Just like humans, cannabis and hemp plants are considered dioecious, meaning they have either male or female reproductive organs. Depending on the goal of the Male cannabis plants serve many important purposes and can provide pest control and gene pool diversity. The short answer to whether or not male cannabis plants produce female seeds is no. The longer answer is also no, but requires a little more explanation.
Male vs. Female Cannabis- Why it’s important to know before you grow
Just like humans, cannabis and hemp plants are considered dioecious, meaning they have either male or female reproductive organs. Depending on the goal of the cultivator, it’s crucial to know the gender of their plants prior to harvest.
Both male and female cannabis plants have their benefits; growing both can result in cross-pollination and thus seeds, resulting in new genetics or seeds for the next crop. However, if your goal is to produce quality buds rich in cannabinoids, it’s crucial to isolate the males from the females to avoid pollination and seed production. Cannabis pollen is extremely potent; studies have shown that pollen can drift across 3 to 7.5 miles, and can reach over 30 miles if high winds are present.
Removing males will allow the female plants to grow abundant, seedless buds (called sensimilla ). When female plants are left unfertilized, they use that extra energy meant for reproduction to produce higher levels of cannabinoids like THC or CBD, depending on the strain. The resinous buds consumers purchase at dispensaries are all sensimilla.
How to Visually Determine the Sex of a Cannabis Plant
Cultivators can visually determine the gender of their plants about 4-6 weeks into the growth cycle (though this may differ for indoor grows) when the plant is transitioning from its “vegetative” stage into the “flowering” stage. At this time, the plant is no longer focusing its energy on growing bigger and taller and instead spends all its effort growing flowers for pollination and reproduction.
When a cannabis plant is beginning to enter the flowering stage, cultivators should pay careful attention to the area between the nodes of the plant, where the leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Pre-flowers will begin to form in the nodes of the plant, and characteristics of the pre-flower will vary based on gender.
Pre-flowers can initially be difficult to examine with the naked eye, but growers can use a magnifying glass to get a closer look. Female cannabis pre-flowers grow as tiny bracts which will eventually produce hair-like stigma; male plants produce small, round balls as the nodes.
In some cases, a plant may exhibit both male and female pre-flowers. Hermaphrodite cannabis plants can occur when a plant becomes excessively stressed due to things like plant damage, bad weather, disease, nutrient deficiencies, and poor genetics. Hermaphrodites can also produce anthers, often referred to as “bananas” due to their appearance. It’s important to monitor plants that have been exposed to stressors to ensure they don’t begin to develop both male and female genetics. Hermaphrodites are capable of producing pollen and can ruin an entire crop.
How to Determine Gender Before the Pre-Flower stage
Lab genetic testing can determine a plant’s gender as soon as it begins to sprout its second set of true leaves. Knowing sooner can help cultivators save money, increase canopy space, and decrease labor costs associated with transplanting, watering, monitoring, training, and removing unwanted male plants.
Just as humans have X and Y chromosomes, cannabis also has a genetics system that determines the plant’s gender. However, figuring out the gender based on the DNA of a plant prior to the flowering stage is not as simple as looking for an X and Y. Luckily, the specific genetic sequence that differs between female and male plants has long been discovered, so using quantitative polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) allows labs to determine the gender of any plants with 100% confidence.
When a sample is brought in to Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs for gender identification, qPCR analysis is used to determine if the plant is female or male. A small hole is cut out of the leaf of the plant and added to a lysis solution to destroy the plant cell walls, exposing the DNA. After isolation of the DNA, it is transferred to another plate that contains reagents to amplify and cause the sample to create a fluorescent light that our qPCR instrument then quantifies, and determines the gender of the sample based on the amount of fluorescence.
Between sufficient lighting, proper nutrients, a detailed watering schedule, and constant monitoring, identifying the sex of your plants is another tedious yet crucial task that could make all the difference come harvest season.
Gender identification testing is now available at InfiniteCAL to help cannabis and hemp cultivators take the guesswork out of their grow. If you’re interested in learning more about Gender Identification Testing, reach out to our team at [email protected] .
Do Male Marijuana Plants Produce Seeds
Article written by
Tina Magrabi Senior Content Writer
Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women’s health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero’s Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.
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Do Male Cannabis Plants Produce Female Seeds
While cannabis is a dioecious plant (meaning it can be male, female or hermaphroditic), the short answer to whether or not male cannabis plants produce female seeds is no. The longer answer is also technically no, but requires a little more explanation. No worries, we’ll introduce you to the basics of feminized cannabis seeds as well as what you can do with male cannabis plants. Let’s dive into it.
Understanding male, female and hermaphroditic cannabis
We mentioned cannabis is dioecious. While that may not seem out of the ordinary since humans are also dioecious, it’s an incredibly rare trait. Only about 7 percent of all flowering plant species produce separate male and female plants. And this matters because all the cannabis we consume is sinsemilla (seedless females). Our guide to sexing cannabis makes identifying what you’re working with quick and easy. In brief, male cannabis plants produce pollen sacks, and females produce pistils. It’s also possible to have hermaphroditic plants, although these tend to be a result of stress. However, there are full-genetic hermaphroditic strains that produce both pistil and staminate.
Most of the time, non-genetic hermaphrodites are either fully hermaphroditic or females with some male flowers. Male cannabis plants will very rarely produce female parts, but it can happen. In the rare event that this happens, the seeds would also likely be nonviable. Because if the plant is predominantly male and manages to produce viable seeds, the odds of getting female seeds are next to impossible. The offspring in this scenario should only be XY.
So how are feminized seeds produced?
Bottom line, cannabis is genetically wired to produce an equal 50:50 split between male and female seeds — unless growing from clones. Still, the methods we have for producing feminized seeds aren’t bulletproof. Feminized seeds will be about 99 percent female, but it’s still possible (albeit unlikely) for a rogue male to sneak in. Put another way, a 99 percent guarantee is better than pretty much any birth control I’ve ever used in my entire life, and I still don’t have kids. Those are pretty good odds.
The feminization process involves forcing the female plants to produce pollen and thus pollinate other females resulting in only XX offspring. There are basically two routes to feminized seeds. The first is using topical solutions to spray onto female plants, forcing them to produce male pollen sacs. Keep in mind these plants are non-usable for smoking after spraying — consider them a write-off. The second route involves taking advantage of the unnature state of sinsemilla.
It would be very unnatural to see a sinsemilla plant in the wild. The pollen from a male’s pollen sacs can pollinate female plants up to 2000 miles away, although realistically, it’s about two miles. If left past the prime harvesting stage of maturation, sinsemilla will produce male pollen sacs as a final attempt to self-pollinate. Self-pollinated sinsemilla will naturally produce all XX female seeds.
So what’s the point of keeping male cannabis plants?
Can’t produce feminized seeds or enough cannabinoids to be consumable, plus the potential to ruin a harvest? It seems like the cannabis grower is on a crusade to wipe out males! Realistically, there are still a few purposes for male plants other than to be diced up as fertilizer. Male plants are essential for breeding and can actually be used to produce cannabutter for edibles and infusions. It may not result in as intense of a high, but there’s certainly some value in keeping your boys around. Of course, nowhere near your females unless you’re looking to breed.
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