Alas, you are unlikely to enjoy an intoxicating high, no matter how much of it you smoke. It is likely weed descended from hemp fields from the days it was a significant crop. In those days, farmers bred hemp for fiber used in rope, clothes, and other useful items. The THC content is minimal. Even today’s hemp must contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, incidentally.
The third option is to try and claim the plants. This is another decision fraught with legal jeopardy. If they are not ready to harvest, you have to tend to them. This is illegal in practically every state unless you have an exclusive grower’s license. Even in legal states, growing is only allowed in a private space. Tending to these plants requires being outdoors in a public space, an illegal act.
Your second option involves getting in contact with the police. If they are unaware of the cannabis, they may thank you for bringing it to their attention. Those who regularly use the field won’t be as grateful! That said, you should consider the location. If it is within walking distance of a town, you can justify your actions by thinking about the possibility of children using it.
However, this carries potential legal issues. There is a possibility that local police are well aware of the cannabis, and are watching out for people stealing it. While there probably isn’t an officer hiding in the bushes, you could find yourself in a police car. There is also a chance that the cannabis is part of an illegal growing operation. Once again, there is likely someone watching the crop. If they catch you taking some, the police will become the least of your worries.
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 High Will I Get if I Decide to Smoke Wild Cannabis?
The Administration created a Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in 1979. Federal funds were provided to get rid of marijuana across the United States. Within 12 years, the program claimed it removed well over 100 million wild weed plants. Most of them were in Nebraska and Indiana for the record. In contrast, only six million plants were cultivated in the same timeframe. In 2003, a report claimed that cultivated cannabis accounted for only 1% of marijuana destroyed under the program. The rest was feral.
Attempts to eradicate ditch weed have proven futile. The FDA’s Herculean efforts only removed a fraction of what is growing wild. Remember, the seeds can lay dormant for a decade. Traipsing through fields and chopping down the growing cannabis plants doesn’t solve the problem at all. In Indiana, a police spokesperson said: “You can eradicate ditch weed as well as you can eradicate dandelion.”
First of all, you need to gauge how mature the plants are. If they are in the vegetative stage, there is no point in taking any home. These plants are several months away from producing usable buds. If they are tall and producing nugs, you have the option of taking a few free samples home with you.
Anti-marijuana campaigners will wince when they hear how widely weed grows around the world. It is illegal in the mountain nation of Bhutan, yet thrives on rooftops! In countries such as Jamaica and Mexico, the heat and humidity mean fields of cannabis are in an enormous number of places. You can find feral marijuana in dozens of countries around the world.
Some claim that people get hemp mixed up with ditch weed. It is an easy mistake to make; even the police find it hard to differentiate. These individuals assert that you will get high if you smoke enough feral cannabis. The amount you need depends entirely on your tolerance level.
Picture the scene. You are wandering down a highway when, suddenly, you see a group of plants that appear different to the rest. Your brain is telling you one thing, but you refuse to believe it is your lucky day. A sudden breeze arrives, causing these plants to sway majestically. You edge ever closer, the level of anticipation growing. YES! You have stumbled upon cannabis growing naturally in the wild. Time to light up! Or is it?
Despite the best efforts of the government, wild weed also runs riot in the United States. Vast amounts of time and money went into programs such as the New York City Marijuana Massacre. It is a ‘problem’ that goes back over a century. In 1914, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote on the abundance of hemp as a wild plant. Its report said you could find this form of marijuana in southern Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.
As far as the time of year goes, you are better off waiting until the fall season. It is at this stage that most cannabis plants flower outdoors.
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 Cannabis Is Beckoning Me! What Do I Do?
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.’
There is also a possibility that you find ruderalis weed. It usually grows in Russia or Mongolia. However, cannabis lovers have certainly planted some ruderalis seeds in the wild. It is an exceptionally tough plant, more than capable of coping with inclement weather. It has a low level of THC but should provide a better high than the ditch weed you find. Ruderalis plants grow short and sturdy, so you will notice the difference between it and tall ditch weed.
Also, there are male plants mixed in with ditch weed, so it gets pollinated and puts its energy into creating seeds. Those who have tried to smoke it say they occasionally get a headache. If you have never tried cannabis of any type, perhaps the experience will prove pleasant. However, those with pot-smoking experience are unlikely to enjoy it.
The final, and most sensible option, is to admire the plants and go on your way. Take a few pictures to show your friends, but make sure you don’t take any weed with you! If the plants are growing miles away from civilization, you can forget about them with a clear conscience.
Take a trip along the roads of Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa, in particular, and you will see miles of cannabis growing naturally. In the likely event that you find some, your first thought is probably to fill up your car with the stuff! Think about it; you could easily bring thousands of dollars’ worth of it home.
The issue only worsened in the years after World War II. The American Midwest was the scene of widespread industrial hemp cultivation. The goal was to use the versatile plant to aid in the war effort. Production shut down in the late 1950s, but the damage was done. Since then, the plant has re-seeded naturally and spread throughout states such as Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Cannabis activists have also deliberately planted seeds in secret.
How to Find Marijuana Growing Naturally.
This form of cannabis is extremely tough and can disperse its seeds across a large radius. Incredibly, these seeds can remain dormant for up to 10 years before sprouting! The state of Minnesota classified hemp as a noxious prohibited weed, along with various thistle species. This is because it damaged the plowing equipment of farmers! Like most states, Minnesota now has an industrial hemp program in place.
If you have a car and time to kill, locating feral cannabis doesn’t take a great deal of detective work. Travel to the states we mentioned above, and cruise the roads for a while. Soon enough, you will find what you’re looking for. It isn’t unusual for ditch weed to reach a height of nine feet, so it will easily stand out!
Take a trip to any Himalayan village, and you will likely see the plant thriving. Alternatively, travel to Pakistan, China, India, or any other nation in that region. In northern Pakistan, for example, cannabis bush can grow to the height of a one-story building! In Afghanistan, it is incredibly easy to grow marijuana. Indeed, it became the world’s leading supplier of cannabis in 2010!
Assuming they are close to a town, you can get in touch with the police for the sake of local kids. Overall, it is exciting when you find a field full of ditch weed. However, you will need to smoke a lot to get high. Also, there are too many legal obstacles to consider.
Trent, the South Bend police spokesman, said local police also field occasional calls about the wild marijuana and people who illicitly try to harvest it. In some cases, trespassers have been found with garbage bags of the ditch weed.
“It is a lower grade, but it can be well tended, so it can be increased a little bit, and individuals partaking in that conduct could use it to, you know, split a good product into an average product and double their quantities.”
Police and local officials have taken measures over the years to get rid of the so-called “ditch weed” when it makes its annual appearance, but in many areas the plants are as rampant as ever, sometimes growing eight to 10 feet tall.
“We respond to it as we’re able. Do we have people out there searching for ditch weed? No. Generally, our efforts are concentrated on marijuana that’s being potentially cultivated.”
SOUTH BEND — In some places amid the seemingly endless rows of corn that dominate the farmland on the southwestern outskirts of South Bend, you can spot another plant that likes this fertile soil.
“It’s amazing how much marijuana is growing down there,” said Capt. Phil Trent, a South Bend police spokesman. “It looks like you’re in Colombia when you’re down there.”
This year, state police have received between a dozen and 20 calls related the finding or picking of ditch weed throughout the area, the official said.
But such incidents have declined as the wild pot has increasingly paled in comparison with imported marijuana, he said, and even though the weed can be found in large quantities, anyone looking for a quick high would likely be disappointed.
“You can eradicate ditch weed as well as you can eradicate dandelion,” said Capt. David Bursten, an Indiana State Police spokesman.
The ditch weed has a very low level of the psychoactive chemical THC compared with cultivated pot, but some dealers have combined it with more potent marijuana to increase their profit margins, the state police official said.
“We know they’re going to come in there, we know they’re going to cut some, but we’re not here to play police — we’re just farmers,” he said. “They’re not hurting anything, and we don’t worry about it too much.”
But not all property owners see the wild plants as a major issue.
The plants are still illegal to possess, Trent said, and once police become involved, they are obligated to treat the weed as legitimate, high-quality marijuana. Narcotics officers can spot the differences, but they still seize the ditch weed and take it for standard testing.
During World War II, the government designated about 75,000 acres in Indiana to grow hemp, and most of the lingering wild plants can be found in the region north of Lafayette and west of South Bend, according to Tribune archives and the state police official.
In fact, even as some would-be harvesters continue to find their way to the patches of wild cannabis, authorities have largely backed away from seeking and destroying ditch weed — partly because of funding cuts and a focus on more sinister drugs, but also because getting rid of the plants is seen as an impossible task.
“Today we still make arrests in those cases and have instances where those plants are still being picked, and it is a concern,” said a state police marijuana eradication supervisor who asked not to be named because he conducts undercover investigations.
At the time, police said people commonly flocked to the area from as far away as Pennsylvania and New York to pick the low-grade reefer. But several years ago, funding dried up for destroying ditch weed, and police now generally respond only when property owners ask to have it removed or find trespassers trying to harvest it.
Joe Burkus, who manages a large South Bend farm, said he has occasionally encountered people on the property and has little doubt they were looking for marijuana. And he once found a pile of leaves drying under a nearby overpass, but the farm has seen few problems overall.
Since the early 1940s, thickets of wild marijuana have sprung up each year throughout northwestern Indiana, a remnant of World War II-era industrial hemp fields that were sown to support the war effort by furnishing raw material for parachute cords.
“It’s just there’s so much of it, I don’t foresee ever getting rid of the problem.”
As recently as 1999, county weed control boards worked with the state police to find and destroy the wild pot crop every year, a program authorities described as an effort to keep Indiana from becoming part of the illegal marijuana trade, according to Tribune archives.
“It’s a terrible quality, so whoever is harvesting it probably thinks they’ve hit a gold mine, when in fact hemp for rope-making is a far cry from marijuana,” he said, “but it looks the part.”
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.
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.
“Feral Cannabis is highly adaptable and can grow and reproduce in a wide variety of temperate habitats, even under extreme conditions,” it read.
Former boxing promotor jailed for 13 years after getting busted dealing drugs by his own security cameras.
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.
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.
But around the world, tonnes of cannabis can be found growing without any human intervention.
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.
“The ruderal plants pose a minor weed problem to agriculture but a major problem to law enforcement,” it wrote.
In a viral 2016 YouTube post, travel blogger Gabriel Morris revealed a hillside covered with marijuana plants in the Nepalese Himalayas.
Where does cannabis grow wild? Back to video.
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.
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.
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 .
A 1972 map showing known locations of wild cannabis in Canada. Photo by National Research Council Press.
Anandamide: This natural cannabinoid makes us happy.
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.
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.
“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 .
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.
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.