Male vs. Female Cannabis Plant: Differences, Roles, & Characteristics

Are you growing cannabis from the comfort of your own home but aren’t sure which ones are males and females? You’re not alone!

Most growers also have difficulty differentiating male and female cannabis plants.

Fortunately, this article will show you some of the easiest ways to differentiate between a male and a female marijuana plant and why you should grow them.

All you have to do is read our guide below!

What Are Male Cannabis Plants?

Cannabis Plants

Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs. They are most useful for those looking to grow their weed supply.

These male pollen sacs are needed for sexual reproduction. However, a male plant isn’t suited for cultivation because no one wants to smoke buds with seeds.

Male cannabis plants are most important when breeding because they are responsible for half of the genetic makeup female plants produce during seed creation.

Because of this, most cannabis growers keep a watchful eye on male cannabis plants’ lineage, growth rate, climate resilience, pest and mold resistance, and many other factors.

They look into these as these attributes can be passed down to their offspring.

In addition, male cannabis plants are also the preferred choice when making hemp fibers for clothing, as their leaves are known to be softer and more subtle, whereas female cannabis plants are stiffer and harder.

Lastly, male cannabis is great for keeping harmful pests away from your grow room or backyard because they have high terpene concentrations on their leaves that are known to repel insects.

Characteristics of a Male Cannabis Plant

Cannabis plants have these tiny sacs that appear around the third or fourth week from seed.

These tiny ball sacs are pollen sacks responsible for pollinating female cannabis plants.

The male cannabis plant pre-flowers begin much sooner than the female. Once those are open, they can start pollinating female plants.

If you’re cultivating cannabis plants for their quality buds, watch out for male cannabis plants, as they can pollinate your entire backyard and stretch as far as five kilometers.

These are some common characteristics you can find in a male marijuana plant:

  • Taller than female plants
  • Fewer leaves
  • Pollen sacs that form around the vegetative stage
  • Fewer fan leaves
  • Fatter main stem

What Is the Role of the Male Plants?

As we’ve mentioned, one of the most important roles of male plants is to pollinate their female counterparts to produce cannabis seeds, which are important in any breeding program.

Male plants are unimportant if your primary purpose for cultivating them is for their resinous buds.

They are also often discarded at first sighting as they can easily pollinate thousands of female plants in one sitting.

You wouldn’t want that as a grower because female plants will focus more on producing cannabis seeds than developing their buds, which will not be a fantastic trait to sell to your customers.

Still, there are some essential benefits to a male marijuana plant. These include:

Genetic Material

A cannabis plant is a dioecious plant, meaning this plant has distinct male and female characteristics.

In rare instances, there are also cannabis plants that display hermaphroditism, a characteristic in which a cannabis plant can self-pollinate.

Keeping good male marijuana plants is essential for retaining and ensuring a specific gene pool that can be passed down for generations.

It is one of the most important aspects growers see in a male cannabis plant.

This way, you can retain important cannabis traits such as potency, resistance, resilience, terpene profiles, etc.

However, in recent years, growers have also been keen on passing genetic materials such as growth rates, general health, cannabinoid concentration, and many more.


Male and female plants each carry half the genetics of the plant species. However, female plants are relatively more THC-concentrated than their male counterparts.

Still, this doesn’t mean that male plants aren’t able to possess high THC and CBD profiles too.

A male cannabis plant’s leaves often have high concentrations of cannabinoids, whereas their female counterparts have a smaller amount.

This characteristic makes male plants great for making hashish because of their ability to produce these types of resin glands.

Most growers look at a male plant’s cannabinoid and terpene content, as these are important in making the best possible strain that combines all the features you want in a cannabis plant.

For example, you would want a male cannabis plant with high concentrations of CBD and pair it with a female plant with the same features.

This breeding will most likely yield a tremendous strain with high concentrations of CBD and other similar features.

Pest Control

Male cannabis plants have unique terpene profiles compared to female plants. This feature makes them fantastic tools for breeding female plants.

Growers look into a male’s terpene profile to match it with a female. Terpenes such as borneol, limonene, and pinene are known to repel insects.

And if bred with a female, it may yield an insect-repelling strain. Male plants with poor genetics are often discarded to avoid the potential pollination of female plants.

What Are Female Cannabis Plants?

A female cannabis plant is preferred for breeders over a male plant.

Why? It is because they contain those great buds that most people are after. ONLY FEMALE CANNABIS PLANTS PRODUCE BUDS that are great for recreational and medical use.

These buds are used in various products, from topicals to smokables.

They also have a higher concentration of THC than male cannabis plants, the psychoactive compound known for its properties or the reason people get high when using weed.

For comparison, a male cannabis plant has only trace amounts of THC that can be extracted from it. Female marijuana plants are more potent in terms of THC amount and value.

So, if you’re cultivating cannabis plants to feel their psychoactive effects, we recommend planting female plants in your grow room or backyard.

Characteristics of a Female Cannabis Plant

Most cannabis plants begin to show signs of female reproductive organs around the fourth to the sixth week of their growth cycle or before they enter the flowering stage.

They often exhibit small pre-flowers that can be distinguished from male pre-flowers.

The female pre-flower often looks like a pair of white hairs and is commonly known as plant pistils.

They form around the calyx, and these small pre-flowers become the buds that cultivators are after.

If you are still having a hard time identifying sex, look for these distinct characteristics female cannabis plants possess:

  • Resinous buds
  • Pre-flowers
  • White translucent hairs
  • Slender stalks
  • Abundant leaves
  • Relatively shorter than male plants
  • Slimmer main stem

What Is the Role of the Female Plants?

The role of female cannabis plants is to produce those CBD-packed buds highly concentrated with THC contents.

On the other hand, male seeds are as important as female seeds, but their buds are less potent than female ones.

While seeds are important for the breeding program, it is not often needed if you already have all the seeds at your disposal.

You will want to remove any unwanted male plants in your grow area to ensure your female marijuana plant won’t catch pollen.

How Do the Male and Female Plants Differ From the Other?

Male and female plants may differ, but both play an important role in seed production.

If you’re growing cannabis plants in your backyard or grow room, it is important to identify whether a cannabis plant is male or female.

Pay close attention to the areas where the leaves and branches extend, as these are the areas where the pollen sacs and female hairs can be seen.

However, the key difference between male and female plants is that females produce buds for their psychoactive properties, whereas male plants do not.

When female plants get pollinated by male plants, female cannabis plants focus more on producing seeds than developing buds.

If you want to focus more on producing buds than seeds, you would want to extract male plants from your grow area.

It is one of the reasons why sexing cannabis plants is important at an early stage, and this is to prevent nearby male plants from pollinating female cannabis plants.

The Importance of Differentiating Male and Female Cannabis Plants

Male and Female Cannabis Plants

Separating male and female cannabis plants is the most important aspect of differentiating them early.

When male cannabis plants are separated early, it reduces the risk of pollinating your entire cultivar.

Early signs such as a pre-flower start appearing as early as six weeks. During this stage, you should know by now to eradicate every last male plant to prevent pollination.

This is because vegetative and flowering stages are important for male and female cannabis plants.

During the plant’s vegetative stage, the marijuana plant will only get taller, bigger, and more vigorous. It is impossible to know the plant’s sex during this time.

What Are Feminized Seeds?

Since cannabis plants are dioecious plants, they produce both male and female offspring.

Feminized seeds are produced to grow female plants, whereas regular seeds can give you a 50% chance of producing female plants and a 50% chance of producing male ones.

Remember how we’ve mentioned that everyone doesn’t desire male plants?

This way, you limit the possibility of male pollen sacs pollinating everything in your backyard. This technique of feminizing seeds requires the use of colloidal silver.

Genetic Manipulation

The seeds for feminizing go through a process called genetic manipulation.

The concept behind this is to induce female plants to make pollen sacs. In normal instances, male plants are the only ones capable of producing pollen sacs.

But in this process, if you can encourage a female cannabis plant to produce pollen, you will have pollen that only contains female chromosomes.

How Does Genetic Manipulation Work?

Before a female cannabis plant enters its flowering stage, you should spray colloidal silver all over the plant’s body.

The silver ions in the colloidal silver prevent ethylene production that the plant needs to produce male flowers.

As a result, the female cannabis plant produces pollen sacs. And because female plants contain zero male chromosomes, the pollen produced by the female treated with colloidal silver should be 99.99% female.

This technique is reliable if done properly.

Some results are 70 %to 90% accurate. In contrast, some experienced breeders have a 1:1400 ratio of male to female plants in their feminized seeds—a pretty good ratio.

Are Feminized Seeds Better Than Regular Seeds?

It depends on the grower. If they are selectively breeding cannabis plants, then regular seeds are as important as feminized ones.

But feminized seeds offer the best rewards for cultivating cannabis for its buds or the main feature of female flowers.

A Feminized seed may be better than a regular seed because of the following conditions:

  • You can maximize yields as you don’t have to deal with unusable male plants in your grow area or backyard.
  • Reduce the risk of male plants pollinating your entire female population.
  • Simple cultivation. Knowing that your plants are all females diminishes the guesswork needed in checking if you have males for pollinating.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might find the answers below if you have more questions regarding male and female cannabis plants.

Will Seeds From a Female Plant Be Female?

Unless they are feminized, there is no way of knowing if your female will produce a similar plant. You must put them through the feminization process if you want your female plants to produce female seeds.

In most cases, feminized seeds will give you one male seed in a thousand cannabis seeds.

But if you’re only asking whether a female plant can only produce female seeds, then the answer is no.

Cannabis plants are dioecious, which means once they produce seeds, they give you a 50 % chance of getting a male or female plant.

Can I Turn a Male Plant Female?

When female cannabis plants produce seeds, these seeds already have sexes even before germination.

The sex is already encoded into these seeds, and there’s no possible way to make females into males and males into females.

However, some techniques can encourage male cannabis plants to exhibit female characteristics.

To turn a male cannabis plant into a female, most growers use chemicals such as ethylene, which is used to stimulate a hormonal response in cannabis plants.

When there’s an elevated level of female hormones in a male cannabis plant, it can trigger flowering development.

But this method can only be done when male plants haven’t already entered their flowering stage.

It is also important to know that not all male plants are male; some of them are hermaphrodites. Identifying males is already hard, let alone true males

What Are Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants?

Although rare, hermaphrodite plants possess both male and female sex organs.

This phenomenon happens when cannabis plants are too stressed due to several factors, such as damage to the plant, unfavorable conditions, nutrient deficiencies, diseases, and more.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are a common occurrence when growing indoors. Hermaphrodites happen when plants are excessively exposed to light during dark times.

While you think it may be good because it can pollinate on its own, you’d be mistaken.

They can pollinate nearby female plants because they also possess pollen sacs; these pollen sacs can easily pollinate thousands of female plants when left alone and can potentially ruin your entire crop.


If you don’t want your male cannabis plants to go berserk and start pollinating all of your female plants, it is better to learn how to differentiate male or female plants at an early stage.

You must monitor plants as often as possible. Plants grow very fast, so it would be beneficial to know a plant’s gender before they begin flowering.

Whether male or female, they all play an important role in cannabis cultivation. But if you are hoping for specific outcomes, you must distinguish between male and female sex organs as soon as possible.