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How to Use Male Cannabis Plants?

Added 30 August 2023

This is a common case in many cannabis gardens: you spend weeks tending to your cannabis plants, feeding them the right nutrients, training them, and ensuring they grow to their full potential. But come bloom, you realize that half of your cannabis plants have turned out to be males that will never yield flowers. 

It’s natural to feel distraught or frustrated — so much effort on plants that will not give you resinous flowers — but what if we told you male cannabis plants aren’t such a bad thing for your operation? Yes, they were never your first choice but now that they are here, you can salvage them instead of wasting your effort. 

Male cannabis plants have many uses. No, they won’t get you all that high, but they can help you do other things like improve your soil, make fibers, enjoy cannabis smoothies, and much more. Read all about the various uses of male cannabis plants in this article. 

Identification and Anatomy: What are Male Cannabis Plants?

Identification and Anatomy: What are Male Cannabis Plants?

Cannabis is a dioecious species, exhibiting distinctive reproductive characteristics (or organs) of males and females on separate plants. The most significant difference lies in the flowers or lack thereof between female and male plants. 

Whether it’s male or female, all cannabis plants go through a life cycle. First, it starts with germination which typically lasts for 3-10 days where the cotyledons emerge. Next, we have the seedling stage for about 2-3 weeks where the true leaves form.

Then, the plants get to the vegetative phase which can go anywhere from 3-15 weeks, depending on how long the grower wants the plants to grow. This is when the plants grow vigorously and develop stalks, branches, stems, and mature leaves. Finally, we have the flowering phase which can span for about 8-10 weeks. This timeline can differ for you, as a lot depends on the strain and the way you grow it. 

Both male and female cannabis plants look almost identical until they reach the seedling phase. It takes three weeks for sexual characteristics to emerge and distinguish their genders. These traits can be challenging for beginners to identify accurately, so you can use a magnifying glass to detect the differences.

When a female cannabis plant enters the flowering stage, it starts growing distinct flowers, which we refer to as buds or nugs. Females are usually shorter in height and have main stalks with more leaves. These flowers are exclusive to female plants. On the other hand, male plants develop pollen sacs instead of flowers after the vegetative stage. 

Female pre-flowers appear at nodes. Initially, these flowers will look like white thin hair. If you look closely, the nodes will have two white hairs that form a distinctive V shape. This hair, also known as pistils, will develop more pistils and eventually grow into a big bud. In addition, remember that these pistils appear on nodes that are closer to the light source compared to lower branches. It usually takes around five to six nodes for the plant's gender to become noticeable.

As the plant grows, the sacs release pollen to pollinate female plants. It's crucial to identify plants early because when female cannabis plants get pollinated, their energy is diverted from producing THC to forming seeds, compromising the potency of the plant. At the same time, male cannabis plants typically will release pollen between four to six weeks coinciding with the appearance of female plant characteristics.

So, if you grow cannabis from regular seeds, you can identify your plant’s sex during the pre-flowering or early flowering stages. If it’s a female plant, you’ll notice buds growing out of the nodes, but if it’s a male plant, you’ll see spherical growths called nascent pollen sacs that will eventually turn into proper sacs. 

Here are the significant differences between a male and a female cannabis plant:

Male Cannabis Plants

Female Cannabis Plants

The nodes will develop tiny sacs during the pre-flowering stage 

The nodes will produce pistils or hairs during the pre-flowering state 

The stalks will be slightly thicker, with fewer leaves 

The stalks will be thinner but have more leaves

Male plants will not produce any usable flowers or buds 

Female plants produce usable buds that you can smoke 

The pollen sacs look like small, bell-shaped clusters 

The flowers are bushy, teardrop-shaped, and covered in resin 

The plant will not produce high amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes 

These flowers contain high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, and hence, they are usable for therapeutic and recreational uses

If your cannabis plant is female — congratulations — continue taking care of it and enjoy the fruits of your labor in a few weeks. But growers are often disappointed to find male plants in their cannabis gardens since they don’t yield the desirable harvests or grow buds. 

Sometimes cannabis plants can exhibit both female organs, making them hermaphrodites. This occurs due to traits in the seeds or any stresses the plant experiences. Although most growers dislike hermaphrodites, also known as hermies, it’s fascinating for breeders. One major problem with hermies is that they don't contain much THC. 

A true hermaphrodite will show either pistils or pollen sacs at the nodes. You’ll be able to see small balls that look like bananas. Eventually, they split open to reveal stamens increasing the risk of pollination.

Remember, a plant does not become a hermaphrodite only because of its genetics. As mentioned above, stressors such as exposure to light, water availability, and nutrient levels can also be responsible. These changes can occur at any point during the plant's growth cycle, from germination to flowering.

Stress acts as a catalyst for this gender metamorphosis. The plant perceives stressors as signals to adapt and ensure its survival. Thus, if a female plant is introduced to less favorable conditions, it can develop male reproductive organs along its existing female structures.

Light, nutrients, and other and other environmental factors determine how the plants grow, They are necessary for the plant to thrive; however, it can be problematic if it’s too extreme. For example, too much light or too little light can stress the plant. A sudden decrease in exposure to light or fluctuations in water could stress the plant as well. 

While hermaphroditic plants don’t produce buds that you can smoke, they can self-pollinate and produce seeds. Also, the resulting seeds can be different from what you expect. If you grow them, the plants will often grow into hermaphrodites as well. Thus, it’s important to be able to differentiate between male and female plants and also provide proper growing conditions to ensure that you don’t end up with hermies. 

How To Use Male Cannabis Plants?

How To Use Male Cannabis Plants?

Generally, most cannabis growers uproot male plants and toss them in the bin. That’s not a wrong approach as male plants can be dangerous for your cannabis yield because they have the ability to quickly pollinate every other female plant in your garden and ruin the yield entirely. But you’ve grown this plant from scratch and invested your time, energy, and money on it, so it’s fair not to want to toss it in the bin just yet. 

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make use of your male cannabis plant. But before we get into the many benefits, it is advisable (read: crucial) that you quickly transplant your male plant away from the female plants. Ideally, you should transplant them in a different room or tent altogether and ensure they don’t share the same air. 

You must also be careful not to carry any pollen on you or the tools. So, always change your clothes before moving from one grow room to another and, if possible, use separate tools for each sex or at least sanitize the tools after every use. 

While most growers toss their cannabis plants, you’d be surprised at the number of things these growers miss out on. You can do many things with your male cannabis plant, but in this article, we will include only the best uses, which are as follows. 

1. Use Male Plants for Breeding New Strains 

If you want to breed new cannabis strains, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of using high-quality male plants for your program. When your male plant pollinates the female plant, it also provides half of the DNA that will influence the next generation of offspring. So, if you have a male cannabis plant that displays desirable phenotypes, you should use them to preserve the traits in your new strain. 

In male plants, you can distinguish some phenotypes quite easily; some of these traits include the plant's overall health, its resistance to pests, pathogens, diseases, growth rate, the risk of hermaphroditism, resistance to environmental stressors, etc. Of course, it’s impossible to distinguish phenotypes that will influence the potency or flavor of the offspring, but these qualities shouldn’t be ignored either. 

You can also use male cannabis plants in breeding auto-flowering cannabis strains, as they allow you to retain the growth pattern of the male plant while maintaining the potency and flavor of the auto-flowering female plant in the offspring. And this entire process is super easy, even for new cannabis breeders. 

If you are breeding cannabis in a traditional (read: the proper method), you’ll want to cross many male plants with identical female clones and figure out which offspring shows the best traits. You will then select the male plant based on the offspring's most desirable phenotype, and then stabilize the line with the chosen male and female plants. 

The male plant’s phenotype may not always align with the female offspring's, but certain traits will be inherited nonetheless. While it is not yet proven by science, the male plant's potency may affect the offspring's potency, as suggested by many experienced breeders who have found that to be the case in their breeding programs. 

Breeding cannabis strains from male and female plants requires a lot of patience, trial and error, and time. You must be selective, grow each plant to its full potential, analyze and study the expressed phenotypes, and continually try stabilizing the line over generations. It’s impossible to select the right male plant for this without trial and error, so if you’ve got many male plants at hand, you should consider breeding them with a strain of your choice. 

2. Extract Concentrates like Hashish from the Male Plants

The traditional process of extracting hashish or hash is not so sophisticated, and it is safe to assume that the resin extraction process was used on both male and female plants. In the wild Himalayan regions, male and female cannabis plants grow together, and the males are not always removed. 

Of course, some hash-producing regions like Lebanon and Morocco did eliminate males from their farms. It’s an exception and not a rule when it comes to extracting cannabis concentrates. 

In fact, many forums and anecdotal reports suggest that many traditional growers and breeders use male cannabis plants (flowers, leaves, and stems) to produce hashish and other concentrates, and they are usually quite successful. 

Overall, male cannabis plants do not contain a lot of cannabinoids. Still, if you have many male plants or use extraction processes like butane extraction and QWISO, you can make a significant amount of extracts from male plants. And this is not only limited to hashish; you can produce concentrates like cannabutter, oils, infusions, etc. 

Do note that extracts made purely from male plants may not produce a high or be psychoactive — there’s no evidence supporting or dismissing this — but many users claim that male cannabis concentrates are more cerebral.

3. Make Cannabis Juices 

When cannabis plants are growing or in their vegetative stage, male and female plants share the same characteristics, especially in the health benefits department. Both male and female cannabis plants share the same acid profiles and are rich in antioxidants and phenols. 

So, if you are a fan of juicing cannabis leaves as a tonic for health and lifestyle benefits, you can use male cannabis plants. Like the female plant, you can juice everything on the male cannabis plant except heavy branches. 

Cannabis juice offers excellent health benefits like activating brain receptors, removing damaged cells from the body, boosting antioxidant levels, stimulating hunger, helping with nausea, etc. Plus, cannabis juice is rich in iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, and carotenoids. 

If you want to make cannabis juice from male cannabis plants, add a few buds and many fan leaves, depending on your dosage preferences, into a juice and blend them into a smoothie. You can also add other vegetables or fruits to enhance the flavor. One of the best ways to enjoy cannabis juice is to mix it with carrot juice if you do not like the flavor. 

Apart from making cannabis juice, you can also use male cannabis plants for cooking. Start by decarbing the plant, and follow the same recipe as that of cooking with buds. Be sure to do enough research before taking on this endeavor, as it can get a bit tricky. 

4. Extract Fibers from Male Cannabis Plants

If you’re one of the few growing hemp plants and you have male plants on your hands, you can make high-quality fibers from them. Male hemp plants produce excellent fibers that female hemp plants do not match, according to a 1996 Hungarian study, which found that male hemp fibers are quite different from female hemp fibers

This is also supported by ancient hemp fiber farming methods, where farmers actively separated female plants from male plants during the cultivation. Even if they were extracting fibers from male and female plants, many farmers kept processes like retting, spinning, and weaving separate for male and female plants. 

According to a Chinese text dating back to the 16th century BC, male hemp fiber is the best!

So, what makes male hemp fibers better? According to hemp farmers, male hemp fibers are softer and finer than female plants and come in handy while producing finer grades of cloth like towels, linen, and clothes. On the other hand, female hemp fiber was better suited for rough cloth like canvas. 

Even the Hungarian study mentioned above found that male hemp fiber has greater flexibility and torsional strength, significantly influencing the cloth's fineness. Male hemp plants also contain 31.5% of fibers, compared to female hemp plants, which only contain 29.6%. 

5. Male Plants are Reliable Companions

Throughout the history of cannabis cultivation, it has never been a secret that cannabis plants can be used in many ways as a pesticide and pest repellent. For example, extracts from dried cannabis buds and fan leaves have been used throughout history to repel pests and pathogens. Pure cannabinoid extracts have also been found to be antibacterial and antimicrobial in nature. 

So, you can use your male cannabis plants as companion plants in your garden. As many studies have shown, cannabis plants have the ability to ward off unwanted pests. For example, when you grow cannabis next to cotton, it can prevent cotton worms to a great extent; it can also avert cabbage caterpillars for vegetables, potato beetles from potato gardens, and other pests and pathogens like potato blight fungus, root maggots, and European chafer larvae.

Ironically, cannabis plants can also suppress the growth of unwanted species of plants and weeds in the gardens. They help ward off so many pests thanks to their terpene profile, a defense mechanism against such pests and pathogens. And since male and female plants produce these terpenes, male plants can act as excellent companion plants in your cannabis garden. 

So, if you are growing vegetables or other non-cannabis plant species, you can interplant male cannabis plants in your garden without worrying much. Let the male cannabis plant do its trick. On the other hand, if you are growing female cannabis plants, it is advisable not to use male cannabis plants as companions so they don’t accidentally pollinate them. 

6. Use Male Plant Parts as Mulch 

For many growers, male cannabis plants may not be of much help when alive, but they can certainly come in handy when uprooted. Remember, the male cannabis plant is just as hungry as a high-yielding female plant, so it has munched on many nutrients while growing up. Male cannabis plants are mostly nitrogen and carbon, but they also contain a lot of other micronutrients. 

So, it is an excellent idea to use your male cannabis plants as mulch. You can do so in multiple ways. First, you can simply toss chopped-up plant parts onto the soil — this is the chop-and-drop method. Second, you can add your male cannabis plant to the compost pile and add them to the ground once they’re broken down into compost. 

This use may not seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised how much a male cannabis mulch or compost can help your female cannabis plants. The male plant contains precisely what your female plant needs, so it takes out a lot of the guesswork while ensuring your female plant gets what it needs. 

7. Use Their Roots for Medicinal Properties

The roots of the male cannabis plants have a lot of health benefits for you, and since they have less than 1% THC content, you won’t have to worry about getting stoned while consuming them. 

Cannabis roots contain compounds like terpenes, pentacyclic triterpene ketones, triterpene, friedelin, and much more, which offer benefits for the liver, act as an anti-inflammatory, aid in pain relief, anti-aging, and much more. 

To use your male cannabis plant’s roots for medicinal purposes, remove the roots, cut them, rinse them in clean water, dry them, and remove any residual residue. Then, you can use the dried root pieces to make lotions, balms, tinctures, or massage oils. Use the same method as you would while producing regular cannabis extracts. 

8. Restore Soil Health in Your Garden

If you’ve been growing cannabis for a while, you likely have a spot in your garden where the soil is not as healthy as the rest of the garden. This can occur due to multiple growth cycles, excessive use of fertilizers, or plain bad luck, and no matter what you do, plants fail here. 

This is where male cannabis plants can come in handy. Try to grow a male cannabis plant in this soil, which can drastically improve the soil’s condition. Cannabis plants produce straight tapering roots, i.e., they extend deep into the ground by tunneling through hardened soil. 

The root development process can restore the soil’s ability to retain water, moisture, and nutrients. And once the soil is restored, you can resume growing other plants in the same spot without trying too hard. 

Of course, you can also use female cannabis plants, but with a male plant, you don’t have to optimize its growth for yield or even worry about it. Your primary goal is just to grow it, and even if it fails, you won’t feel bad because you’re trying to grow a plant that is otherwise useless for you. 

9. You Can Consume Cannabis Seeds  

Cannabis or hemp seeds that are produced by pollinated female plants are high in vitamins, fiber, and energy sources. It is believed that the seeds contain the best proportion of vitamins and proteins compared to any other seed. Here are some of the things cannabis seeds are rich in:

  • Protein (they are 43% protein)
  • Vitamin E
  • Carbohydrates
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Sulfur

So, you can definitely consume them to reap the benefits. The seeds contain negligible cannabinoids, so they won’t make you high, either. You can use a mortar and pestle to remove the seeds’ hard shell or consume whole seeds. Some ways you can use cannabis seeds in your diet are sprinkling them in your cereal, adding them to juices and smoothies, tossing them with a salad, or grinding them to produce hemp milk. 

Can You Smoke Male Cannabis Plants?

Can You Smoke Male Cannabis Plants?

Male cannabis plants may grow flower-like structures, and you may be tempted to smoke them, but it’s not worth it. While you can smoke male cannabis, they do not contain enough terpenes or cannabinoids to make it a worthy experience. Smoking male cannabis plants is like smoking tobacco or catnip — you’ll be smoking, but you’re doing more harm than good. 

And even if you allow your male plants to reach a point where they produce cannabinoids, they will be a risk to female plants as they will be mature enough to pollinate any female plant in their vicinity. Again, the risk is simply not worth it. So, it’s best not to consider smoking male cannabis plants. 

Summary: How to Use Male Cannabis Plants?

No one likes discovering male cannabis plants in their gardens when the goal is to grow big, bushy nugs, and most end up tossing their male cannabis plants without giving it a second thought. Don’t be like that — you’re wasting all your time and energy. Instead, use the above-mentioned methods to make use of male cannabis plants. 

Male cannabis plants have a ton of uses. Anatomically, they are quite similar to female plants, and they also contain various beneficial elements that can help you improve your lifestyle. So, depending on your preferences and goals, start using male cannabis plants for cannabis juices, hemp fibers, super seeds, mulch, beneficial roots, or breeding new strains. 

But if getting high is your goal and you don’t care about anything else, make hash or other concentrates from your male cannabis plants. It’s possible as they contain some amount of cannabinoids, and while this concentrate won’t be as potent, it can still give you a good time nonetheless. 




Male plants do not produce trichomes on the same level as female plants and extracting them is a waste of your time with the yield being so so low. They do not produce seeds either, the pollinated females do. They serve no purpose but for fodder in the compost pile or to pollinate the females in the garden setting.
The image used under Can You Smoke Male Cannabis Plants? appears to be of a female plant. If your "male" plants are producing calyx with pistils then its a Hemri or not a Male.

As a textile for its fibre its very useful. Should they be processed and harvested in mass, but again there are Hemp plants who can do this as well as produce shit ton of seeds for food crops. so if you got a male in your hobby garden just kill them.


@m0use, I agree, but this is for those that have a large number of male plants. Also, I haven't mentioned that males produce seeds. Instead, they can be used to create seeds. Coming to the image, I used an image of a male from stock :)

Anyway, I changed the pic and added an extra sentence to eliminate any confusion about the seeds. Thanks.