So you’ve decided to grow your own weed garden. Being swayed by its common name, you thought that this money-making task would be a breeze. Thinking that it’s just weed, it can practically grow anywhere just like actual weeds. You buy a live potted off of some guy you know and placed it strategically on your soon to be “Weed Oasis”. Something isn’t right though, it has been weeks since you’ve planted your very first plant but it seems that it’s not bearing any seeds to germinate. You start doing your Google research on how to grow your own weed and to your discovery, there exists a male and female cannabis plant and to your surprise, there is a crucial difference between the two.
Cannabis and its Sexes
It is not common knowledge that plants generally do have sexes, this is no exception to Cannabis genus. As seeds, you would not yet identify whether it would be male or female. There is always a 50-50 chance that the plant would grow up as male or female. At six weeks of growth, there is a state called “pre-flowering” stage wherein it could alert you of the gender of the plant you are growing. Pre-flowers are found along the sides of the stalk. It is easy to identify whether the pre-flower will be male or female. Male pre-flowers look like little balls and female pre-flowers start out as little balls but start out to grow little hair like strands called “pistils”. In determining this, there is also a big possibility of the plant being hermaphrodite. Environmental stress can cause a female plant to develop male characteristics. Females are able to develop male characteristics at a certain point when while growing, it will make an effort to produce seeds before the stress kills the plant. Stressors can be lack of light during the flowering stage, drastic changes in temperature, drought, and physical damage. This also includes certain reactions to pesticides and fungicides, and insects or disease.
The Male Cannabis
In the vegetative stage, as mentioned above, these plants can alert you of its sex in the pre-flowering stage. Between the stalks in a male plant, you will see a small ball called “staminate primordia”. This is the male pre-flower. After a few weeks, these balls will start growing, these are the pollen sac.
Now, you do not have to watch a seed grow into the vegetative state to sex the plant. For grown cannabis plants or plants in the flowering stage, you can identify that the plant is male by looking at the same characteristics as you have in the vegetative state, the pollen sacs between the stalks.
Male cannabis plants have lower THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content than its female counterpart. They have low potency and are only kept for the production of seeds. Although this is for a fact, male cannabis plants can still be psychoactive in nature. Small amounts of cannabinoids can be found in certain parts of the plant which are the stems, sacs, and in the leaves. These can be used to produce has, which is drug made from resin from the cannabis plant often for recreational uses. You can also extract these cannabinoids in order to produce other oils.
The genetics of the male cannabis plant are closely looked at due to the fact that it produces half of the genetic makeup that is inherited by its offspring. Breeders look at the rate of growth, shape, climate resilience, and pest and mold resistance so they may be passed on to the next generation to produce quality offspring.
Breeding is not the only thing male cannabis plants are used for. Male cannabis produces a softer hemp fiber compared to ones produced by female cannabis which are courser, and stronger. The hemp fiber produced by the male cannabis plant is more desirable to use for clothes, and other cloth materials used in the common household.
The Female Cannabis
Similar to the early sexing of the male cannabis plants, you can identify a female cannabis plant by looking at its pre-flowering. The female pre-flowers are called “calyx” most commonly known as the “bud”. It starts out as little balls, similar to the male pre-flowers but they start to grow two long strands of hair called the pistils. It is hard to look for these in the early stages, but you would be able to see it with a magnifying glass. Eventually, these will grow longer and it will be easier to see with the naked human eye. the female keep growing. You will see strands of hair which is an obvious sign that it is a female.
These buds, as they grow, are commonly viewed as more useful to most people due to the fact that they are more potent than the male cannabis plant. Female flowers are coated with a thick layer of cannabinoid resin which are often used for its recreational and medicinal potential. Small mushroom shaped glands called “trichomes” produce the resin in which the cannabinoid is harvested.
Female cannabis plants are usually isolated from male ones due to the fact that males can pollinate these female plants and once pollinated, the female plants will not produce as much THC needed for medicine and recreation. When the females are kept away from the pollen made by the male cannabis plants, these female plants will exert more effort in capturing pollen by producing a more valuable resin resulting in a flower that is densely coated in layers of trichomes. This is why separating is a drastic measure to be taken to ensure a higher yield in quality and quantity of resin production which is more popularly in demand than seed production.
Anyone growing female cannabis should ensure that their plants get an ample amount of water, sunlight, and protection especially for females due to the fact that females can grow into hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodite plants have both male and female characteristics which can mean disaster for the harvest of these plants. As stated above, females become hermaphrodites during the growth stage when they are exposed to stress such as lack of light during the flowering stage, drastic changes in temperature, drought, and physical damage. This also includes certain reactions to pesticides and fungicides, and insects or diseases.