Cannabis seed production begins with the pollen grain of a male plant. From this grain, a pollen tube grows, producing male generative cells that disperse in the form of pollen. The migration of pollen into a female plant ovule triggers pistils to fall off and seed production to begin. The bracts, which contain the ovule, will then fill with seeds.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What's the difference between feminized, regular, and autoflower Seeds?
In 1982, Indian breeders made a major advance in cannabis botany with the development of the feminized seed. The key difference between feminized marijuana seeds and regular marijuana seeds is that feminized seeds have been engineered to produce exclusively female plants, whereas with regular seeds you can’t really predict if the mature plant will be male or female. This matters for cultivation since smokable flowers are produced only by female plants. Further, a male plant can potentially ruin a harvest if it pollinates nearby female plants, which produces flowers full of seeds.
Buying marijuana seeds is in a bit of a legal gray area. Technically, marijuana seeds are still a cannabis product, so if you live in a place where weed is illegal then seeds are also illegal. However, some people who live in places where weed is not yet legal purchase marijuana seeds from marijuana seed banks as a “souvenir” purchase. Either way, if you want to buy marijuana seeds and cannabis is illegal where you live, then you face some degree of risk. On the other hand, if you live in a weed-legal state, especially one where home growing is allowed, then you should be able to purchase marijuana seeds legally.
Humidity and light is the main enemy for seed storage. Beyond that, seeds can remain viable for up to two years when stored in even the most haphazard conditions. Marijuana seeds swept up off the floor or found in the bottom of a drawer have been known to grow into vigorous young plants.
Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.
Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it still has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing buds, instead of turning out to be a male.
Cannabis seeds vs. clones
This is sometimes referred to as “cloning by seed” and will not produce any male plants. This is achieved through several methods:
Germinating cannabis seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.
Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.