The Difference Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants

The difference between male and female cannabis plants

When you first start growing cannabis, you must know the difference between male and female weed plants. Failure to know the sex of your plants could spoil your entire harvest.

That said, it can be tricky to identify each sex in plants — especially during the pre-flower phase. In this article, we will show you the advantages of both plants and how to distinguish between the two.

The roles of male and female plants

For the most part, the average cultivator wants female-only marijuana plants. That’s because female plants produce the most potent and fattest flowers, otherwise known as buds.

On the other hand, cultivators only want male plants if they want to save seeds and breed cannabis. However, cultivators will still attempt to spot the difference and separate both sexes early on, unless they enjoy free crossbreeding.

Most importantly, male weed plants meddle with the production and the quality of females. When a nearby male plant pollinates a female cannabis plant, the female plant will focus its energy on producing seeds. Although a pollinated female cannabis plant may still develop healthy buds, they contain power concentrations of THC and other critical cannabinoids.

In addition, when the female remains unpollinated, their buds will continue to swell, create more trichomes, and become more resinous.

The benefits of male cannabis plants

Although male marijuana plants are less desirable for most weed cultivators, they still offer excellent advantages.

1. Male cannabis plants make great fathers

If you’re looking to start breeding cannabis, you’ll need male weed plants. In addition to providing pollen to females, males contribute up to half of the DNA that creates the subsequent offspring. Therefore, if you select males with advantageous traits during the breeding phase, you’ll likely breed plants with those traits.

The following traits are critical:

  • Growth rate
  • Overall health
  • Resistance to mold, pests and hermaphroditism

Males are also excellent if you’re breeding autoflowering strains. That’s because you can retain the flavor of the females while maintaining male growth pattern traits with relative ease.

2. Use male plants to create hemp fiber

These plants are excellent — arguably the best method — for creating hemp fiber due to their firm stalks. Males also provide soft fibers suitable for weaving extremely delicate fabrics. 

3. Male cannabis plants still include THC

You might be wondering whether males even include THC. The answer is yes. Although the THC is far less potent than that in female marijuana plants, it can still offer psychoactive properties. Also, despite the fact that they don’t create buds, you can find cannabinoids in the plant’s stems, leaves and flowers.

4. Male plants are superb at pest control

There’s nothing worse than pests when you’re growing cannabis. Male marijuana plants have properties that act as insect repellents for other crops. These include borneol, limonene and pinene.

5. Male plants are essential for the cannabis species

Cannabis is dioecious; it produces grow that can be both male and female. Both sexes are essential for ensuring the survival of different cannabis strains. Sure, you can clone female plants for generations. But at some point, you’ll need males to provide robust and healthy seeds.

The benefits of female cannabis plants

If you’re looking to grow cannabis, female weed plants are your best friend — So much so, many cultivators will buy feminized seeds to ensure there are no male plants or will begin sexing their plants early on to remove males. Here are the main benefits:

1. Female plants are rich in THC

If you want to feel the psychoactive properties of cannabis, you’ll need a high THC level, which you can find in females. Of course, males still produce THC, but it’s weaker than the THC found in females.

2. Female plants contain stronger and higher levels of CBD

In 2022, the U.S. CBD market is booming. CBD offers various benefits, such as pain management and relaxation. Yes, male marijuana plants offer CBD, but femshave more powerful CBD content, making them superb for medicinal purposes.

If you’re looking to sell cannabis products or grow them for personal use, you’ll likely want female weed plants over males.

How do you detect male and female cannabis plants?

There’s one answer to this: How experienced are you at growing cannabis? If you lack knowledge, you can buy feminized cannabis seeds; these provide a high chance of producing female plants. If you use regular cannabis seeds, you can grow either sex, but to ensure a female, you’ll have to begin the feminization process.

Alternatively, learn how to sex your plants. Although it’s challenging at first, you can determine the plant’s gender with your naked eye by sexing your plants. But first, you’ll have to use a magnifying glass.

Three ways to identify each plant:

  1. Females have small flower clusters with longer hairs poking out.
  2. Males have pollen sacs that look like little balls.
  3. Males are often taller.

However, it’s more risky, time-consuming and stressful to feminize your plants. But there’s also one more thing to consider: hermaphroditic weed plants.

What are hermaphroditic plants?

Hermaphroditic plants are both sexes; this occurs when the fems develop both male and female organs. Unfortunately, a hermaphrodite cannabis plant can pollinate itself, which pollinates your entire growth.

Typically, this occurs when your plants feel stressed. So monitor your pH, humidity and temperature closely. Look out for pests and diseases that will stress your plants too.

In summary

Both sexes of marijuana plants have excellent advantages for cannabis growers. Most cultivators will choose fems because they provide more potent THC and CBD.

However, male plants will always be a critical component of the marijuana industry.

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