4 ways to make use of male cannabis plants
Unlike most flowering plants, cannabis is unique in that it requires both a male and female plant to reproduce. While hermaphroditic (self-pollinating) cannabis does exist, the plant most commonly expresses male- or female-specific sex organs.
Female cannabis plants produce the large, resinous buds that are dried, cured, and consumed. For this reason, females are typically the only plants you’ll find in someone’s cannabis garden.
Male plants are commonly regarded as useless and discarded. While pollination by males is essential for producing more cannabis plants (unless working from clones), it’s a process that is generally best left to breeders so growers can focus on producing consumable seedless buds called sinsemilla.
Do male plants truly belong in a compost bin, or could they serve a more beneficial purpose to gardeners? Surprisingly, there are more uses for male plants than one might think.
The obvious function of male cannabis plants is for breeding seeds. When pollinating females, males provide half of the genetic makeup inherited by seeds. Because of this, it’s important to look into the genetics of the male plants. Their shape, rate of growth, pest and mold resistance, and climate resilience can all be passed on to increase the quality of future generations.
2. Hemp fiber
When it comes to hemp fiber, the male cannabis plants produce a softer material while females are responsible for producing a coarse, stronger fiber. The soft fiber from the male plants make them more desirable for products like clothing, tablecloths, and other household items.
3. Concentrate production
It may come as a surprise that male plants can be psychoactive in nature—though much less potent than females. The plants do not produce buds, but small amounts of cannabinoids can be found in the leaves, stems, and sacs, which can be extracted to produce hash or other oils.
4. Garden enhancement
Cannabis plants offer more benefits in the garden beyond bud production. Both male and female cannabis plants produce aromatic oils called terpenes, which are associated with pest and disease control. Since males also produce terpenes, you may consider including your males in a vegetable or flower garden (as long as they’re well separated from any female cannabis plants). Dried material from cannabis plants have also been used to produce terpene-rich oils that are applied to repel insects and pests as natural bug sprays.
Additionally, cannabis plants are deep rooting plants with long taproots. Taproots are known for their ability to dive deep into the ground and break apart low-quality soil, allowing for moisture and nutrients to infiltrate and improve the soil quality. These taproots also help keep the soil in place, thereby preventing nutrient runoff and loss of soil during heavy rains.
Humans are largely focused on female cannabis plants, and rightly so. But it’s important to acknowledge and cherish the characteristics of the male cannabis plants as well. Females may produce the buds we know and love, but by limiting diversity of the males, we could be losing out on potential benefits we do not yet understand. Specific males could have compounds we are unaware of that might play significant roles in how females develop, or how cannabis as a whole develops in the future.
If attempting to capitalize on any of the above benefits without the intent to breed, keep in mind that cannabis pollen is extremely good at traveling long distances, determined to find a female. It helps to have a solid understanding of how pollen works and travels before you embark on any of these alternative uses so as not to accidentally pollinate your own plants or a neighbor’s.Explore ways to utilize male cannabis plants, from extraction possibilities to fiber production.
Can You Smoke A Male Cannabis Plant?
Cannabis plants come in 2 basic varieties – male and female. There are also hermaphrodite cannabis plants, but we’ll save those for another discussion. Historically, female plants have been known for their potent THC, and male plants are mostly known as a nuisance unless you’re trying to create seeds or cross breed. This is because male cannabis plants produce the pollen necessary to create seeds. Most growers get rid of male plants as soon as they can so it doesn’t ruin the crop as seeds are seen as undesirable to cannabis smokers.
So, we already know female plants are best for smoking, but this doesn’t satisfy the curiosity of whether or not you would get any benefit from smoking the males. Let’s dive right in.
Do Male Cannabis Plants Contain THC or other Cannabinoids?
The quick and dirty answer is yes, male plants do contain some cannabinoids including THC. This isn’t a new finding either. A relatively popular article was written by A. Ohlsson et al. back in 1971. Of course, cannabis has changed a lot since 1971, but here’s another study was done in 2009 which agrees with the finding from the 70s.
So, since male plants are known to contain THC does that mean they can get you high. The quick answer is yes, but it’s going to take much more male plant material to get high than it would if it were female. For comparison, male buds typically contain slightly more cannabinoids than female sugar leaves.
Can You Smoke Pollen From Male Plants?
The term pollen has created a bit of confusion among cannabis users because it’s used differently. Some people refer to trichomes as pollen. This is not a technically true statement, but that hasn’t stopped the popularity of pollen presses which are used for trichomes and not actual pollen.
When I talk about pollen I’m referring to the little yellow particles that plants produce in order to encourage fertilization. Now that we’re on the same page the question still remains – can it get you high. The answer actually surprised me!
Apparently, the pollen does contain very small amounts of THC. This was discovered by M. Paris et al. in their research paper, The Constituents of Cannabis sativa Pollen. This paper was written back in 1975 so this isn’t new information, but it was new to me. If it has THC, then, in theory, you should be able to get high if you smoke enough of it. With that said, I do not know the implication of smoking pollen so I want to go on record as saying I advise against it.
Why would someone want to smoke pollen in particular? I have no idea. I think the important question is how and why do you have a stash of cannabis pollen sitting around? These are the things that keep me up at night.
Making Hash, Edibles, or Cannabutter with Male Plants
Since male plants contain smaller amounts of THC and other cannabinoids you would have to smoke a lot of it. This may put a strain on your respiratory system which is why concentrating it down may be a better solution. You can make hash, oil concentrates, edibles (cannabutter or oil) in the same way that you would use sugar leaves from a female plant.
You can search online and find hundreds of tutorials and recipes for working with sugar leaves or trim. Follow the same instructions, but substitute your male plants.
What To Do With Male Plants (Conclusion)
If you’re reading this and thinking, “It’s probably better to just smoke female buds”, then you and I are on the same page. For the most part, male plants a nuisance which should be eliminated from crops in order to prevent female plants from developing seeds.
However, there are still some good uses for male plants. Breeding and intentional seed production are probably the best and most widely adopted uses for male plants. Other uses include processing into raw juice. If you’re interested in juicing then click here to check out my article which discusses it in greater detail. The male plants can also be harvested for their fiber similar to industrial hemp.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article then here are a few of my other articles you may enjoy:Can You Smoke A Male Cannabis Plant? Cannabis plants come in 2 basic varieties – male and female. There are also hermaphrodite cannabis plants, but we’ll save those for another discussion. ]]>