Male cannabis plants sure don’t have the best reputation. In fact, what most growers learn early on is to spot them and toss them out to avoid pollination of their precious ladies. The truth is, male cannabis doesn’t deserve its poor image. Before you discard them, learn some good uses for male cannabis plants.
Male cannabis plants are normally seen as something undesirable, at least if you ask the average cannabis grower. No one wants their precious crop accidentally pollinated and then ruined, as we’ve learned will happen if we don’t separate the males from the females early on. This negative stigma and the hassle associated with male plants are the reasons that feminized seeds have gained popularity. It’s true, they do make things easy on the grower.
The thing is, male cannabis plants don’t really deserve the poor image that they have. They have some valid uses, which you may want to consider before you go tossing them. Here are some of the best ways to use your male cannabis plants.
CAN YOU SMOKE MALE PLANTS?
Sure. But male plants don’t contain many cannabinoids or terpenes—the main constituents that make smoking weed worthwhile. Female cannabis flowers contain the highest concentration of these compounds. Male cannabis plants do produce some of the small glands that manufacture these chemicals (trichomes), but their quantity pales in comparison to the amount found on female plants.
Allowing a male plant to grow to the stage where it produces cannabinoids will put your female plants at risk. If the male releases pollen and fertilises the female flowers, the plants will cease resin production and start producing seeds instead. Therefore, the risk far outweighs the benefits of smoking male plants, unless you have no other choice.
YOU NEED A MALE FOR BREEDING YOUR OWN STRAINS
Yes, growing cannabis is awesome, and very few would question such a fact. But growing pretty much the same identical bud from clones may not be the most interesting thing for you, the cannabis enthusiast. How about breeding your own, top-quality cannabis strains? For more advanced growers, breeding new strains can well become an exciting passion. Imagine creating your own special bud that is more flavourful, more resinous, has better yields, and delivers a better high. You can achieve this when you combine the best qualities of different strains with careful breeding. To do this, however, you need to keep your males!
When you start breeding your own top-shelf bud, the male will contribute 50% of the genetic material. It just makes sense that you’d want to select the best male that you have as the donor.
WHEN DO MARIJUANA PLANTS REVEAL THEIR GENDER?
Cannabis plants go through two stages of life, the “vegetative” stage and the “flowering stage.”
They first go through the vegetative life stage, which you can sort of consider its “childhood” since the plant is only focusing on growing bigger and taller, and gender doesn’t matter. At the beginning of this stage you usually can’t tell what the plant’s gender is.
However, once the plant is about 6 weeks old, it will usually show signs of “pre-flowers” which will alert you to the gender before the beginning of the flowering stage.
Next, cannabis plants switch to the flowering stage which means they stop growing bigger and taller, and instead spend all their effort growing flowers (the buds we want are flowers!). The flowering stage is like the “adult” stage of a cannabis plant since at this point it’s only interested in adult stuff like growing their male and female parts, then pollinating. In the flowering stage, plants start growing buds or pollen sacs in earnest. The buds we want are female flowers, so growers generally only want to grow female plants.
REGULAR MARIJUANA PLANTS REVEAL THEIR GENDER IN TWO SITUATIONS
- After spending a long time in the vegetative stage – some strains/plants will show preflowers (pistils for girls and “balls” for boys) during the vegetative stage if they grow old enough, even when they are constantly kept under a vegetative light schedule. For example, clones can come from plants that are several years old, so you’ll see a lot of clones have female pistils showing, yet will not continue to flower any more than that until after they’ve been switched to a Flowering (12-12) light schedule
- Otherwise, all remaining plants will reveal their gender in the first 1-3 weeks after lights are switched to 12-12, and plants enter the flowering stage of life.
MALE CANNABIS PLANTS ENSURE A STRONG GENETIC LINE
Unlike other plants that can grow both male and female flowers on a single plant, cannabis is what’s called a dioecious plant, which means the females and the males grow separately.
Always eliminating the genetically distinct males at the earliest time leads to decreased diversity. The presence of the males is important to the continued strength and vitality of a strain.
Many hobby growers use one single feminized strain, or base their entire grow on essentially identical clones.
This lack of diversity leads to weakened defences and an increased sensitivity to diseases and pests.
MALE CANNABIS PLANTS PRODUCE STRONG FIBRES
There is a distinct difference in the type of fibres that male and female cannabis plants produce. Farmers normally separate them when they desire different plants for different uses.
For example, making textiles or other goods from hemp fibre. Fibre from the male hemp plant is more flexible and has a higher resistance, whereas female fibres tend to be sturdier.
Because the hemp fibres from males are softer and thinner, they are better suited for high quality cloth like bed linens or towels.
The females produce fibre that is rough, which is more suited to making things like canvas and other types of rough textile.
Who knows, you may at some point want to get started with textile making! This is definitely another area where you would want to keep your males, as they are especially useful for certain distinct purposes.
MALE CANNABIS PLANTS MAKE GOOD COMPANIONS
You don’t always need to smoke cannabis to get some good use out of your plants. Cannabis plants have various natural defences, including their aromatic terpenes, which are great pest repellents. Cannabis really is an excellent companion plant. A few strategically placed male plants between your veggies may be all that’s needed to keep them pest free, without having to use potentially harmful pesticides!
If you have a rather large garden, you can potentially locate a dedicated space for your male plants. Keep them as far from your females as you can. You can further help reduce the risk of accidental pollination by planting sunflowers to create a natural barrier between your males and females. This allows you to cultivate incredible, smokable cannabis, without having to toss your male plants in fear of accidental pollination.