The Differences Between Male and Female Marijuana Plants


In the world of weed, male and female cannabis plants couldn’t be more different. Despite coming from the same cannabis genus, these two plant genders create unique experiences for growers, making it crucial to understand how females grow versus males.

So, let’s talk about it: what are the differences between male and female cannabis plants? And, how can you differentiate them in the first place? Let’s find out.

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Understanding Male and Female Cannabis Plants

Before we get into how to determine the sex of your cannabis plant, let’s first talk about how these two differ in the first place. This way you will have a better understanding of why most growers prefer females over males.

Female cannabis plants are highly sought after because they are the ones that produce the flowers we tend to associate with cannabis. In other words, they produce the buds that growers dry and cure so consumers can enjoy them. These buds, or flowers, are the parts of the cannabis plant that hold beneficial cannabinoids like THC and CBD; so, without these flowers, you won’t have any sort of potent effects.

Male cannabis plants, on the other hand, do not produce flowers. Instead, they produce pollen sacs that are used to pollinate female marijuana plants. Because of this, male plants are primarily used for breeding purposes with experienced growers. However, they are often considered to be undesirable in cannabis cultivation because they may end up pollinating your female plants. This will then lead to seeded flowers, which are generally not preferred for recreational or medical use. This is exactly why feminized cannabis seeds have gained such immense popularity over the years.

How to Differentiate Between Male and Female Plants

Now that you know why female marijuana plants tend to be more popular than males, let’s talk about how you can tell the difference between the two in the first place. This way, you can keep an eye out for these signs as the plants mature and remove any unwanted males that may start to cultivate.

Let’s begin with the signs that you’re growing male marijuana plants.

Male Cannabis Plants

Typically, about 3-6 weeks into the grow cycle, cannabis plants will start showing their sex. During this time, you’ll want to look at the nodes, where the branches meet the stem. Here, male plants will begin to develop small, round balls—these are the beginnings of the pollen sacs. Then, as the plants enter the flowering stage, the sexual characteristics become more pronounced.

In male plants, the balls develop into larger pollen sacs, which eventually open to release pollen. They tend to be taller and less bushy than their female counterparts, too. Male plants often have a sparser, more open structure and may grow taller to spread their pollen.

In general, though frustrating, patience is going to be key here. Early identification can be challenging, and it’s sometimes necessary to wait until the first signs of the flowering stage for a clear determination. Then, once you’re sure you’re growing males, you can remove them immediately (unless you’re planning on breeding them).

Female Cannabis Plants

On the flip side, female marijuana plants are going to develop small, white hairs (also known as pistils) that protrude from what looks like a tiny bud (or calyx) during the first few weeks of the cycle. As they enter the flowering stage, the white hairs will become more numerous, eventually developing into buds. The buds will become sticky with trichomes, which contain the majority of the plant’s cannabinoids.

In terms of appearance, female plants typically are shorter and bushier, focusing energy on flower production. Male pre-flowers are more bulbous and clustered, while female pre-flowers tend to be more elongated and singular, with two hair-like pistils emerging.

Again, though, you will have to be patient in waiting for these signs, as they tend to not fully develop until several weeks later. But, if you don’t want to wait or have the worry of growing male plants, you can always choose to grow feminized marijuana seeds! These types of seeds have been modified to grow female flowers every time, leaving out the guesswork that regular seeds offer.

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Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants

Along with male and female marijuana plants, you can also find hermaphrodite plants. These are plants that have both male and female reproductive systems, allowing them to produce pollen and self-pollinate or pollinate other female plants nearby, leading to the production of seeds.

To identify these types of cannabis plants, you’ll need to pay close attention during the flowering stage. Hermaphrodite cannabis plants will exhibit both male reproductive organs, such as pollen sacs or banana-shaped structures known as “nanners,” as well as female reproductive organs (or pistils).

Speaking of nanners, you can check for this quintessential element of hermaphrodite plants by looking for elongated, banana-shaped pollen sacs that are less obvious and can easily be mistaken for part of the flower. These nanners can still release pollen and are a sign of hermaphroditism.

Can You Buy Female-Only Seeds?

As we’ve mentioned, female cannabis plants tend to be the most desired because of their ability to flower. Regular marijuana seeds are going to have a mix of both male and females, leaving you to pay close attention to the plants’ sex as they grow. Feminized cannabis seeds, however, take out this work entirely.

These female seeds have been genetically modified, allowing you to plant your seeds with total confidence that they will flower after just a few weeks. This is great for both experienced and beginner growers seeking an easier cultivation experience. 

You can find both feminized photoperiod and autoflowering feminized seeds depending on what you’re looking for grow-wise. Photoperiod seeds are going to flower when triggered by a change in the plant’s light cycle, while autoflowering seeds will enter this phase on their own after a certain amount of time. And, at Growers Choice Seeds, we offer both of these feminized varieties for sale in our online seed bank.

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Growing the Best Female Weed Plants With Growers Choice Seeds

Now that you know all about female weed plants versus males, it’s time to start growing some females for yourself. Here at Growers Choice Seeds, we exclusively sell feminized cannabis seeds to ensure that you only grow those bud-producing females you know and love. (You won’t find any regular cannabis seeds here!) 

You can find these feminized seeds in all of your favorite strains, as well as high-THC and high-CBD options. Whether you’re looking for a deep indica like Blue God or Master Kush, stimulating sativas like Pineapple Express or Panama Red, or even hybrids right in the middle like the Gelato strain, we have countless feminized seeds for you to choose from.


How do you identify male and female cannabis plants?

Male cannabis plants are characterized by their pollen sacs, which look like little balls or bunches hanging from the nodes (the points at which branches extend from the main stem). These sacs will eventually open to release pollen.

Feminized plants, however, are identified by their pistils and calyxes, which can be white or orange and are sticky to catch pollen. These are the beginnings of what will develop into the cannabis buds or flowers that are harvested for their cannabinoid content.

But, if you buy female cannabis seeds, you don’t have to worry about identifying the sex! 

Why is it important to differentiate between male and female cannabis plants?

Differentiating between male and female cannabis plants is crucial for growers because only female plants produce the cannabinoid-rich buds sought after by consumers and medical patients. Male plants produce pollen sacs that do not contain these compounds.

If male plants are allowed to pollinate female plants, the females will put their energy into producing seeds instead of potent buds. This results in a lower-quality product that is less desirable for consumption.

When do cannabis plants show their gender?

Cannabis plants typically show their gender during the pre-flowering stage, which occurs about 3-6 weeks into the plant’s life cycle under natural light conditions. This timing can vary depending on the strain and growing conditions, though.

What are the consequences of seeded buds?

Seeded buds generally have lower levels of cannabinoids and terpenes compared to seedless, also known as “sinsemilla,” buds because the plant diverts energy from resin production to seed production. The overall yield of usable bud decreases since the plant’s resources are focused on producing seeds.

Seeded buds are also harder to process and consume. Seeds must be removed before consumption, which can be tedious. Additionally, the presence of seeds can affect the taste and smoothness of the smoke. And, for commercial cannabis growers, seeded buds are less marketable and command a lower price than high-quality, seedless flowers due to the decreased potency and additional processing required.

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