What Is Cannabis Pollen And How To Use It

Pollen comes from the male cannabis plant, it contains male gametes which germinate female plants to produce seeds.
16 August 2021
6 min read
What Is Cannabis Pollen And How To Use It

  • 1. Male cannabis plants
  • 2. What is pollen?
  • 3. What is pollen used for?
  • 4. How to collect and store pollen?
  • 5. How to use pollen?
  • 6. Cannabis pollen faqs
  • 7. In conclusion

Just like female cannabis plants, male plants also flower but they don’t produce buds. Male cannabis plants develop pollen sacs that release pollen when they reach maturity.

Male plants are vital in the production of new cannabis strains but can be a nightmare for home growers because they can pollinate your female plants, filling the buds with seeds.

1. Male Cannabis Plants

Plants can be Monoecious or Dioecious. Dioecious plants are those which have distinct female and male plants, meaning a plant will be male or female and the male needs to pollinate the female to produce seeds. Monoecious plants are those which have both female and male parts and are known as hermaphrodites. The cannabis plants can be both Monoecious and Dioecious, although it is mostly found with separate sexes, you can and you will see Monoecious cannabis (hermaphrodites) in nature and even in your growing space. Hermaphrodites happen when the cannabis plant gets stressed. If she senses death is near, she will start developing the other sex to guarantee the survival of her species. This allows her to pollinate itself, producing seeds without the need for another plant.

2. What Is Pollen?

As you may know, buds are the flowers of the female cannabis plant. Male plants also flower, but unlike female plants, they produce pollen sacs. Pollen sacs are small balls that open up when they’re fully mature, releasing pollen.


What Is Cannabis Pollen And How To Use It: Male Plant Releasing Pollen

Male cannabis plant releasing pollen into the air.

The tiny pollen grains hold the male plant’s DNA information which combines with the female gametes that contain its DNA information, resulting in cannabis seeds. Pollen is produced by male cannabis plants and contains the male gametes. To produce seeds, a male plant needs to pollinate a female plant. This is how breeders produce new genetics, this way new terpene profiles and types of high can be achieved.

3. What Is Pollen Used For?

Pollen is used to create seeds. In nature, pollen allows cannabis plants to perpetuate their species.  For breeders, this allows the creation of new strains. By crossing two different strains, breeders can come up with distinct and unique colors, flavors, and aromas. 

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For example, our new Gorilla Cookies Auto is a cross between our Gorilla Glue Auto and Girl Scout Cookies Auto. This is achieved by collecting the pollen from one strain and pollinating the buds of the other one.

4. How To Collect And Store Pollen?

Collecting pollen isn’t too hard but you will need to be careful, it is super light and the slightest breeze can spread it all over, it can also stick to your hands, clothing, and hair, so you should be super cautious if you have female plants around.


What Is Cannabis Pollen And How To Use It: Male Branch in a Ziploc Bag

You should collect the pollen sacs in a ziplock bag to avoid them from spreading all over.

The best way to collect it is to check every day and be aware of when the male flowers are reaching maturity. When they’re about to open you should have a ziplock bag, a container, or any other way to hold it without it being able to get away. Have in mind that pollen is extremely sensitive to light and moisture so you should keep it in a dry cool place, if you’re gonna store it for more than just a few weeks, keep it in the refrigerator. A good tip is to use silica gel sachets to make sure the pollen is kept dry.

Pollen Viability

ConditionsCan be stored for
Room temperature1 - 3 weeks
Fridge2 - 3 months
FreezerUp to 12 months


Remember that this table is just a guideline. As mentioned, you should try to remove the moisture from the cannabis pollen before storing it, if you fail to do so, the cannabis pollen may not last as long as the periods mentioned in the table because moisture can attract mold and end up ruining the cannabis pollen. Also, pollen doesn’t have a protective layer so it’s exposed directly to the conditions, so in order to last up to 12 months in the freezer, for example, you should mix the pollen with regular flour or place a silica gel pack while keeping it in a dark airtight container, this will maximize storage life.

5. How To Use Pollen?

Pollinating your female plants is super easy, you just need to get the pollen to stick onto the buds, either by shaking the male plant, spreading pollen all over, or by carefully applying the stored pollen on the buds with a brush.


What Is Cannabis Pollen And How To Use It: Pollinating

You can carefully pollinate female plants with a brush.

Just remember that to produce good seeds you need to pollinate when the pistils are fully formed, which is around 3-5 weeks into the flowering stage.

6. Cannabis Pollen FAQs

  • For how long is cannabis pollen viable?

In normal conditions, marijuana pollen is viable for one to three weeks after it has been collected from the cannabis pollen sacs. However, if you seal it and freeze it it can last up to a year. This happens because pollen doesn’t have a protective layer like seeds, for example, so make sure you check the cannabis pollen storage topic above and store your marijuana pollen correctly. Also, if you freeze it, make sure you only remove it from the freezer once you’re ready to use it because temperature fluctuations and moisture will ruin the pollen. 

  • How long until cannabis plants produce pollen?

Your male plants need to mature sexually in order to start developing the pollen sacs but they usually mature one to two weeks before female plants. This means that you’ll have to wait at least four to six weeks before your plant matures sexually and then around two to three weeks for the pollen sacs to finish developing and release the marijuana pollen. Obviously, it depends from strain to strain so it can take a bit longer but in most cases, it can take a minimum of six to seven weeks (from seed) for your plant to produce and release marijuana pollen.

  • Is male pollen the same as hash pollen?

No, despite both being called pollen, hash pollen is slang for kief. Kief is made by sifting cannabis trichomes from female plants with a fine screen which can then be pressed into hash or consumed in pollen form while male cannabis pollen is the male gametes that are produced inside the male pollen sacs which are then used to produce seeds and cannot be consumed.

7. In Conclusion

Even though they’re not so popular nowadays, male cannabis plants are essential to perpetuate the cannabis plant, for the creation of new strains and the discovery of new combinations of terpenes. Although home growers won’t usually cultivate male plants, they’re extremely important for cannabis in general. Despite being laborious, collecting cannabis pollen from male plants is the best way to make your own seeds.

You can also revert a female cannabis plant’s sex but breeders claim that the offspring will have a tendency to turn hermaphrodite so, if you want to experiment making your own crosses or just want to stock cannabis seeds for your next grow cycles, it’s highly recommended that you do it by crossing a male and female plant. Also, make sure you store the pollen correctly because pollen starts degrading as soon as you take it off the pollen sacs, so use it as soon as you can to increase the chances of success.


If you are more experienced with male cannabis plants, feel free to share your knowledge with fellow growers by leaving a comment in the comment section below!



This post was most recently updated on August 12, 2021.

16 August 2021