Ditch Weed

Ditch weed, a noun, is a slang term that refers to wild or feral cannabis that grows on its own outside. Aptly named, it can often be found in ditches, or just off the side of the road.

Ditch Weed: Usage and Meaning

Although some people claim that certain samples of ditch weed can produce a classic cannabis high if you dry and cure it properly, in general this isn’t the case. Ditch weed is typically low in THC.


  • “Little Hunnila and the scout troop found a huge stand of ditch weed on the nature walk. It was hilarious.”
  • “Look! Out the window, that’s ditch weed, right?!”
  • “Uh, you didn’t actually pay for that ditch weed, did you, Jemuel?”
  • “Back in my day, people actually bagged up and sold that ditch weed even though it barely works, but today you can find good quality cannabis pretty easily, praise whatever.”

What is Ditch Weed?

Ditch weed is wild cannabis plants that grow on their own, without being planted, tended, fertilized, or otherwise receiving any human attention. In the early 20th century, farmers and others noted hemp growing wild in abundance throughout many regions of the Midwest, including western Missouri, Iowa, and southern Minnesota.

Ditch weed continues to grow wild in Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, and Kansas. In fact, if you’re on a road trip, keep an eye out and a window down for the smell. These tall plants with that classic sativa height and Christmas tree shape are easy to spot, even from a car.

Is Ditch Weed Legal?

Maybe in a technical sense, in that the THC level is probably hemp-level low. But we can think of a million ways being in possession of even ditch weed could go wrong in the wrong state, so be careful.

Ditch Weed vs Ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis is not ditch weed, although both are wild growing or feral, which is the basis for the comparison. Cannabis ruderalis is actually a third subspecies of cannabis. In contrast, ditch weed is a form of Cannabis sativa growing in the wild. Because neither typically produces potent effects, they aren’t widely used.

Ruderalis usually has very little THC, and although it can contain more CBD, experts believe it does not have amounts sufficient to create effects. Ditch weed is closer in composition to wild hemp.

Ruderalis plants originated in the cold, extreme environments of the Himalayan regions including India, Siberia and Russia, and Eastern Europe. Rarely breaching 12 inches, these compact plants thrive in colder, low-sunlight environments. Ditch weed resembles a classic sativa in structure generally, growing taller and more slender to thrive in sunnier environments.

Ditch Weed vs Bad Pot

Sometimes people use the phrase “ditch weed” as slang for pot that’s just bad or poor quality. A baggie full of stems and seeds, for example, might easily be called ditch weed. However, ditch weed really is its own thing, so unless you pulled that baggie out of a ditch, you probably should use one of the dozens of other slang words for bad weed.

Should You Smoke Ditch Weed?

No, because whether you’re talking about actual ditch weed or just bad cannabis, it’s not worth it. I mean, it’s worth stopping to see, especially if you’re driving by for the first time. A random field of wild cannabis is worth seeing and smelling.

It is not, however, worth sampling or taking home.

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