Where does cannabis grow wild?
If pot has one clear advantage over alcohol, it’s that hikers never stumble into a field of wild beer or feral wine
Cannabis growing wild in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
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Ditch weed. Feral cannabis. Wild marijuana. If pot has one clear advantage over alcohol, it’s that hikers never stumble into a field of wild beer or feral wine.
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Where does cannabis grow wild? Back to video
But around the world, tonnes of cannabis can be found growing without any human intervention.
In a viral 2016 YouTube post, travel blogger Gabriel Morris revealed a hillside covered with marijuana plants in the Nepalese Himalayas.
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The sight isn’t all that uncommon in the land of Mount Everest. Cannabis is indigenous to the Himalayas, and while the plant is illegal in both India and Nepal, it thrives in the hard-to-reach corners of the famed mountain range. Several Himalayan villages also make their living on the production of cannabis, and when busted by authorities they can plausibly claim that their cannabis fields are natural.
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Thickets of cannabis can similarly be found across Asia from Pakistan to China. Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany, a 2013 scientific profile of the plant, even found examples of decorative cannabis being grown alongside a public street in Kunming, China.
“Feral Cannabis is highly adaptable and can grow and reproduce in a wide variety of temperate habitats, even under extreme conditions,” it read.
Marijuana can be found growing wild throughout northern Pakistan, where an unmolested cannabis bush can grow as high as a one-storey building. As with a lot of the world’s indigenous wild cannabis, however, these plants are generally quite low on THC and have little to no hallucinogenic effect if consumed.
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In neighbouring Afghanistan, the ease of growing weed in the local soil (as well as the country’s chaotic political situation) is partially how it became the world’s largest supplier of cannabis in 2010.
Cannabis used to grow wild across Europe, according to a recent University of Vermont study of fossil pollen. However, the plant had already begun to die out by the time Europeans started experimenting with agriculture – and there is no evidence that Neolithic humans ever discovered its psychoactive properties.
In Britain, at least, wild pot has begun to return. A group calling itself “Feed the Birds” has begun sowing cannabis seeds into English gardens and planter boxes, with the result that cannabis can now occasionally be seen growing within sight of U.K. landmarks like the The Shard skyscraper.
Feral cannabis is even rampant in North America. Although the plant is not native to the Western hemisphere, wild cannabis has either escaped from early 20th century industrial hemp farms or has been intentionally sowed by marijuana activists. Ironically, it seems to thrive best in conservative states like Iowa, Nebraska or Kansas, where marijuana prohibitions are some of the strongest in the United States.
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Glenn Panik, a California-based medical marijuana blogger, wrote in 2014 about how wild cannabis can frequently be spotted among stands of overgrown vegetation, particularly in urban places like abandoned lots or construction sites.
“I even found a beautiful little plant with purple-tinged buds growing among the yarrow and dandelions in front of a doughnut shop,” he wrote.
Wild cannabis is usually referred to in the U.S. Midwest as “ditch weed.” Much like its feral cousin in Asia, however, ditch weed usually contains too little THC to get high – although it can be crossbred with peppier domestic strains in order to yield more resilient marijuana.
In Canada, winters are a bit harder on wild cannabis, and the country doesn’t have the same history of large-scale hemp cultivation like in the U.S. Nevertheless, according to a 2002 paper by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, all of Canada’s 10 provinces can count a few patches of tough, weedy cannabis.
A 1972 map showing known locations of wild cannabis in Canada. Photo by National Research Council Press
“The ruderal plants pose a minor weed problem to agriculture but a major problem to law enforcement,” it wrote.
At the time, the re-authorization of hemp cultivation was expected to yield an explosion in Canadian feral cannabis fuelled by “escaped” seeds. With legal grow operations now opening across the country, Canada may well be entering a golden age of feral weed.
It’s hard to spot in Canada, but no less than the federal government says it grows wild in all 10 provinces
Where Does Cannabis Grow in the Wild?
As a result of human intervention on the cultivation of marijuana, we have reached the point where we’re able to grow the plant indoors. But before humans began cultivating marijuana for their own personal use, where did it grow in the wild? It grows as rampantly as any other weed in some parts of the world. Check this piece to explore where marijuana grows in the wild and how to find it.
In more recent times, marijuana has been known to grow in locations that have been specifically selected to grow it. That means that most marijuana plants have been a result of human intervention on the cultivation of marijuana, rather than actually growing naturally. The marijuana plant that we smoke today is more the product of human intervention than it is nature. The final product that reaches the consumer is usually the unpollinated female cannabis plant, and this is not what usually grows in the wild.
The kind of cannabis that grows in the wild is usually known as “ditch weed” and is usually a small, bushy type of cannabis that doesn’t really contain high levels of THC. Of course, that’s not to say that high-level THC marijuana does not grow in the wild, although it’s unlikely plants get to that stage before being eaten by a deer. So where does marijuana grow naturally? This is an exploration into the places in the world where marijuana grows in the wild, and the potential reasons that it does so.
What kind of climates does marijuana like?
It’s important to consider the kinds of climates marijuana likes, as this can give some insight into where it grows naturally. In general, marijuana likes warmer, more humid climates. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t grow up in the mountains, of course. There are people cultivating marijuana high up in the Himalayas in Nepal. Marijuana is quite a resilient plant, and it can grow basically anywhere except for the desert and Antarctica. This is one of the reasons that marijuana has been able to spread its seed across the four corners of the globe. It just requires enough sun and a little bit of heat, and it’s good to grow.
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Marijuana originated near the Himalayas near Afghanistan, so it is known to grow naturally in drier, cooler climates. However, it has since then spread all over the world through human beings’ very keen interest in it. Through cultivating it all over the world, we have found that marijuana grows in a range of different climates and can survive just about anywhere in the world. These days, we see that marijuana grows better in humid, warmer climates, so it is not unlikely to find marijuana in places far from where it originated.
Where are you likely to find wild cannabis?
In general, it is safe to say that there are probably wild cannabis plants growing all over the world. A lot of them may be unrecognizable to most people because it is a smaller, bushier hemp plant. However, there are known to be fields of marijuana plants in certain parts of the world, because their climate allows the plant to grow quickly and strongly. In general, those places which experience warmer, more tropical climates are the home of most of the wild weed growing in the world.
There are known to be enormous fields where marijuana is sprouting left, right, and centre in Mexico and Jamaica. Marijuana has been an enormous part of the culture in Jamaica because of how readily available it is there, and even the laws in Jamaica are finally starting to catch up. The heat and the humidity in these two parts of the world mean that someone just has to basically throw a seed into a field, and you can pretty much guarantee that it will grow into a marijuana plant.
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Marijuana is also said to have been growing naturally in the Midwest of the USA for decades now. These plants are probably remnants of what used to be an enormous hemp culture in the USA. Once upon a time in American history, it was considered patriotic to grow hemp because of how important it was to America’s agriculture. Because marijuana is a weed, it has the characteristic of sticking around in a particular location for a very long time. However, this marijuana is usually quite low in THC and so doesn’t get the user high the same way commercial-grade marijuana might. Marijuana is cultivated these days with the very purpose of having a very high THC content, but marijuana that grows naturally does not necessarily have the same intentions.
When is a good time to go wild weed hunting?
So, it doesn’t really matter where you live in the world — chances are there is wild weed growing somewhere. It is less likely to be growing in the parks of major cities than to be in the mountain areas, but it is certainly growing in parts of Africa, Asia, and the USA. So, when is a good time to go looking for weed that is growing in the wild?
Those who are growing outdoors know that most marijuana plants are flowering in the autumn time of the year. Of course, a lot of wild marijuana plants do not necessarily make it to flowering time because of predators such as deer. But if you do manage to find a little treasure that is still alive by the fall, that is the best time to go picking. During the autumn is when the flowers of a marijuana plant begin to appear and turn into the kind of dense buds that growers like to pick. So, irrespective of where you are in the world, if there is marijuana growing there, it’s time to go picking during the autumn!
What Does It Feel Like to Be “High” on Weed?
Walking down the street and finding a marijuana plant growing naturally is an unusual occurrence for most people. Most marijuana is grown these days on farms, and those plants that are found growing in the wild are usually hemp plants. If you do happen to be walking in a field nearby and see a marijuana plant, it might not be wild. Some plants are being grown illegally in locations where it might seem like there is a plant growing naturally. So beware when you are going out to look for wild marijuana plants. A group of tall plants growing somewhere where you do not see any other marijuana plants could be a sign of someone hosting an illegal operation. Be careful not to cut down any plants that could get you into trouble!
We all know cannabis grows inside grow rooms and in gardens, but where does it grow in the wild? Read this article to find out.