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Male or female
Just as with humans, Cannabis plants also have sexes. Each plant can grow into a male or female plant, which is normally a 50/50 chance. On rare occasions, a plant may present itself as a hermaphrodite, but this is usually because a grower makes a serious error sometime during the plant’s growth, and personally, I have never had a plant “go hermie” on me.
The female cannabis plants produce the buds you smoke, but only as long as she’s not pollinated by a male.
The male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs and do not produce buds with THC.
So getting rid of male cannabis plants prevents pollination and allows your female plants to grow buds without seeds. Most growers are only interested in growing buds and get rid of the male plants straight away.
The sex of a cannabis plant will show at the end of the vegetative stage, or at the beginning of the flowering stage. There is no way to determine the gender of a plant initially either by looking at the seed or by looking at young plants. Both male and female plants look exactly the same until they start their flowering stage.
My tip for first-time growers: Buy feminized seeds! That way you are all but guaranteed to have all your plants turn out to be females. They usually cost more, but I think it makes up for the cost when you have to throw out a male plant after a month of giving it both light and nutrients. – Jim