How to Determine the Sex of a Cannabis Plant?

When growing cannabis indoors for whatever purpose, it is important to identify female and male marijuana plants and destinguish between them before they enter the flowering stage.

The female plant grows buds, which have the highest potency when it comes to THC

It is therefore understandable that majority of growers prefer to grow the female over the male plant. Although the male plant have a general low THC content when compared to its sexual counterpart, it has some important attributes that makes it usable for other purposes. 

But for now let us focus on how/when you can identify the sex of the plants. 


When do cannabis plants reveal their gender?

You may already know that the cannabis plant goes through various stages of growth, including veg and flower. During VEG stage, the plant focuses on becoming tall and bigger, so it makes it more accessible to sunlight. Towards the end of vegging stage, typically when the plant is between 4-6 weeks old, it enters the pre-flower stage. At this stage the plant shows early sign of gender.


How to identify the male and female cannabis plant?

To determine the gender of a marijuana plant you need to look closely between the area where the leavies and branches extend from the stalk. This particular area is called the “node”.

In the following we will show you how the female node looks like and explain how it is different to the male. This is the most significant detail that reveals the gender of the cannabis plant.


Determining the Sex of Female

The process of identifying the female plants is quite similar to those of the male plants; however, the female plants reveal their organs later than the male plants. 

The visual indication is that the female plants are less sturdy and bushier as compared to the male plants. The leaves in female plants are more concentrated at the top. Once the female plants mature and start flowering, they will develop buds similar to those of the male plants. These buds are found at the joints of the stalks. 

They are usually tear-shaped commonly called pistols. However, the main difference between male and female buds is that female buds have translucent hairs coming out of them. The plants can also be hermaphrodites having both types of buds. Therefore, care should be taken before making a decision.

Once the male and female plants have been separated and the process of pollination is yet to start, a decision needs to be made about your preferences. You may be inclined to get rid of the male plants in order to have higher THC producing female plants. 

However, getting rid of the male plants altogether may not be the wisest thing to do as they have many benefits of their own. The growers can use male plants for various purposes.

You can determine wether or not the plant is a female by paying attention to the nodes. After 4-6 weeks you should be able to notice that the female plant have two bracts with a whitish color to it. They have a form of hair-like stigma which will eventually evolve into buds. 


Determining the Sex of Male

The male plants are commonly taller as compared to female plants. They have fewer leaves while the stalks of the male plants are sturdier as compared to the female plants. 

The visual difference between the two sexes is compelling but it is not enough for reaching a conclusive decision. Therefore, there is a need to check every plant for the presence of male balls found on stalks at the joint area. 

The male cannabis plants tend to grow balls or male organs at the joints of the stalks that differentiate them from the female plants. 

These male organs are visible to the naked eye and a close inspection will help the growers spot them. 

Some cannabis plants may have both the male and female organs present on them and they are called hermaphrodite. 

The male plants reveal their sex 7 – 10 days (growing indoor) and 3 weeks (growing outdoor) earlier as compared to the female plants. 

This gives the growers an early opportunity to decide the fate of the male cannabis plants.

Males produce small bubbles or sacks containing pollen. Eventually the bubbles opens and the pollen inside gets spread by air and contracted by the female. 

So to identify the male plants, you ought to look for these bubble sacks at the nodes. Typically the male tends to reveal their reproductive parts a bit earlier than the female. 

Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants

There is actually also a third gender when it comes to cannabis. It is the hermaphrodite cannabis plant that develops both male and female genetils. It is typically the female that converts to a hermaphrodite upon exposed to excessive stressors such as damage to plant, diseases, bad weather or inadequate nutrient.

When looking to determining the sex of your plant, it is very important to address the hermaphrodites by paying attention to the node region of the plant, to see if there are any signs of both genetils. 

Identifying hermaphrodite is crucial in case you are growing multiple plants in a garden. If not localized and separated, the hermaphrodite can pollinate your entire garden triggering the females to produce seeds. 

A situation unwanted, unless you are looking to breed.

Although there are other methods to determine plant gender, examining pre-flower formation is among the most common and reliable method. 

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