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How to Identify a Marijuana Plant

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Not everyone realizes that plants can have sexes just like people, and that includes marijuana. While that might seem like novel yet useless information, the ability to determine if a marijuana plant is male, female, or hermaphroditic is key to knowing which will actually produce buds that get you high. So how do you identify a marijuana plant?

First off, it’s important to know why identifying the different marijuana plant sexes matters.

Male and hermaphroditic plants are low in THC and other cannabinoids, meaning they are low in potency. Females are what you’re looking for. They produce the high-impact buds that we all know and love.

And keeping males and females separated is essential to reaping a good harvest. If you don’t identify and separate the males, they’ll fertilize the females causing them to waste energy on producing seeds rather than THC.

So how do you identify which is which? It’s pretty easy if you know what to look for.

How to Identify a Marijuana Plant


A male marijuana plant will generally have a thicker, taller stalk with less leaves. The main thing to look for are little pollen balls that grow at the joint where the branches meet the main stalk. If these flowers are hairless, it’s a sign that it’s a male plant.


Also known as Hermies”, these plants might appear very similar to females, but grow male pollen flowers. They are a threat to the potency of your crop just like the males are.


Female plants tend to be shorter and bushier with thin stalks and more leaves, especially near the top. The leaves are usually also bigger. What’s more, the little balls at their stalk joints have long, translucent hairs called pistols” that are intended to collect rather than distribute pollen.

Once you’ve identified the different marijuana plant sexes, you need to throw out all the males and hermies. If you do want to keep the males for breeding purposes, you must keep them in a separate room and be sure that you don’t track pollen between the two spaces on your shoes or clothes. One errant dash of pollen can ruin the whole crop.

That’s all there is to it. So be sure to properly identify your marijuana plants, and happy harvesting.

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