Why Is Gender Screening Your Cannabis Plants Important?
4 May 2023

Why Is Gender Screening Your Cannabis Plants Important?

Anjali Singh, MS

As a content and community manager, I leverage my expertise in plant biotechnology, passion for tissue culture, and writing skills to create compelling articles, simplifying intricate scientific concepts, and address your inquiries. As a dedicated science communicator, I strive to spark curiosity and foster a love for science in my audience.

Anjali Singh, MS
Table of Contents


Gender Screening is the process of identification of the sexes (male and female) of a plant. It’s one of the underappreciated processes in the Cannabis propagation industry. However, when you understand its benefits, you will understand how important it is for your business.

Especially, in the medical Cannabis industry, gender screening can help you get what you want, produce what you desire, and harvest what you expect. It can help you maximize your yield and save time and resources that you can end up spending on unwanted plants.

Ultimately, gender screening is an essential aspect of cannabis growing that can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of the final product.

Naturally, hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a dioecious plant with distinct male and female plants. And, you can either identify the sex of the plant either at its flowering stage or through genetic testing.

In this article, we will explore more on why gender screening is important, what the methods used, and what role timing plays in all this.

So, let’s begin!

Why Gender Screening is Important for Cannabis Growers?

Here’re some reasons that you must know how gender screening can play an essential role in making your business more profitable:

    Maximizing Yield and Efficiency

      Male plants do not produce the resinous buds that are harvested for their medicinal or recreational properties, so they are often considered a waste of time and resources for growers.

      Identifying male plants early in the growth process can save time, space, and energy by allowing growers to remove them before they take up too much resources.

      By removing the male plants, growers can focus on growing and maximizing the yield and potency of the female plants, which are the ones that produce the flowers.

        Preventing Pollination and Seed Development

          When male plants are present, they release pollen into the air which can fertilize female plants, leading to the development of seeds rather than resinous buds.

          Seeds decrease the overall quality of the cannabis crop, as they take up valuable space in the bud and can reduce the potency of the plant.

          By removing male plants, growers can prevent pollination and ensure that their female plants produce high-quality buds with maximum potency and flavor.

            Ensuring Consistency and Quality

              Male and female plants have different chemical profiles, so the presence of male plants can affect the overall quality and consistency of the final product.

              Removing male plants ensures that the female plants can grow and develop with the optimal chemical profile, resulting in a consistent and high-quality product.

              Gender screening can also help growers identify plants with specific desirable traits, such as high THC levels or unique flavor profiles, allowing them to selectively breed plants and further improve the overall quality of their product.

              Methods Of Gender Screening For Cannabis Growers

              • Visual Inspection: This is the easiest and most commonly used method of gender screening. Growers can identify the plant's gender by looking at its physical characteristics. For example, female plants produce white pistils or hairs, while male plants develop pollen sacs or balls.
              • Pre-Flowering: Pre-flowering is another method of gender screening that involves checking the plant's pre-flowering stage. During this stage, growers can identify the plant's gender by observing the node spacing and the development of pre-flowers. Females will have tightly spaced nodes and pre-flowers with a hair-like appearance, while males will have widely spaced nodes and pre-flowers with a ball-like appearance.
              • DNA Testing: This is a more advanced method of gender screening that involves DNA testing to identify the sex of the plant. It requires a small sample of plant tissue, which is then analyzed in a laboratory. This method is very accurate, and you can learn this at a PCT Tissue Culture Master Class!

              • Hormone Testing: Hormone testing is another method of gender screening that involves testing the plant's hormones to determine its sex. This method is more reliable than visual inspection but is also more expensive. It requires a sample of the plant's tissue, which is then analyzed in a laboratory.

              Importance of Timing in Gender Screening

              In addition to choosing the right method of gender screening, timing is also crucial in ensuring the accuracy of the results. Here are some important points to consider:

              • Age of the plant: It is important to wait until the plant has reached a certain age before conducting gender screening tests. This is because the plant needs to develop to a certain point before the gender can be determined. For cannabis plants, it is recommended to wait until they are at least 3-4 weeks old before conducting gender screening tests.
              • Time of day: The time of day can also affect the accuracy of gender screening results. It is recommended to conduct the tests during the day when the plant is in its vegetative growth stage. This is because, during the night, the plant may go through hormonal changes that can affect the results.
              • Flowering stage: If the plant has already entered its flowering stage, it may be too late to conduct gender screening tests. This is because the plant has already started to develop its reproductive organs, making it difficult to determine the gender accurately. It is recommended to conduct gender screening tests during the early stages of growth, preferably before the plant enters the flowering stage.
              • Consistency: It is important to be consistent in conducting gender screening tests. This means conducting the tests at the same time and using the same method for all plants in a particular batch. This ensures that the results are accurate and reliable.

                How Can You Ensure The Consistent Production of Female Plant?

                Cloning is an effective method that growers can use to ensure that their plants are female. By cloning a female plant, growers can ensure that the new plant will also be female. This method is ideal for growers who have already identified a female plant and want to produce more.

                When growers clone a female cannabis plant, they are essentially creating an exact genetic copy of that plant, which means that the new plant will also be female. This can be a useful strategy for cannabis growers who want to ensure a consistent and high-quality crop, as it eliminates the uncertainty and potential waste associated with relying on seed production.

                Cloning can also help growers save time and money, as they can skip the seed germination process and instead focus on growing plants that are already established and healthy. This can be especially useful for larger-scale operations that require a consistent and reliable supply of female cannabis plants.

                Tissue culture is a technique that offers effective cloning only by taking just a small piece of a plant part or plant tissue and growing it in a lab environment. Further, it also allows you to produce disease-free plants and multiply them on a commercial scale. This also reduces the number of mother plant requirements.

                How Plant Cell Technology Can Help You Learn Tissue Culture To Create Clones That Are 100% Females?

                Cutting-Edge Technology Gender-Screening at Young Age: Learn about all high-throughput technology available for gender screening and identify male and female plants in a fraction of the time at a young stage, rather than waiting for weeks to make the identification. During this part of the cannabis tissue culture master class, students will learn how to use the Medicinal Genomics PCR machine for gender screening of their cannabis plants. 

                The following is a breakdown of what the students will do: 

                • Learn the basics of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and the design of primers that target the Y-chromosome DNA sequences in male plants. 
                • Understand how to extract DNA from their cannabis plants and prepare it for PCR analysis. 
                • Learn how to set up the PCR reaction on the Medicinal Genomics PCR machine. 
                • Analyze the results using gel electrophoresis, which allows for the separation and detection of DNA fragments based on their size. 
                • Interpret the results to determine the sex of their cannabis plants and make informed decisions about which plants to keep for their medicinal or recreational purposes. 

                By the end of this part of the master class, students will have gained knowledge of a cutting-edge technology that can identify the sex of cannabis plants at a young age, saving them weeks of waiting for the identification process to complete.

                Imagine how much time and money you’ll be required to invest in it!

                That’s why we have brought you our comprehensive “Cannabis Tissue Culture Masterclass”. It will be a 3-day class organized in alternate months every year. The class will be conducted by one of the legends in the Cannabis Tissue Culture industry with years of experience.

                Master Class Details

                In this class, you won’t only learn how to produce meristem culture and preserve the genetics of your plant, but a range of other topics, including Pathogen remediation, sterilization techniques, synthetic seed technology, and many more.

                Here’s our complete curriculum.

                This a one of the most popular Master Class, for which booking has already been started. And, for one-on-experience with our tissue culture expert, only a limited number of seats are available.

                So, if you are interested in giving a boost to your Cannabis business, then book your seats TODAY!

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