What to Do With Male Cannabis Plants
Anyone who decides to grow cannabis plants will likely know or soon learn that cannabis plants can be male or female. Females are the more sought after plants as they produce large resinous buds that you dry, cure, and then smoke or consume. Because of that, most people have only female cannabis plants in their garden, or at least almost all female plants.
Just because male cannabis plants do not produce buds, this does not mean that they are useless. You can do several things with the male cannabis plants that do not involve just throwing them out.
Understanding Males, Females, and Pollen
Before going into details about what to do with your male cannabis plants, ensure you understand the differences. Male plants produce fine pollen, which travels on the wind to find the female plants. Pollen sacs contain five petioles in a yellow-white color. These petioles protect the interior, with its anthers carrying the pollen. At maturation, the pods open and the anthers release the pollen.
The female plants feature pistils with a sticky resin that helps them catch the fine cannabis pollen. After pollination, the pistils will dry and die back. This leads to the formation of the seeds. In six weeks or more, the seeds will move onto the next step, perhaps visibly opening the calyx.
The Existence of Male Plants Is Good for Cannabis
As a dioecious plant, cannabis evolved to have both male and female plants, which works to the benefit of all cannabis plants. Because males and females grow separately instead of within the same plant, there is a higher level of genetic diversity in cannabis plants. As with humans or any other living thing, genetic diversity helps with vitality and strength.
It is common for hobby growers to use clones for an entire grow of cannabis plants, or to use one feminized strain. Doing so may be easy, but it will lead to weakness in your plants. The lack of diversity can increase your plants’ sensitivity to pests and diseases. It can also weaken the defenses of the plants.
Keep Them to Encourage Cannabis Health and Diversity
Because of the benefits associated with male cannabis plants to the diversity and strength of cannabis around the world, it is wise to keep your male plants. If you discard otherwise healthy cannabis plants that are male, this may lead to issues with the future sustainability of cannabis.
This is not a far-fetched idea. People selectively breed bananas to produce fruits with no seeds and engage in similar selective breeding with other plants. This has put bananas at risk due to the lack of seeds and selective breeding. Just a single person getting rid of male cannabis plants is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the future of the species, but if everyone followed suit, it would.
Essentially, keeping the male cannabis plants and finding alternative uses for them helps the species survive.
Most people who choose to keep male cannabis plants will do so for breeding purposes. After all, you need the male plants to pollinate the females, or you will not be able to produce more cannabis. The only exception will be if you grow from clones.
Why Breed Your Own Cannabis Strain?
Beginner growers will not necessarily want to breed their own cannabis strains, but once you become familiar with growing cannabis, this may become appealing. This can take your hobby to the next level and give you the chance to create your own one-of-a-kind strain with buds that have the effects that you want.
Breeding cannabis strains yourself lets you focus on the features that you want, whether it is a particular flavor or potency. Even if there is not a specific aroma or flavor you want from the cannabis, there are reasons to breed your own. You may find yourself with better yields, more resinous cannabis plants, and better “highs.”
Choosing Males for Breeding
If you plan to use male cannabis plants for breeding, try to choose a plant with strong genetic material. This is crucial because the males will provide half of the seeds’ genetic makeup. You want to look for factors like rate of growth, resistance to mold and pests, shape, and climate resilience.
Most breeders end up choosing their males via elimination. This takes out some of the guesswork from the process, making it easy to find the ideal male without too much research.
Eliminate Options Based on Growth Rate
Start by eliminating males that grow too tall or too quick. Those traits typically indicate buds that lack in quality, although this is not always the case.
Eliminate Options Based on Flowering
Next, get rid of any autoflowering male as well as male plants that flower too early. There might be a higher chance of the plant becoming intersex if it flowers at unexpected moments.
Select Based on Aroma
You will likely prefer a cannabis plant that has a strong, pleasant scent. To increase your chances of this result, choose males that also have a nice aroma.
Select for Quality Stems
Look at the remaining male cannabis plants and choose ones that have strong stems. You want to look for males with large and hollow stems. Get rid of the plants that have pithy stems. Growers with experience have noticed that cannabis plants with stronger, quality stems tend to have higher THC content.
Select Based on Bud Structure
You can also look at the bud structure of the potential males and keep those with ideal structure. You want to look for airy bed structure while avoiding buds that are dense or tightly packed. This type of selection should improve your chances of good yields.
Producing Concentrates and Other THC Products
Many people do not realize that male cannabis plants can also provide psychoactive properties. Females will do a better job at this, but males still contain small quantities of cannabinoids. You can find those cannabinoids in the sacs, stems, and leaves of male cannabis plants. You will find less in their buds than you would on females.
You should not expect to get a strong concentrate from male cannabis. However, you will still find more THC in the flowers of males than that in leaves of females.
This means that you can use male cannabis plants to produce concentrates, just as you would with females. Choose your favorite extraction method and turn the male cannabis plants into oils or hash.
Use It Like You Would Leftover Sugar Leaves From Females
It is common for growers to use the remaining sugar leaves from female plants once harvest arrives. You can do the same thing with nearly any part of the male plant. Use them to make hash, concentrates, cannabutter, or similar items.
Make Tea or Juice
Yet another option for male cannabis plants that takes advantage of their health benefits is turning them into a drink. Cannabis juice contains numerous nutrients, earning it a positive reputation among those who are health-conscious. In most cases, tea or juice will give you the benefits of the cannabinoids like CBD but no “high,” so you will not have to worry about interference with your daily life.
Males work nearly just as well as females for making juice or tea. The only difference is that you will have lower quantities of cannabinoids in the final drink. To turn male cannabis plants into juice or tea, follow the same steps you would for females. Just remove the larger leaves and thicker stalks first, as these can bring a bitter taste.
Making Hemp Fiber
Not everyone uses cannabis plants for their THC and CBD content. Hemp is also very useful and versatile material. It works well in a range of applications, including the making of hemp rope and hemp cloth.
Male plants actually excel at producing hemp fiber, as the material will be softer and have a higher resistance. By contrast, the material made using female plants tends to be coarser as well as stronger.
Because male cannabis plants produce softer hemp, most people who want hemp for household items like clothing and tablecloths will opt for male plants. By contrast, the female plants’ strength makes them good for rope and tougher applications.
Can You Make Your Own Hemp Fiber?
You may not think to keep male cannabis plants to make hemp fiber. It doesn’t make sense if you are not a commercial grower. After all, few people make their own hemp. Despite this being a less common hobby, it is still entirely possible to make your own hemp at home. There are numerous guides and tools available online to help you. If the idea sounds interesting, you could find yourself with a new hobby that produces useful crafts. Alternatively, you could see if any of your friends or family already has that hobby or would be interested in starting.
Improving Overall Garden Health
Most people choose to grow cannabis in their gardens to produce the buds and get the cannabinoids from the plant, but this is not the only purpose. Cannabis plants, male or female, can actually provide numerous other benefits to your garden. This can help a range of plants, from veggies to other flowers.
Just like females, male cannabis plants produce terpenes, which are the aromatic oils that give cannabis its smell. These terpenes also help with controlling diseases and pests. This means that if you include male cannabis plants in your garden, they may help you keep away diseases and pests, encouraging the health of your other plants.
You can also dry some of the material from your male cannabis plant and then place that throughout your garden. This could provide the same benefits thanks to the terpene-rich oils. In fact, many of the natural bug sprays you find for sale take advantage of those terpene-rich oils found in cannabis plants, both male and female.
Improving Soil Quality
If you choose to include male cannabis plants in your garden, you may also notice an improvement to your soil quality. This comes from the long taproots associated with cannabis plants. Growers love taproots thanks to their ability to reach deep into the ground, where they break up low-quality soil. This improves the soil quality by allowing nutrients and moisture to get in it.
In addition to improving the nutrient and moisture content of the soil, taproots also help the soil stay in place. That helps your garden during heavy rainfalls by stopping nutrient runoff and preventing soil loss.
Cautions When Keeping Male Cannabis Plants
With so many potential uses for male cannabis plants, there is no reason to dispose of them. If you do decide to keep your male cannabis plants, just keep a few key factors in mind.
Keep Them Away From Female Cannabis Plants
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to ensure your male cannabis plants remain far away from the female cannabis plants. Cannabis pollen is excellent at traveling, easily covering long distances in search of a female. You do not want this to happen with your female plants unless planned.
The pollination is crucial for reproducing cannabis plants, but it will reduce the quality of buds your female cannabis plants produce. That is why most growers do not pollinate their bud-producing females. Essentially, pollinated females will focus energy on breeding instead of producing the cannabinoid-rich buds you want. This will lead to lower-quality buds with reduced potency.
Do Not Go Over the Legal Limit
You should also always keep the law in mind if you decide to let your male cannabis plants grow. Depending on where you live, there may be legal restrictions as to how many cannabis plants you can legally grow. This figure includes both males and females. As such, you may need to discard your males if you have too many and choose the females for their cannabinoid-rich buds.
Just because male cannabis plants do not produce THC in the same quantities as females, this does not mean they are useless. You can still use them for breeding, making THC or CBD concentrates, making hemp, and protecting the rest of your garden. You only need to discard the males if you want to or do not have enough resources to keep them.