The gender differences between hemp (cannabis sativa) plants

Every grower should know how to identify male and female plants

When we refer to the Earth, we call it Mother Earth. We recognize that the Earth is the womb that houses us and all its species, and we revere her feminine energy. As you do a deep dive into the hemp (cannabis sativa) plant, the gender differences between plants may be surprising.

Most people do not think about the role the gender of a hemp cultivar plays during a grow or how this impacts extraction. Understanding the gender of a hemp plant is essential if you plan to cultivate the hemp plant to make products. Female plants take center stage in the world of hemp grown for the purpose of extraction of CBD and other phytocannabinoids.

Every grower should know how to identify male and female plants

Female plants will have flower clusters and long white hairs. Male plants have round balls located on the nodes. When growers purchase seeds, there is no way to know what gender a plant may be until it begins to grow. Gender identification occurs at approximately six weeks. During this time, pre-flowers will signify the plant’s gender before entering the flowering stage.

At the flowering stage, the male and female parts begin to develop. Only female plants produce flowers and buds. As a result, there is a strong preference for female plants. The resin extracted is from the flower of the female plants. Growers will cull the male plants to prevent pollination. Why? Pollinated female hemp plants use up energy stores to create seeds and this process will reduce the plants’ ability to make more resin.Some people may think there is a gender bias for female hemp plants among growers. In reality, it all comes down to the level of CBD extracted from the plant.

Female hemp plants produce the most compounds

Once gender is identified growers will isolate unfertilized female plants to maximize growth potential — excelling CBD potency levels. Although resin is a compound in male and female plants, male plants produce pollen making them less favorable to extract, and they contain smaller amounts of desired cannabinoids. Keep in mind, male plants are essential for crossbreeding and creating new strains. They are just not generally favorable for extraction due to low compound levels.

Does this mean that male hemp plants have a minimal role?

No. You cannot have one without the other. Each gender inhabits its own space within the hemp ecosystem that is not interchangeable. Extracting CBD and other beneficial phytocannabinoids essentially requires female plants, since it is impossible to extract those from male plants

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