How to Sex Marijuana Seeds: Myths and Facts

sexing marijuana seeds - featured image

Aspiring growers face a critical puzzle: how to sex marijuana seeds. Understanding the gender of these tiny, enigmatic capsules holds the key to a successful and bountiful harvest. 

After all, it’s the female plants that give life to those sought-after, resin-rich buds, while the males are generally unwelcome, as they bring pollen that can turn your garden into a disappointment.


Here’s the twist: When it comes to marijuana seeds, Mother Nature has her secrets. Contrary to what some may believe, you can’t judge a seed by its cover. 

Determining whether a seed is male or female before it germinates is an exercise in futility. It’s akin to trying to predict the weather a year from now – the variables are just too numerous and unpredictable.

Understanding the Basics

Seed sex and plant sex are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among novice growers. 

Seed sex refers to the inherent gender of a cannabis seed. Aside from male and female, a seed can be hermaphroditic, depending on its genetic makeup. 

The sex of cannabis seeds is determined by the combination of chromosomes within the seed’s genetic code.

On the other hand, the sex of cannabis plants refers to the gender of fully grown marijuana plants that emerge from the seed. 

This is where the real action happens, as it’s the female plants that produce the prized flower buds rich in cannabinoids, while the males contribute pollen for fertilization.

To comprehend seed sex determination, we need to take a peek at the genetic underpinnings of the reproduction of male and female plants. Just like humans and many other species, cannabis relies on genetics to determine its sex

Cannabis plants, like all higher organisms, have chromosomes that carry genetic information. In the world of cannabis, two main types of chromosomes are at play: X and Y chromosomes.

Female cannabis plants typically have two X chromosomes (XX), while male cannabis plants have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). It’s this combination of chromosomes that dictates the gender of a cannabis plant.

But, why would you even bother determining whether you have male or female seeds? The answer lies in the plant that will grow from these weed seeds. 

Well, it’s because cannabis growers are seeking seeds that will produce female plants. This is because such is what will exceptional buds. 

In contrast, male plants will only produce pollen sacs that will produce seeds for producing female cannabis. 

Photo from Doctor Folk

Can You Sex Marijuana Seeds?

The inherent challenge in sexing marijuana seeds lies in the very nature of the seed itself. A cannabis seed is, essentially, a dormant package of genetic potential. It’s like a book with its pages tightly sealed; you can’t judge its contents until you open it. 

In this case, the “contents” are the genetic traits that determine whether the plant will be male, female, or occasionally, hermaphroditic.

So, you cannot sex marijuana seeds. The only time you can do so is when they start to grow. 

How to Determine the Sex of Cannabis Seeds

Do you have male or female seeds? The quest to determine the sex of cannabis seeds begins with the understanding that, much like cracking a safe, it’s impossible to do so until you’re well into the process. 

Cannabis seeds, including feminized seeds, have an uncanny ability to conceal their gender identity until the right moment – germination.

Once germination begins and tiny seedlings emerge, the curtain starts to rise on the gender drama within your cannabis garden. It’s at this stage that you can begin the process of determining the sex of your plants. 

As your seedlings develop, they will grow their first set of leaves, known as cotyledon leaves. These leaves look the same regardless of the plant’s gender, so don’t jump to conclusions just yet.

The real revelation comes when your seedlings grow larger and develop their first nodes – the points on the stem where leaves and branches emerge. It’s at these nodes that preflowers, the early indicators of a plant’s sex, will make their debut.

However, our topic here is all about the sex of cannabis seeds. We have another article that talks about the differences between female and male cannabis plants and how to sex them

The Most Common Misconceptions About Sexing Marijuana Seeds

In the world of cannabis cultivation, myths and misconceptions about sexing marijuana seeds abound like urban legends. These false beliefs can lead growers down the wrong path, causing frustration and disappointment. 

The “Cracking” Myth

One of the most pervasive misconceptions among novice growers is the belief that you can determine the sex of a marijuana seed by gently pressing or “cracking” it. 

The idea behind this myth is that feminized seeds, being female by nature, will crack open more easily than male seeds.

In reality, this method is nothing more than a fallacy. The ease with which a seed cracks open has no correlation with whether you have feminized seeds or not. 

Seeds can vary in hardness due to a range of factors, including genetics, age, and storage conditions. Attempting to determine sex through this unreliable method is akin to flipping a coin and hoping for the best.

Size and Shape Indicators

Another common misconception is that the size or shape of a cannabis seed can reveal whether the seeds will produce a female or male plant. 

Some believe that larger seeds are more likely to be female, while smaller seeds are more likely to be male. This is a groundless assumption.

In truth, the size and shape of a cannabis seed are primarily influenced by genetic factors, and these factors have no bearing on the plant’s eventual sex. 

Cannabis seeds can come in various sizes and shapes, but these characteristics are unrelated to their gender.

Gender-Identifying Colors

Yet another myth suggests that the color of a cannabis seed’s shell can provide clues if they will have a male or female plant. 

It is often believed that darker seeds are more likely to be female, while lighter seeds are more likely to be male. Once again, this belief has no scientific basis. 

Seed coloration is influenced by factors such as genetics and maturity, but it has no predictive power when it comes to gender. 

Cannabis seeds can range in color from light beige to dark brown or even speckled patterns, but none of these variations indicate if you’ll have a male or female plant. 

marijuana plant on a pot


A lot of people are curious about how to sex marijuana seeds, especially aspiring cannabis growers. As discussed above, you typically cannot sex marijuana seeds. You can only do so once the plant starts to germinate

In addition, the article talked about how you can determine the sex of cannabis seeds. Unfortunately, you cannot do so simply by looking at the appearance. It’s difficult to determine whether you’ll grow female or male plants. 


Can I tell the sex of a cannabis seed by its appearance?

No, you cannot determine the sex of a cannabis seed based on its external appearance. Whether it’s feminized seeds, regular seeds, or any other type, they all look very similar. 

When can I determine the sex of my cannabis plants?

You can begin to determine the sex of your cannabis plants once they reach the stage of developing nodes, typically several weeks after germination.

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