Cannabis Ruderalis: The Third Species of Cannabis



There are three scientifically accepted species of Cannabis genus from the Cannabaceae family. However, since there are not very serious differences between them, it is said that the only species of the genus Cannabis is Cannabis sativa, and the others are subspecies or varieties. And many varieties and cultivars of species (or subspecies or varieties) in nature have emerged through human intervention. Yet, Cannabis Ruderalis is not one of them.



Cannabis Ruderalis is short in stature, less branched, and undersized compared to the others. It is actually a type of wild cannabis. The duration of day and night is not important for it to bloom. Because of this feature, cannabis cultivars derived from it have gained importance in cannabis cultivation. Work on it continues. It is enough to develop enough for it to bloom. Others do not bloom during the months when the daylight period is too long.

What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?


The word Ruderalis comes from the word “ruderal” which qualifies any plant species that likes to grow on rubble, in the wasteland, or on the edge of human activity. Cannabis Ruderalis is originally a wild strain of cannabis native to Russia. It could come from rejects of hemp which would have grown on the fringes of industrial crops and would have adapted to the extreme climate environment.



It was first classified as such in 1924, by the Russian botanist D.E. Janischevsky. He noticed in particular that this species of cannabis was different from the traditional varieties of hemp that grew in Asia or Europe. The smaller plants were also not as intoxicating. Cannabis Ruderalis rarely exceeds 60cm in height. Ruderalis flowers tend to be small but full, while the plant produces broad leaves with light green hues.

What really sets Cannabis Ruderalis apart is its flowering cycle which kicks in based on its level of maturity rather than photoperiod like Indica and Sativa do. Modern Ruderalis hybrids begin flowering within 20-30 days of germination, regardless of the light cycle. This is why Ruderalis hybrids are often thought of as auto-flowering cannabis strains.

The effects of Cannabis Ruderalis are minimized by its naturally low THC level. On the other hand, its stability and short life cycle make it very attractive to breeders who can take advantage of its auto-flowering qualities. Her genetics allow growers to create auto-flowering hybrid cannabis strains with normal THC levels and the aroma profile of her genetic partner.

Cannabis Ruderalis has been found in the wild in Southeastern Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. It is a versatile plant that has spread further as far as China and the Caucasus Mountains. All of the countries in which it has been found in the wild are located above 50 degrees North. Until very recently, it was considered unnecessary by most serious and established cannabis growers and growers.

Cannabis Ruderalis is a very small, fast-growing plant that only reaches a height of around 90cm. It has very narrow leaves and a low number of side branches and flowers. The THC content of cannabis Ruderalis is also extremely low. One might ask who would want to cultivate this species? What is the benefit of such a small plant, which does not contain THC?

Well, cannabis Ruderalis has a secret weapon. Its flowering is automatic. Unlike cannabis Sativa and cannabis Indica, cannabis Ruderalis does not need specific light patterns to flower. It flowers automatically as it grows, no matter how much light it receives. This, therefore, implies that it is its age, and not the light, which directs its cycle. Growers were able to create hybrids, mixing popular Indica and Sativa strains with a bit of Ruderalis to produce auto-flowering strains that still retain their Indica or Sativa characteristics.



This is a huge advantage for growing outdoors. Thanks to rapid growth and automatic flowering, a savvy grower can achieve multiple harvests in a year. In optimal conditions, we can have up to 3 or 4! Nothing could be more satisfying than reaping great rewards in a refreshing outdoor setting! As previously mentioned, the size and THC content of Cannabis Ruderalis makes it virtually useless to smoke in its pure form.

However, thanks to the efforts of growers around the world, it is now possible to procure hybrids of Ruderalis. The versatility of Cannabis Ruderalis offers many options for growers. You will find that Ruderalis hybrids retain the effects of the Indica or Sativa side of the mix, while still allowing the strain to flower automatically. So you get the benefits of auto-flowering and high THC / CBD content.

Plant Information of Cannabis Ruderalis


Ruderalis is a lesser-known cannabis subspecies, which is the sister of the more famous Indica and Sativa. It is believed to have originated in the rugged landscapes of eastern Russia and later spread to the mountainous regions of China and Mongolia as a wild plant. The name comes from the Latin ruderal which means rubble. It is a testament to the resilience and robustness of these plants. They can grow in the harshest of environments and are often the first plants to occupy the land after disturbance or the elimination of competition.

Like Sativa and Indica, Ruderalis strains can be freely crossed to capture the best characteristics of the different subspecies into a super hybrid. However, Ruderalis is not often renowned for its THC content, but it does have two other qualities that are often appreciated by growers. These are its “wild grass” resistance and its ability to produce flowers based on age rather than light cycles. You are very unlikely to find a pure Ruderalis on the market, but crossing it with Sativa and Indica allows for the creation of auto-flowering hybrids that will stand up to most conditions.

This makes strains with a Ruderalis heritage a great choice for novice growers looking for an undemanding strain to grow. This also makes it a good choice for more experienced growers who don’t have as much time as they would like to invest in caring for their crops, or for guerrilla growers looking to grow plants in a harsh location. and abandoned.



At Zambeza we have produced a lot of auto-flowering strains with Ruderalis to meet the needs of this large audience, with a multitude of different options and effects. These include Critical Kush XL Autoflowering, a strong all-rounder for professional growers; Northern Light XL Autoflowering, for an intense brain experience and Blueberry Autoflowering, a good choice for medical users. The list goes on, we have an automatic strain for all needs, perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to fully take care of a crop. Although Ruderalis does not have a high THC content, it is known to have a significantly high CBD level.

Ruderalis is traditionally used in shaman rituals in Mongolia, it is historically recognized for its medicinal properties. The oldest trace dates back to 2400 years ago. A hemp bag containing seeds believed to be cannabis Ruderalis was found in an ancient tomb in Mongolia, implicating the use of the strain in the culture and tradition of ancient Mongolia. It is still used in traditional medicine today as a treatment for depression in Russia and Mongolia. Research on this, funded by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, found that both Sativa and Ruderalis were traditionally used to achieve a state of shamanic trance during rituals.



As you can see, Ruderalis has a long and interesting history, which proves its use as a remedy. Its special characteristics make it an often underestimated cannabis subspecies, but it occupies an important place in strain production these days. Even we here at Zambeza have recognized the potential and importance of Ruderalis and have incorporated it into many of our strains. An auto-flowering strain is worth a shot and you should try one, even if it’s just to see what it’s like to grow a strain with minimal effort.

The hemp leaves of a Sativa are very thin and long. There are many, sometimes up to 13 leaf fingers. The dark green leaves of an Indica with up to 9 leaf fingers, on the other hand, are broad and short. Ruderalis leaves are narrow and have a maximum of 3 leaf fingers. While Sativas and Indicas need decreasing daylight or a dark period of at least 12 hours to flower, Ruderalis has the property of going into flower regardless of the light-dark cycle. This auto-flowering trait is used by breeders to create auto-flowering Sativa or Indica strains.



The female Sativa flowers are very airy and light. This naturally prevents the formation of mold in the humid tropical regions of origin. With 10-16 weeks of flowering, however, Sativas take a relatively long time to harvest. Indicas usually develop very compact and heavy flowers that only need 7-10 weeks of flowering time. Many Indicas can therefore be grown outside even in areas with short summers. The flowers of a Ruderalis are as small as the plant itself. The flowering phase is also very short at 6–7 weeks. In their area of ​​origin, Ruderalis plants are exposed to extreme climatic fluctuations. Ruderalis flowers are therefore less susceptible to mold.

Cannabis Ruderalis: The Origin of Autoflowering Strains


The hemp family has a third member namely Cannabis Ruderalis that is a subspecies. Cannabis Ruderalis or ruderal hemp is common as a wild-growing weed in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The Latin meaning of “Ruderalis” could best be translated as “on scree fields” or “growing rubble heaps”. This attribute is used in botany for undemanding pioneer plants. Ruderal hemp was less known for a long time because it is not only much smaller than Cannabis sativa Sativa or Cannabis sativa Indica, no fibers and practically no THC can be obtained from wild ruderal hemp, so it is of no interest as medicine and raw material supply.

Cannabis Ruderalis, however, has valuable properties that make it interesting for the breeding of medicinal hemp production. It is extremely tough, weather-resistant, and automatically begins to flower after a certain age. The life cycle of Cannabis Ruderalis is thus determined by the so-called chronological maturation. In biology, this property is considered to be the adaptation of the plant to the short, northern summers with long days. A hemp plant with chronological ripening can mature as long as it is still warm, where light bloomers would still be in the growth phase due to the many hours of daylight and then have to bloom in the unfavorably cold autumn.

This property is used nowadays in the breeding of so-called automatics. The attempt is made to combine the positive, desired properties of a potent medicinal plant and the robust, wild hemp in a hybrid that is as stable as possible. An automatic then – as the name suggests – blooms automatically from a certain age. With a stabilized cross, flowering ideally begins after barely a month, and the plant should be ready for harvest after three months at the latest. The goal is an undemanding and mostly inconspicuous small balcony plant, which, depending on the time of sowing, ripens its flowers in July and August in the middle of northern European midsummer.

The species of the cannabis family can easily be crossed with one another. The genome of the plants is compatible, the ability to flower independently of light in ruderal hemp is probably caused by a gene that is also present in Sativa and Indica, but is not activated. It is therefore controversial whether Ruderalis is a subspecies or a species of its own. According to the biological species concept of the reproductive community, Ruderalis is a variant of cannabis. Due to the blatant differences in shape and properties, it can also be viewed as a species of its own. In any case, the existing occurrences of Ruderalis probably all stem from cultivated hemp.



The plants then changed in shape and life cycle as adaptations to survive in the harsh climate without care. The original distribution area of cannabis Ruderalis is Central Asia, southern Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, i.e. exactly where the great hemp is probably also at home. Ruderal hemp has also been observed in the Canadian steppes. The plant can be regarded as a feral form of the cultivated hemp plant and should therefore be regarded as a subspecies of Cannabis sativa or Indica. There are practically no differences in the genome, but the extremely different characteristics allow it to be classified as a separate species.

These are all the properties of wild cannabis Ruderalis. Naturally, this plant is usually well below one meter in size and hardly develops any side branches. The leaves are more compact and have a maximum of seven fewer fingers than cultivated hemp varieties. The small wild hemp is much tougher and more resilient than its larger relatives. The seeds develop quickly, a constriction develops at the base so that the fruits fall out of their shells by themselves as soon as they are ripe. The Samentiny can supposedly stay above sea level in frozen ground for several years survive and even remain viable if the shell has been damaged by animal hooves, for example.

Cannabis Ruderalis produces practically no THC, but a relatively large amount of CBD. This also makes crossings with Ruderalis interesting for medicinal breeding. Varieties with proportions of Ruderalis genetics show a balanced ratio of cannabinoids, they contain many therapeutically relevant substances. The weaker intoxicating effect compared to domesticated hemp varieties is also desirable, the medicine does not affect the everyday life of the user so much, therefore medicinal hemp with Ruderalis components is very suitable for the treatment of chronic ailments. If the supply situation is poor, patients can successfully plant the easy-care automatic varieties themselves with little effort.

The best auto-flowering plants are those that contain the typical characteristics of the species but continue to improve at the same time. For example, breeders (usually) prefer cannabis seeds that produce XXL auto-flowering plants that are rich in large flowers, cannabinoids, and extremely fast flowering. And even better when they’re feminized. Yes, the best auto-flowering strains are feminized, so there is over a 90% chance that they will become female and produce buds and cannabinoids.



It is believed that cannabis Ruderalis is a descendant of Indica genetics, which have adapted to the harsher climates and shorter growing seasons of northern regions. Cannabis Ruderalis comes mainly from Asia, Central, and Eastern Europe. The main difference between Cannabis Ruderalis and Sativas and Indicas is that the flowering cycle. The Ruderalis ripens chronologically so that flowering begins after 21 days and is completed in just under seven weeks. For a long time, cannabis Ruderalis was only viewed as a wild plant. Unlike Sativas and Indicas, it is of little use to humans. However, people have been using it for some time to manipulate newer hybrid strains of cannabis.

It is also called the fast bloomer of automatic plants. After just two to three weeks of growth, the plants will automatically flower, regardless of the season. The complete cycle from germination to harvest can be completed in two and a half months. For the gardener who would also like to have THC in their product, the Ruderalis is only of interest as a hybrid.

The plant loves sunny places and rarely reaches a height of over 1m. However, hybrids have become bigger and more potent in recent years. Most of the larger strains have a high percentage of Sativa, as Sativa continues to grow during flowering. Since the Ruderalis is mostly grown as a hybrid, the effect depends on the plant with which it was crossed. It can be Sativa, Indica, or both. The Ruderalis component pushes the THC level a little. These crosses rarely reach a value of more than 20%, but our breeders are also working on this.

The Difference of Cannabis Ruderalis From Other Strains


In a kingdom dominated by the ubiquitous Sativa and Indica, Ruderalis is the great unknown in the world of cannabis seeds. Although not a species per se, the effects of this strain, when compared to any of its big sisters, can surprise and give rise to true “super-species”, able to grow in conditions that do not even allow the flowering of others.

In a discourse on the different species of cannabis, the emphasis is alternately on the two predominant species, Sativa and Indica. However, and although unknown to many regular consumers of the green plant, Ruderalis, the supposed third species, is gaining more and more weight. Note that many people still deny this cannabis strain the status of a species as such. In fact, some experts argue that cannabis in itself is an independent species that can be easily crossed, mixing its different varieties and that, therefore, it makes no sense to consider Sativa and Indica as different species; they are just varieties of the same species.

Anyway, as in an addition, the order of the factors does not modify the final result, when we talk about the characteristics and effects of Ruderalis, it does not matter whether we are in favor of this or such current of experts who consider it as a species, another variety of cannabis, or a subspecies.



The plant was nicknamed a “weed” by D.E. Janischevsky, the botanist who discovered it in 1924 in a forest in the cold, dry climate of Russia. From the start, the biologist realized that this was a plant largely conditioned by external factors of the climate. Its numerous and smaller leaves made it easy to distinguish it at first glance from the Sativa and Indicas varieties that grew in Europe and Asia.

However, almost a century later, a genetic study comparing the genotypes and phenotypes of different varieties demonstrated that Ruderalis could not be considered a species as such, since it shared much of its genetic information with Sativa and Indica. In conclusion, this was a hybrid species and not a new species. Much smaller in appearance than its predecessors (40 to 70cm on average), Ruderalis has a sturdy, hairy trunk with broad, light green foliage. As for the flowers, we are talking about very discreet sizes and large stems.

Unlike what happens with Sativa and Indica, Ruderalis’s flowering cycle is not necessarily tied to periods of photosynthesis, which makes her very interesting from a cultivation point of view. In fact, her early flowering makes her a very attractive option for novice growers looking for quick results.

Since this is a plant capable of adapting to almost any environment, flowers appear three to four weeks after the seeds are sown. Concretely, Ruderalis crossed with an Indica strain is capable of flowering on numerous occasions and spontaneously, regardless of whether it has been exposed to light or to a particular temperature. In fact, Ruderalis-Indica has practically become the only cannabis strain capable of thriving in indoor spaces simply by being located near a sunny window.

Although the Ruderalis is capable of growing in conditions that other plants could not survive, like any living thing, it also has its Achilles heel. Its chemical composition is much less interesting than those of its Sativa and Indica colleagues who can boast respectable levels of THC and CBD. The discreet presence of THC in the DNA of this strain explains why pure Ruderalis is excluded from recreational and therapeutic consumption.

Since its consumption has no psychological or sensory effect, consuming it pure has no psychotropic effect. Forget the afternoon of laughter or relaxation with a little bit of unmodified Ruderalis. This is mainly why Ruderalis is always crossed with Indicas or Sativas and most often with the first. Ruderalis-Indica is considered by many experts to be a superspecies capable of growing in unfavorable environments, without losing the recreational effects of any psychotropic substance.

While it’s true that Ruderalis-Indica has less THC than most hybrids, its high CBD content makes it ideal for medical cannabis users looking to reap the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. The combination of THC and CBD brings together psychological and sensory effects which, for the most part, are great for cancer patients who use cannabis to relieve their symptoms. What is causing this? CBD is one of those non-psychoactive cannabinoids that has very little impact on the state of consciousness when consumed.



While being a brother of THC, CBD is not psychoactive as such, but a sedative component capable of reducing the anxiety that a patient is used to feeling and thus, alleviating any type of pain. Much of the medical community recommends its consumption to help counteract inflammatory processes or the onset of cardiovascular events, as well as to reduce the effects of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the negative or positive effects (depending on the effect you want) is the fast-acting tolerance of Ruderalis. Like any variety of cannabis, its consumption involves low-intensity habituation which leads the user to notice how the psychotropic effects decrease in their body as the presence of cannabinoids in their body increases. As a result, a dose that got you incredibly high the first time you drink it can become almost imperceptible after a few weeks.

If you increase your use of cannabis, tolerance is easily acquired, just as it quickly disappears when you stop using it. Like other cannabis strains, Ruderalis does not show severe symptoms when it is stopped. For example, abstinence syndrome has nothing to do with nicotine, and for a very simple reason: the cannabinoids stored in the body’s lipid cells are eliminated very slowly and even last for several months.

In conclusion, for all its characteristics, this variety, whether or not it is the third species of cannabis, is a very interesting plant, especially when crossed with Indica, thus becoming the most recommended alternative for patients who wish to use cannabis to relieve their symptoms.

Cannabis Ruderalis Indica: A New Strain


Ruderalis Indica possesses the unique properties of Cannabis Ruderalis, a species of cannabis that grows wild in Eastern Europe. By crossing the latter with psychoactive Indica strains from more southern regions, Sensi Seeds increased her potency. The result is a hardy, early flowering hybrid that thrives wonderfully in virtually any environment. For novice cannabis growers, Ruderalis Indica is the ideal strain, synonymous with guaranteed success.

Ruderalis Indica is a semi-auto-flowering strain, which means that 50% of plants start flowering on their own depending on their stage of development, not on variations in the photoperiod. While pure Ruderalis varieties are of little value in terms of fiber production or (recreational) use, their hardiness, auto-flowering ability, and extremely rapid maturation are a major draw for growers. Hybrids from the crossing of Indica and Ruderalis strains are proving to be some of the fastest maturing outdoor plants currently available.



Ruderalis Indica has a lower THC content than most hybrids, but a relatively high CBD content. These characteristics make her an ideal cannabis strain for therapeutic use. Patients can indeed enjoy the relaxing effects of cannabinoids without being overwhelmed by a stoned effect. In general, Ruderalis hybrids are particularly indicated for medical use, especially in cases where the therapeutic effects of CBD are recommended.

The name “Ruderalis” comes from “ruderal,” a term for the species of wild plants that colonize soils that have been disturbed by natural forces or by human activity. Ruderal species usually grow along roadsides or on wasteland. Cannabis Ruderalis is a wild variety native to Russia, Central Europe, and Central Asia adapted to the harsher climates of these parts of the world. This variety begins to flower when it has reached a certain stage of maturity, around the time it produces its fifth to seventh pair of leaves (fifth to the seventh knot), which is usually after five at seven weeks of growth.

Once cannabis Ruderalis begins to flower, its flowering continues until other factors cause the plant to die. Cannabis Ruderalis’s excellent adaptation to short, cool summers can be seen in different aspects of the plant’s life. The Ruderalis species is thus able to complete its full life cycle in just ten weeks (compared to 12 to 14 weeks normally).

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Savaş Ateş

I like cannabis. I read a lot about cannabis usage in the medical field. I researched a lot about planting it. I have started a cannabis business and i want to share my experiences with you.

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