Basics Of Bud
A look at cannabis Ruderalis.
In our last blog post we took a dive into the confusing world of cannabis genetics, touching on what it means for a plant to be “Indica” or “Sativa.” As we learned, the answers aren’t really set in stone; like humans, cannabis plants are a jumble of characteristics inherited from their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and beyond, each with a unique “personality,” or in the case of cannabis, a unique pattern of growth and profile of effects.
But there’s one subspecies of cannabis that we couldn’t get to in that article – a squat and sparse family of plants known as Cannabis Ruderalis!
Traditional indica and sativa genetics arise from temperate zones with a warm and bright summer growing season, in tropical and sub-tropical regions like India, Afghanistan, South Africa, Malawi, Mexico, and Brazil. Over time, this reliance on a warm, annual growing season produced plants that only begin flowering when the days grow shorter This has limited outdoor producers of cannabis to only one growing cycle per year, two with light-deprivation techniques, or three with costly and advanced greenhouse systems.
As opposed to traditional genetics, ruderalis plants are native to intemperate and dark regions of Central and Eastern Europe – mostly Eastern Russia and Siberia.
This short and inclement growing season yielded a unique mutation – the lifecycle C. Ruderalis isn’t light-dependent! Instead, ruderalis plants have developed “autoflowering characteristics,” meaning that instead of relying on daylight hours to trigger flowering, ruderalis plants naturally start flowering once they’ve reached a certain age, and can be cultivated at any time of year.
C. Ruderalis isn’t notably potent or high-yielding on its own, producing sparse and squat plants (1-3 feet in height maximum) with low to moderate levels of CBD and very low levels of THC.
However, ruderalis’ tiny genetics present a massive opportunity when crossed with sativa or indica genetics.
As it turns out, it’s possible to isolate the autoflowering “switch” from ruderalis while maintaining the high-potency and high-yielding qualities of traditionally cultivated cannabis strains! These strains, known as “autoflowering hybrids,” have made life a lot easier for growers in intemperate regions.
Because of ruderalis’ higher-CBD and lower-THC genetics, autoflowering hybrids tend to produce genetics with low-mid levels of CBD (1-5%) and mid-high levels of THC (7-15%). The more moderate THC content, elevated CBD levels, plant hardiness, and year-round production capabilities attributed to autoflowering hybrids may revolutionize the production of cannabis in time.
If you found this blog post helpful, share it with your friends! (buttons on the left.)
Check out my Basics of Bud article if you’re looking for a place to start learning about cannabis.
About the author
Lana Tong is an aspiring Endocannabinoid Psychopharmacologist and Squirrel Behavioral Therapist based in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s passionate about cannabis as a medicine, entheogen, food, fiber crop, and so much more. Lana hopes to one day swim in a pool filled with organic CBD-infused coconut oil – we all have dreams, right?