How Important is it to Let Your Cannabis Plant Have Sex?

Allan MacDonell
Allan MacDonell - Content Writer

Apr 26 2021 - 5 min read

Cultivating a cannabis farm to fulfill your individual medical marijuana supply is the epitome of personal growth. Often, newly registered medical cannabis users accept the temptation to take up marijuana gardening even though the greenhorn has little to no experience with backyard horticulture in general and the quirks of the cannabis plant specifically.

With the guiding of young pot sprouts to full flowering cannabis maturity comes great responsibility. Your cannabis plants need your protection and nurturing to reach their full potential. The decisions you make for your juvenile male and female marijuana plants will influence your personal cannabis crop’s future as surely as a parent’s choices will set their kid’s future course.

For instance, if a virile young male cannabis plant’s pollen sacs are ready to burst open, should that virile male be left unaccompanied among your juvenile female cannabis plants?

Keep in mind that the female is the only plant of any cannabis species that blossoms out in the flowering buds that make marijuana gardening the delightful pastime it is. The question of whether or not to risk pollination of the young females by the male cannabis plant’s bursting pollen sac is a crucial decision, as it would be with human children.

The botanical repercussions of pollination can have an irreversible impact on a cannabis plant’s lifeforce.

Female cannabis cluster
Author: Bokske; source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FemaleCannabisCluster.jpg

The Perils of a Female Cannabis Plant Losing Her Virginity

Once a male cannabis plant pollinates a female cannabis plant, she will literally go to seed. A blog from The Original Seedbank: MSNL (a cannabis seed source website) describes the pollen from male cannabis plants as “undaunted in its quest to fertilize female plants, going so far as to travel through ventilation systems and travelling fairly long distances in order to do it.”

The Original Seedbank explains that the only reason male cannabis plants insist on growing taller than female cannabis plants is the male marijuana plants use their height advantage to, “when the sacs break open,” scatter their pollen onto the female plants.

Female cannabis plants play a passive but fertile role in the cannabis plant sexual exchange. The website for Royal Queen Seeds asks you to notice the fine white hairs bristling from a healthy female cannabis plant’s calyx (flower and bud areas). These very sticky protrusions, called pistils, are the female cannabis plant’s sex organs. Pistillate hairs are also known as stigmas, perhaps because all a sticky pistil ever wants to do is wantonly lie back and catch the pollen male cannabis plants release.

Once a female cannabis plant’s calyx becomes pollinated, she can be considered fertilized. Forming the resinous, beautiful, tightly packed seedless buds most growers are striving for will cease to be the fertilized female cannabis plant’s priority. She will devote her energies to developing seeds.

Carrying her seeds to term may help the female cannabis plant to feel that she is a vital cog in the ever reproducing life cycle of cannabis bloodlines, but nonvirgin female marijuana plants can never go back to being sensimilla, which means “seedless.” The deflowered female cannabis plant’s bracts, where her crowning flowers develop and which contain the highest concentrations of THC of any cannabis plant part according to Cannabis Business Times, clog with seeds.

Not only will the yield of consumable cannabis be less in a cannabis flower that has a portion of its coveted green mass displaced by seeds, the cannabis of a pregnant female cannabis plant, according to common wisdom, will be less potent than virgin cannabis and is therefore widely shunned. After all, it’s the female cannabis plant and all the trichomes it produces (trichomes being the plant’s cannabinoid and terpene factory) that we want.

Pollinated marijuana bud with seed exposed
From Grow Weed Easy. A fertilized female cannabis plant bearing seeds. There is less bud, but it is usable, and the seeds can be used to grow a new generation of plants!

Some People Prefer Sexually Experienced Female Cannabis Plants

DJ Short is a legendary Cannabis Cup winning breeder of decade’s worth of distinctive cannabis strains who has written the book on Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis, subtitled An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets.

It’s an open fact that DJ Short is the creator of the true and sought after DJ Short West Coast Blueberry varietal.

It’s a revealed secret, disclosed within a thread on a 2011 Mr. Nice Seedbank and Research Forum, that DJ Short will pass up a perfectly fine sinsemilla cannabis bract to smoke seeded bud.

The exposure of DJ Short as a seeded cannabis man triggered controversy and confusion. The online cannabis chatterati typed in an anguished howl: Why? Why does this universally revered cannabis strain breeder prefer seed?

The answer may come down to DJ Shorty’s age. Any historical cannabis personage who attended an American high school in the 1970s or ‘80s can readily access a wash of nostalgic sense memories that originated in cannabis of that time, which needed to be screened of seeds before consumption.

DJ Short is said to have contrasted today’s cannabis with marijuana of yore, such as seeded Acapulco Gold. As an aside, the true Blueberry creator swore blind that the best weed he had ever smoked was seeded. Further, he would prefer the shake from old, seeded Acapulco Gold than most of today’s shiny dank seedless weed.

The precise quote attributed to DJ Short is: “I prefer seeded bud in terms of a finished product. … [Fertilized female cannabis] gives the total cannabinoidal spectrum [and] broadens the cannabinoidal profile.”

What all this has to do with whether or not an amateur marijuana cultivator’s female cannabis plants should have sex depends on the budding horticulturist’s preferences.

What’s more important: The potentially wider range of cannabinoids unleashed by fertilized female plants? The greater yield of psychoactive material produced by the buds and flower of a female plant that wastes no energy or mass on seeds?

There is also another explanation, and one that might allow for seeded bud but also keep the number of seeds down. That is by pollinating only a certain calyx on the cannabis plant late in its flowering stage, and wrapping the pollinated site up in a plastic bag or dissecting it and letting it grow in a separate grow room for seed. It is arguable that this would allow for a healthy male plant to impart some of its cannabinoids to a female plant. The cloned fertilised calyx would also allow it to produce a new generation of cannabis seeds with unique cannabinoid profiles. It is arguable that letting your female plant have a little fun could potentially help it grow more healthily and happily!

With DJ Short being an expert grower and cannabis enthusiast, he would likely be intrigued by these unique profiles and their potential as sensimilla plants, perhaps more than just looking at a plant for its THC content. Remember also that THC content was king many years ago, so breeders and others who were trying to keep a hold of the strains of yesteryear may have kept some stock for when the rest of the world woke up to all the other cannabinoids and terpenes that can be found in landrace varietals!

Whether or not your cannabis plants should have sex may after all be one of those dilemmas for which there is no wrong answer.

One Hard No on Cannabis Plant Sex

Make certain that your female cannabis plants never, ever have sex with a male hemp plant. The pollen from a single industrial male hemp plant can breed the essential oils out of an entire field of female cannabis plants. Michigan State University recommends that female cannabis plants stay at least ten miles away from the bursting pollen sac of a male industrial hemp plant. Even at ten miles distance, the hemp pollen may still waft all the way to the female cannabis plant’s calyx.

If hemp pollen adheres to the pistils of your cannabis crop, you might as well turn those stigmatized plants into ropes and let them hang themselves. On the whole, unless you are breeding for a new generation of plants, you will want to get rid of male cannabis plants and keep the females. However, we always recommend that, as people get more experience with growing cannabis, they experiment for themselves and learn about the plant in all of its dimorphic glory!

New call-to-action

Written by
Allan MacDonell
Allan MacDonell

Contributing commentator Allan MacDonell’s work has been featured in publications ranging from Dazed and Confused UK to the New York Times and Washington Post. He is the author of Prisoner of X, Punk Elegies and Now That I Am Gone, and was a founding editorial director at online outlets including Buzznet, TakePart and Kindland. MacDonell views teaming with Leafwell as an opportunity to encourage the emerging role of legal cannabis as a highly effective medical treatment.

See A Leafwell Physician Today

Get approved for medical marijuana online from a licensed physician. Only pay if you are approved.

Get Started
Leafwell medical marijuana card

Not Sure If Cannabis Can Help You?

Let us know what you are looking to use medical cannabis for, and we will point you in the right direction.

Contact our support