First and foremost, you must understand that what you, Miss Marple, have uncovered, is called ‘ditch weed’ in the U.S. Known as wild marijuana or feral cannabis, it is usually descended from industrial hemp plants previously grown for fiber. The DEA says ditch weed is wild scattered marijuana plants with no evidence of tending, fertilizing, or planting. By the way, cannabis technically can’t be ‘wild’ in America since it is not a native species here. The correct term, in this case, is ‘feral.’
What Have I Found? Is It Cannabis?
As it is untended, the buds aren’t sticky, even though it will probably smell good! It is also important to note the location. There’s a possibility that pesticide or toxin run-off will negatively impact the quality of the bud. Is it worth risking your health (and liberty) for a minor high that could damage your health?
How to Find Marijuana Growing Naturally
In Canada, feral cannabis isn’t as widespread because the colder winters are harsh on the plants. Also, our northern neighbors don’t have a history of large-scale hemp cultivation like America. Besides, cannabis in Canada is now legal for recreational use! Even so, you can find patches of tough ditch weed in all of Canada’s provinces if you look hard enough.
The researchers used all this greenery to sequence 82 brand new genomes which they then combined with 28 genomes that were already publicly available.
To figure out where and when cannabis was domesticated, researchers spent around four years assembling what they say is a comprehensive group of 110 different cannabis varieties from around the world. The international collaboration gathered seeds, leaves and other shreds of plant material in the field in countries including Switzerland, China, India, Pakistan and Peru, as well as from botanical collections and commercial sources.
For the researchers behind the paper, the results came as a surprise. “We thought we would find two main lineages, one with plants for fiber use and then plants developed for cannabinoid production,” says Fumagalli. “We didn’t expect to find this third independent and basal lineage among the samples from East Asia.”
But other researchers wonder if this research might lead to individuals and companies looking for wild cannabis in East Asia anyway. “I wonder if there are plant explorer types who will go hunting for a Valley of Shangri-La for wild cannabis,” ponders Page. “East Asia is a big place, it may exist.”
Now, after sequencing and analyzing more than 100 whole Cannabis sativa genomes, researchers say that the wild plants that gave rise to today’s psychoactive strains as well as the fibrous varieties used in textiles likely came from East Asia—or present-day China. The analysis also suggests that cannabis took its first steps toward domestication somewhere in China about 12,000 years ago.