Cannabis Gender: Male Vs Female Weed



Male vs female weed: what is the difference between male and female weed?

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that it has two distinct sexes, creating male plants and female plants from seed. A male cannabis plant’s pollen must fertilize the female flower’s reproductive organs for seed production to occur. Male cannabis plants create pollen sacs while female plants produce flowers (buds). The female flowers are high in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Male cannabis flowers have an anther and stamen which produce pollen, while female flowers have a stigma. The stigma functions to trap pollen from air in order to begin seed production in the ovule. 


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A young seedling will need time to reach sexual maturity before a determination by the naked eye can be made as to whether a cannabis plant is male or female. Those growing from clones taken from a female mother plant needn’t worry about gender identification because the cutting will be an exact genetic copy of the mother plant. 


Quick Tip: Young plants require a lot less fertilizer than plants in the rapid growth phases of late vegetative growth and during flowering. It is best to use fertilizers with a low concentration of nitrogen, like Prop-O-Gator as a stand alone fertilizer during the first few weeks of vegetative growth. This will prevent unwanted stretching and provide young plants with all the nutrients they require early in life without burning them!


For those growing from seed, it is a little trickier. Regular seed will produce female cannabis plants roughly 50% of the time, while feminized seed is bred to exclusively produce female plants. This is done by chemically inducing a female plant to become hermaphroditic. The plant is then able to then pollinate itself and the resulting seed is then genetically predisposed to be female. 


Male Vs. Female Weed: Does the gender of cannabis plants matter?


Yes! Female cannabis plants will create seeds when a male plant pollinates them. This requires more energy reserves within the plant to be designated towards seed production, reducing the yield and potency of your bud. Only female cannabis plants produce buds! 

Quick Tip: Flower production requires higher concentrations of phosphorus and potassium during flowering, in comparison to nitrogen. Flower production can be enhanced with phosphorus and potassium boosters like Ton-O-Bud and Bud Boom!

 Click here to learn more about the Holland Secret 3-Part Cannabis Fertilizer


When do cannabis plants show gender? 


Cannabis “pre-flowers” are the key to identifying cannabis gender, developing at about 3-6 weeks after germination. The male cannabis pre-flowers can show up on male plants as early as 3-4 weeks from germination. Female pre-flowers begin to develop a little slower, at about 4-6 weeks from germination. Some will strains reach sexual maturity faster than others. 


What do Cannabis pre-flowers look like?


Cannabis pre-flower development can be observed at the nodes, which are the intersections on the plant where branching occurs and flower production originates. 


Male cannabis preflowers will form tiny round pollen sacs at the nodes. The pollen sacs will become clusters that resemble bunches of bananas. The pollen sacs will begin to burst at about 4 weeks into flowering, pollinating nearby female cannabis plants to begin seed production. 


Male and female cannabis plants must be separated unless you want to produce seeds!

Group of female cannabis plants

Female Cannabis Plant


Female cannabis preflowers will look much like the male preflower at first, but a female pre-flower develops from what’s known as a calyx. 


The early differences between the development of a young calyx versus an immature pollen sac are hard to differentiate at first. 

The tell-tale sign that you have a female plant is: if you see two white hairs emerge from the calyx. The white hairs will appear fuzzy and are actually known as stigma, part of the undeveloped female flower. 

Examine your plants carefully, as identifying sex in the early stages of sexual maturity can be very difficult. Be patient and allow the preflowers to develop to accurately determine cannabis gender.

A male cannabis plant

Male Cannabis Plant


Male Vs. Female Weed: What’s wrong with seeded buds?


Today’s growers have become accustomed to the high THC levels that come from seedless buds (sensimilla), which is why a male plant left to mature in a crop is a cannabis grower’s worst nightmare. Should you find pollen sacs on any of your plants, remove the plant immediately, preventing the spread of pollen in the process by covering the plant with a garbage bag. Seeded buds can be airy, burn poorly, lack potency and flavor. Not-to-mention the constant hassle of picking seeds out of your bud every time you roll a joint. 


FUN FACT: A cannabis plant can be induced into becoming hermaphroditic when sprayed with a silver nitrate dilution. If a hermaphroditic plant pollinates itself, the resulting seed will produce female plants. This is how feminized seed is created. 

Things to look for when determining cannabis gender:

  • First and foremost, pollen sacs! If you see pollen sacs in your garden, remove the plant ASAP!
  • Male plants are normally taller 
  • Male plants tend to have wider internodal spacing, meaning that the intersections of branching up the main stem are farther apart.
  • Female plants generally tend to grow stout and bushy in early vegetative growth with tighter internodal spacing 
  • The calyx (center part of flower) on female plants will be large and have white hair. On male plants it will be small with no hair. 


Remember, You can guarantee females by getting feminized seeds or female clones! 

A cannabis plant

Male vs female weed: What do I do with hermaphroditic plants?⠀⠀

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Some cannabis plants can be hermaphrodites. This is when the female plant will develop both the male and female sex organs! A hermaphroditic plant can result in the plant pollinating itself and your entire crop in the process. This most often occurs when your plant is stressed out. Monitor the temperature, humidity, and pH closely! And always look out for pests, pathogens, diseases, and other factors that may cause your plant stress. Super B+ is a vitamin b1 and sea kelp formula, specifically designed to help fortify a plant’s immune system and aid in the recovery of environmental stressors. 


How does a cannabis plant become hermaphroditic? 

Research shows that the most common cause is due to plant stress. If cannabis is subjected to extreme environmental stressors like drought or extreme temperatures, it can trigger a chemical survival response resulting in a plant with female AND male flowers. The plant is thus able to pollinate itself, creating seed to procreate before presumably succumbing to the elements. Growers have also long attributed this phenomenon to the unstable genetics that result from poor cross-breeding practices. 


Male and female cannabis plants must be separated unless you want to produce seeds!

Male Vs. Female Weed: What to do when you get a male cannabis plant?

Most growers find and terminate all male cannabis plants in their grow. This is understandable if you want to ensure no female plants get pollinated. However, male plants are still of value. If you want to continue to grow your male plants we recommend growing them in a separate room from the females to discourage pollination. Male cannabis plants can be used for breeding, concentrates, hemp, and more. 


When a male and a female cannabis plant are bred, the male provides 50% of the genetics. This can be helpful in breeding strains that are mold resistant, have more resin, higher THC content, etc. 

Most growers dispose of male plants

While male plants often contain less THC than female plants, you can still find cannabinoids in the leaves, stems, and flowers. You can extract resin from male plants to create concentrates like hash, oil, and wax. Even the pollen contains THC! Male plants produce copious amounts of pollen, which can be collected, pressed, and consumed to give you an adequate high. 


Like This Article? We’ve got a ton of useful and informative cannabis cultivation blogs right here!




Any other questions? Email us at or send us a message on Instagram @futureharvestdevelopment and we’ll help you as best we can!

    Published by Bryce Jardine

    Bryce is an alumnus of Niagara College’s commercial cannabis program, Canada’s first-ever cannabis cultivation program. He is highly experienced in cannabis cultivation as a home grower, as well as in research and commercial environments. For additional growing tips, you can follow Bryce on Instagram @brycefutureharvest


  • Nov 15, 2022
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 5
Future Harvest March 22, 2022

Hi Jiggins,

Thanks for reaching out.

Yes plants are susceptible to cold weather and deer will eat them. So if you’re in a colder climate it may be best to grow indoors. Here’s a link to an article on indoor vs outdoor growing that should help you out

And the optimal temperature is between 15-30°C, but each grow is it’s own thing.

For more info on growing here are a few articles that will help you out:

Best nutrients for growing cannabis:

General questions and growing guides

Happy growing!

Jeffery and Nancy Lonero June 14, 2022

My pot plant is growing good in this late spring stage! At 1 foot high! A very cool yellow green color! I use fresh bong water! And Tomato paste as fertile ground some sugar, Table, cinnamon, oregano, coffee, The cool weather is slowing down its growth! It’s growing in my back yard alongside my other wild flowers! I’m hopeful it will be a 12 foot plant!

imelda brophy July 26, 2022

Would it be more accurate not use the word ‘gender’ at all in the context of male and female plants. It may be that you have a particular reason. Could you say why you use it interchangeably with ‘sex’

Future Harvest July 26, 2022

Hi Imelda,

Thanks for reaching out. So we actually find it more accurate to use gender/sex interchangeably when talking about cannabis because in botanical terminology it is a dioecious plant (has both male and female plants), so it’s important to identify the gender so that you don’t get a lot of male plants pollinating the grow.

Thanks for the question and have a great day.

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