Cannabis Ruderalis

Cannabis Ruderalis is considered a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa that starts flowering regardless of the photoperiod. The name “Ruderalis” comes from the German word “ruderal”, a term used for weeds growing by the roadside.

Ruderalis is considered a subspecies of Cannabis sativa. There is a discussion that Cannabis Ruderalis may have evolved from cannabis indica plants that migrated further and further north. It is proposed that to survive, these plants had to start flowering much sooner. Thus, their traits evolved for environmental survival.  Over the course of numerous generations, the Ruderalis species bloomed even earlier than they had historically. At some point, there was an emergence of a new generation of plants that flowered well before the others, regardless of the photoperiod. They were the first auto flowering plants.

To most people, this strange subspecies of the cannabis plant must have seemed utterly useless because of its difference in traits. Early Dutch breeders spoke about their concerns when the plants surfaced in the home growing scene. It could not be grown with good results indoors due to the photoperiod, flowering automatically within a month after it emerges from the soil. Though it is not ideal structurally and produces very small harvests of low potency bud, growers find there is far better cultivation when using Cannabis sativa and Indica.

There are many different varieties of commercial hemp, but too few of these strains are based on wild ruderalis. FIN-314, or Finola, is an auto flowering hemp strain created in 1995 for commercial crop growing in Finland. Its THC concentration is limited to a level acceptable to the government.  Although these plants contain very little THC, they are rich in CBD and have medicinal uses that correspond to the CBD cannabinoid. Russian ruderalis has also been successfully transformed into industrial hemp strains grown for fibre, seed and oil.


When the Russian cannabis plants escaped from cultivation and beyond the reach of human hands, they began to lose the traits that they were selectively bred for. A new set of traits that were suitable for survival in the wild began to emerge. Ruderalis plants are slightly smaller than their sativa and indica counterparts, perhaps because they have less time to grow before they begin flowering. Cannabis ruderalis is similar to cannabis sativa in appearance, as the leaves are narrow. The plants are relatively short but lanky with a limited number of nodes and bud structures are sparse and infrequent.


This somewhat peculiar form of cannabis is known to have stemmed from cannabis sativa plants that escaped from outdoor plantations in Russia. Today ruderalis plants can be found in large populations all over central and Eastern Europe and Russia and grown in the wild. It is accustomed to the cold weather.


Ruderalis plants contain lower percentages of THC, but frequently they are cross-bred with Sativa strains. This produces plants that grow short like Ruderalis are known to grow like, however they can handle the weather outdoor where Sativa strains don’t usually flourish. These hybrids are known as auto-flowering strains, as the flowering period is short  (2-3 weeks after germination). The strains have more resistance to insect infestation and are believed to have high CBD content. The whole life span of these plants though, can be as short as 7 weeks.
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