Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Ruderalis

by Emjay
cannabis growing in a large greenhouse

You’ve been smoking weed forever, and you’ve always done things the same way. You go for an indica when you want to get sleepy. You grab a sativa when you’ve got stuff to do. You choose a hybrid in social situations where you want to chill and be a little chatty. 

You’ve probably never heard of a ruderalis before. What is it, and why doesn’t the dispensary have it?

Cannabis ruderalis has a reputation for being subpar, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. It’s like wild mulberries or huckleberries — it’s a little different, but it’s a natural treat that plenty of people will enjoy if they’re not regular cannabis users and don’t have a high tolerance. 

The major kinds of cannabis

In order to understand what makes Cannabis ruderalis different from other kinds of cannabis, you need to understand the types of cannabis. In some cases, types of cannabis are a distinction without a difference. In other cases, the differences in the effects they produce are reported by users and enthusiasts but not necessarily detectable scientifically. 


Hemp is any cannabis sativa plant that contains 0.3% or less THC by its dry weight. It isn’t a different plant. It’s just a very weak sativa plant. 

Hemp is basically a designation made by the government. By regarding very low sativa plants as hemp rather than as cannabis, growers are allowed to produce them and use them to create hemp products. CBD products are typically derived from hemp. 

Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa is a very tall cannabis plant that produces long, narrow leaves. Sativa is generally regarded as a daytime weed, as most of its users report feeling energized or motivated when they use cannabis sativa. Sativa strains can vary widely in their THC content but can go as high as 30% in pure flower. 

Cannabis indica

Cannabis indica is a short, sturdy cannabis plant with thicker, broader leaves. People who use indica report that it has more of a sedative effect, making it the ideal option for nighttime use. Many people claim it helps promote restful sleep or relieves aches and pains. Like sativa strains, indica flower can go as high as 30% in THC content.

Cannabis hybrids

Hybrids are cannabis strains that are created by crossing an indica and a sativa. Their effects can vary widely, but in some plants, one type is more dominant than the other. A sativa-leaning hybrid may be more energizing, and an indica-dominant hybrid may be more relaxing.

Cannabis ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis is a very small and unassuming cannabis plant that produces small quantities of flowers. These flowers will almost always be 3% THC or less by their weight. The effects of ruderalis tend to mimic a well-balanced hybrid. The THC levels are so low that the effects aren’t extreme and don’t have a strong lean in either direction. 

Putting ruderalis into perspective

Ruderalis falls into the cannabis spectrum in a unique place, and it helps to equate cannabis to something people are more familiar with in order to provide context. If hemp is a non-alcoholic beer, sativa, and indica are like a shot of vodka or whiskey. Distillate products are like moonshine. 

Ruderalis is more of the hard cider, rose wine, or spiked seltzer of the group. It’s not as strong, but sometimes that’s exactly what you want. It’s a mild to moderate indulgence that will give you a little lift without throwing you back into the couch or inspiring you to write Dogs, a companion, and rebuttal to the Broadway musical Cats. You won’t be too far out there. You can have a little bit and hang out without losing yourself in the jumble. 

This is due to the naturally low THC content of cannabis ruderalis. If you’re looking to have fun but not necessarily go hard, ruderalis is the answer. It produces a light effect in people with very low to no tolerance for THC. 

photo by esteban lopez on unsplash_everything you need to know about cannabis ruderalis

Ruderalis is the weed of weed

Cannabis ruderalis is a feral cannabis. The term “ruderal” refers to a plant that grows untamed in the wild, much like a weed. It naturally occurs all over Russia and parts of Asia. It pops up in the same region of the world where Afghani landrace strains are found, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. 

Ruderalis is a lot like a “true” weed. It only grows to be about two feet tall, and it pops up everywhere. It’s nearly impossible to kill. It survives in cold conditions, hot conditions, and in soil that’s barely fertile. 

It fully develops in as little as two and a half months, and it doesn’t even need light to flower. The worst gardener in the world could raise an entire field of ruderalis just by dropping seeds on the ground and forgetting about them for an entire season. 

Can ruderalis get you high?

Ruderalis can get some people high. People with low tolerances will experience the effects of the plant’s meager THC levels. If you’ve been smoking 25% flower for years, you wouldn’t notice anything in the way of a head high from ruderalis. Ruderalis is more of a beginner strain. It’s a step above hemp, but a step below sativa, indica, or hybrids. 

What is the value of cannabis ruderalis?

Ruderalis won’t get most people high, especially if they’ve been smoking for a long time. That’s why you won’t see it at your local dispensary, which is designed and stocked for regular users. This doesn’t mean that ruderalis is valueless. It has a lot of important applications for medical cannabis and for growers. 

Medical benefits

Many people have reservations about using medical cannabinoids because they don’t want to get high. They want the plant to positively impact the way their body and mind work and feel, but they don’t want to be limited in their ability to perform everyday tasks when they use their medical cannabis. 

Ruderalis contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes that every other cannabis plant contains. It just doesn’t contain a wealth of THC. This is good news for people who want to use or are prescribed low THC cannabis. 

Ruderalis can be used to create or enhance gentler medical cannabis products for people who enjoy CBD or hemp products, but wish they were just a touch stronger. Ruderalis’s low THC levels indicate that it’s not a great match for pain relief, but it may be a valuable match for people who need a little help relaxing.

It can also be used to rapidly increase the supply of plants grown for medical purposes by crossbreeding with those strains. Strains like Harlequin and White Widow are popular among people who use medical cannabis. Breeding them with ruderalis can help more of those strains reach the market without compromising their quality or integrity.

Benefits to recreational growers

The fact that ruderalis is nearly indestructible and fully auto-flowering makes it invaluable for growers. Using ruderalis to create hybrids can significantly reduce the time it takes a sativa or indica plant to flower while making them much easier to grow. It doesn’t reduce the cannabinoids or terpenes of the plants it breeds with. It simply improves their ability to thrive and flower efficiently. 

In many ways, ruderalis is like a cure for impatience and a safeguard against growing mishaps rolled into one. 

The takeaway

Cannabis ruderalis is unlikely to become widely available to recreational cannabis consumers. Growers would rather use it to breed with other plants. The lack of variety in ruderalis, when combined with its lower THC content, makes it commercially unfavorable. This might be a bummer for people who are looking for the gentlest possible weed.

If you’re interested in trying cannabis ruderalis, it’s very easy to grow. If you like in a state where you’re legally allowed to grow weed, you can purchase seeds and plant a few. It will be anywhere from 10 to 14 weeks before you’re able to use the ruderalis, but if you believe that the low THC content is in line with what you’re looking for, it’s worth the wait. 

In the meantime, Emjay has plenty of lower THC options. If you’re new to cannabis or only seeking a mild buzz, there are strains as low as 8% that will likely meet your needs. The best part is that you don’t have to wait weeks. We can deliver your order about half an hour after you place it. Get some to enjoy now, whether or not you plan to undertake a ruderalis garden. 

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