It’s easy to forget then, that cannabis is an ancient plant and has been used by humans for food, rope, sails, medicine, and ritual for millennia. In more recent history, cannabis was included in the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a book that has detailed the food, medicines and supplements people rely on for their health for more than 200 years. Join PotGuide as we take a look at the wild-grown roots of our favorite plant.
However, here’s the thing about ditch weed. Even if you stumbled into a field of it, you wouldn’t necessarily want to bother consuming it. Ditch weed is full of seeds and is low in both cannabinoids in general, and THC specifically. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) from attempting to eradicate it. Even today, when more Americans than ever have access to quality, legal pot, the organization spends millions of taxpayer dollars trying to get rid of it. While it can be smokeable, the kind of low-quality experience it offers is the exact sort of thing that drives the push for better standards in legalized and medical cannabis markets.
Ruderal plants themselves are defined by being able to “first to colonize disturbed lands” – meaning they are what is the first to spring back after natural or man-made disasters. Subsequently, when crossbred, ruderalis also imparts some of its genetic heartiness, making descendant plants more resistant to negative impact.
A Brief History of Wild Cannabis
Unlike ditch weed, cannabis ruderalis has made a massive impact on current cannabis breeding, because ruderalis begins flowering with age as opposed to changes in light cycles (also known as their photoperiod). Through selected crossbreeding, this has allowed breeders to develop auto-flowering strains that make it much easier for less experienced growers to successfully harvest their own plants.
T oday’s cannabis consumers are a lucky bunch. In the modern cannabis market, cannabis is frequently grown indoors in optimal conditions. Cannabinoid-rich and ripe with terpenes, grows can be tailored to the modern consumer demanding big and fragrant buds with high potency.
Like ditch weed, cannabis ruderalis lacks high levels of curated cannabinoids like THC, though ruderalis often contains about the same amount of CBD as hemp plants, averaging out to about 12-18%.
Across the Atlantic, cannabis ruderalis is the Asian, Central and Eastern European, and Russian version of ditch weed. Named because of its propensity to grow in less than ideal environments (the definition of ruderal is a plant growing on waste ground or among refuse, from the Latin “rudus” meaning rubble), cannabis ruderalis is a short and bushy plant whose genetics lay somewhere between indica and sativa and are adapted to their local environments.
A considerable amount of effort exercised by the DEA is actually channeled towards eradicating ditch weed from America. In 1979, the DEA created the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression program. The program uses federal funds to eradicate the growth and spread of ditch weed.
One distinguishing characteristic of ditch weed is its low or negligible tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. You’ll usually find them growing in the ditch, off the roadside, or places, where they weren’t planted or tended by choice.
How To Identify Wild Weed
We’ll answer all these and many more questions about ditch weed in the subsequent paragraphs. Cannabis plants grow in many different varieties, and ditch weed is just one of them.
One exciting thing about ditch weed is that they grow in numbers, i.e., you’ll typically find many of them growing on their own. Perhaps the lack of human care and tending is why they are deficient in THC.
To date, ditch weed continues to grow, even in Nebraska, Indiana, and Kansas. If you take a road trip across Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, you’ll notice them growing in large fields, distinguished by their tall green leaves and pungent odor.