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All You Should Know About Weed Pollen: When, Why & How to Use Cannabis Pollen

October 18, 2022

The pollen on weed plants is the reason for marijuana’s continued existence, yet many experienced cannabis users know little about it. Some tokers are blissfully unaware it even exists.

Advanced cultivators know all about pollen and its significance to marijuana growth, but what is it? This powdery substance is a crucial element in reproducing seed-bearing plant life.

Are you a cultivator or considering growing cannabis? Understanding the significance of this substance is a necessity.

Join us to discover everything there is to know about marijuana pollen. We share all our knowledge on this fascinating substance, what it does, and its uses in cannabis cultivation.

Let’s get stuck in!

weed male plant

What is weed pollen?

Weed pollen is a fine, grainy substance that male marijuana plants produce. It develops in sacs that open and spread out, fertilizing the females. 

To understand the significance of pollen, let’s briefly explore the different genders in cannabis biology.

Many plants on earth are asexual and pollinate themselves. Others, like cannabis, are separated by gender into male and female plants that serve different purposes.

Male cannabis crops form sacs as part of their reproductive organs. They disperse weed pollen and don’t produce buds. The female plants have pistils for collecting the fertilizing substance, and they develop the nugs we love. It’s also possible to encounter hermaphrodite weed.

A hermaphrodite cannabis plant has the reproductive organs of both males and females. This phenomenon can occur due to shock or stress, causing it to enter survival mode. They grow buds and seeds, pollinate themselves and females, and they’re usually unwanted.

The pollen on weed is a vital element of the reproductive system in cannabis plants. The substance is the primary reason marijuana produces seeds. We can thank it for every strain in existence.

For some growers, the substance isn’t entirely positive. If cultivating for consumption, where seeds are undesirable, pollen is a nuisance. Males in your crop can fertilize your females.

Finding seeds in buds meant for indulgence is a real downer, and no grower or toker wants that. Learning what weed pollen looks like is crucial for avoiding males and hermaphrodites. Spotting the substance has other values. Collecting and using it produces some awe-inspiring results.

cannabis pollen

How is cannabis pollen used?

The importance of pollen, in general, is immeasurable. The substance is responsible for fertilizing and reproducing much of the planet’s vegetation. In many ways, we depend on it for survival. Let’s focus on how it serves our favorite plant.

Breeders use cannabis pollen to produce new plants and cross genetics between strains, creating new cultivars. The substance also plays a primary role in learning how to make feminized seeds.

New strains emerge when breeders introduce the pollen of a male strain to a different female cultivar. The introduction of male cannabis pollen must be between 14–21 days into the female’s flowering stage. This application is the reason we have so many amazing and unique strains.

The complex variety of ways breeders can mix strain genetics results in everything from autoflowers to specific indoor cannabis seeds. Pollen is truly precious.

What does marijuana pollen look like?

Marijuana pollen appears as a powdery substance, usually with a slight yellow tint.

The sacs which produce and contain pollen are part of the male cannabis plant’s reproductive organs. Knowing what they look like is a vital part of growing and breeding marijuana.

Cannabis pollen sacs are often flower-like in appearance, especially when open. When closed, they look like small green grapes or balls.

The sacs usually form about 4–5 weeks into the flowering stage. They appear on the nodes that grow hairs if the plant is female. Spotting and removing males early before they can fertilize the ladies is crucial if you want a seedless crop.

Finding pollen sacs on weed and removing males is a chore for many cultivators. If you want to avoid that aspect of growing, feminized marijuana seeds are ideal. They guarantee an entirely female crop 99% of the time.

Some breeders are constantly looking and hoping for signs of male plants. They use them to pollinate other crops and create seeds. Correctly collecting pollen is crucial for developing new cultivars.

How to collect pollen from male weed plants?

Learning how to collect pollen from male weed plants correctly is vital. It must be done carefully and at a precise time if you want to avail of its magical uses. This substance is only viable for a few days unless you store it. So, it’s essential to know when to remove the sacs.

Here are some tips for harvesting pollen correctly:

  • Observe: Wait until weed pollen sacs appear during the cannabis flowering stage, and begin closely monitoring them from this point onward.
  • Harvest: When the sacs start to open, carefully remove the entire male flower cluster from the plant.
  • Store: As soon as the pollen is dry, filter it and seal it in an airtight container.

Cannabis pollen can be more challenging to collect when dealing with wind and rain. Give yourself the best chance in a natural climate by starting right. Use outdoor marijuana seeds bred specifically for the purpose. They’re more likely to survive harsh conditions and produce flowers.

Whether taken from indoor or outdoor plants, properly harvesting and storing cannabis pollen is essential for its viability. Don’t let all that waiting be in vain by collecting the substance and allowing it to go to waste.

cannabis pollen sac

Storing cannabis pollen: how to store weed pollen

After you collect the flower clusters, it’s time to dry, filter, and contain the substance. Learning how to store cannabis pollen is vital to keeping it viable.

There are various steps to storing the plant matter, and there’s little room for error. Fortunately, we have an expert guide for you.

Keep your pollen in perfect condition by following these tips:

  • As with most marijuana-related endeavors, it’s essential to avoid contamination. Wash or sanitize your hands and tools, and ensure the work area is clean when managing cannabis pollen.
  • After collecting the entire flow cluster from the male plant, bag it up and bring it to a clean area.
  • The next step involves filtering the pollen from other vegetation and excess moisture. Squeeze and shake the cluster over a micro-mesh with parchment paper underneath.
  • Dry out the filtered pollen for approximately 48 hours in a cool, dry place. Ensure it doesn’t come into direct contact with strong light.
  • Once it’s dry, it’s time to decide what to do with weed pollen. At this point, it’s possible to use the substance or store it for up to 12 months.

If you choose to store pollen for future use, keep it in a container and store it in the freezer. The box must be airtight, so moisture can’t reach the plant matter.

When storing pollen, the key things to avoid are high temperatures and moisture reaching the plant matter. 

Now you know what weed pollen is and how to identify, collect, and store the substance. It’s time we explored why and how breeders use it.

FAQs about weed pollen

Many cannabis enthusiasts are unaware of this substance and often ask, “What does marijuana pollen look like?” Here are some frequently asked questions about the powdery yellow plant matter, with our expert answers.

How long does cannabis pollen last?

Pollen from cannabis plants can last up to 12 months after you harvest it. To keep the substance viable, it needs to be in an airtight container and frozen.

If freezing isn’t an option, keep it cold and away from oxygen and light. When storing pollen, it degrades if exposed to warm temperatures or moisture.

How long is cannabis pollen viable?

During growth, weed pollen is viable as soon as it's airborne and remains healthy for a few days in natural conditions.

If you're storing it for long periods through freezing, it loses its viability within days of thawing. Any exposure to moisture or heat causes degradation over time, so use it quickly.

How is cannabis pollen transferred to female plants?

Cannabis pollen transfers naturally to female plants. The substance travels through the air as soon as the male flowers open. If you’re growing outdoors, insects and birds can also carry and spread it amongst a crop.

Transferring the substance is also possible by manually collecting cannabis pollen from males and introducing it to female plants.

When do male cannabis plants pollinate females?

Male cannabis plants pollinate females when the sacs open and release the substance. The formation of male flowers usually occurs about four weeks into the flowering period.

Fertilization happens when the pollen comes into contact with female plants. This reproductive event is usually only possible between 14–21 days into the flowering stage.

When do cannabis male plants release pollen?

Male cannabis plants release the substance when the marijuana pollen sacs open.
Pollen sacs usually form approximately four weeks into the flowering stage, but this period varies depending on the strain. It’s crucial to observe your plants closely once they’re blooming. Early detection is essential for identifying and removing males if necessary.

About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.

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