In this article we will suggest a variety of ways you can make good use of male plants. The majority of cannabis growers have a tendency to disregard their males and cast them aside. The reason for this is obvious. Males don't produce any bud, growing a male risks pollination and females have the highest concentration of THC.
But there are an interesting array of uses a male possesses besides providing pollen for seeds and it may be something worth looking into. But first we will look at why males are essential to a breeding programme.
A male plant can be determined in the early stages of growth. The male will develop little balls between the stems. Generally speaking, the only true way to easily determine the quality of a male is to observe the traits carried over to its offspring and preserve the plants and seeds, that display the best results.
Controlled breeding programmes are necessary in order to provide the best pollen to female plants. Since males make up the other half of the offspring's genetics, it is important to select males with the best traits in order for them to be displayed in the offspring.
Typically, females are bred with a variety of males in order to select the offspring, which possesses the most favourable traits, and so males are selected on the quality of the female plants they produce.
Although it is not proven, male plants are often selected based on their potency, as this method has a tendency to generate the best results. Males are usually selected for their growth rate, mould and pest resistance, general health and hermaphroditism. Traits, that may make a difference to the potency or flavour of their offspring's bud, are not as easy to spot as their own phenotype generally doesn't relate exactly to the phenotypic expression of a female. It is generally accepted, that a potent male is the most effective.
Growers use different methods to determine the potency of a male, such as pinching the flowers and leaves to release their aroma. Although the technique is not scientifically proven, it is accepted to be a valuable way of testing.
Cannabis plants are unique, because they are one of the few plants, that are dioecious, meaning, that they produce both male and female offspring. This allows for the oppurtunity to mix them and create strains based on the most favourable traits each plant has.
This allows for the plant to maintain genetic strength, as each plant can be unique, whereas hermaphroditic or monoecious plants produce DNA identical to their parents. This creates a lack of variation, which leads to inbreeding, weakening their genetic condition.
Self-pollination is also possible in male or female cannabis plants if they are strained or stressed, so they can become hermaphrodites or monoecious themselves. This allows for the plant's survival, however, the strains can favour dioecy as growing conditions become more favourable. This means, that male plants are crucial to the survival and viability of cannabis, another reason to grow a male and keep your plants healthy and happy.
Cannabis makes a great companion plant. As well as suppressing growth of unwanted or unwelcome species, they have an ability to ward off unwanted pests and insects, such as cotton worms,
cabbage caterpillars, potato beetle, potato blight fungus, root maggot, chafer larvae. They can also repel damaging nematodes, including: Potato cyst, root-knot, soybean cyst.
The reason for this is because their flowers have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and have been used to produce a variety of repellents and pesticides throughout history.
Terpenes are produced in high levels by cannabis, theoretically the reason why they make such a great repellent. Growers often interplant males with their vegetable crops for this exact reason. In countries where cultivation is legal, some growers will even interplant both male and females in their garden, but generally far enough apart so that they can get a seeded crop, that still produces usable female flowers, but with the benefit of seeds for the following season. This can also be achieved by using a screened off grow tent for the more hard-headed growers.
Many people believe, that male plants do not contain cannabinoids, whereas in fact it is well established through experimentation, that males do exhibit notable concentrations.
Males possess resin glands in the same way females do. Most significantly in the small upper leaves, the anthers and sepals. A study into Thai landrace variety showed, that males contained a ratio of THC:CBD 1:9. It is often mentioned in the grow community, that research shows males display roughly the similar or higher content of THC in the leaves, while significantly lower concentrations are found in their flowers.
Growers and breeders are known to experiment a lot with their crops. There are many reports of plant matter being used in hashish concentrates or to make various oils or edibles, such as cannabutter, although the psychoactive effects of this are not definitive.
In male cannabis plants, resin content is usually pretty low. But it does exist and can be extracted using butane or hexane, all be it you will probably need a large quantity of plants to make it worthwhile.
Male resin can be found in your standard hash as well. Sometimes because it is not always possible to cull all of the male plants, so they are simply added in, or they are harvested alongside the females. This kind of thing generally doesn't happen in places such as Morocco or Lebanon where high quantities of cannabis are grown.
Male plants contain the same cannabinoid acids as female plants in lower quantities and concentrations. You can juice the plants in the same way you would a female plant, just be sure to avoid the thick stalks and bigger leaves as they have a high content of chlorophyll. This should remove some of the bitterness. This way, you can enjoy a beneficial healthy drink without the psychoactive addition.
Farmers have been known to separate male and female plants in order to have two different weaving processes for each type of plant. This is because male plant fiber offers higher resistance and flexibility, while the female fiber is stronger.
This makes the male hemp fibers thinner and more soft. Traditionally males are used for finer grades of cloth, such as towels and bed linen, while the female plants are used to produce canvas and rougher textile. Male plants also contain a higher percentage of fiber.
Male plants have been attributed to produce the best fiber since the 16th century BCE, quoted in Chinese texts. This theory was proven in many ways when a Hungarian study from the 90s investigated the fibrous properties of each gender and found, that each was significantly different.
In conclusion, there are many uses to male cannabis besides reproduction. Whether it's in the garden, for your own health or for producing beautiful, high-quality hemp material. There is always a reason to keep a couple of males growing in your garden.