Cannabis is one of the most useful plants known to mankind. It can clothe, feed, heal, house, and bring joy to those who cultivate it. With such a high value it can be easy to forget that in many ways cannabis is, well, a weed.
Before you take offense, let’s establish that the term “weed” is quite the homage to the resilience of the plant, and it really does grow in roadside ditches alongside dandelions and wild grass alike. A term popular for wild cannabis in North America is “ditch weed” for this very reason. Of course, cannabis is much more than a garden nuisance and is perhaps the most versatile crop humans have cultivated. But believe it or not, cannabis still grows frequently in the wild of North America today.
There are three species of cannabis: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Each one is unique in its presentation and origin, but most need a similar climate to thrive. Fortunately for Canada and the US (especially the western side) the majority of climates are perfect and outdoor cannabis grows easily with or without human assistance.
Most so-called “feral cannabis” is more accurately referred to as hemp; a remnant of the agricultural cultivation of cannabis in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is low in THC(<3%), so sorry if you were hoping to score wild primo bud, but it’s probably not going to happen. It is an interesting reminder of hemp’s past however, and a testament to the resilience of the plant. Even with attempts to eradicate wild hemp/cannabis, it still finds some sun to grow in. Just like those who love the cannabis plant, it can’t be kept underground.
So where can you find wild cannabis? The answer is almost anywhere! Since cannabis grows so well in so many climates, and exceptionally well in Northern America, wild cannabis can pop up in the most unlikely places. So keep your eyes peeled this peak season while you’re out hiking or driving those country roads. There could be some weed in those weeds!