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.” We do know that hybrids which cross ruderalis with either sativa or indica strains create plants which “auto flower” based on time rather than on changes in lighting.

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.

Different Subspecies of Cannabis

A great many of new cannabis consumers don’t know that the cannabis plant comes in 3 subspecies: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis. They differ in characteristics such as morphology, flowering time, geographical origin and so on.

Because this article will be about the best ruderalis sativa strains, we’ve determined it would be wise to introduce the reader to the basics of these cannabis varieties!

Cannabis Indica

Typically, cannabis Indica plants are short, bushy plants with wide leaves. Indica plants typically grow faster and have a higher yield than the sativa variety. Medicine produced from cannabis Indica plants have higher CBD and lower THC counts.

The major qualities of Indica medicinal strains include:

  • increased mental relaxation
  • muscle relaxation
  • decreases nausea
  • decreases acute pain
  • increases appetite
  • increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers)
  • for night time use

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis Sativa plants are opposite of the Indica strains and grow tall and thin with narrow leaves. Sativa plants are also generally a lighter shade of green then their counterpart, the Indica strain. Sativa strains take longer to grow, mature, and require more light. Medicine produced from cannabis Sativa plants have lower CBD and higher THC counts.

The major qualities of Sativa medicinal strains include:

  • anti-anxiety
  • anti-depressant
  • treats chronic pain
  • increases focus and creativity
  • increases serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite)
  • for day time use

Cannabis Ruderalis

The ruderalis originates from central Russia. It is incredibly short, growing to a height of only 50-100cm and it has fewer leaves and branches compared to the other species. It produces a very low amount of THC, which makes it unsuitable for recreational use. However, it has a fair amount of CBD and can be used for medicinal properties, although it is not as popular as other variants.

The main reason Cannabis ruderalis is used at all is due to its autoflowering properties. This means that these plants switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase automatically with age, while most strains are photoperiod-dependent. Growers make use of this trait to shorten flowering times in other strains while at the same time making them shorter and more robust, which is perfectly suited for indoor growing.

Today, these varieties are crossbred to produce some amazing, award-winning strains, such as:

Amnesia Haze Automatic

Amnesia Haze is a classic sativa strain bred in the Netherlands in the 90’s. Known for its highly energetic and uplifting high and a wonderful spicy, citrus aroma, it is a respected sativa and a crowd favorite. The only downside to it, as with most Sativas, is its very long flowering time, taking up to 12 weeks to harvest. This problem is solved by crossing the Amnesia Haze with a ruderalis, creating the Amnesia Haze Automatic.

The Amnesia Haze Automatic is a sativa-dominant hybrid strain, keeping all the best qualities of the Amnesia Haze while cutting down on flowering time. Indoors, it will take this strain around 80 days from seed to bud, while the regular Amnesia Haze requires that amount of time just for the flowering phase. This shows the benefits of the ruderalis genes. Considering it is an autoflowering strain, she will grow very large (approx. 80-150cm), clearly indicating the sativa heritage with thin leaves and long buds. The yield is generous with an average of 50g per indoor plant up to 150g of long, foxtail-like buds in ideal conditions.

Royal Dwarf

Another sativa-dominant hybrid, Royal Dwarf is a cross between the original Skunk and a ruderalis variety. It is a very compact strain with tight buds, almost bonsai-like in appearance. This makes her perfectly suited for indoor or micro growing. The average height is really low, around 40-60cm, but the yield is great for a strain of that size with a 60g average per plant. The Royal Dwarf is a really fast strain due to its excellent ruderalis genetics with a harvest time of 8-9 weeks.

The high is physical and deeply relaxing, with a mildly uplifting effect, which is typical to the Skunk heritage. A heavy skunky aroma with a hint of Diesel best describes this strain’s flavor.

Royal Haze Automatic (insert image here)

The last one in our list of excellent autoflowering sativa-dominant hybrids is the Royal Haze Automatic. It was created by crossing Amnesia Haze and Skunk and then breeding that cross with a ruderalis of great quality. Haze strains are in great demand due to their astounding sativa properties and the Royal Haze Automatic trumps even that with its really short harvest time of 10-12 weeks. The height of the plant peaks around 60-100cm, which is unheard of for a Haze and we can thank the ruderalis genetics for that. Royal Haze Automatic has an amazing yield too, with an average of 80g per plant.

As far as high and flavor goes, it has all the qualities you would expect from a Haze. A buzzing, energetic high that will leave you focused and in a good mood throughout the day combined with a great-tasting, spicy citrus flavor.

We hope that this article will help you in choosing a cannabis strain best suited for your needs and that you will learn a lot about the different subspecies of cannabis through this process.

To see cannabis plants up close and talk with a Master Grower about the subspecies they’re producing just sign up for a Happy Travelers Wine and Weed Tour!