When it comes to getting high, female cannabis plants are simply far more useful than males. Like other dioecious plant species, marijuana plants need both a male and a female in order to reproduce. There are various types of self-pollinating cannabis plants (i.e., monoecious plants), but in general, most marijuana plants will express either female or male-specific sex organs.
Only females produce the THC-laden buds that almost every grower seeks. As a result, it is customary for growers to discard and destroy male plants the instant they notice them in their crop. If you don’t, they will pollinate the females, and seeds will end up in the bud – which you don’t want.
That being said, rather than expelling and destroying the male plants in your cannabis garden, save them! Contrary to what you believe, male cannabis plants do have a beneficial purpose for gardeners. They have several, in fact, and in this article, we outline and explain each one.
1 – Use Them To Breed!
The most obvious thing you can do with your male plants is use them to breed future generations of plants! While cloning a plant will result in future generations of plants with identical genetic characteristics, breeding mixes up the genetic pool and produces offspring with new genes and, subsequently, new genetic trains. This is exactly how cannabis growers selectively breed to create new strains.
The primary function of male cannabis plants is to produce seeds. When a male plant pollinates a female, it provides 50% of its genetic makeup to the offspring plants. 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 future generations. Plus, crossbreeding allows you to create a unique strain of cannabis that you can call your very own!
That being said, there are still likely going to be some males in your crop whose genetic traits you don’t want to pass on Here’s a 5-step guide to eliminating unwanted males, and keeping the ones with ideal genes:
- Get rid of early flowering or auto-flowering males, as they are more likely to produce monoecious (non-flowering) individuals.
- Remove any males that grow extremely quickly or are very tall. These plants are generally best for producing fibers rather than THC-filled 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, as this indicates a robust terpene profile.
2 – Use Male Cannabis Plants to Create Hemp Fiber
When it comes to creating hemp fiber, there is no better option than male cannabis plants. This is mainly because of their firm and fibrous stalks. Males provide soft and fine fibers capable of weaving the most delicate fabrics. Producing fiber and weaving fabric might not be on the top of your priorities list when you’re growing cannabis, but if you’ve got some spare time, it’s actually incredibly fun and you can make some awesome hemp products and DIY cannabis clothes. How cool would it be to weave some socks or a beanie from cannabis that YOU grew in your very own home!?
3 – Concentrate Production
Don’t assume that male plants are entirely devoid of THC. Males are indeed far less potent than females, but they still have THC, and thus, they can produce psychoactive properties. Male plants don’t produce big buds like females, but they still contain cannabinoids in their flowers, leaves, and stems.
In fact, 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 will produce a far higher THC ratio. By extracting the resin of your male plants to create hash oil, BHO wax, dabs, or other concentrates, you can enjoy some very unique concentrates that, believe it or not, can be pretty potent! (It’s also worth pointing out that you can get a gentle buzz by drying and pressing the pollen from a male plant).
4 – Male Weed Plants Can Provide Disease And Pest Resistance
Did you know farmers have used marijuana plants as ‘companions’ for garden vegetables for centuries? Male cannabis plants, like females, produce terpenes, which are aromatic oils that account for weed’s delightful range of tastes and aromas.
Terpenes, especially pinene and limonene, are also excellent for pest and disease control. With this in mind, you can introduce male plants into your vegetable or flower garden – just make sure they remain far away from your female cannabis plants!
Use the dried material from male plants to create a terpene-laden oil, and then dilute this oil and use it in a spray bottle to keep insects and other pests away from your flowers and/or vegetables.
In the old days, some farmers would actually allow two vigorous male marijuana plants to grow; they knew to keep them well away from the females, and placed them at the far end of the garden. (They also made sure the plants were sheltered from the wind). Next, they planted corn, sunflowers, and beans between the male and female cannabis plants, and enjoyed healthy, pest and disease-free crops!
Also, cannabis plants have long taproots that dive deep into the ground and break apart low-quality soil. As a result, nutrients and moisture infiltrate the soil, thereby improving 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? It appears as if though the cannabolic acids (specifically THCA and CBDA) in weed juice have a huge range of health benefits. When you harvest cannabis bud, the vast majority of the THC is in the form of THC-A, which actually doesn’t get you high. When THC-A is decarboxylated, however (i.e. when you smoke it), it transforms into the psychoactive version of delta-9-THC.
You can use your males to produce raw-pressed cannabis oil, which can be added to smoothies, tea, or coffee to create a super an earthy, tasty, super nutritious cannabis-inspired snack!
Final Thoughts on Male Cannabis Plants
Most marijuana growers throw away their male plants as a matter of habit, but we think you shouldn’t be so hasty. Females produce the buds that allow us to either get high or benefit from the apparent medical properties of weed. However, male plants are far from being useless.
As well as providing you with a healthy juice, males make for ideal garden companions. They are great for making clothes from hemp fiber, are necessary for breeding, and you can use them in concentrates.
Do you intend to benefit from one or more of the uses outlined above? If so, remember that cannabis pollen can travel a long way to fertilize a female. Make sure you keep your crop protected!