A cannabis plant is either male or female. The difference between the two is the presence of flowers. Female plants have flowers that look like small buds. Male plants have flowers that look like small balls.
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Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means it produces both male and female flowers. This article will focus on the female plant. Female cannabis plants are the ones that growers want to keep because they produce buds or flowers, which contain THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
The pictures below show what a typical female cannabis plant looks like. As you can see, the plants have long, thin leaves and small buds. The buds are where the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are produced.
![image of female cannabis plant](https://www.cannabisplantfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/female-cannabis-plant-2-1024x683.jpg)
The Different Stages of the Cannabis Plant
Female cannabis plants go through different stages during their life cycle. These stages are the vegetative stage, the flowering stage, and the ripening stage. Each stage is important for the plant to produce buds. Let’s take a closer look at each stage.
The vegetative stage
The vegetative stage is when the cannabis plant is growing and gaining strength. The plant will double in size during this time and begin to develop a strong root system. The vegetative stage lasts for about 2-8 weeks, depending on the strain of cannabis.
The vegetative stage is a crucial time for the plant, as this is when it will develop the strength and size it needs to flower properly. Make sure your plant has plenty of light and nutrients during this time, as this will ensure a healthy harvest later on.
The flowering stage
The flowering stage is when the female cannabis plant begins to produce flowers, or buds. The onset of flowering is induced by a change in the ratio of light to dark hours (or more precisely, the lack of light during the dark hours). In nature, this happens when the days begin to get shorter in the fall.
For cannabis growers who are not relying on nature to dictate when their plants will flower, they can induce flowering at any time of year by changing the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness (12/12).
Once the plant has been put on a 12/12 light cycle, it will take approximately 6-8 weeks for the buds to mature and be ready for harvest.
Male or Female? How to Tell the Difference
Knowing the difference between a male and female cannabis plant can mean the difference between a bountiful harvest or a bust. Luckily, telling the two apart is relatively easy once you know what to look for. Let’s take a closer look at male and female cannabis plants and how to tell them apart.
The pre-flowering stage
Pre-flowering is the stage when a cannabis plant becomes sexually mature. Male plants will produce pollen while female plants will produce ovules (calyxes). Cannabis plants can be either male, female, or hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodite plants display characteristics of both sexes and can self-pollinate.
To determine the sex of a cannabis plant, growers must observe the pre-flowering stage which typically occurs 4-6 weeks into the vegetative stage for photoperiod plants (plants that rely on exposure to light to flower). For autoflowering plants (plants that flower based on age rather than light exposure), pre-flowering usually occurs 3-4 weeks after germination.
At this stage, growers must look for tiny flowers that appear on the nodes (the area where leaves and branches meet) of the plant. These flowers are not yet fully developed and can be difficult to see with the naked eye. A magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe can be helpful for observing the pre-flowering stage.
Male plants will usually have circular clusters of flowers while female plants will have more tear-shaped clusters. Hermaphrodite plants may have both types of flowers or display flowers that are intermediate in shape.
Pistils are the small, thread-like structures that grow out of the flowering tops of female cannabis plants. Male plants also have pistils, but they’re usually much less pronounced. The pistils of a female plant will eventually turn into the “hairs” or “stalks” that catch and hold pollen from male plants.
When trying to determine the sex of a cannabis plant, look for pistils. If the plant has them, it’s most likely a female. If it doesn’t have any pistils, or if they’re very small and difficult to see, it might be a male.
Why Does the Gender of the Plant Matter?
When it comes to cannabis plants, the gender of the plant can be very important. Female cannabis plants are the ones that produce the buds that are used for smoking or other purposes. Male cannabis plants do not produce buds and are usually considered to be less valuable. However, male cannabis plants can be used to produce hemp fiber.
To recap, a female cannabis plant will have:
-Less spacing between nodes
-Roundedshape to the tips of her leaves
As the plant matures, you will also see pistils (hairs) coming out of the nodes. These are what turn into the flowers (buds) that contain all the good stuff!