Rightnow, there are more than 1,000 strainsof marijuana available on the commercialmarket alone. A figure which doesn’t take into account the many thousands ofDIY hybrids doing the rounds in recreational and medical circles worldwide.
Ofthese thousands of cannabis strains, the overwhelming majority belong to justtwo primary cannabis species:
- Cannabis Sativa
- Cannabis Indica
Nevertheless,there is in fact a third (and wholly underappreciated) marijuana species that’smore than worthy of recognition:
- Cannabis Ruderalis
So whyis it that this third cannabis species isn’t nearly as popular as itscounterparts? And what role has it played in the cannabis culture that’ssweeping the world right now?
To get abetter idea of what cannabis Ruderalis is all about, you need to consider theunique properties of all three cannabis species.
It wasthought for some time that Sativa cannabis was the only type of cannabis that grew on earth. The genus was officially classified andrecorded for the first time in 1753, under the name of Cannabis Sativa L. It wasn’t until much later that the othertwo species of cannabis were discovered and recorded.
Sativa cannabis plants are known for growingincredibly tall, routinely exceeding four metres in height. The plants arerelatively slender, producing long and narrow leaves with somewhat sparsefoliage. A typical Sativa specimen will require a much longer flowering periodthan an Indica plant, though doesn’t take nearly as long to grow during thevegetative period.
Native to the likes of Columbia, Mexico andThailand, Sativa cannabis is associated with a cerebral buzz and a predominantlypsychological high. The more prominent the Sativa genetics of the strain, ofthe more energetic the effects and the lower the likelihood of couch-lock.
Thefirst Indica strains of cannabis were officially recorded much later in the1900s. In terms of their characteristics, it’s largely the entire opposite oftheir Sativa Cousins. Indica plants are small and squat, rarely reaching morethan two metres in height – often less than one metre. They are significantlybushier and stockier than Sativa plants, producing dense leaf litter andflowering much faster.
Idealfor compact and confined indoor grow spaces, cannabis Indica is native toregions such as Lebanon, Afghanistan and Morocco. Indica cannabis delivers apowerful sedative effect when consumed, which has little psychological impactbut can relax or even incapacitate the entire body. Indica is therefore the preferredchoice for the relief of joint and muscle pains, or the treatment of insomnia.
Asrecently as 1942, a botanist from Russia identified a third species of cannabis– Ruderalis. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until more than 50 years later that aglobal consensus was agreed that there were indeed three different cannabisspecies.
Due toits minimal THC content, pure Ruderalis cannabis holds little to no appeal forthe everyday user. Nevertheless, it has become a staple in cannabis breedingcircles, due to its exceptional durability and disease resistance. Hence, whencrossbred with a THC-heavy strain, Ruderalis genetics help produce potent andpowerful plants that are also a gift to grow.
Sowhile you won’t be smoking any pure Ruderalis cannabis in the near future,chances are it has lent a hand in the development of many of your favouritestrains.
What’s Industrial Hemp?
Contraryto popular belief, industrialhemp isn’t a separate species of cannabis inits own right. Instead, it’s simply a variety of Sativa cannabis, used toproduce hemp fibre for a wide variety of industrial and commercialapplications. Hemp has been used as a sustainable alternative to the usualtree-born materials in countless cultures worldwide for centuries. Not leastdue to the fact that it takes no longer than four months to produce a full cropof industrial hemp.
Onceagain, industrial hemp doesn’t contain nearly enough THC to deliver even theslightest buzz. There’s a modest amount of CBD in certain specimens, but not onthe kind of scale needed to create powerful therapeutic products. Precisely why industrial hemp is almostentirely unregulated and can be grown and used by just about anyone.
Thesedays, it’s becoming increasingly rare to come across a genuinely ‘pure’cannabis strain. Cross-breeding over the years has affected the purity of thegenetics of most strains on the market.
Notthat this is a bad thing – crossbreeding has led to the production of the mostpowerful, potent and enjoyable hybrid strains the world has ever seen. What’smore, hybrid engineering enables breeders to bring together the qualities ofboth Indica and Sativa genetics in a single combined strain.
Whateveryour preferences, you’ll find a hybrid out there with the perfect Indica toSativa ratio. Some hybrids provide a massive burst of long-lasting energy,others knocking you clean off your feet for hours on end. More balancedspecimens have the power to deliver a sense of energetic optimism and euphoria,while at the same time relaxing the entire body from head to toe.
Hybridengineering has also enabled breeders to tailor creative cannabis strains in accordancewith THC to CBD ratio preferences.
Insummary therefore, the deal with the third species of cannabis is a big deal to say the least. Even ifyou’ve never come across a pure or even Ruderalis-heavy hybrid strain, it’s hadan immense an impact on contemporary cannabis culture. Particularly for the home grower, getting thejob done wouldn’t be nearly as easy without the efforts of experiencedengineers and cross-breeders.
You maygenuinely think you’ve never encountered cannabis Ruderalis, but chances areyou’re looking at its genetics and unique properties in your stash box rightnow.