What to Do With Male Cannabis Plants
Published on 5/21/21
Now that spring is finally here, it is time to pick out new seeds for your cannabis garden! Whether you're planting a small home plot or working on an industrial-sized cannabis farm, the first steps of growing weed from seed is all about identifying plant sex.
For each plant, the cultivator must inspect their plants and know their sex before they reach the full vegetation and flowering stages of growth. Unless your plants are properly sexed and managed, your growing plans won't go as planned. So what is it that separates female and male cannabis plants, and why do most growers get rid of male plants as soon as they identify them? We'll cover those questions, plus give new growers our five favorite tips for what to do with male weed plants instead of throwing them in the trash bin.
What Are The Differences Between A Female Weed Plant & A Male Weed Plant?
When most of us think of weed, we imagine big, manicured buds full of greens, purples, and oranges, dripping in THC trichomes. It might seem like any old cannabis plant can produce gorgeous flowers, but in reality, it is only female marijuana plants that grow the cannabinoid-rich buds enjoyed by stoners around the world.
Male plants, on the other hand, produce pollen sacks that eventually open and spread genetic material to other nearby plants. When cannabis growers are sexing their new crops, they wait for the plants to grow their first small branches and then inspect the nodes, or joints, where the stalk meets the branches. In those corners, early-stage female plants will grow hair-like pistils, while male plants grow prominent pollen sacks.
As they mature, female cannabis plants will begin to grow flowers, which eventually turn into the bulbous, resin-filled buds we all know and love. Male plants, on the other hand, continue to build their pollen sacks and look like miniature banana trees before the sacks pop open and blanket their surroundings with life-giving pollen.
How Do Growers React After Early Signs Of A Male Plant?
As cannabis cultivators watch their young plants for signs of early sex, the presence of a male-presenting plant is typically met with swift and immediate removal from the garden or grow room.
If the male plants are left to grow in the same vicinity as their female counterparts, there is a very good chance that the male plant will pollinate the female plant, diverting energy away from flower growth and into seed development. Once that process starts, your female plants will no longer be worth anything as far as the smokeable or sellable product is concerned.
Even though most growers rip up and toss their male cannabis plants straight into the compost bin, cultivators looking to get the most out of every seed can still use their male plants for a few ancillary projects that don't involve rolling up and smoking.
What To Do With Male Pot Plants
Breed New Strains
The most common use for male cannabis plants is in the breeding of new and unique strains. By purposely pollinating a chosen male plant and actively spreading that pollen on a selected female plant, cultivators are able to splice the genetics from both plants into a new varietal that carries traits from both sides. If you're wondering how the cannabis industry got to the point where there are literally thousands of different strains on the market, you've got male weed plants and their pollen to thank.
Use The Hemp Fibers
Hemp is an industrial plant that has been used in the US for hundreds of years, and thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the non-psychoactive cannabis plant is making new waves as a health supplement. Before hemp was bred to produce high CBD content though, it was even more revered for its strong, incredibly useful fibers. It might take a little work to manufacture rope or clothing out of your male weed plants, but it's an option!
How To Make Hash From Male Plant
Male cannabis plants don't have nearly as many cannabinoids like THC and CBD as fully-flowering females, but if you grow enough, you can put together a large batch of male plants and extract as much oil as possible. While female cannabis plants concentrate their cannabinoids in the flowering buds, male plants store what little cannabinoids they have in their leaves, making them best for extract production.
Spruce Up Your Vegetable Garden
You definitely don't want your male cannabis plants growing to full term anywhere near your garden of female weed plants, but if you have a vegetable, herb, or flower garden completely separate from your marijuana grow, those male plants could be a huge help. The terpenes present on a male cannabis plant are a natural insect repellent and could keep pesky pests away from your tomatoes and squash.
Juice the Stock and Leaves
The idea of edible cannabis usually conjures up thoughts of brownies, cookies and five-plus hours of intense THC high. Unlike decarboxylated cannabis flower though, using the stems and leaves from your male cannabis plants to make juices, smoothies, and other purees is a great way to boost your nutritional input and make use of all the parts of your marijuana grow.
Have you ever done these with your male cannabis plants? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!