Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs instead of buds. Male plants are usually discarded because you don’t want them to pollinate the females, which will produce seeds—no one wants to smoke buds with seeds in it.
The rare hermaphroditic plant contains both female and male sex organs. These plants can sometimes self-pollinate, but this is typically bad as it will create buds with seeds and also pass on hermaphroditic genes.
The pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower, and the vibrant, hair-like strands of the pistil are called stigmas. Stigmas serve to collect pollen from males.
How to determine the sex of a marijuana plant
Fan leaves are the large, iconic leaves of the cannabis plant. They capture light for the plant and typically have little-to-no resin and are usually discarded when trimming.
When determining the sex of a cannabis plant, pre-flowers, or the beginnings of male and female sex organs, will appear at the nodes.
A bract is what encapsulates the female’s reproductive parts. They appear as green tear-shaped “leaves,” and are heavily covered in resin glands which produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids of all plant parts.
A node is a point at which a branch grows off of the main stem, or one branch from another branch. Fan leaves and buds can grow on some nodes, but not necessarily all.
Within this explanation, we can also detail how, exactly, cannabis plants reproduce. As the plants mature, males develop pollen sacs that eventually open and spread pollen to nearby female plants via the air.
So, we’ve covered the fact that there are male and female cannabis plants, but we still have some explaining to do as far as why. After all, not all plants have males and females within their species, so why is that the case for cannabis?
HOW TO IDENTIFY MALE CANNABIS PLANTS
If you ask cannabis breeders, you’ll find that this reproductive process is good for a lot more than ensuring survival. See, if a breeder notices two strains with certain desirable traits, they can bring a male and a female from each strain together, plant the resulting seeds, and enjoy a whole new strain!
If you’re trying to breed new strains and experiment with different genetic combinations, then both male and female plants are necessary. You won’t have to ask for this specifically, as a pack of regular cannabis seeds will, on average, contain both biological sexes in near-equal proportion.
Vegetation occurs when the plant experiences long days and short nights, known as the long photoperiod. When growing, Cannabis Indica devotes its energy to increasing in size and stature. As days become shorter and nights longer (the short photoperiod), the plant receives the signal that autumn is approaching and its flowering phase is triggered.
In the flowering phase, upward and outward growth slows considerably and may appear to cease completely as Cannabis Indica directs the bulk of its energy to growing reproductive parts – male flowers which distribute pollen, or female flowers which produce the majority of cannabinoids and are meant to receive pollen and produce seeds. If male plants are eliminated early in the flowering phase, female plants are prevented from making seeds and their cannabinoid-rich flowers (also referred to as buds, tops or colas) may be harvested for recreational and medicinal use.
Most Indicas are a rich source of the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBN. While Cannabis Sativa often produces a higher proportion of THC compared to its other cannabinoids, Cannabis Indica often contains significant levels of all three. Indicas tend to produce more body-centred effects than Sativas – enhancement of physical sensations, relaxation, dry mouth, red eyes. These effects are often grouped together under the term ‘stoned’, as opposed to the ‘high’ imparted by Sativas. This is not to say that Indicas have no psychoactive effect, just that they are more renowned for their noticeable effects on the body.
General physical appearance of Indica Strains
Indica strains tend to produce more side-branches and denser overall growth than Sativas, resulting in wider, bushier plants. Indica flowers form in thick clusters around the nodes of the female plant (the points at which pairs of leaves grow from the stem and branches). They usually weigh more than Sativa flowers of similar size, as they are more solid.
French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the first European botanist to classify this type in 1785, received his samples from India and dubbed the plant Cannabis Indica in recognition of that fact.
The typical example of Cannabis Indica is a more compact, thick-stemmed bush than its cousins, usually reaching a height of less than two metres. The foliage is generally a dark shade of green, some examples appearing to have almost blue or green-black leaves. These leaves are composed of short, wide blades.
The life cycle of Cannabis Indica, like the rest of the Cannabis genus, is divided into two distinct phases – vegetation and flowering – which are reactions to different day-lengths (photoperiods). Vegetation is also sometimes referred to simply as the growth, or growing, period, although the plant continues to grow in size and mass throughout the flowering period as well.