Male vs. Female Plants – What’s the Difference?

Male vs. Female Plant, What’s the Difference?
Author: Edwardo Ojeda, FZT Budtender

When thinking about cannabis most people don’t realize that there is a male plant and female plant. The beautiful crystallized buds that we have come to love for their psychoactive and medicinal properties are produced from a female cannabis plant, whereas a male plant will produce little to no cannabinoids after its flowering cycle. Let’s look deeper into what makes a cannabis plant male or female, as well as the importance of having these plants together or separate.

When it comes to determining the sex of your cannabis plant, take into consideration that it won’t be noticeable within the first few weeks. Most plants develop their distinguishing features after a few weeks of growth.

Male plants will start to develop pollen sacks all over, which look like groups of tiny hanging tulip bulbs. Once these bulbs have matured, they blossom into white or light green flowers that release pollen when ready for reproduction. These bulbs are the plants male sex organ which contain the genetic material essential for breeding with female cannabis plants.

Male cannabis plant

Female Plants will start to develop white or burnt orange hairs called pistils. This is the female’s sex organ which will coat itself in a heavy layer of resin, essential in capturing male pollen. If left unfertilized, the female plant will create “buds” which are called sinsemilla. Sinsemilla is an unseeded plant that produces ultra-frosty trichomes with psychoactive and medicinal properties.

Female cannabis plant

When left separated the male will eventually release its pollen and decompose due to the maturity of the plant. The female on the other hand will go into overdrive and create very large buds coated in heavy resin which we use today to treat a variety of short or long-term ailments. If you have a favorite strain and are looking to harvest it over and over you can buy a clone. Cloning is when you take a female plant in its early stages and use clippings to create the same plant with the same genetic makeup as the mother plant. We have clones available in both of our locations.

When put together in the same room, female cannabis pistils are pollinated by the male and seeds begin to form all over the plant. The seeds created by the two parents will contain both plants’ genetic makeup and will usually present characteristics from both parents, but not all traits will be prevalent. For example: if you use gorilla glue for its resinous traits, there’s not a guarantee your plant will carry it over.

On occasion, hermaphrodite plants will happen. A hermaphrodite plant is a single plant with both female and male sex organs. This is something that rarely occurs after cloning a specific strain over and over again. The chances that a hermaphrodite will come from a seed are much more unlikely but not impossible. These plants usually have very little to any use in the cannabis industry. Hermaphrodite plants are typically removed immediately from any grow site to prevent any cross pollination with the female plants.

While many plants contain both male and female organs, marijuana is unique in that plant sexes are separated. It’s unclear why exactly it has evolved this way, but we humans have definitely used this information and knowledge to our advantage.