Do Male Marijuana Plants Produce Seeds

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Male cannabis plants have many benefits to offer. This guide will explain the differences between male and female cannabis plants, detail the parts of male plants, and lay out the various purposes of male plants. Male cannabis plants serve many important purposes and can provide pest control and gene pool diversity. When it comes to cannabis, female plants produce flowers (or buds) and males produce pollen. Unless you plan on breeding, male cannabis plants…

Male cannabis plants: parts and purposes

While some growers dismiss male cannabis plants as useless, these plants have many benefits to offer. This guide will explain the differences between male and female cannabis plants, detail the parts of male plants, and lay out the various purposes of male plants.

Differences between male and female cannabis plants

The most striking difference between male and female cannabis plants is that only female plants produce buds. The bud is often regarded as the crown jewel of the marijuana plant since these large, resin-rich flowers can be dried, cured, and ultimately enjoyed.

However, male plants do produce flowers which help visibly distinguish the plant’s gender. The flowers on male plants are characterized by small, bell-shaped clusters that dangle and open to release fertilizing pollen. In contrast, female marijuana plants produce teardrop-shaped flowers that will yield buds at harvest time.

In addition to unusable buds, the male plant produces lower levels of potentially therapeutic cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This difference serves as a double whammy for many cannabis lovers, as male plants are consequently lower in both therapeutic properties and psychoactive effects. Lower levels of cannabinoids also means less intense flavors and aromas.

Parts of a male cannabis plants

Let’s start from the top of the plant and work our way down. In descending order, a male marijuana plant exhibits the following parts:

Nodes: Signifying a crucial aspect of the male plant’s anatomy, the nodes are where the pollen sacs form and bear seeds. Nodes grow in opposite pairs on seedlings and divide the stem at the point where lateral branches begin. When the plant matures before harvest time, the nodes will grow alternately and signify that flowering has begun.

Stem: Alternately called the stalk, the stem is usually hollow and provides the base for leaves to grow. As a connector to the leaves, the stem’s purpose is to transfer water, minerals, and other nutrients throughout the plant.

Fan leaves: Each plant may have between five and nine of these large, protruding leaves. The purpose of fan leaves is to support photosynthesis, the process by which light energy converts to chemical energy. Growers often trim excess fan leaves to facilitate better airflow to the plant as well as to incorporate into marijuana recipes. Fan leaves make key ingredients in cannabis edibles and can be equally useful infusions and extracts. Raw cannabis juice is the newest craze in the weed world and fan leaves can be blended into these superfood beverages.

Parts that are notably absent from male plants include the cola, pistil, and calyx, all of which are exclusive to female cannabis plants and produce trichomes that can be cured and smoked. There are a few other differences between male and female cannabis plant parts. According to Somoza, “In the preflower stage, males will develop small round balls at the node where pollen will form. Females will develop very small hairlike stigmas protruding from rounded bracts.”

Each part of the plant serves a distinct purpose that benefits the whole and contributes to a healthy harvest.

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Purpose of male cannabis plants

While too many male cannabis plants in a confined area can infringe upon female plants’ growth and lead to seeded, non-smokable flower, male plants are essential pollen producers that play an integral role in cannabis breeding. Without male plants, there would be no female plants and vice-versa.

Like all “fathers,” male cannabis plants pass genes on to their offspring. For cannabis progeny, these traits may include resistance to mold and pests, adaptation to different climates, successful growth rates, and general health. Males are especially useful for growers who breed autoflowering cannabis strains, such as Royal Cookies Automatic and Amnesia Haze Automatic.

Diversifying the genetic pool is one more reason male cannabis plants are good for pot farmers. Steven Somoza, who has more than eight years of cannabis cultivation experience at Hydroponics, Inc., says, “Male cannabis plants play a key role for genetic diversity of cannabis. Skilled breeders tediously and patiently cross-pollinate their gardens in pursuit of exciting new strains.” Cannatonic, 3 Kings, and White Widow are a few examples of the countless hybrid strains created from cross-pollination. Such cultivars may be genetically stronger than purebred cannabis varieties since they inherit the best qualities from each parent.

Not all cannabis growers will want to tap into the male’s cross-pollinating powers, however. As Somoza added, “Cross-pollination is undesirable for cannabis flower growers. We’ve heard of outdoor farms having their crops destroyed by a neighboring farm’s pollen due to drift. As a grower, it’s important and responsible to be able to sex your plant, especially when introducing new genetics to your farm.” In fact, pollen can travel far and wide in search of a female to fertilize, so it’s necessary to keep a watchful eye on male marijuana plants and space them accordingly.

While they can have drawbacks, male plants serve an indispensable purpose in the cannabis life cycle and in the continued evolution of their species.

The primary purpose of a male plant is to perpetuate the cannabis life cycle. However, male plants have other possible uses, such as:

Make hemp fiber: Male cannabis plants produce softer fibers than females. Fibers from male plants make ideal base materials for clothing, napkins, tablecloths, sheets, and even light blankets.

Produce hash and other concentrates: Just because males have lower levels of cannabinoids doesn’t mean they’re completely devoid of these potent compounds. There are enough cannabinoids in male leaves, pollen sacs, and stems to create cannabis concentrates.

Enrich a garden: Beyond cannabis cultivation, male cannabis plants are useful in flower and vegetable gardens. The terpenes in male plants, though not as abundant as in female plants, exude natural fragrances that can repel pests. These powerful terpenes are common ingredients in industrial insect repellents and pesticides. The long taproots of male plants can also be helpful in enhancing soil quality. Taproots burrow deep in the ground and break apart weak soil, which allows for more nutrients and moisture to penetrate the soil. During rainy periods, taproots hold soil in place, which maintains nutrients that might otherwise be lost in runoff. Male plants can also be added to the compost bin to enrich next season’s garden.

There is no doubt that male cannabis plants offer an array of benefits to cultivators, gardeners, and consumers. As scientists learn more about cannabis, they may discover new ways in which male plants are beneficial. For now, cannabis enthusiasts can value male plants for a variety of uses — so long as they think beyond the bud.

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Why Are Male Cannabis Plants Important?

Male cannabis plants serve an important purpose in cultivation.

When it comes to psychoactive cannabis, people have historically sought out female plants, often discarding male plants. Not only would male plants pollinate any nearby female plants in the vicinity (with the effect of producing seed rather than flower, which is not ideal unless you’re breeding), but they would also take up valuable time and space in small grow operations.

However, male cannabis plants can play a vital role in your cannabis cultivation and breeding programs. Learn about the crucial benefits of male cannabis plants and how to get the most out of them.

How Male Cannabis Plants Differ From Females

Before flowering, there are ways to tell if your plant is male or female. Once the vegetative stage is over and you start flowering your plants, they will usually display whether they are male or female within one to three weeks. Indoor grows tend to indicate their sex quicker. You can check the nodes or joints of plants to determine the sex. If there are sacs, the plant is male. If there are two hairs or bracts, the plant is a female. Other telltale signs of a male plant include thicker stalks and fewer leaves.

Male Cannabis Plant Anatomy

One way to recognize a male cannabis plant is by looking for what are called “pre-flowers.” During the vegetative stage, pre-flowers show up in fewer than four weeks in males, and longer than four weeks in females (this takes a little practice to distinguish). Pre-flowers can be found at the “V” where stems meet the stalk, particularly at the top of the plant, closest to the light. Female pre-flowers tend to have pistils or hairs, whereas males have small sacs.

Close-up shot of a female cannabis plant.

Benefits of Male Cannabis Plants

Male cannabis plants have many essential benefits, including gene pool diversity, pest control and potency.

Gene Pool Diversity

Cannabis is dioecious, an evolutionary advantage in breeding programs. “Dioecy” is when a species has distinct male and female characteristics. Unusually among the plant kingdom, cannabis also displays this characteristic, although cannabis can also self-pollinate.

Some people have taken advantage of this self-pollinating aspect to retain the characteristics of a specific female plant, but this also means that future plants will be prone to hermaphroditism, which will eventually become a weakened gene pool from inbreeding.

Keeping good male plants can ensure a specific gene pool can stay alive for generations to come. This way, you can retain specific characteristics, like growth patterns and terpene profiles.

There’s a greater number of characteristics to choose from when you have more variety. Not only does this mean the gene pool is kept alive, but we can also start selecting for resistance to pathogens, growth rate, general health and even different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This results in a variety of strains that have unique and specific effects and aromas.

Pest Control

Some outdoor breeders will use male cannabis plants not only to stay stocked up on seeds, but also to use terpenes that male cannabis plants produce, like pinene, limonene and borneol, which act as insect repellents for other crops. Male plants will not fertilize if they are kept separated from female plants (unless you handle pollen and handle a female plant immediately afterward).

Potency

Cannabis plants carry half of the genetics from the mother and the other half from the father. Although cannabinoid concentration is generally higher in female plants, this doesn’t mean that the fathers don’t have some amount of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids and terpene of their own.

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Male leaves also tend to contain more cannabinoids than their flowers (the opposite is the case with female plants). This means that, yes, males produce their own resin glands, and can be used to make limited amounts of hashish when harvested in large quantities.

However, most breeders would be looking at the resin and cannabinoid-terpenoid content of a male plant in order to create strains that are disease-resistant, high-yielding and potent. Male plants can also breed strains for specific cannabinoids, essentially breeding a male plant that contains a high CBD concentration with a female plant that contains a high CBD concentration.

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The Bottom Line

Male cannabis plants are an important part of any good breeding program. Male plants offer pest control and increased potency while contributing to gene pool diversity. While female plants are still the most desirable to cannabis cultivators, male plants definitely play their own vital roles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do male hemp plants produce CBD?

Yes, male hemp plants do produce CBD, but female plants produce higher amounts of CBD. In addition, the strength of the CBD that male plants produce is lower than that of more potent female plants.

How many leaves does the male marijuana plant have?

Male marijuana plants have between five and nine leaves, generally fewer than female marijuana plants, which are generally towards the higher end of that range.

What happens if you don’t separate a male from female plant?

If you don’t separate a male plant from a female plant, then pollination can occur. The presence of male cannabis plants can overtake a crop and drain the female plants of energy, resulting in a much lower yield or destroying the crop entirely.

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What do I do with a Male Cannabis Plant?

When it comes to cannabis, female plants produce flowers (or buds) and males produce pollen. Unless you plan on breeding, male cannabis plants will release pollen into the growing area and produce unwanted seeds in nearby female flowers. Cannabis flowers with seeds are usually lower in potency and less desirable. Male plants in a flowering room should removed as soon as they are identified.

You will only get a male cannabis plant is you grow from a non-feminized seed. In today’s world, if you get a clone from a trusted friend or local shop, they will always grow to be a female plant. Male and female plants can be easily identified in early flowering by looking for the following characteristics below:

Male cannabis plants have stamens and female plants have calyxes. To the untrained eye, an early calyx and stamen can look quite similar. As the cannabis plant begins to mature, multiple stamens will begin to appear on the males and the females will have pistols emerge from their calyxes. Over time the stamens will fill with pollen and eventually open, releasing it into the growing environment. Once a plant shows clear male characteristics, it should be removed from the flowering area and potentially used for future breeding projects.

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