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marijuanas plants

Cannabis plants show their sex by what grows in between their nodes, where leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Pollen sacs will develop on a male plant to spread seeds and stigma will develop on a female to catch pollen. You can see these differences weeks before they actually start serving their purposes in the reproduction cycle. These are known as “pre-flowers.”

Males and females are usually only pollinated when crossbreeding plants or creating new strains.

Because this occurs when cannabis is under stress, it’s important to monitor plants after they have been exposed to stressors: indoors, high temperatures or light leaks are often the cause; outdoors, a snapped branch might be repaired and then turn into a hermaphrodite.

Stigma and pistil

Cannabis really stands out in its flowers—or buds—where unique and intricate formations occur: fiery orange hairs, sugary crystals, and chunky buds enveloped by tiny leaves.

Often, growers will top, or cut off, the stem after about five nodes, which forces the plant to grow out laterally more, creating more bud sites.

Enclosed by these bracts and imperceptible to the naked eye, the calyx refers to a translucent layer over the ovule at a flower’s base.

The rare hermaphroditic plant contains both female and male sex organs. These plants can sometimes self-pollinate, but this is typically bad as it will create buds with seeds and also pass on hermaphroditic genes.

Vegetative plants appreciate healthy soil with nutrients. Feed them with a higher level of nitrogen at this stage.

The growth stages of marijuana can be broken down into four primary stages from seed to harvest:

As roots develop, the stalk will rise and you’ll begin to see the first iconic fan leaves grow, at which point your cannabis plant can be considered a seedling.

Vegetative stage

Flowering stage length: 8-11 weeks

Seed germination length: 3-10 days

We can’t stress enough that the timeframes in the above graphic are ranges of time for the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll need to adjust them based on your specific region and local weather and climate.

Harvest happens sometime between September and November. This depends on your local climate, as well as the weather that particular year—one year it could be the end of September, the next, end of October, and growers in the Pacific Northwest will have to pull down their crops earlier than those in Northern California.

First of all, don’t over-react. Before you force your child into a professional drug treatment program that you may not be able to afford and they may not even need, take a step back and try to evaluate the situation.

If your child is using marijuana, you may be likely to find rolled joints of marijuana cigarettes. You may also find rolling papers. Your child may claim that these are hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes, which would also be a concern.

You may also find larger quantities of marijuana in a plastic zip-lock bag. You might find smaller plastic bags with residue inside. This can trigger concerns that your child is transporting or selling marijuana rather than obtaining it for personal use.

Processed Marijuana Buds

It may be that your child has experimented with marijuana use or tried it a couple of times with their friends. That happens a lot more these days than it may have happened when you were in school.

Michael Betts / Getty Images

Marijuana is dried and chopped up to prepare it for use and sale. The stems are usually removed.

If you find plants around your home that look similar to the marijuana plant in the photo, someone in your household is trying to grow their own weed. The plants have changed considerably in recent decades as they have been bred to produce more buds.