Cannabis plants show their sex by what grows in between their nodes, where leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Pollen sacs will develop on a male plant to spread seeds and stigma will develop on a female to catch pollen. You can see these differences weeks before they actually start serving their purposes in the reproduction cycle. These are known as “pre-flowers.”
Growers can ensure the sex of their plants by growing clones or the genetically identical clippings from a parent strain. Feminized seeds are also made available through a special breeding process.
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it can be male or female, and the male and female reproductive organs appear on different plants. What’s in your stash jar now are the flowers of a female marijuana plant.
Stigma and pistil
Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .
A bract is what encapsulates the female’s reproductive parts. They appear as green tear-shaped “leaves,” and are heavily covered in resin glands which produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids of all plant parts.
The space between nodes is called “internodal spacing” and will give you a sense of whether a plant will grow tall or short.
These are the first leaves to grow from the seed after germination. They usually come in pairs, and seeing them is a sign of successful germination and that your plant is on its way to growing healthy and strong.
I’ve seen some growers get impressive results with bagseed, but overall results seem to be hit or miss. Plants can grow in odd ways and often either the yields or quality isn’t as expected. The problem is that seeds often don’t “breed true” to the buds that they came from. That is why many growers either stick to clones (which are exactly the same as the “mother” plant) or purchase seeds of a stabilized strain from a trustworthy breeder, where each of the plants will grow the way you expect, and buds more consistently have the smell, yield and potency they’re supposed to.
There’s a seed in my bud!
If it’s very seedy the buds may not feel as potent, though a few seeds here and there won’t make much difference in potency. The main problem with seedy weed is that you are getting less smokeable bud for the amount of total mass there. If it is seedless, you will get a lot more bang for your buck. Seedless bud (sinsemilla) is considered to be the highest quality and most potent type of weed.
Are seeds good to grow?
Seeds are the result of pollination. That means the seedy cannabis buds (which come from a female plant) may have come into contact with pollen from a male plant. Therefore, it’s possible the grower didn’t identify and remove all the male plants before the released pollen. It’s also possible that the plant self-pollinated (sometimes called herming) which is often the result of plant stress during the budding phase but can also be caused by genetics.
What does it mean to find seeds in your marijuana buds? Is it something to be worried about?
It should be dark and relatively hard. Very pale or white seeds, that can be easily crushed between the fingers, usually won’t sprout. However, I have been surprised to find some very flimsy seeds sprout and produce amazing plants (we aren’t breeding them for hard seeds after all) so when in doubt, I highly recommend doing the true test to see if the seed is viable – try to germinate the seed and see if it sprouts!
If it’s brown and whole however, you’ve got yourself a healthy marijuana seed.
Now what? Do you just plant it and watch it grow?
You’re preparing your bud, getting ready to grind it down, and you lift it up a bit to admire its color and… what’s that? A little speck, either green or brown, sitting right in your bud! Are my buds bad?
Next Steps: Germinating Your Marijuana Seeds
If you’ve followed all these steps, you’ll have managed to turn a lone seed – depressingly isolated, hiding in your bud – into a fully grown marijuana plant!
No, it’s actually the flowering buds of the marijuana plant that get you high. When the plant is preparing to flower, thus allowing itself to germinate and spread its seeds so as to propagate itself, it creates these small bunches of buds – known as a cola – that are the beginnings of the flower buds.
As part of the process of preparing marijuana buds for consumption, the bud is sun-dried over a period of days – or using a dehydrator – so as to concentrate the flavors and cannabinoids, as well as make it a lot easier to smoke.