There’s a huge difference between the male cannabis plant and the female cannabis plant. For starters, female plants are the only ones that produce buds, which makes them a lot more useful and valuable in the eyes of cultivators and cannabis companies.
However, even though the male cannabis plant doesn’t make any buds, it still has its uses and benefits. In this guide, we’ll answer some common questions about cannabis plant anatomy, putting the male vs female cannabis plant side by side to compare their features and uses.
Cannabis Plant Anatomy
Before we look in-depth at the differences between male vs female cannabis plants, it’s important to have a general overview of what cannabis plants look like and their key components, from roots to flowers. There are four main parts of cannabis plant anatomy:
- Roots: The roots are the base of the plant, located underground. They spread out in the soil to help soak up water and nutrients that are needed to help the cannabis plant grow big and strong.
- Stem: The stem is almost the body or backbone of the plant. It’s long and narrow, leading from the roots up to the leaves, and it essentially serves as a transport system, funneling water and nutrients wherever they need to go.
- Leaves: The leaves are arguably the most distinctive part of the cannabis plant. They tend to be long and narrow, with a very famous and iconic shape that a lot of people know, even non-cannabis users. They’re used to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis.
- Flowers: Finally, we have the cannabis flower of the cannabis plant. The flowers, or buds, are what people grind up and use in cannabis products like joints and oils. In many ways, they’re the most important part of the whole plant.
Female vs Male Cannabis Plant: The Reproductive System of Cannabis Plants
So, how do cannabis plants reproduce? Well, the process works a lot like it does in many other plants, with pollen from the male plant needed to fertilize the flowers of the female plant. This then triggers seed production in the female plant, and those seeds can be used to grow new cannabis plants.
Female marijuana plants produce flowers or buds, while male marijuana plants make pollen sacs. Both are needed to make new plants. They also differ in that the male cannabis plant has parts called an anther and stamen, which produce the pollen, while the female ones have stigmas to catch the pollen and trap it for seed production to begin.
Male Cannabis Plant
Here’s all you need to know about the male plant:
Characteristics and identification
Key characteristics include:
- Thicker and sturdier stalks
- Fewer leaves
- Taller than the females
- The presence of pollen sacs
- Male flowers tend to be green and white in color
Function of male plants in reproduction
The purpose or function of the male plants for cannabis reproduction is to make pollen. The parts of the plant responsible for pollen production are the anther and the stamen. Pollen sacs usually start forming on male plants after about four weeks and are clearly visible by the six-week stage. The pollen from those sacs floats through the air or can be carried over to the females, triggering fertilization and seed production.
Development of male flowers
Male plants don’t have flowers in the same way that the females do. This is what makes them generally less useful and relevant for cannabis manufacturers and sellers, as the female ones are the only plants that make buds that can be harvested, ground down, and used for smoking, vaping, edible production, and so on. The “flowers” of the males are technically the bell-shaped clusters we know as pollen sacs.
Female Cannabis Plant
Next, here’s all the info on female plants:
Characteristics and identification
Key characteristics include:
- Slimmer stalks than the males
- Lots more leaves
- Tiny white or orange hairs
- V-shaped pistils
- Shorter plants
- The presence of resin-covered buds
Role of female plants in reproduction
The female plants have a big part to play in reproduction, as they’re the ones that produce the seeds that will germinate and grow into brand-new plants. However, they still need a trigger from the male plants, first. The male plants pollinate the females, which use their stigmas to trap the pollen and then begin the production of seeds.
Anatomy of female flowers
After about four weeks, “pre-flowers” begin to form on female plants. The pre-flowers look like little balls with tiny white hairs growing in a V-shape. Over time, that V-shaped pistil develops into a bud. They grow bigger and can be a range of colors, from green to blue, purple, and move. They’re covered in tiny hairs and have a sticky, resin-like coating.
Trichomes and resin production
Trichomes are the little hairs that appear on the buds of the female plant, and a sticky substance called resin is released around the flowers. This is designed to protect the flowers against pests, diseases, and other threats.
Differences Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants
The big differences between male and female plants are the presence of buds on the females, which are used for many products you’ll find in a recreational marijuana dispensary, and the pollen sacs on the males. You can start to tell the difference between the two as early as four weeks into their lives, as pre-flowers begin forming on the females and pollen sacs start appearing on the males.
By the six week stage, it should be very clear to see which ones are female and which are male. However, there is always a possibility of growing a hermaphrodite plant. Hermaphrodites can have both pollen sacs and pre-flowers, essentially giving them both sets of reproductive organs. Contact us to learn more about these unique plants.
Benefits of Male Cannabis Plants
Despite their lack of buds, male plants have many uses:
- Breeding: Obviously, males are just as necessary for breeding as females, as pollen is a key part of the process.
- Hemp fiber: Male plants make stronger and thicker stalks which are great for using as fiber for clothing or textile production.
- Concentrates: Male plant matter can be processed to create cannabis concentrates for dabbing.
Ways to Use Male Weed Plants
There’s no need to simply toss male plants away, as some growers do. They have multiple uses, like:
- Making hemp fiber.
- Useful for selective breeding.
- Producing hash oil and wax.
- Making pest-resistant oils to keep bugs away.
- Making THCa juice.
Overall, there are some clear and obvious differences to note between male and female plants. While females are more desirable and useful for cannabis consumption, male plants shouldn’t be overlooked or discarded, as they still have uses and unique benefits.