Why Are Male Cannabis Plants Important

Why Are Male Cannabis Plants Important? - August 11, 2022

Cannabis is one of the few crop species capable of producing both male and female plants. These are individual and unisexual plants that play very separate roles during their life cycle. To avoid any confusion, we’ll go through the basics of what the male pot plants look like (their distinguishing characteristics), and how it benefits us as well as the female cannabis plant.

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What Are Male Cannabis Plants?


What are male cannabis plants

Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs that pollinate female plants in close proximity. The male plant in itself is not usable for the purpose of recreational or therapeutic benefits. In other words, dried and cured male plants will not have any strong effects on you. This is because the male plant has a different purpose entirely.

Cannabis plants can be both male and female, with both reproductive organs growing on separate plants. This makes cannabis a dioecious plant. While the female cannabis plant is what we usually consume, male cannabis plants have a different role to play i.e. create pollen.

Male weed plants are crucial for the cannabis life cycle. These are involved in the breeding of cannabis flowers and are responsible for 50% of its genetic makeup.

Remember: Male marijuanas are not void of all cannabinoids but contain them in much smaller quantities.

How Do Male Cannabis Plants Differ From Females?

Male and female cannabis plants are different. But you can easily differentiate between the male and female plants.  Before the flowering stage, you can look for certain telltale signs to distinguish the sex of your cannabis plant.

Characteristics Male Weed Plants Female Weed Plants
Stalk and Leaves Thick and sturdy stalks.
Fewer leaves.
Slender stalks.
Abundant leaves.
Pre-flowers Pollen sacs or stamens grow on male plants within the first 4 weeks. One or two long pistils (hair) grow at the plant nodes within the first 4 weeks.
Cannabinoid production Produce very small quantities of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. Produces high quantities of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
Purpose Pollinates the female plant. Its terpenes act as insect and pest repellents. Used to make hemp fiber. Produces high quantities of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.

There is a third variation of marijuana plants that includes both male and female reproductive organs. Since these produce pollen, they are treated as male marijuana plants. These plants are called hermaphrodites.

Male Marijuana Plant Anatomy – How to Identify a Male Plant?

You can figure out the sex of a cannabis plant by looking at the “pre-flowers”. Pre-flowers are the growths that appear on a cannabis plant during the vegetative stage. While the pre-flowers in both males and females look similar to an inexperienced eye, their inherent differences can be identified carefully by understanding the male marijuana plant anatomy.

  • In male plants, the pre-flowers are pollen sacs that carry seeds (for pollination). These grow within the first 4 weeks of germination.
  • These sacs are present at the nodes, where the stem branches out, particularly at the top of the plant.
  • The male plant will also have thick stalks and only a handful of leaves.

In contrast, the female plant grows pre-flowers within 4 to 6 weeks after germination. Instead of a pollen sac, the growth consists of a calyx (bud) and pistils (white hair-like structure). These pistils may take a few days longer to show up. Even without the hair, female pre-flowers can be distinguished due to their pointy, narrower, and longer characteristics.

Also Read: 7 Things You Need to Know About Autoflowering Seeds: A Must Read Guide

Benefits of Male Marijuana Plants

The male cannabis plant is not used for consumption but it has multiple other benefits. Let’s discuss them:

Strong Genetic Line

Strong and healthy male cannabis plants are crucial for breeding. Since cannabis is a dioecious plant (with separate male and female plants), it makes evolutionary breeding much easier. In other words, breeders tend to find strong and healthy feminized cannabis plants that they can breed with strong and healthy male plants to grow hybrids with strong genetic pools.

Oftentimes, breeders choose male plants that have a strong cannabinoid and terpene profile, are resistant to pathogens, have a fast growth rate, and are healthy. These are then bred with female plants that have other, positive characteristics such as cannabinoid and terpene profile or its effects and aroma. These characteristics unique to both the male and female plants combine to ensure that the resultant plants will have a very strong gene profile.

Remember: Cannabis plants are also capable of self-pollinating. While this process will help you clone the characteristics of the female (mother) plant, it reduces the chance of diversifying the gene pool and also increases the chances of hermaphroditism. If you want to change the gene pool of your cannabis plant, you’ll require a genetically strong male (father) plant.

Pest Control

Male marijuana plants contain terpenes like limonene, pinene, borneol, and valencene that act as insect and pest repellents. In multiple cases, farmers tend to grow male marijuana plants in their fields to protect their crops from any pest infestations.

Best Used to Make Concentrates

Male marijuana plants contain fewer amounts of cannabinoids but they do contain some concentrations of the chemical compounds. These compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes) are more abundantly found in male leaves rather than flowers and can be used to make concentrates and hashish.

Make Hemp Fiber

Male marijuana plants a softer hemp fiber while the female produces a coarse and tough one. The softer fiber produced by the male is more desirable for manufacturing products like clothing, bags, shoes, and other household items.

Also Read: How to Cure Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

How to Find Good Quality Male Cannabis Plants?

To find genetically strong male cannabis flowers, you can begin a 5 step elimination process.

  • Eliminate early flowering or auto-flowering plants
  • Eliminate male plants that grow too fast or too tall
  • Get rid of stems with pith (a spongy white tissue lining)
  • Get rid of loose and airy flower structures
  • Pick plants with the most odor during vegetative stage

Also Read: Cultivating Cannabis: A Guide into Indoor and Outdoor Growing Practices

Do Male Plants Produce CBD?

Male cannabis plants produce CBD along with other cannabinoids, but in fewer amounts than female plants. Female plants are always much more potent than their male counterparts.

What Happens if You Don’t Separate a Male From Female Plant?


If male and female marijuana plants are allowed to grow in proximity, then pollination can occur. The pollen from a male plant can travel as far as 10 miles to reach the stigma (pistils) of the female plant, giving way to the process of fertilization. The process drains the female plant of all energy and instead of growing resinous, seedless buds, it will produce seeds. Even the most potent female flower will lose its potency and will no longer have the same effects.

How Many Leaves do Male Cannabis Plants Have?

Male marijuana plants may have five to nine leaves. The number of leaves is generally low in male plants as compared to the female plants. However, the stalk is sturdier and thicker in male marijuana plants.


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