Can Male Marijuana Plant Compare to Female Marijuana Plant?

Male Marijuana Plant

Who on earth needs a male marijuana plant when it can’t give you potent buds — that’s what many an inexperienced grower is thinking. 

Even though the female weed plant has stolen all the spotlight, that doesn’t necessarily mean the world would be a better place without male cannabis. After all, we still need the seeds to grow other cannabis plants.

Without any question, both plants are needed (and we shall expand on this later). They undergo the same marijuana plant stages and seem identical until they start to develop buds, which reveal the plant sex

We’ll provide you with tips for easy plant identification to help you recognize the difference between the male cannabis plant and the female marijuana plant.

So, let’s see how the whole growing and harvesting process goes, how you can distinguish marijuana sex, including the hermaphrodite weed plant, and if there is any way to turn things around by changing male plants into females. 

Moreover, if you’re stuck with more males than you accounted for, they can be put to good use too. Therefore, read on!

How Female and Male Marijuana Plant Grow and Develop

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? All marijuana plants are created equal. Of course, there are still differences regarding cannabis species, and let’s not forget about the famous Indica vs. Sativa rivalry

In any case, THC content aside, all marijuana plants go through two distinct stages regardless of marijuana sex:

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering 

In the first one, plants tend to spend all their resources on growing as tall and as strong as they can. In the latter, plants develop flowers. Now, there are two options for how the flowering process may end up for the female marijuana plant:

  • It gets pollinated by the male plant and develops seeds that can be used for eating or reproduction.
  • It doesn’t get pollinated, so it “only” grows into a big cannabinoid and terpene-rich flower that we all love.

Although it’s good to have male and female plants to continue the species, to get the most out of your harvest, you want to avoid pollination at all costs.  

Since about 93% of the seeds will grow into a plant, you would need three regular seeds for one female plant or two feminized seeds, and so on.

What’s the Biggest Difference?

Distinguishing the basic difference between male and female plants is hard before their flowering stage. In other words, you might have to wait 4–6 weeks to determine the plant’s sex. But we’ll get into more details later. Now, let’s stick with the basics. The easiest way to make a distinction between the male and female plants are the following:

  • Male plants have pollen sacs (small balls), while female plants have pistils
  • Male plants don’t have white hair, unlike female plants

Another key point we need to mention concerns the production of buds. Do male plants bud? No, they don’t, really. Only female plants can produce potent high THC buds.

It’s essential to keep your seeds apart since male plants can fertilize female plants. Why is this bad? When the female plant gets fertilized, almost all of its energy will go to producing seeds instead of THC flowers and nugs.

So, if you want to harvest flowers that can be sellable, you should grow only female plants. On the other hand, if you’re planning to make your own seeds, by all means, use the male plants.

Now let’s get into more detail.

When Can You Tell If Your Plant Is Male or Female?

There are three possible ways to know the answer, depending on the cannabis growth stages. 

Before Planting

Differentiating between plant gender is possible even before you get your very first marijuana seedlings. You just need to buy feminized seeds

These should provide you with female offspring only. They can be purchased online, or you can make them yourself. However, make sure you find a reliable supplier. 

Before the Flowering Stage

4–6 weeks — this is how old a plant usually is when you can tell the gender. How to tell if your plant is male or female before flowering? Easy. 

You just need a good eye and a lot of patience to look for the pre-flowers — the tiny buds that grow on the stalk, right between the nods. Male and female pre-flowers sure have their differences, as you can see from the following image:

Male Marijuana Plant - Male Pre-Flower

  • Male plant — when they’re super tiny, it’s really challenging to tell male buds apart but watch them form a shape closely. Even when they’re very small, as you can see on the male marijuana plant pictures, the buds will take a round shape that resembles small balls (how appropriate). Small, fertile sacks, getting ready to one day burst wide open and send the pollen flying towards the female flowers.

Female Marijuana Plant - Female Pre-Flower

  • Female plant — the pre-flowers look somewhat different. They are round at the bottom (between the nods), but female pre-flowers before pistils are a tad pointed at the top. On the other hand, pistils are telltale signs of a female cannabis plant, which are pretty easy to recognize. 

You know those white, pale, yellowish, sticky strands that contain all the lovely CBD and THC? They first start off quite modestly, as wispy, white hairs. The male plant will never ever have white hair sticking out of the ball, while the female bud is bound to develop it.

Bear in mind that the pre-flowering stage is not easily estimated. For this reason, you should inspect your plants frequently for those early signs of a male plant developing such as the appearance of tiny balls, and eliminate the pollen sacks

Additionally, plants may begin flowering on their own if they’ve been in the vegetative stage long enough.

During the Flowering Stage

Once you’ve prepared the space for your precious seed and purchased LED grow lights for the flowering stage, you know what to expect once you change your lighting schedule to 12–12. 

You want your babies to start flowering and bring out that sweet CBD and terpenes. If they’re grown outside, cannabis plants will begin flowering in accordance with the amount of sunlight. 

Generally, the flowering stage occurs 1 or 3 weeks after the lighting schedule is changed. 

Male Marijuana Plant - Male Flowering Stage

  • The male marijuana plant will show its true nature sooner than the female, so be alert. Usually, the pollen sacks appear one or two weeks in the flowering stage. They will look like small grapes at this point.

Female Marijuana Plant - Female Flowering Stage

  • The female plant is now ready to shoot out some pistils, so you’ll have no doubts that you’ve got yourself a lady.

By the way, what matters most during the flowering process is the 12 hours of darkness. The absence of light is a more relevant indicator for the plant to begin its flowering stage than the presence of light. As long as you keep those 12 hours with zero light, your crops will prosper.

Now that you’ve learned how to tell if a marijuana plant is male or female, what other obstacles can you face?

What to Do If the Male Weed Plant Has Released Pollen?

This is a nightmare of every cultivator. If you notice pollen on the leaves (it looks like yellow powder), you could try misting the surrounding female plants and any area the pollen might have fallen onto before removing the plant. 

As you know, when the pollen gets released it could fertilize the female plant.  

When do male plants release pollen? 4–5 weeks after the flowering stage. So what can you do? You can save the pollen

It’s vital that you start right away, i.e., once the sacs start opening and flowering. Use latex gloves if you don’t want to get pollen all over your fingers and a face mask to avoid breathing it in. When the pollen sacs start cracking, that’s a sign that you can now harvest it.

You can collect pollen from the male or female weed plant. Just remember to keep the pollen sealed in a bag and store it in a cold place (like a freezer). In addition to that, you should collect the pollen in a separate room to avoid ending up with hermaphroditic plants.

What to Do If You Have a Hermie?

Hermaphrodites add to the confusion as they produce both male and female organs. This is what it looks like:

Hermie with Male and Female Organs

As you can see, you can’t tell if it’s a male or female pot plant as it has both pollen sacks and buds with wisps. Another type of hermaphrodite produces anthers, aka “bananas.” These are pollen-producing stamens:

Hermie with “Bananas”

 There are several reasons why hermies may appear in your garden:

  • Poor genetics
  • Buying seeds from an unreliable supplier
  • Stress exposure — the reasons vary, from changeable weather conditions, which you can’t affect in any way, to cultivation issues which were your responsibility (applying a suitable fertilizer, watering, introduction of hormones, etc.)
  • Delayed harvest time — patience is a virtue, but not if you are putting off the harvest so as to get a bigger yield. Not respecting female weed plant stages will cause you trouble with cannabis girls developing balls of pollen.

You can’t always prevent hermaphrodites from appearing, but it’s essential to spot them on time. Should you realize you have a hermaphrodite among your plants, take immediate action

  • Tend to it only after you’re finished with the rest of the plants. Otherwise, you may spread the pollen. 
  • You can use tweezers to get rid of the pollen sacks. 
  • A hermaphrodite can be isolated and moved to a different section, or you can cut out the problematic branch. 

Male Cannabis Plant Uses

What to do with male plants? This marijuana sex has a very negative image, but it’s far from useless. Here are some of the potential uses:


A bit obvious, right? Of course, if you’re using the plant for breeding, see about its genetics. For instance, what is the plant’s resilience to pests and mold, whether it is sensitive to climate change, etc.

Good Hemp Fibre

Both male and female plants can be used as a source of fiber, but the quality is different. Male fibers are more resistant, thinner, and softer, making them perfect for designing high-quality textiles, such as bed linen or towels. 


Can you make edibles with male plants? Yes, of course! Although they have less THC than the ladies, male plants still have some THC left.  

If you find it to have too low a concentration for you, then try making some hashish, and you should be satisfied with the result.


Cannabidiolic acid present in juice made from fiber-type cannabis inhibits the migration of breast cancer cells, according to research. It is rich in nutrients as well. 

Pest Repellent

Here’s another one of the interesting male cannabis plant uses. You may have heard a rumor about how the male plants make great companions? Is this true? Yes, it is! 

Dried leaves can be used for this purpose, or you could strategically plant a few among your vegetables to keep them pest-free. The terpenes in cannabis will do their thing and keep the unwanted insects off. 

No harmful pesticides are needed.

In addition, if you wish to make the most of this male vs female weed plant rivalry, you can isolate the males with sunflowers. You get to keep them, and your cannabis girls will be safe from any accidental pollination. 

Soil Improvement

Cannabis plants are known to have long taproots. That means the roots can break into low-quality soil, allowing it to accept more air, oxygen, and nutrients. What’s more, they prevent the land from eroding as well. 

Final Thoughts  

The battle of the sexes in our world is nothing compared to what happens to cannabis. Admittedly, this is a female plant’s world, as they are very much desired for their luscious buds. 

While most people prefer female plants over male plants, you should not write off the male plants completely. Their role in the growing process is just as important, given that they can help you produce seeds. 

Furthermore, male plants have high concentrations of cannabinoids, sometimes even more than female plants. You can also use them to make various edibles and juices. 

All things considered, you should think twice before eliminating every single boy plant from your field.


How to make a male plant female?

In short, with the help of hormones and chemicals. That said, don’t consider doing it unless you have the proper conditions to change the plant sex. 

The chemicals needed are harmful to people and pets, so the male plant should be adequately isolated. Pay attention to cannabis growth stages. This can only be done when the plant is young enough.

When you notice small balls of pollen sacks appearing, get yourself a bottle of ethylene (female plant hormone), a pair of gloves, and a face mask. Sprinkle the ethylene all over it, and take great care that the leaves and stem joints are well-covered. 

With a 12–12 lighting system, the results should manifest themselves within a week. 

What does a male marijuana plant look like?

The easiest way to distinguish male from female plants is to take a look at their shape. Male plant buds look like small balls. In contrast, female plants are round at the bottom and pointed at the top. Female plants also have pistils and white hair.

You’ll be able to make the difference between the genders in their flowering stage (after 4–6 weeks).

Do all plants have genders?

No, not all plants have opposite sexes. The majority of plants are hermaphrodites, i.e., they have both male and female sex organs. Others are dioecious, which means they have separate sexes. Marijuana or cannabis belongs to the second group, though some pot plants may be hermaphrodites too.

Can a female plant turn male?

Yes, it can. The process is pretty much the same as when you turn a male plant female. In fact, it is easier to treat a girl with male hormones and turn it into a male than vice versa. 

The only difference is that you would have to use gibberellins instead of ethylene for it to work. As you can imagine, hardly anyone performs this experiment.

When do male plants pollinate females?

Male plants release pollen 4–5 weeks after the flowering stage. Remember, male plants mature sooner than females. You can spot them more easily that way, so it’s mainly your fault if your female plants begin to grow seeds instead of buds.

To get rid of the pollen, before it fertilizes the female plant, you need to harvest it once the sacs start opening and flowering. To protect yourself from the pollen, use latex gloves and a face mask. 

Male vs female pot plant, which one is better?

We’d have to say that female plants are better than male plants, and many people would agree with that since females give us sweet THC flowers and nugs. 

Moreover, when it comes to cultivation, most of us grow cannabis for buds, not seeds. So, at least on paper, female plants are the ultimate winners. 

At the same time, we can’t discard the importance of male plants since they are essential in the breeding process. In addition to that, the male marijuana plant can be used to make edibles and clothing or as a soil improvement and pest repellent.

4 thoughts on “Can Male Marijuana Plant Compare to Female Marijuana Plant?

  1. Hi

    I’m still not completely sure how to tell male from female plants. I have a plant that has definitely produced seeds but it has the white stringy thingys on the (buds?) I’ll study the pictures but could ude some help. Thanks

    1. Hi Andy! It’s hard to tell without actually seeing the plant, but we’ll try. What you described sounds like a female. The only other thing would be to check if all of them look alike, i.e. that you don’t have a hermie. Indeed, it’s much easier to tell when the plant is in the pre-flowering stage.

  2. I have a problem that has nothing to do with plants. I’ve been growing for almost 40 years and have great luck with plants but I can’t get high any more. First smoked in 1969 and enjoyed the hell out of it, but a couple of years ago…pfft! Nada.
    Nobody knows what to do. Some people say I need to clean out my system because I smoked too much, but that’s crap. I go for months and months without smoking because it’s a waste of time.
    I’d love to be able to smoke the bud I grow so I know how good it is…

    1. Hi Andrew,
      So sorry to hear about this. With so much experience in the field, I suppose you have tried every method possible (detoxing, using new THC-high strains, etc.). According to some research, high levels of stress or anxiety may prevent getting high. I hope we get more comments by someone who has been in your situation as this is quite a challenge to live with.

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