If you didn’t know by now...girls rule in the world of weed. That’s because female plants are necessary for producing high-quality buds with high THC levels. In fact, unless a grower is breeding - male plants are typically discarded as soon as the sex of the plant presents itself. But, what if you didn’t have to wait for growth to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? There’s a common myth across the industry that you can identify the sex of cannabis seeds before they sprout. So, is it true? We set out for the answers, to find out.

What do cannabis seeds look like?

Cannabis seeds are small and oval shaped about the size of the head on a match stick. They are encased in a tough outer shell that can range from light to dark brown in color. They have one pointed end from which the root will eventually grow out of, and a flatter opposite end. You might notice a 'tiger' stripe pattern on some seeds. If seeds appear pale or white, they are usually not mature enough to germinate.

Can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds without growing them?

No, you cannot determine the sex of a cannabis seed just by looking at them. Despite numerous charts and guides online claiming otherwise, these methods are not reliable. Despite the differences in color, shape and size there are no distinguishable features that indicate if a seed will grow into a male or female cannabis plant. Most cannabis seeds look identical, and it's only during the flowering stage of growth that a plant will begin to show clear signs of its sex. This stage comes well after germination and the vegetative growth phases. If sexing seeds by appearance were possible, feminized seeds wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular. So, if you want guaranteed female plants, either grow feminized seeds, or be prepared to cull half of your crop once you see the signs of male plants.

Debunking Seed Gender Myths

Speaking of myths, the reason some growers think they can identify sex of cannabis seeds, is due in part to misinformation. Here are a few common myths that surround the sex of cannabis seeds, and how they’ve been debunked.


Contrary to popular belief (and what an old-fashioned chart may say) a seed’s shape, size, and color has no bearing on the actual sex of a seed. All seeds, female, regular, or autoflower, can vary in appearance, with no actual trait as an indicator of sex, whatsoever.

The Roll Test

Another common myth is known as the ‘roll test’. The same relic that states seeds can be identified by their appearance, states that female seeds will roll more easily across a table, than males. Overtime, we’ve learned that this test is clearly flawed and fails at determining the sex of cannabis seeds.


Another old growing fable, is that the environment of your room or growing area, can change the sex of a seed during germination/seedling. For now, the jury is still out on whether this is 100% true. What we do know about environments, and cannabis seeds’ sex, is if a plant is stressed due to off-balanced conditions, it can cause plants to hermaphrodite during growth.

What is the best way to sex cannabis seeds?

female cannabis plant in early flowering stage
Female cannabis plant in early flowering stage

So, if you can’t tell the gender of a seed by just looking at it, or rolling it...how are you supposed to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? Unfortunately for growers, you’ll just have to wait it out. The only answer to identifying your seed’s gender as early as possible, is waiting for it to show its sex during growth.

Most growers wait until the early flowering stage to keep a careful eye on a plant’s gender. Without keeping a close eye, if you let males grow for too long in your space they can end up ‘breeding’ with the other females. This is detrimental to a crop, as it causes female plants to pop seeds themselves, diminishing the quality of the plant overall. Luckily, determining a seed’s sex in the early vegetative stages is possible.

If you’re anxious to know, one trick that some growers implement uses a technique that mimics light cycles from flowering. By placing a black bag over a small part of your veg plant you’ll trick the plant into thinking it’s time to flower. You can then check the sex of this small portion, before fully moving into its flowering stage.

How long does it take for cannabis to show signs of sex?

Photoperiod cannabis plants show signs of their sex after you have changed the light cycle to 12/12. Once you flip the lights, they will begin to show their sex within 10 days. With autoflowers they begin to flower automatically after week 3-4 of growth and will show their gender.

What is the difference between a male and female cannabis seed?

male cannabis plant with pollen sacks growing on it
Male cannabis plant with pollen sacks growing

There is no visible difference between male and female cannabis seeds. Cannabis, is a dioecious plant which means seeds can develop into either male or female plants. Male plants generate flowers with pollen sacs that release pollen to fertilize female plants, leading to seed production for the next growing season.

What are feminized seeds?

Feminized seeds on the other hand are specifically bred to grow into female cannabis plants. They are created by forcing a female plant to produce pollen, which is then used to pollinate another female. This process results in seeds that carry almost exclusively female genetics, ensuring nearly 100% female offspring. The benefit of growing feminized seeds is that all of the plants will produce THC-rich female flowers, without the risk of male plants pollinating and ruining the rest of the crop.

Can you get male cannabis seeds?

Yes, male cannabis seeds can occur naturally, but there is no way of guaranteeing they will develop into male plants. Regular seeds are not genetically altered and have a roughly 50/50 chance of growing into male or female plants. If you want to grow male plants for breeding purposes, you are best of growing regular seeds regular seeds and identifying the males as the plants mature and begin to show their gender.

Are regular cannabis seeds male or female?

Regular cannabis seeds can grow into either male or female plants. They are not specifically bred to be one gender, so when you plant regular seeds, there is always a 50/50 chance of each seed developing into a male or female plant. This is why regular seeds are the best option if you want to breed your own strain.

Case Closed On Seeds & Gender

In growing, it’s all about learning and sometimes unlearning certain myths, tricks, or tips that you’ve been told. All in all, while cannabis is nothing new there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to specific questions like - can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds by looking at them? Thankfully, we were able to close the case on seeds and gender, by knowing there’s no way other than letting the plant flower to ultimately decipher sex of seeds.