Today’s common-market cannabis does not contain seeds; the cultivation practices that have made this widespread are rooted in fundamental biological concepts. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it has separate male and female organisms, just like humans. If a female plant matures in the presence of a male plant, pollen from the male will fertilize the female, and its bracts will contain seeds at the end of the flowering cycle. Seedless cannabis is commonplace even in the product originating from mass-produced outdoor cultivation, but not too long ago, this was not the case.
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.
How cannabis seeds are produced
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.
Photo by: Shutterstock
Popularized and marketed extensively by Dutch seed companies, feminized seeds produce female plants more than 99% of the time. Growers that use feminized seeds should still check to make sure no male plants have sprouted. Any variety of cannabis can be manipulated to make it feminized.
Keep in mind that the simple process of packaging and storing cannabis seeds can also affect their appearance. Abrupt changes in humidity, temperature, or light exposure can make some seeds appear darker or lighter than others, but ultimately have no effect on their quality.
With this said, you may get lucky if the strain they were growing really is prime. In this case, it’s worth carrying out the following test to see if it’s worth germinating.
Growing Seeds From A Bag (Bagseed)
This simple and cost-effective method is a great way to tell the good genetics from the bad; they will sink or swim, literally. Seeds that remain buoyant on the surface are more than likely of poor quality and are to be discarded. Seeds that sink to the bottom like a botanical cannonball are probably healthy and should be germinated.
This is absolutely not true. As we explained earlier, cannabis seeds naturally look different, and no single physical trait of a seed can tell you whether that seed contains the genetics for a male or female plant. The only way to tell a female cannabis plant from a male is by looking at its flowers when it begins to sex. Don’t be fooled into throwing out perfectly healthy seeds just because a popular internet chart told you so.
We hear this question all the time from clients and beginner growers, and the answer is a resounding no. There is simply no way to tell the sex of a cannabis seed just by looking at it.