In the wide world of weed, the female of the species is more useful than the male. The marijuana plant is like many other plant species in the world insofar as it needs both a male and female plant to reproduce (it is a dioecious species). Admittedly, there are self-pollinating cannabis plants (called hermaphrodites), but in general, the majority of marijuana plants express female- or male-specific sex organs.
It is the female plant that produces the buds we dry, cure and use. As a consequence, the average weed garden will be populated by female plants only. It is considered marijuana growing 101 to discard and destroy male plants as soon as you uncover their growth. If you don’t, they will pollinate the females – their seeds end up in the bud and reduce the amount of THC found in the plant after harvest.
If you’ve been trained to expel male plants from your cannabis garden, you are missing out, because they do have a beneficial purpose to gardeners. In fact, they have several, and we outline five of them below.
1 – Breeding
As a beginner, you have the option of cloning the mother plant and creating a ceaseless line of consistent buds from identical female plants. However, as you become more skilled, you will begin to find flaws with your bud. For example, you may want it to be more resinous and potent, or you might love it if the flowering stage ended a bit sooner.
Fortunately, male cannabis plants are around to come to your rescue! As you know, their main function is to breed seeds. When a male plant pollinates a female, it provides 50% of a seed’s genetic makeup. With this in mind, do some digging into the genetics of the males in your garden. Do they grow quickly? Are they highly resistant to mold and pests? If so, these positive traits can be passed on to boost the quality of new generations.
Since you can’t smoke a male plant to find out how good it is, you have to go through a different process to find suitable genetics. Here’s a 5-step guide to eliminating unwanted males and finding ideal plants for breeding:
- Get rid of early flowering or autoflowering males as they are more likely to produce hermaphrodites.
- Remove any males that grow extremely quickly or are very tall. In general, these particular plants are best for producing fibers rather than flowers.
- Keep plants with large and hollow stems and get rid of any stems with too much pith (spongy white tissue). There is a link between stem type and THC content.
- Pick males with tight, dense flowers and get rid of any with a loose and airy structure.
- Focus on males with the best odor.
2 – Use Male Cannabis Plants to Create Hemp Fiber
When it comes to creating hemp fiber, there is no better option than male plants because of their strong and fibrous stalks. Males provide soft and fine fibers capable of weaving the finest fabrics. Although weaving might not be top of your list of hobbies, it is still cool to note that male plant fiber is the best option when making hemp products such as tablecloths and clothing.
3 – Concentrate Production
Don’t assume that male plants are completely devoid of THC. While it is true that males are far less potent than females, they still have THC, and thus, can display psychoactive properties. Male plants don’t produce buds, but you can find cannabinoids in their sacs, leaves, and stems. You can also benefit from a nice buzz by drying and pressing the pollen you find in a male plant.
Incidentally, male plants have a higher THC concentration in their leaves than females during the vegetative growth phase. By the adult stages, females have taken over and produce a far higher THC ratio. The main issue with males is their limited lifespan and the fact there are no techniques available to delay pollination and boost resin production. Perhaps that will change one day. For now, extract the existing resin and create hash oil, BHO wax, dabs, or other concentrates.
4 – Male Weed Plants can Enhance your Garden!
Did you know that farmers have used marijuana plants as ‘companions’ for garden vegetables for centuries? Male plants, like females, produce terpenes, the aromatic oils found in weed that account for the delightful scent and taste. Terpenes, especially pinene and limonene, are also excellent for pest and disease control. With this in mind, you can introduce male plants in vegetable or flower gardens; just make sure they are kept far away from female cannabis plants.
You can use the dried material from male marijuana plants to create a terpene-laden oil which you apply to keep insects and other pests at bay. In the old days, farmers would allow up to two vigorous male marijuana plants to grow at the far end of the garden, well away from the females. They also made sure that the plants were sheltered from the wind.
Next, they planted corn, sunflowers or beans between the two plant genders and benefited from strong crops with a few seeds in them; just enough to grow the following year’s crop without reducing that year’s THC content.
Also, cannabis plants have long taproots which can dive deep into the ground and break apart low standard soil. As a result, nutrients and moisture can infiltrate and improve the quality. As a bonus, taproots keep the soil in place and ensure there are no issues with soil loss and nutrient run-off during spells of heavy rain.
5 – Delicious, Healthy, Nutritious THCA Juice
Have you ever tried raw cannabis juice? Although a lot more research is required, it appears as if the cannabolic acids (specifically THCA and CBDA) in weed juice provide many of the same benefits as marijuana consumed in other ways. And it just so happens that male plants have the same concentration of these potentially healthy juices as their female counterparts. Therefore, you can consume the juice, enjoy a dose of healthy cannabinoids, and not worry so much about getting high.
Final Thoughts on Male Cannabis Plants
Most marijuana growers are conditioned to throw away their male plants, but we think you shouldn’t be so hasty. Although females produce the buds that allow us to either get high or benefit from the apparent medical properties of weed, male plants are far from being useless.
As well as providing you with a healthy juice, males make for ideal garden companions, are great for making clothes from hemp fiber, are necessary for breeding, and can be used to make concentrates.
If you intend to benefit from one or more of the uses outlined above, remember that cannabis pollen is capable of traveling a long way to pollinate a female, so keep your crop protected!