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What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?

June 4, 2015

You may already know the differences between indica and sativa varieties of cannabis, but have you heard of cannabis ruderalis? According to Jorge Cervantes, grow guru and author of The Cannabis Encyclopedia, “Botanists disagree as to whether c. ruderalis qualifies as a separate species or subspecies.” So, to answer some of the questions we receive about cannabis ruderalis and autoflowering genetics, Leafly has put together a quick background on this lesser-known classification of cannabis strains.

The Origin of Cannabis Ruderalis

The term ruderalis stems from the root word ruderal. In the plant world, a ruderal species is one that grows in spite of its environment being inhabited by humans or being otherwise affected by naturally occurring disturbances to the area. Many believe ruderalis to be a descendant of indica genetics that adjusted to the harsh climates and the shorter growing seasons of the northern regions where it originates. Cannabis ruderalis is native to areas in Asia, Central/Eastern Europe, and specifically Russia, where botanists used the term “ruderalis” to classify the breeds of hemp plant that had escaped from human and cultivation, adapting to the extreme environments found in these climates.

Originally, cannabis ruderalis was considered a wild breed of cannabis. However, in recent years it has been brought indoors to influence new hybrid varieties.

Cannabis Ruderalis

Properties of Cannabis Ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis is a short and stalky plant, especially when compared to its sativa and indica counterparts. It typically sits between 1 and 2.5 feet tall at harvest, with a rugged and shaggy growth pattern that produces wide leaflets that express themselves in a light green hue. The buds from the ruderalis plant tend to be small but still relatively chunky, and are supported by the sturdy, thick stems.

What really sets ruderalis apart is its flowering cycle that is induced according to its maturity instead of being activated by the photoperiod like indica and sativa varieties. Modern ruderalis hybrids usually begin to flower between 21 and 30 days after the seeds have been planted, regardless of the light cycle. This is why most ruderalis hybrids are attributed as “autoflowering” strains.


Cannabis Ruderalis - Lowryder   Cannabis Ruderalis - Lowryder #2

Effects of Cannabis Ruderalis

The effects of cannabis ruderalis alone are minimized by its naturally low concentrations of THC. However, the stability and short lifecycle make ruderalis versatile and attractive to breeders who want to take advantage of its autoflowering trait. Ruderalis genes offer the ability for breeders to create an autoflowering hybrid with the advanced potency and flavor profile from its genetic partner.

The information and photos in this article are provided by Jorge Cervantes, author of The Cannabis Encyclopedia and

  • Joe

    Nice. May be some one shut check cbd levels. It was nothing say about that.

    • Galina Vasileva

      You may not care about the cdb levels.
      Thc is the key!

      • Two Bears

        Medical Marijuana patients care a lot more about CBD than THC

        • Kenny Morrison

          I’m not so sure. Both molecules hold vast therapeutic properties. Don’t stigmatize THC just because it’s psychoactive.

          • Isaac Beam

            Both THC and CBD each have a plethora of medicinal uses/benefits, saying an entire group of people care more about CBD is just ignorant. I medicate mostly with THC. Everyone’s bodies and endocannabinoid systems are different, no one the same, so even though 2 people might have the same disease/symtoms, CBD could really help one of them while THC helps the other person the same. Anything is possible. Both are very important to this world and our species, neither is better than the other. It’s all entirely subjective.

          • Trevor Emery

            THC also basically “buffers” CBD. CBD can do wonderful things on its own….but over the past year or 2….research has found that THC actually enhances the effects of CBD!!
            And now we are seeing THCA! If you’ve purchased lab-tested cannabis, you may notice that the most abundant cannabinoid is either THC or THCA, either of which can stretch between 10-20% on average. While THCA is the more accurate label for flower that hasn’t been decarboxylated, they essentially mean the same thing if you assume the consumer intends on smoking, vaporizing, or heating the product in some way. So THCA is a lot like CBD…because THCA has no psychoactive effect..(until of course its decarboxylated, which activates the THC>….and brings on the psychoactive.

          • Commenter

            then you got delta-8 THC versus delta-9 THC. I’ve found delta-8 to be more mind-clarity and less high. It’s an interesting effect.

        • Paul Stenell Jr.

          Oneself has never used “Ruderalis” and oneself gets “Paranoid” after using marijuana typically and now has figured out the difference between the “Two” 2 Strains of Marijuana “Indica” and “Sativa”. And now oneself can figure out how to differentiate which type of “High” that one is Seeking or Looking For. And now CBD is really thee only cause for using marijuana after all. But you do not really know why until after “Something” happens and you find the ruling cause of the issue , that was ones case as one Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after a vehicle crash in which STARS air ambulance rescued oneself .It was only after using Marijuana and figuring out the two strains that one one figured out out that one did not need any T.H.C. It made oneself “Paranoid” so oneself wanted to find a better way of using marijuana without the T.H.C , Ruderalis. So with having a Traumatic Brain Injury has impaired ones life but it won’t ruin ones life because it only will sideline . When you are down your down BUT you are beaten, Never give up because you are the best ehhh … Motivate Yourself

    • LeRoy Rowland

      The article talks about Ruderalis not CBD levels. Read the title bruh!! When you’re calling/shutting someone out, spell check works great 😉

  • Idan ben-ruby

    hi, thanks for the article! very interesting and informational. is it possible to tell the avarage precentage of CBD and THC levels in cannabis ruderalis?
    thank you!

    • Pierre-Olivier Manningham

      its an average of 13 % but it all depends on how you grow it .

      • Billy Rippe

        is not just the phenotype, the genotype plays an important rol. Your guess is as good as any mate, sorry!

    • Billy Rippe


      • Dustin Billings

        They’re not nonsense Billy, these actually grow in Alaska as well on the Kenai Peninsula, Nikiski AK

        • Billy Rippe

          about cannabis growing in Alaska, are harsh environments no doubt!
          The thing is that this people still think that ruderalis is a genoma whereas ruderalis is simply put, cannabis that scaped human control and they grow in the wild. The will adapt in time, not just the plant but the seeds as well. But if you take them back to the garden and feed them properly is like any other.

          Just the idea of indicas and sativas is a complete nonsense and this things about broad and narrow leaves, for your god sake, that was last century!!!!!!!!!!! Indica = Place in the world Sativa = cultivated plant where is the comparison?

          I repeat!! NONSENSE

          • Brock Roberson

            Did you know some words have more than one definition? Ex. Dumb-ass 1)really stupid person that pretends to have a clue.2) horse crossed with brainless donkey.

          • ThatSonyGuy

            Dude, that made me laugh so much. Saving that one in notepad for future usage.

          • doug perry (dperry1966)

            you are wrong. Go to the weed store buy bho of both indica and sativa at the same thc percentage. The affects are different.

          • Barbara De Sousa

            You are wrong on all counts. Ruderalis isn’t even a photoperiod plant. take a botony course.

        • They are amazing plants! Some hidden terpenes in them too.

      • gus

        billy stop hating submit your thoughts so people can see what you are talking about. when you put down people for not having the same education or information that you got dont make them wrong for it. the cannabis community has nothing to do with being right about what you have read its about expanding and exploring this amazing plant and its benefits. we all appreciate your contribution if you share your knowledge with out making people wrong for it.

    • Not a whole lot of testing has gone into this. But you can get some strains what will test up to 21%. I think as our breeding methods get better we will start to see some amazing strains.

  • j koole

    What are some popular Ruderal Strains that maybe we’ve all heard of but didn’t know was a Ruderalis? Is there a natural connection to Ruderalis and Auto-Flowering?

    • j koole

      And maybe, do Ruderalis strains commonly have a decent CBD rating?

      • Two Bears

        Yes Ruderalis has low THC and high CBD.

        Cross it with a good Indica you can get 17-20% THC.

        Northern Lights a Indica Ruderalis hybrid has 17% THC and 3% CBD.

        Somd Indica Ruderalis hybrids go as high as 7-8% CBD.

    • Two Bears

      No strain you see is complete ruderalis. They are a usually a hybrid of 80% indica or Sativa with 20% Ruderalis.

      Northern Lights is an idica Ruderalis hybrid.

      I use MMJ to control my Crohns disease. Northern Lights is one of the best strains i ever used.

    • Corey

      All auto-flowering plants with no need of daylight changes are Ruderalis. It is the one trait that has not been bred out in decades.

      • Billy Rippe

        come on mate, have you looked in google what ruderal means? here you go



        1. (of a plant) growing on waste ground or among rubbish.
        noun: ruderal; plural noun: ruderals
        1. a plant growing on waste ground or among rubbish.

        • Jenks

          It’s time for bed, Billy. The adults are trying to talk.

    • Robin George

      Lowryder is one that I know of.

  • Cary Lee Burton

    I have a ruderalis hybrid flowering now. Here in Western Colorado. I know it’s not an autoflower because it grew next to our other plants and flowered along with em. About 3ft tall with about 30 tops. It’s beautiful.

  • flora dora

    Been growing a personally bred short season outdoor strain for nearly twenty years. Early Pearl and Durban Poison genetics being key components. The first four weeks of life spent under a small metal halide prior to transplanting outdoors. This past summer one of the females – showing dominant Durban Poison characteristics – proved exceptional. Within a couple weeks of transplanting, it began developing small floral clusters. Typically this strain doesn’t go into flowering ’til the end of July. Fortunately, I had a male counter-part showing the same distinct Durban characteristics – short, heavily branched, stout stems. So, now I’ve got a collection of fresh seed to try out for next season. The early flowering female didn’t finish any earlier. The first week of October bringing in a harvest of purple tinged, dense, resiny, chunky buds. Producing a pleasant laid back type high. Good potency, not overwhelming. Here’s a photo of said female approximately one week before harvest.

  • Kathryn Guillaum

    So where can I get Cannabis Ruderalis seeds? I’m very interested, as I live in Alaska.

    • Travis Bickle

      You can buy seeds from most seed banks that are bred with Ruderalis. I grow Indica x Ruderalis strains here in Alaska as well, and they do great. I sprout seeds on May 1 and am harvesting in late July.

      • ThatSonyGuy

        Indoors or out? Canada about to be legal nationwide on Oct. 17th and I want a decent mid range thc % strain that is semi easy to grow. Every household is allowed to grow Four plants legally for personal usage.

        • stacey diedenhofen

          I’m also in Canada, I bought mine on true north seed bank, they have good deals on all the time, 50% off everything. Waiting until summer to try them outside, we’re also going to get a grow tent for some sativa’s (longer flower time), so I’ll probably try doing auto’s in there just to see if there’s any difference

    • Wouldn’t it mean that any autoflowering seed has ruderalis genes?

      • Tony C

        That’s the way I understand it. At least the way the describe the ability of a ruderalis plant to flower so quickly.
        Then clone that plant with whatever strain you want.

      • madi zaha

        yes it does and it sucks

    • They grow great in almost any conditions. It is called a weed for a reason.

    • ILGM has some very good strains of auto plants, I recommend White Widow Autos.

      • madi zaha

        he gets it from supreme seeds why pay more

      • madi zaha

        but Bergman does know how to grow, and if you want the best go to


    If we grow these plants in Iceland we get finedand jailed..

  • Nick

    Seems everyone’s an expert in the comment sections..

  • Clinton E. McAnsh-Hopkins

    I think the proper term for cannabis ruderalis is mid 😂

  • Ruderalis will be the death of commercial cannabis. 🙂

    • madi zaha

      the death of all good cannabis commercial cannabis is al ready no good its kiddo shit

  • Paul Stenell Jr.

    So with “Ruderalis” now a person doesn’t have to worry ’bout the “Indica” or “Sativa” type of highs then huh ? As a person with a (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injury my head feels both those two types of highs. Now oneself would like to experience thee “Ruderalis” buzz for my brain injury “Sucks” and I wouldn’t want anybody anywhere to ever experience a (TBI)

    • Robin George

      No, it will take on the traits of whatever it is bred with.

  • madi zaha

    that is what killed the great pot, these people thinking they know more than mother nature LEAVE IT ALONE ASS HOLE, YOU CANT EVEN FIND ANY TRUE POT ANYMORE WAKED OUT CANDY, ITS not coke its pure pot leave it alone landrace weed is gone for ever thanks to thses air heads pot is pure shit today

  • madi zaha

    any thing from cali is no good