A common stigma among some groups of cannabis cultivators is that male cannabis plants are useless.
Sure, you can’t smoke a male (well, you could try, but it’s not going to be great). But if you’re growing cannabis, you’re most likely growing female plants -after all; the female plants produce those highly-prized buds of quality cannabis most of us are looking for. That doesn’t mean there are no uses for male cannabis plants.
Whether for medical or recreational use, cannabis flower from female plants is what we use for smoking, and thanks to feminized seeds, you can fill your grow space with females. But what do you do if you end up with a male plant? Don’t panic and throw it out – there are several practical uses for male cannabis plants. Read on to find out more.
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What is a Male Cannabis Plant?
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male and female reproductive characteristics occur on different plants.
A male marijuana plant will develop pollen sacs rather than the flowers and pistils exclusive to female cannabis plants. You’ll be able to identify whether a cannabis plant is male or female during the pre-flowering period, also known as the stretch. This is the period during the first few weeks of flowering, where the plant will start to display strong foliage growth as it gears up for the flowering stage. At this stage, inspecting the pre-flowers between the leaves and stems will reveal ball-like growths that are the first visible indication of a male plant.
These ball-like growths look a little like garden peas, developing to become pollen sacs. If you see these grow on your plant, you can be confident you have a male cannabis plant.
Many cannabis growers will immediately remove and destroy a male plant since they don’t produce the prized bounty that most cultivators want. But before you uproot a male and throw it out (cursing under your breath, no doubt), there are several uses for male cannabis plants with value.
Suppose you spot a male among your female marijuana plants. In that case, you should quickly remove it from your growing site, certainly – leaving it there could cause pollination of your females, which leads to seed production and lowers the potency of the female plants. Not ideal!
Make Hashish From Male Cannabis Plants
The male cannabis plant still produces cannabinoids such as THC, so it’s not without use. The problem is that male plants have a significantly lower THC content than females. The good news is that you can use it to make hash and other concentrates. Yes, it will be less potent than that from the female cannabis plant, but lower-potency hash is a better use of the male plant than simply tossing it in the chipper. You don’t have buds, but there’s THC in the leafy matter of the plant, so use everything, and you can produce your hash from male plants.
Make Cannabis Tea from Male Plants
Although cannabinoid concentrations are lower in male plants, they’re still present and abundant enough that you can make homebrews with therapeutic qualities. THCA products won’t carry a psychoactive kick but will be absorbed well by the body in liquid forms.
Cannatea has numerous health benefits, from relaxing properties to soothing sore throats and aiding digestion. Grind up your leaves and decarboxylate them in the oven for 45 minutes at a low heat before following this tea recipe, and enjoy a soothing, beneficial brew.
Use Male Cannabis plants to Breed your own Strains
You can use male cannabis plants for breeding unique new strains! If you’ve ever wondered about it but never dared to try, having a male cannabis plant is suddenly a weapon in your arsenal that allows you to create your own strain. 50% of the genetic material comes from the male plant, so put that to use, get creative and make your own unique cannabis strain – providing, of course, your male plant has suitable characteristics for breeding.
If your male is:
- Especially aromatic
- Shows good signs of resilience to pests or harsh climate
- Has tight and dense flowers
These traits are desirable in cannabis strains and may make an excellent plant for breeding. Separate them from the pack and experiment with a female to see if you can produce a new and exciting cannabis strain of your own. Be sure to give it a catchy name, too.
On the other hand, if your male plant displays traits such as:
- Autoflowering or early flowering
- Growing unusually fast or tall
These traits are less desirable for breeding. Auto and early flowering male plants tend to produce hermaphrodite plants, which is not something breeders want.
Put Males to use as Companion Plants
Having a few males in your garden as companion plants is a great way to round out the ecosystem and provide a tempting lure for common pests to keep them away from your precious female cannabis plants. Place males in your garden well away from females or with a barrier in between, such as sunflowers. Doing this will avoid unwanted pollination of females by males. If you grow other crops such as vegetables, the male cannabis plants can make for a too-tempting alternative that will keep other crops safer from insect attackers. Inter-plant your males among any other crops or plant species and allow the succulent terpenes like limonene and pinene to attract pests away from fruits and veggies growing in your garden.
Give Male Plants back to Nature
The roots of those male plants have absorbed reasonable quantities of nutrients, making them an excellent ingredient to add to your compost, allowing you to redistribute those nutrients back out into the soil. Two of the best ways to re-purpose your males to assist new plant growth is to either cut up the plant material and put it back in the ground or add it to your compost pile and give it time to soak up those valuable nutrients from male leftovers.
If you’re strictly in the business of buds, a male cannabis plant is the last thing you’ll want to see, but as you can gather from this article if you have the time and creativity to take on new projects, there’s no need to panic and throw your male cannabis plants in the bin. You can re-purpose those bad boys in numerous helpful ways with a bit of know-how.
Got a unique use for male plants? Comment below and tell us how you put male cannabis plants to use.