Everyday conversations about cannabis often revolve around strain, the form of consumption, and even legality. However, many may not realize that nearly all the cannabis of which they are speaking is the female version of the plant. While both female and male plants are needed to produce new strains, female plants hold he bulk of the beneficial properties associated with marijuana. The majority of products, from THC oil in California to full melt hash in California, can be traced back to mature and vibrant harvested female plants that are the stars of the industry.
Roles of the Sexes
For farmers and those cultivating cannabis, close monitoring and planning are necessary to prevent female plants from coming into too much contact with males, causing unplanned fertilization. For plants to produce the desired outcomes and products like THC cartridges in California and full melt in California, female plants must be allowed to flower rather than produce seeds. For both medical and recreational use, cannabis buds containing seeds are considered very low quality, with their potency being a mere fraction of that of unfertilized plants.
As expected, when left to reproduce on their own, cannabis plant seeds produce about half female and half male offspring. Very simply, female plants are responsible for producing flower buds, while males create pollen. Female flower buds without seeds, called sensimilla, can provide the sought-after resin and potent crystals, as well as products imbued with aroma, flavor, and strong THC and CBD benefits.
Male plants are known for consistently producing seeded buds with very little potency. These seeds play an essential role in continuing the growth and harvest of the species, though, especially in genetic diversity needed for survival in the natural world and creating new strains. Furthermore, some male plants can contain desirable properties, particularly CBD, often identified by a more unusual and frosty appearance. Shrewd farmers must look for such candidates to use for fertilizing healthy females.
Female and Male Properties
Identifying male and female plants is crucial for producing profitable crops integral to making marketed products such as THC concentrates in California and full melt hash in California. Typically, this distinction is detectable for outdoor plants at about four to six weeks into a plant’s growth from a seed, varying a bit for indoor cultivars. Growers know to pay attention to the nodes, also called pre-flowers, from which future branches and leaves will sprout. For a female plant, nodes feature small white hairs, known as stigmas, while those of males have small round pollen sacs without hairs. Apart from these essential signs, male plants also are known to feature thicker stalks, higher stems, and fewer leaves. A more technical method of checking sex incorporates a chemical test of leaves.
While male plants are essential for cannabis as a species, the natural ratio of about 50% of male plants can be problematic for farming businesses and producers. Cannabis growers have traditionally had to pay strict attention to identify emerging seeds as either sex, allowing them to remove excess male plants that might fertilize otherwise useful females. This alone can play a significant role in promoting the maximum amount of profitable flowers.
Another useful technique is to utilize cloning to produce more desirable and viable female crops. While this process is quite involved, the basic steps include cutting off a part of a successful female plant, also called the mother plant, and allowing it to grow into its own plant. Cloning can also be highly beneficial for businesses to keep “copies” of plants that prove to be especially productive and of high quality.
Feminized seeds are another option for selective cultivation, helping crops be more conducive to producing healthy female crops for use in profitable materials like THC concentrates and THC cartridges in California. This option, developed in the 1990s, features genetic engineering to encourage seeds to grow into female plants. This process essentially guarantees the desired outcome, with a 99.9% success rate, and eliminates the need to monitor the sex of developing seeds and the culling of unwanted male plants. Growers can also control when a given plant blooms with intentional design for photoperiod plants that develop according to decreased daylight hours, whether natural or artificial.
Cases of Hermaphroditic Plants
When checking plants early on in development for sex, it is possible to find rare examples where both male and female characteristics are present. Just as with the human species, this is a rare occurrence, but the causes can be for other reasons than genetic divergence. This can also come about as a result of significant and extensive damage and stress to a plant, various diseases, troublesome weather and temperature conditions, and deficiencies in nutrients. There are instances where indoor cultivation operations cause hermaphroditic features to develop. Proving that environmental factors play a role, certain indoor plants have been found to produce both female and male characteristics due to too much light during their cyclical time of needing darkness.
In order to produce optimal crops for future use in THC oil or full melt in California, plants showing signs of both sexes need to be rooted out. A hermaphrodite plant produces pollen and can fertilize female plants just as regular males can, posing just as much of a risk to crops.