What To Do With Cannabis Seeds

In this guide, we provide you with a crash course on cannabis seeds that should help prevent you from making purchasing and planting mistakes. When and if you find seeds in your flower, there are several options for utilizing them in ways that do not involve a trash can. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to growing marijuana, but it's not as easy as many aspiring cultivators think.

Marijuana Seeds 101: All the Information You Need

If you are trying to become a cannabis grower, it is essential to learn more about marijuana seeds. Unfortunately, there are sellers of dubious reputation selling low-quality seeds. Buying such produce will sadly lead to a poor harvest or failed crop.

It is also crucial to familiarize yourself with United States law, especially any cultivation laws that apply to your state. Hopefully, this guide will help you avoid making purchasing and planting mistakes.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Cannabis Seeds – What You Need to Know

Most marijuana plants are dioecious. This means their male and female reproductive organs are found on separate plants. To grow females, you must place them far away from males. Otherwise, the male plant pollinates the female and hinders its ability to produce high potency cannabis.

Seedless female flowers are grown without males. These are called sinsemilla (this means ‘without seed’ in Spanish). The potent weed you find in your local dispensary comes from such a flower.

A male plant must pollinate a female plant’s flower for it to reproduce. When this happens, the female flower produces seeds. There are also hermaphrodite plants. These contain male and female reproductive organs. They are capable of producing pollen and self-pollinating their flowers.

Irrespective of whether a male plant pollinates a female or one plant self-pollinates, seeds get created. Once they reach maturity, they are dropped from the plant and can produce new marijuana plants. Alternatively, they are harvested for hemp oil or food.

For the record, the only sure-fire way to determine the difference between a male and a female plant is to let them grow for a while. You likely won’t spot the gender of a plant for around six weeks, which is the pre-flowering stage. If a small bud is visible between the new branch and the main stock, it is probably a female plant. Eventually, buds become adult flowers. Another tip is to look for white pistil hairs that grow where the bud ultimately forms.

You can spot male cannabis plants by the pollen sacs they create. These are bulbs that resemble tulips in terms of shape. They don’t have any pistil hairs growing. When you spot a male plant in your garden, remove it immediately. Otherwise, it will pollinate female plants that produce seeds rather than developing a flower.

Waste not, want not!…

What Are Feminized Marijuana Seeds?

‘Feminized’ cannabis seeds are produced by causing the hermaphrodite condition in a female plant. You can do this via Rodelization, by spraying gibberellic acid or a colloidal silver solution. What happens is that you use ‘male’ pollen from a hermaphrodite plant to fertilize a female flower. As a result, you end up with plants that are either hermaphrodites or females, but never males.

In the right conditions, feminized marijuana strains can gain resistance against becoming hermaphrodites. This means the seeds are guaranteed to grow into female plants. It is a process that saves commercial growers, in particular, a great deal of time and money.

Feminized cannabis seeds produce marijuana plants almost genetically identical to the self-pollinated female parent plant.

Also known as ‘cloning by seed,’ it is a reliable way to avoid producing male plants. On the downside, finding a stable mother plant for seed production is expensive and time-consuming.

A high percentage of feminized seeds become hermaphrodites. This scenario results in marijuana flowers with seeds in them and lower overall yield. Don’t use feminized seeds if you intend to breed plants. On the plus side, this type of seed is ideal for beginners who want to avoid male plants infiltrating their cannabis garden.

What Are Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds?

Eventually, you need to change the light cycle of a marijuana plant to help it move from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. The length of time a plant is exposed to light is known as a ‘photoperiod.’ It is normally anywhere between 16 and 20 hours a day during the vegetative stage. Next, you have to expose the plant to 12 hours of continuous darkness each day for a couple of weeks to help it reach the flowering stage.

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Autoflowering cannabis seeds are very different. They are based on the Cannabis ruderalis species. It flowers once the marijuana plant reaches a certain age, regardless of its light exposure. It is possible to cross a potent marijuana strain with a lower-THC ruderalis variety to produce an autoflowering strain.

This type of seed is ideal if you grow marijuana plants in a climate where summers are typically cold and short, and the rainy season appears relatively early in the fall. With autoflowering seeds, you can begin growing in early spring because it will flower during summer.

Although these plants don’t need a specific light cycle, they do require consistent light to produce the highest yields. Please note that the nature of autoflowering strains means you can’t keep them in the vegetative stage.

What is a Cannabis Clone?

A cannabis clone is a cutting taken from a marijuana plant. You place it in a growing medium (such as soil or Rockwool) to ensure it grows roots. After the cutting has rooted, you can guide it into a mature plant. Best of all, it is genetically identical to the plant you cut it from.

Cannabis seeds have genetic information from its two parent plants, which are expressed in a variety of combinations. For instance, you could have a plant that picks up most of its traits from one parent. Alternatively, it could have several characteristics from both.

Attempting to create genetically identical marijuana plants from seeds is exceptionally tricky. It takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

Typically, experienced producers elect to plant several seeds and pick the best plant. Next, they take cuttings from this ‘master’ plant and use them to grow marijuana flowers. They may also take a proven clone purchased from another grower and use it as their master plant.

Where to Buy Cannabis Seeds

There are online seed banks located around the world, in countries such as Canada, Spain, Holland, and the United Kingdom. In such nations, it is relatively easy to buy cannabis seeds because the laws are relatively lenient. When it comes to the United States, however, things get very complicated.

At the time of writing, there are 33 American states plus Washington D.C. that have legalized weed either recreationally or medicinally. However, marijuana remains illegal on a federal level. States have no obligation to enforce federal weed laws. However, they are powerless to prevent federal law enforcement from imposing their rules.

If you live in the U.S. and try to buy marijuana seeds online from an overseas country, the United States Customs and Border Protection could confiscate the package. It is unlikely that you will face legal difficulties, however. If your package is seized, most reputable seed banks will send you another one as a replacement.

It is also illegal to transport cannabis seeds across state lines. This is the case even if you only travel in states where marijuana is legal. A resident of Washington state could theoretically get in trouble for purchasing cannabis seeds from a company in California. Even so, seed banks know the risks. They usually take precautions to ensure your seeds are delivered safely.

There is also a potentially interesting way to work around the law without breaking it. In some cases, it is legal to purchase cannabis seeds for uses other than growing marijuana. For example, in some locations, you can technically buy seeds for use as bird food or fishing bait! However, such seeds are generally sterilized to ensure they can’t germinate.

What To Do With Cannabis Seeds

When and if you find seeds in your flower, there are several options for utilizing them in ways that do not involve a trash can.

As cannabis consumers, you may occasionally find seeds in your bud due to hermaphroditism, stressed plants, light pollution, inexperienced growers, or just the luck of the draw. Before you call the dispensary and ask to speak with the manager to complain, relax. Don’t panic, either.

Seeds in your weed means that the buds have been pollinated — either from another male plant or from the plant’s own hermaphroditic male clusters (those dreaded banana-looking growths). When you buy feminized, autoflowering store-bought seeds, they are hand-selected and almost always better than random seeds found in bud by accident. This is because there are higher chances that the seeds will yield female end products. Regardless, when and if you find seeds in your flower, there are several options for utilizing them in ways that doesn’t involve a trash can.

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Leading cannabis horticulturist Ed Rosenthal, who has grown and experimented with cannabis his whole life, was able to lend a hand. When we asked Rosenthal what the best course of action is in the event that you come across seeded cannabis, he told MERRY JANE, “Be sure to pick out all of the immature seeds. You don’t want to smoke those. And set aside the healthy mature seeds for later, which may be worth growing.”

The larger, darker, viable seeds are distinguished in appearance from the smaller, whitish, immature seeds, which are a little harder to find inside the bud. Seeded cannabis is generally lower quality than top-shelf sinsemilla, but it’s best used in edibles, says Rosenthal. This is because all seeds will be removed in the process anyways.

Now that you have picked out your seeds and separated them from the cannabis, there are a lot of different things you can do with them. Here are five ways novices can use leftover seeds.

Grow a Pot Plant

Why not test out your cultivation skills with a hobby plant grown in your window sill? While you shouldn’t expect a high yield, or even expert-level cannabis, experimenting with plants is fun. Look at master cannabis bonsai growers like Budzai or Bonsai Empire for inspiration. The possibilities are endless, and the stakes are low.

Go Guerrilla

Spread a little love on your next hike in a hidden wooded area — Johnny Appleseed-style. Then, simply walk away. Let nature run its course from there! Who knows? You may start noticing flourishing wild patches of cannabis wherever you dropped them. Or, if you’re inclined, plant the seeds somewhere public, like a park, and see what happens. Just don’t take credit for this, as it’s likely a felony!

Return the Weed

Try to return the seeded weed at the dispensary. In almost every case, the budtender will say “no.” That would be like trying to return fruit at the grocery store. But seeded cannabis is weighed down by the seeds, making it lesser quality, so inform them of the sub-par cannabis and move forward.

Save Them and Eat Them

Can you eat cannabis seeds like hemp seeds? According to Quora, yes. They can be unshelled, shelled, or roasted. Like hemp seeds, there are some benefits, though not the same benefits as, say, an edible infused with THC and CBD. Rich in Omega -3 and Omega -6 fatty acids, eating seeds can help protect your brain. It may also help prevent mental health issues, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. Seeds are also rich in vitamins A, E, D and B, plus they are chock full of minerals like sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, and sulfur.

Sell Them (check local laws first. )

As a consumer there aren’t many ways to distinguish one cannabis seed from another. Reputable seed sources are trusted for their consistent quality, but buying seeds off the street is pretty much a no man’s land. Perhaps someone you know could use seeds for one purpose or another. Be careful, however, because the murky definition of the legality of cannabis seeds depends on what state you live in.

Ambitious Bonus Tip: Start a Seed Bank

Grab a journal like Gold Leaf’s grow planners, or take a more modern approach with a growing app like GrowBuddy. Those notebooks can be used for seed data, too. Jot down your notes, and store seeds according to the strain that you found them in. Mystery seeds are great for future experimentation!

How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.

Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.

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It’s worth noting that purchasing cannabis seeds online is illegal and often results in less than desirable seeds being acquired by the buyer. Look for legal cannabis seed options in your area. Many reputable licensed cannabis dispensaries sell cannabis seeds, with strain options varying.

How Do You Know If A Cannabis Seed Is Viable?

If you consume cannabis long enough, chances are you will come across a seed in your cannabis flower. Whether you want to try to germinate the seed immediately, or save it for down the road, it is important that you know if the cannabis seed is viable to be germinated or not.

Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.

How Do You Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

Germinating marijuana seeds is not difficult, although it does take attention to detail and the right environment. Successful germination takes the right amount of moisture, the right temperature, and a decent amount of light (sunlight or artificial light from low-intensity grow lights).

Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.

You want the paper towels to be moist but not dripping water. Place the seed(s) between the moist paper towels, place the paper towels in a sandwich bag to lock in the moisture, and put it on a window ledge where it will get some but not too much light. Keep the paper towels moist until the germinated cannabis seeds are ready to transplant.

If the temperature of the room is too cold (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit), consider using a heating mat, which can be found at most department stores in the gardening section. The success rate of the paper towel method is high as long as the cultivator keeps a close eye on the process until the germinated seed is ready to be transplanted into potting soil, peat pellets, or a different growing medium.

Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.

When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?

Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.

Find a two-inch container for your grow space, fill it full of soil (or your preferred growing medium), and poke a hole where the seed will be placed. Using tweezers, place the seed with the taproot facing down in the hole. Then, cover it with soil.

From there, you can grow the cannabis seed into a large cannabis plant. One downfall to cultivating cannabis from seed is that you won’t know if the marijuana plants are male or female for several weeks. If the young plant proves to be male, then it is basically useless. Using feminized cannabis seeds is a good way to ensure that the plants are not males, saving you quite a bit of time and headache.

Continuing Your Education

Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.

A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is via Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge this is a great way to do it!