6 Reasons to Keep Male Marijuana Plants
One of the first things most marijuana growers learn is to throw away male marijuana plants. If you don’t, they will pollinate the females. They’ll put seeds in the bud and decrease the amount of THC present in the final product. Their pollen is virile and sneaky. It seems to reach every female within a mile, even if it has to travel through the ventilation ducts.
The entire industry of feminized seeds arose to alleviate the hassle of dealing with male plants. And yet…
The male marijuana plant is not without value. Here are some thoughts you should consider before chucking your male marijuana plants in the trash.
#1 You Need a Male Marijuana Plant to Breed Your Own Bud
Yes, you can clone your mother plant and produce an endless line of consistent buds from identical females. For the beginner, this is a great goal.
As you become more adept in the grow room, you will find yourself wishing that your plants were just a little more… resinous. That the buds were just a bit heavier. That flowering finished just a bit faster. That they were a tad more resistant to mold or bud rot.
All of these traits are achievable through careful breeding. If you have a strain you love, that produces good, tasty buds and a beautiful high but could be just ever so slightly better, it’s time to start breeding your own.
The male contributes 50% of the genetic material, so it is essential to choose a good male marijuana plant to be the father of your new line.
Choosing a Good Father Plant
How do you pick a good male plant? After all, you can’t smoke his buds to find out how tasty they are. The process of selecting the perfect male for breeding is one of elimination.
Here are some basic tips for eliminating unwanted males and selecting the right plant for breeding:
- Eliminate auto-flowering or early-flowering male plants. These are more likely to produce hermaphrodite offspring.
- Eliminate plants that grow especially fast or tall. These plants are generally better for producing fibers than flowers.
- Save plants with large, hollow stems and eliminate those with pithy stems. There seems to be a reliable correlation between type of stem and THC production.
- Choose males with dense, tight flowers and eliminate those with an airy, loose structure.
- Choose males with the best odor.
#2 Male Plants Are Essential for a Strong Line
Many plants produce both male and female flowers on a single plant. While this is convenient for pollination, it results in decreased diversity. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means the males and females grow separately. Under stress a female plant will become a hermaphrodite and produce male flowers.
The presence of genetically distinct males is essential to the continued strength and vitality of each strain. While you may choose to destroy your males if you are not planning to breed, you should keep in mind the future consequences. Reproduction using clones alone limits the diversity in your grow room. If a nasty mold or pest comes along, it could destroy your entire crop.
It is important to keep strong males of every cannabis variety alive so that the strain cannot be wiped out by a single pathogen.
#3 A Male Marijuana Plant is a Great Companion
For centuries farmers have recognized the value of marijuana as a companion for garden vegetables. The terpenes in cannabis, especially limonene and pinene, repel harmful pests from potatoes, cabbages and other veggies. The dried leaves and flowers have also been used effectively as pest repellants.
If your garden has the space, consider doing what the old timers did: allow one or two vigorous male plants to grow on the far side of the garden from the females. Keep them sheltered from the wind and plant a break of beans, corn or sunflowers between the males and females. You will get a healthy, strong crop of buds with just a few seeds in them: enough to grow next year’s crop without substantially reducing the THC content of this year’s.
#4 Male Marijuana Plants have Strong Fibers
Male plants tend to have strong, fibrous stalks that are valuable sources of hemp. In a study of hemp cannabis, it was found that the male plants provided softer, finer fibers. These plants were prized in many Hungarian communities for weaving the finest fabrics.
While you probably won’t be doing much weaving with your male plants, it is neat to know that they are superior to females in at least one way!
#5 You Can Get High Off a Male Marijuana Plant
It is commonly believed that male marijuana plants don’t produce any THC, but this is not true.
Several studies have been conducted that show there are significant amounts of THC produces in the male flowers and leaves. Male flowers, for instance, have less THC than female flowers but more than female leaves.
This means that you can use male flowers and leaves the same way you might use the sugar leaves of a female. They are often used to make hash or concentrates. Most of the resin in a male is produces in the anthers and sepals of the flower and in the smallest leaves.
#6 Male Marijuana Plants Make a Healthy Juice
As marijuana is slowly decriminalized, people are beginning to notice the many benefits of this magical plant beyond its use as a recreational drug. Hemp seeds are full of protein. The plant’s fibers make a sustainable cloth and building material.
Cannabis juice is also being recognized as a valuable source of nutrients. While more research is needed, it appears that the cannabinoic acids present in marijuana juice have the same benefits as smoked cannabinoids.
The male marijuana plant contains the same concentration of these acids as the female, making it a great option for juicing. Enjoy the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids without the high by mixing a few leaves into your morning smoothie.
Think Twice Before Chucking Male Marijuana Plants
Growing marijuana is a form of farming. For the healthiest plants in any farming industry diversity is essential. We cannot let cannabis go the way of bananas, corn or wheat. There used to be a huge range of varieties of each of these plants, but for convenience we have bred them into a precious few of the strongest types. While this makes growing and harvesting easier, it also makes the whole crop susceptible to disease.
While marijuana growing has come a long way from its “hippy” roots, it would behoove us all to consider the future and remember that we are dealing with Mother Nature. There are valuable uses for male plants.