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Just as male and female bodies operate differently, so do male and female cannabis plants. In fact, when you compare a male vs. female weed plant, it becomes remarkably obvious how these two differ — and why farmers strive for one over the other.

Let’s talk about the difference between female and male weed plants, how to tell them apart, and what to look for when growing. 

Cannabis Plants Have Different Sexes?

You may not even realize that cannabis plants have the ability to have different sexes, but they do! Both male and female weed plants grow naturally. 

However, female and male cannabis plants have far more differences than you may realize, and these differences directly affect how the plants function as a whole.

But, before we talk about those contrasts specifically, let’s cover what male and female cannabis plants are in the first place. 

What Are Female Cannabis Plants? 

Just as they sound, female cannabis plants are weed plants that have feminized genes. These female plants are the most sought-after type of cannabis plant, as they contain high levels of cannabinoids — THC, specifically.

When you buy buds from your local dispensary, you’re buying flower that comes from female plants. 

So, the next time you take a toke from your favorite potent strains, make sure to thank the little lady that made it possible — your female plant! 

What Are Male Cannabis Plants? 

On the flip side, you may also come across male cannabis plants — albeit, likely accidentally. 

Male weed plants are not super common for everyday consumers, only growers that rely on them for their genetics. 

We will discuss the plant’s unique attributes later, but it’s important to note that male cannabis plants are not potent, and only produce trace amounts of cannabinoids. Thus, they don’t produce the same appeal for consumers as female cannabis plants do.

This is because, instead of growing smokable, potent, usable buds like female plants, male plants actually produce pollen sacs. While these elements are crucial for breeders, the everyday consumer isn’t going to find much use for male cannabis plants.  

It’s also worth noting that cannabis plants can also be hermaphrodites. These plants exude both male and female reproductive structures. 

A Male vs. Female Weed Plant: The Differences 

There are various differences between a male vs. female weed plant — from appearance to production and even usability. 

To help you better understand the appeal of female cannabis plants or how to utilize male plants, we’re talking about these contrasts in depth. 

So, what’s the difference between female and male weed plants? Let’s explore. 


As we briefly mentioned above, one of the main differences between a male vs. female weed plant comes down to reproduction — just like us humans!

When cultivated, female cannabis plants produce something called pistillate flowers. As the plant grows, these pistils mature and eventually turn into the buds that farmers are able to harvest and sell. Then, these are the buds that you’ll buy at your local dispensary. 

However, this reproduction process is very different for male cannabis plants. 

Instead of producing buds, male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs. These pollen sacs are crucial for cannabis plants, as the pollen is used to fertilize female plants for seed production.

But, this type of reproduction is not helpful for consumers looking to experience the usual benefits of cannabis. Thus, male cannabis plants are utilized primarily by growers, and not sold on the shelves at dispensaries. 

Cannabinoid Production

When you think of cannabis plants with high amounts of THC and CBD, you’re thinking of female cannabis plants. Comparing a male vs. female weed plant, it’s easy to see that female plants hold much of the cannabinoid concentration.

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are produced and stored in the trichomes of cannabis plants themselves, and trichomes are much more common in females than males. This is because they primarily grow on the buds.

Thus, female cannabis plants tend to have significantly higher cannabinoid levels than male plants, allowing for stronger potency and better highs/effects. It’s for this reason that female plants are usually the ones harvested for medical and recreational purposes and products. 

Male cannabis plants do produce high levels of phytocannabinoids in their leaves, which can be helpful for breeders (just not smokers). 

Seed Production

If you’ve been smoking for a while, you may have realized that cannabis with seeds is a lot less common than it used to be. And this is on purpose! 

Seedless cannabis (also known as sinsemilla) is more sought-after for consumption, and it even contains higher amounts of cannabinoids.

However, when male cannabis plants are grown with female plants, then the pollen from the male plants with fertilize the female plants. While this can be good, this will result in females producing seeds — and this isn’t super appealing for growers or buyers.

Because of this, male cannabis plants are grown separately from female plants. If you’re buying seeds and want to guarantee a good harvest, then you should buy feminized seeds only.  


The usability of a male vs. female weed plant is drastically different, as well. 

As we’ve established, female cannabis plants are utilized for medical and recreational purposes. 

These are plants that we rely on to grind up and smoke, or break down and use within extracts and other products. Female plants get us high and help us feel like we can manage our conditions again. 

Male cannabis plants, on the other hand, are typically only used by breeders. 

Breeders can utilize these types of plants to produce new strains, and they can also use them for hemp fiber production, as male plants tend to be sturdier and more fibrous than female plants.

How to Tell a Female vs. Male Weed Plants Apart

If you’re wanting to grow your own cannabis plants, it’s important to be able to establish the differences between females and males.

Thankfully, when it comes to a female vs. male cannabis plant, there are some physical attributes you can pay attention to tell them apart. Let’s start with the ladies. 

Female Characteristics 

If you’re hoping to grow female weed plants, pay attention to these physical attributes during cultivation: 

      • A short, slender stature 
      • High numbers of leaves
      • V-shaped pistils 
      • Resin-coated buds
      • White or orange translucent hairs 
      • Full, bushy appearance 

    Male Characteristics 

    On the flip side, your male cannabis plant may have the following characteristics:

        • Tall, thicker stature
        • Sturdy stalks
        • Pollen sacs with green and white flowers
        • Fewer leaves
        • Thin, less dense appearance  

      Male vs. Female Weed Plant: Which is Better? 

      So, which type of plant is better to grow: a male vs. female weed plant? 

      Well, it depends on your intent. 

      Typically, female plants are the way to go if you’re seeking immediate results. Female cannabis plants are the potent ones, the ones that will get you high, and the ones that will make you the most money if you’re producing products. 

      But, if you’re a grower hoping to expand your harvest and have the best selection of products possible, growing a few male plants is going to be crucial.

      Usually, you’re going to find many more female plants than you would male plants, and this is because you’re going to find more consumers than growers! 

      But, that doesn’t mean that both female and male weed plants don’t have benefits — they do. They’re just quite different in how they operate and what they can do for the average consumer. 

      How to Ensure a Feminized Harvest

      If you’re growing a bunch of cannabis plants from seeds, then you have to be careful about the sex of the plants you’re growing. 

      As we mentioned, if you grow male plants next to female plants, you’re going to contaminate your harvest. Thus, it’s best to stick with feminized seeds.

      Feminized cannabis seeds are strictly female cannabis seeds. These are seeds that are designed to grow female plants, giving you the guaranteed cannabinoid content and potency you’re looking for.

      Any reputable seed bank is going to have options for feminized seeds for you to buy. If you don’t have this option, then it’s best to grow your plants separately, out of caution. (At least until you’re sure that you’re growing females.)

      Another good way to ensure a feminized harvest is to clone your cannabis plants. If you have a strong female plant that you love the qualities of, you can clone her!

      The mother plant has to be left in the vegetative stage for this, but you can clip nodes from your favorite female plant and then replant them. This clones the plant identically, allowing you to produce your favorite female strains over and over again.

      If you want to know a bit more about cloning cannabis, click here.  

      Enjoying High-Quality (Female) Buds With An MMJ Card   

      Understanding the nuances of cannabis can be tricky. Especially when it comes to a male vs. female weed plant. 

      But, the biggest thing you need to know about all of this is that female cannabis plants are the ones you want to smoke. It’s as simple as that. 

      To ensure that you’re buying the best, most potent female buds on the market, it’s best to start with getting your medical marijuana card. 

      Getting a medical card — even in states where weed is fully legal — allows you better protection, higher possession limits, and significantly lower prices. 

      Medical cardholders receive discounts just for having an MMJ card, and you can purchase more top-shelf weed than your average Joe. 

      With Elevate Holistics, you can get your medical marijuana card 100% online, right from the comfort of your couch. Then, once you’ve been approved, you’ll get to shop for all your favorite female cannabis products from the top dispensaries in the area. 

      If you’re ready to master the differences between a male and female weed plant — or you’re just interested in smoking them — we’re here to help. 

      Click here or below to book an appointment for your MMJ card today. 

      Weed is cheaper (and better) with an MMJ card.

      With Elevate Holistics, getting your medical marijuana card has never been easier (or more affordable). Our appointments are 100% online, 100% hassle-free.

      Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

      Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

      About the author

      Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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