Cannabis, a species that includes both hemp and marijuana, has been so commodified it’s easy to forget that it is a wild plant. Humans did not invent cannabis, though we have selectively bred it to encourage characteristics we enjoy. That being said, cannabis still grows wild in many places, both here in the United States and abroad. Here’s a look at where you can find wild cannabis, which is commonly called “ditch weed” here in the United States.

Wild American Cannabis

One very common wild cannabis plant that grows in North America is a variety of hemp called Ditch Weed. The plant, which can grow relatively tall, has rich fiber content and has a multitude of uses. The plant’s flowers house its many seeds. Birds and other animals commonly spread the seeds of Ditch Weed, which ensure its propagation. Each seed can remain dormant for up to 10 years before actually growing into a full-size plant.

The U.S. Government has spent a fair amount of money and time to try and remove as many of the Ditch Weed plants as possible. With seeds lying dormant and being difficult to spot, eradication is near impossible. This massive removal effort stands in sharp contrast to farmers across the globe who continue to legally produce industrial hemp for export to the United States. The plant causes little to no psychoactive effects, except for the soothing feeling common to all hemp plants.

Where did wild American Ditch Weed come from?

From 1939 to 1945, the U.S. Government had about 75,000 acres of land in Indiana dedicated to planting and growing wild hemp. Throughout WWII, the U.S. Government urged farmers to grow hemp since it was a versatile money-maker and had many applications for military products. Most of the descendants of these crops can be found in regions north of Lafayette and west of South Bend, according to archives.

Minnesota also has a fair amount of wild hemp growing throughout the state’s northern regions that date to the WWII period, as does Nebraska thanks to weather and climate that offer an ideal environment for the plant to grow and flourish.

These are just a handful of examples of where wild hemp grows in the U.S. It is a hardy plant, and like many weeds, it can grow in almost any part of the world.

Cannabis ruderalis, the Ditch Weed of Eurasia

Wild hemp grows in many areas of the world. One species that grows across Europe is called Cannabis ruderalis. Like American Ditch Weed, ruderalis varieties have a low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and higher amounts of cannabidiol or CBD.

One very unique characteristics of the Cannabis ruderalis plant is that it begins to flower with age as opposed to light cycles. This trait is unique among cannabis varieties, which require light cycles to begin flowering. This characteristic has allowed many cannabis growers to produce strains of auto-flowering hemp plants by cross-breeding traditional high-THC and high-cbd hemp plants with ruderalis varieties.

Cannabis ruderalis has traditionally been used as a treatment for depression in countries like Mongolia and Russia.

Meet Jenny Argie

I am a mother of three from Brooklyn, a breast cancer survivor and a hard-nosed cannabis activist since I first tried hemp oil in the hopes it would ease the pain of my cancer treatments.

After learning the science behind the plant’s therapeutic effects, I started Jenny’s Baked at Home, a labor of love that is dedicated to sharing whole-plant hemp oil products for the Kitchen, Body, and Soul with anyone and everyone in need.

Learn more about my creations and why they’re the best hemp products for athletes on my homepage today!