaceous plant in the Cannabaceae family. Humans have cultivated this herb throughout recorded history as a source of industrial fibre, seed oil, food, recreation, spiritual enlightenment and medicine...

, does not grow as tall, and can withstand much harsher climates than either of them. Cannabis ruderalis is purported to go into budding based strictly on age and not on changes in length of daylight. This kind of flowering is also known as auto-flowering.

Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis are all species of the genus cannabis. They can all inter-breed freely, and many 'pedigree' cultivars are indica/sativa hybrids. Authorities disagree about the number of species of plant which constitute the genus Cannabis. Although many authorities continue to class all varieties of the plant, including Hemp and Marijuana, as Cannabis sativa, it is widely accepted that there are three separate species or sub-species. C. sativa, being most widely cultivated in the Western World, was originally grown on an industrial scale for fiber, oil, and animal feedstuffs, is characterized by tall growth with few, widely-spaced, branches; Cannabis indica, originating in south Asia, and also known historically as Indian Hemp, was cultivated for the drug content, with shorter bushy plants giving a much greater yield per unit height; Cannabis ruderalis is a hardier variety grown in the northern Himalayas and southern states of the former Soviet Union, having a more sparse "weedy" growth, and is rarely cultivated for the drug content .

Cannabis ruderalis has a lower THC
Tetrahydrocannabinol , also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , Δ1-THC , or dronabinol, is the main chemical psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. It was first isolated in 1964. In pure form, it is a glassy solid when cold, and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed...

 content than either C. sativa or C. indica; thus, it has little recreational use. However, C. indica strains are frequently cross-bred with C. ruderalis to produce plants combining a higher THC content with the hardiness and reduced height of ruderalis.

The term 'Ruderalis' was originally used in the former Soviet Union to describe the varieties of hemp that had escaped cultivation and adapted to the surrounding region.

Similar Ruderalis populations can be found in most of the areas where hemp cultivation was once prevalent. The most notable region in North America is the midwest, though populations occur sporadically throughout the United States and Canada. Big wild ruderalis plantations also reigning in the center and eastern Europe, most of them in Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and around of these countries. Without human intervention, these plants have lost many of the traits they were originally selected for, and have acclimatized
Acclimatisation or acclimation is the process of an individual organism adjusting to a gradual change in its environment, allowing it to maintain performance across a range of environmental conditions...

to their locale.

Though they contain little THC, these plants hold large potential for use in breeding, both in hemp and marijuana applications. Early flowering and resistance to locally significant insect and disease pressures are but a few of the important traits present in these feral populations.

Despite years of US government sponsored eradication programs, these wild plants still remain in bountiful abundance.

New breeders have undertaken hybrid projects to breed a higher in THC ruderalis/autoflowering plant.
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