Do Male Marijuana Plants Produce Seeds


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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 cannabis plants serve many important purposes and can provide pest control and gene pool diversity. Rather than tossing them straight into the garbage bin on your next grow, learn what to do with your unwanted male cannabis plants.

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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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.

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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).


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.

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.

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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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5 Things You Can Do with Your Male Cannabis Plants

When it comes to getting high, female cannabis plants are simply far more useful than males. Like other dioecious plant species, marijuana plants need both a male and a female in order to reproduce. There are various types of self-pollinating cannabis plants (i.e., monoecious plants), but in general, most marijuana plants will express either female or male-specific sex organs.

Only females produce the THC-laden buds that almost every grower seeks. As a result, it is customary for growers to discard and destroy male plants the instant they notice them in their crop. If you don’t, they will pollinate the females, and seeds will end up in the bud – which you don’t want.

That being said, rather than expelling and destroying the male plants in your cannabis garden, save them! Contrary to what you believe, male cannabis plants do have a beneficial purpose for gardeners. They have several, in fact, and in this article, we outline and explain each one.

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1 – Use Them To Breed!

The most obvious thing you can do with your male plants is use them to breed future generations of plants! While cloning a plant will result in future generations of plants with identical genetic characteristics, breeding mixes up the genetic pool and produces offspring with new genes and, subsequently, new genetic trains. This is exactly how cannabis growers selectively breed to create new strains.

The primary function of male cannabis plants is to produce seeds. When a male plant pollinates a female, it provides 50% of its genetic makeup to the offspring plants. With this in mind, do some digging into the genetics of the males in your garden; do they grow quickly? Are they highly resistant to mold and pests? If so, these positive traits can be passed on to boost the quality of future generations. Plus, crossbreeding allows you to create a unique strain of cannabis that you can call your very own!

That being said, there are still likely going to be some males in your crop whose genetic traits you don’t want to pass on Here’s a 5-step guide to eliminating unwanted males, and keeping the ones with ideal genes:

  1. Get rid of early flowering or auto-flowering males, as they are more likely to produce monoecious (non-flowering) individuals.
  2. Remove any males that grow extremely quickly or are very tall. These plants are generally best for producing fibers rather than THC-filled flowers.
  3. Keep plants with large and hollow stems and get rid of any stems with too much pith (spongy white tissue). There is a link between stem type and THC content.
  4. Pick males with tight, dense flowers and get rid of any with a loose and airy structure.
  5. Focus on males with the best odor, as this indicates a robust terpene profile.

2 – Use Male Cannabis Plants to Create Hemp Fiber

When it comes to creating hemp fiber, there is no better option than male cannabis plants. This is mainly because of their firm and fibrous stalks. Males provide soft and fine fibers capable of weaving the most delicate fabrics. Producing fiber and weaving fabric might not be on the top of your priorities list when you’re growing cannabis, but if you’ve got some spare time, it’s actually incredibly fun and you can make some awesome hemp products and DIY cannabis clothes. How cool would it be to weave some socks or a beanie from cannabis that YOU grew in your very own home!?

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3 – Concentrate Production

Don’t assume that male plants are entirely devoid of THC. Males are indeed far less potent than females, but they still have THC, and thus, they can produce psychoactive properties. Male plants don’t produce big buds like females, but they still contain cannabinoids in their flowers, leaves, and stems.

In fact, male plants have a higher THC concentration in their leaves than females during the vegetative growth phase. By the adult stages, females have taken over and will produce a far higher THC ratio. By extracting the resin of your male plants to create hash oil, BHO wax, dabs, or other concentrates, you can enjoy some very unique concentrates that, believe it or not, can be pretty potent! (It’s also worth pointing out that you can get a gentle buzz by drying and pressing the pollen from a male plant).

All you need to know…

4 – Male Weed Plants Can Provide Disease And Pest Resistance

Did you know farmers have used marijuana plants as ‘companions’ for garden vegetables for centuries? Male cannabis plants, like females, produce terpenes, which are aromatic oils that account for weed’s delightful range of tastes and aromas.

Terpenes, especially pinene and limonene, are also excellent for pest and disease control. With this in mind, you can introduce male plants into your vegetable or flower garden – just make sure they remain far away from your female cannabis plants!

Use the dried material from male plants to create a terpene-laden oil, and then dilute this oil and use it in a spray bottle to keep insects and other pests away from your flowers and/or vegetables.

In the old days, some farmers would actually allow two vigorous male marijuana plants to grow; they knew to keep them well away from the females, and placed them at the far end of the garden. (They also made sure the plants were sheltered from the wind). Next, they planted corn, sunflowers, and beans between the male and female cannabis plants, and enjoyed healthy, pest and disease-free crops!

Also, cannabis plants have long taproots that dive deep into the ground and break apart low-quality soil. As a result, nutrients and moisture infiltrate the soil, thereby improving quality. (As a bonus, taproots keep the soil in place and ensure there are no issues with soil loss and nutrient run-off during spells of heavy rain).

5 – Delicious, Healthy, Nutritious THCA Juice

Have you ever tried raw cannabis juice? It appears as if though the cannabolic acids (specifically THCA and CBDA) in weed juice have a huge range of health benefits. When you harvest cannabis bud, the vast majority of the THC is in the form of THC-A, which actually doesn’t get you high. When THC-A is decarboxylated, however (i.e. when you smoke it), it transforms into the psychoactive version of delta-9-THC.

You can use your males to produce raw-pressed cannabis oil, which can be added to smoothies, tea, or coffee to create a super an earthy, tasty, super nutritious cannabis-inspired snack!

Final Thoughts on Male Cannabis Plants

Most marijuana growers throw away their male plants as a matter of habit, but we think you shouldn’t be so hasty. Females produce the buds that allow us to either get high or benefit from the apparent medical properties of weed. However, male plants are far from being useless.

As well as providing you with a healthy juice, males make for ideal garden companions. They are great for making clothes from hemp fiber, are necessary for breeding, and you can use them in concentrates.

Do you intend to benefit from one or more of the uses outlined above? If so, remember that cannabis pollen can travel a long way to fertilize a female. Make sure you keep your crop protected!

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

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