How to tell the difference between male and female weed

Knowing the difference between male, female and intersex weed plants is essential to successfully grow cannabis. Here is a detailed guide

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Marijuana is two gendered plants meaning each plant is identified as “male” or “female” based on its reproductive organs. Male plants are singular, while female plants are in high demand because they are the carriers that grow sensimilla. Sensimillia are the big, seedless buds we call weed. 

An average cannabis seed is classified as 50 per cent male and 50 per cent female. For marijuana harvesters, it can be a hit-or-miss process trying to confirm that plants are able to produce buds. To avoid wasting time, harvesters purchase feminine seeds or female clones that ensure their plants come with reproductive capabilities. 

How to determine if a plant is male or female

To determine the difference between male vs female weed seeds, growers must test them out. If you have regular weed seeds, plant them and observe to see if they grow sensimilla. Generally, plants begin to show their gender between four- to-six weeks. Usually, this comes towards the conclusion of the vegetative state before it starts to flower. 

When cannabis plants enter the pre-flower phase, gender signs of male and female are clear. During pre-flowering, growers should check between the nodes – located where the branches and leaves grow out of the stalk.

A male plant’s pre-flower will reveal a pollen sac. The pollen sac spreads pollen and the female reveals a stigma, which holds the pollen. The pollen sacs look like small, round balls that grow at the nodes. While the stigma looks like round balls, but have little white or pink hair growing out of them. When growers see white or pink hair, get ready to start breeding because it’s a female. 

At first sight, a female’s pre-flowers look like pollen sacs and are pointier than the male ones. To avoid confusion, growers should give all plants a full six weeks to confirm the gender and then choose which plants to continue breeding and which to leave out.

What should growers look for to distinguish between male vs female weed plants? Look closely at the pre-flowers before they start their reproductive process because it’s hard to tell with the naked eye. If the plants reveal small pre-flowers, use a handheld magnifier to decide whether it’s a stigma (female) or pollen sac (male). 

What happens if you get male plants?

Male vs female weed plants should be separated from each other once the pre-flowering stage is over. Male cannabis plants cannot grow buds, which make harvesters eliminate them as soon as stigma shows up in other pre-flowered plants. Getting rid of male plants gives room for more female plants in the garden to grow buds. 

Some harvesters keep a couple of male plants for future breeding methods because as male plants grow, the little balls eventually burst open and spread pollen. The pollen can be transferred to a female pistillate, reproducing of the female flower. 

Growers who decide to keep male plants have to examine the genetics of each. Another key difference between male and female weed plants is the ability to resist disease, mould and pests. Male plants are useful also for recreational purposes. However, male plants do not produce original versions of buds. Males produce soft material similar to hemp fibre compared with their female counterpart, which produces coarser fibres. 

Another key difference between female and male weed plants is males have a moderate psychoactive effect due to the small number of cannabinoids found in the plant’s leaves, stems and pollen sacs. They are not as potent as the THC-filled female plants. However, the cannabinoids extracted from male plants can produce concentrate oils. 

About intersex plants 

In rare instances, female plants will grow both female and male sex organs. These are considered intersex plants or hermaphrodites. A hermaphrodite plant has both pollen sacs and stigmas. A female plant grows anthers that look similar to bananas. If the female plant grows pollen sacs, stigmas and anthers, pollen is produced and one pollen sac will break open like a typical male plant. While the anthers continue to grow stamen and reveal itself. 

Due to the genetic lineage of male and female seeds, plants that develop into hermaphrodites are under stress due to extreme weather or disease outbreak. Also, abuse and neglect can be a factor such as or malnutrition or plant damage. 

Overall, intersex plants aren’t good for gardens and won’t grow proper bud. It’s essential to regulate plantation conditions and avoid placing stress on cannabis plants.

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