Sexing Marijuana

For cannabis farmers a fundamental, essential component in the cultivation process is accurately determining the sex of your plants

Male plants contain minimal THC and produce pollen sacks which upon maturity open and release, seeding the female flower.

Female plants produce bud like flowers with high THC content.  The female marijuana flower is the part of the plant used for medical and recreational purposes.

Female flowers (left) form in pistilets and males (right) form pollen balls

female and male calyx

The Breakdown


Male plants produce ball like pollen sacks at the node. During its calyx phase the male flower looks like a tiny green acorn. Pictured male flower at 1 week

When the flower matures it opens and drops banana shaped sacks. Once the male flower has opened the pollen is released and the female plants develop seeds. Piictured: male flower at 3 weeks .

During the vegetative cycle male plants are often taller than the females. Pictured a male flower at 8 weeks

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 Females develop tear dropped shaped buds called pistelets. Branching  from the pistelet are white hairlike growths. Pictured female flower at 1 week

Mature female flowers develop crystals and have a bold fragrant smell. Pictured female flower at 3 weeks

Female flowers produce the high levels of THC, and female flowers are the part of the plant that medical and recreational users consume. Pictured female flower at 8 weeks.

A Major Issue


As each sex produces flowers that look much different from one another, the process of removing males should be a cut and dry, easy task.  However, sexing can get tricky as many plants have hermaphroditic potential. Life has a way of hanging on and pushing through, and it is this determination woven into the fabric of nature that creates this phenomenon in cannabis.  

It is imperative to check your plants daily for the first month of the flowering cycle, looking closely at the nodes for male pollen sacks. Some growers assert that snipping off the male balls on a hermaphrodite plant will prevent seeding; however, if the plant is a hermaphrodite it can always grow male flowers later on and seed your crop.  Alfalfa Grass errs on the side of caution, and suggessts destroying hermaphrodite plants upon discovery. The following images shown both male flowers (circled in blue) and female flowers on hermaphrodite cannabis plants.

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