Forgotten facts: in 1936 hemp in the USSR was planted 680 thousand hectares of land, which was 4/5 of the World Fund. The plant was immortalized in Moscow at VDNH. Fountain “Friendship of Peoples” is made in the form of a large bowl, belted by three main agricultural crops. At the top of the monument is hemp – one of the symbols of Russia.
Since the sixties of the last century, the cultivation of this plant has been banned due to the presence of psychoactive substances in it. Sown areas were sharply reduced. The final loss of an entire branch of the national economy occurred in the 80s. Not only cultivated plant varieties, but also weeds, which are still being fought to this day, fell under destruction.
What is wild hemp
Cánnabis ruderális (wild hemp) – self-sowing flowering plant, a variety of sowing culture. Described as a subspecies in 1924 by D. Yanishevsky. It has characteristic features:
- a christmas tree-shaped structure with a central stem and branches extending in opposite directions;
- leaves consist of 5-7 segments with denticles and sharp ends;
- dicotyledonous seeds (female and male type);
- the fruit is in the form of an ovoid nut of gray-brown color.
The fruits of the wild fly off easily, clogging the soil around them. In spring, crops sprout together. The ripening period is 60-90 days. Male plants produce pollen boxes, and female plants pollinate. Wild hemp rarely grows above 60 cm. In favorable conditions, it can reach three meters.
How to distinguish wild hemp
Despite the similarities between cultural and weed subspecies, there are signs of difference:
- In wild hemp, branching begins at the base of the stem at a distance of 1.5-3 cm from the ground. The structure of the branches is loose. In cultivated varieties, the arrangement of branches is at a height of 28-30 cm from the soil. The plant looks more compact.
- Cannabis ruderalis has fruits with an average length of 3 mm and a width of 2 mm. The color is dark gray heterogeneous, the mesh shell of cones with black veins is poorly visible. The weight of seeds is 1.5-2.5 times less than that of cultivated species. The fruits of other hemp varieties are larger, with an average length of 4 mm and a width of 3 mm. The color is grayish-green or gray. Cones are one-color, smooth, shiny with a noticeable mesh fruit shell with white veins.
Biological features of wild hemp:
- vigorous growth and development;
- early flowering in males;
- fast ripening;
- easy shedding of fruit.
The weed plant is characterized by the preservation of appearance regardless of environmental conditions. It is unpretentious, perfectly adapts to any conditions, temperature fluctuations, does not depend on the duration of daylight hours. Cultural varieties, on the contrary, are capricious, require certain care, special growing conditions.
Is there any effect of wild hemp?
The technical appearance of this plant is not of interest to persons involved in the production of psychoactive drugs. The level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – a psychotropic substance) in it is very low (0.02%).
This variety is interesting to marijuana manufacturers because of the possibility of crossing it with cultivated species containing a high level of THC. As a result, autoflowering varieties are selected, the ripening cycle of which does not depend on the duration of daylight hours, the presence of careful care.
Where weed grows
Wild hemp is widespread in the vastness of Western Siberia (Altai Territory, Volga Region), in southeastern Russia, in the central part of Ukraine, in southern Kazakhstan.
On uncultivated areas, the plant can be found:
- along steep coasts;
- in the valleys;
- in remote forest corners;
- in ravines and yards;
- in pine forests;
- along the roads;
- in exclusion bands.
In cultivated fields, wild hemp is most often found in crops of rye, oats, buckwheat. Smaller wild ones clog barley, millet, and potatoes.
Practical application of the plant
Not in vain since ancient times in Russia, hemp was so valued for its wide scope. In the plant, the stem and seeds are especially valuable.
- Production of durable and wear-resistant fabric. Hemp fiber was used in navigation for weaving ropes, cables, canvas. Currently, tarpaulin, durable workwear are made from the plant.
- Production of environmentally friendly paper. American dollars are printed on hemp raw materials. Such production is more cost-effective compared to similar production on wood.
- Use as fuel for heating homes. The stems of the plant are pressed into briquettes for burning in boilers and furnaces.
- Production of building materials. Pressed plates (wood fiber) from the stem of the plant are stronger, more elastic and reliable than from wood.
- Production of materials for the furniture industry.
- Spin oil. Cannabis seeds are rich in fats and proteins. Squeezed oil is suitable for human consumption, and on its basis it is possible to produce drying oil – the basis for paint and varnish products.
- Raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. The healing properties of wild hemp have been known since time immemorial. On the basis of the plant, painkillers and sedatives for asthma are produced.
- Raw materials for cosmetics.
- Getting oilcake – animal feed.
Wild cannabis can bring significant economic benefits. In many countries of the world it is allowed to grow crops with THC values close to zero. In Germany, for example, farmers receive assistance from the state if they sow land withdrawn from the agricultural fund with non-narcotic hemp.
From the point of view of agronomy, wild game gives a large amount of plant mass for a short growing season and provides for soil restoration. It is noted that where it grows, cultivated plants are less sick and do not suffer from parasites. For cannabis ruderalis, undoubtedly, the future, just for it to come, requires remembering the past.