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A pile of cannabis seeds (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Co.)

Cannabis plants can grow from seeds and pass down genetics to their offspring through seeds. Cannabis is also dioecious, meaning it has both male and female plants. Typically pollen from a male plant is needed for a female plant to produce seeds, however, hermaphroditic plants do occur, which are able to produce seeds on their own without another plant. Regular, feminized, or autoflower cannabis seeds are available.

“How many seeds are you going to pop?”

“I found a seed in my eighth.”

Info on marijuana seeds

A few days after a seed is planted in soil it will germinate, or sprout. The delicate seeds carry genetics from their parents, however, each seed does not carry identical genetics. Each seed from the same plant is a unique phenotype, carrying its own mix of genetics from the mother and father, much like siblings. 

Through a process called “pheno-hunting,” growers will grow a handful of seeds from one plant and select the plant with the most desirable traits. This plant will serve as a mother plant and be used for mass production—clones will be taken from this plant to produce identical plants for consumption or for breeding to create new strains. 

What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?

As cannabis is dioecious, when you grow regular seeds some will turn out to be male and some female. If you’re just growing for buds, you’ll need to identify the sex of the plants and discard the males—if even one male grows with a group of females, it will pollinate them and cause them to grow seeds. Sexing out plants is time consuming and takes up extra space in your grow, but the genetics are stronger. 

A lot of beginning growers choose feminized cannabis seeds—these seeds are guaranteed to be female, so you can skip the process of sexing seeds out and just start growing for buds.
Feminized seeds only contain one set of genes and should not be used for breeding.

Marijuana seeds can also be autoflowering. Coming from Cannabis ruderalis, which originally grew in harsh northern climates with little sun, these seeds automatically flower and start producing buds when a plant is a certain age—the flowering cycle isn’t dependent on the amount of light it receives, as other seeds are. Autoflower seeds can be great for beginners or people who don’t have a lot of time or space to devote to growing weed, but they are known for being less potent than other seeds.