Dear Stoner: What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?

Dear Stoner: I’ve heard about indica and sativa, but the words “cannabis ruderalis” were in an article, and I’d never heard of that before. Is there another type of pot out there?

Dear Wes: Maybe and maybe not. I’m much more of a stoner than a scientist, but the subject of ruderalis is an interesting one, to say the least. Cannabis ruderalis is much like the Pluto of the cannabis family. Some scientists and pot experts believe that because of its different growing cycle and physical properties, it is indeed its own species of cannabis. However, the majority of scientists believe that C. ruderalis is a form of C. indica that adapted to the cold weather and lack of sunlight in its originating lands of Eastern/Northern Europe and Northern Asia, and a 2005 study on diversity in cannabis genetics supports that theory. But that doesn’t make it any less distinctive.

Unlike the tall sativas and stocky indicas we’re used to seeing, the feeble ruderalis plant is short and slight, with very little THC and CBD. In fact, the word “ruderalis” comes from the Latin term rudus — roughly translated as “lump” or “rubble.” Ruderalis plants also flower based on maturity, not sunlight, and that’s where things get interesting. The plants flower up to thirty days after the seeds are sown, regardless of how much light they get. This process, called auto-flowering, makes life much easier for outdoor cultivators and those in cold climates. If an outdoor grower can successfully breed a ruderalis plant with an indica or sativa counterpart, keeping the auto-flowering, weather-resistant qualities of the former and the THC/CBD content of the latter, then he or she could have five harvests instead of one.

It should be noted that some scientists believe that all forms of cannabis are the same species because they can interbreed, but that’s a whole other debate.

Dear Stoner: How do I get an official badge to work in the marijuana industry?
Young Thurgood

Dear Thurgood: Getting a badge for the marijuana industry is similar to getting a food-handler’s card, but because selling pot isn’t as common as waiting tables, it still takes a little digging to find out how to become official. You can get an application at, but you have to submit it in person, with a $150 fee, at the Marijuana Enforcement Division office, where you’ll be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. And that’s required of everyone, from store managers to budtenders. 
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Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego