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Seeded Buds: Why Does My Weed Have Seeds? You are browsing online and checking out all the different strains. There is a local dispensary that is selling medical cannabis at an unbelievable When you hear weed specialists toss around the terms large-seeded weeds and small-seeded weeds, you might wonder which » WSSA » Weeds » Articles on Garden Weeds » NEVER LET ‘EM SET SEED Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The

Seeded Buds: Why Does My Weed Have Seeds?

You are browsing online and checking out all the different strains. There is a local dispensary that is selling medical cannabis at an unbelievable price. Really? Only forty dollars per ounce? And it is a great strain that you usually buy. Seeded weed? What does that mean?

Photo Credit: SpliffSeeds.com

At the top of the discounted ‘flash sale’ status of the cannabis, you see a phrase that confuses the heck out of you. And it stands out like kind of a warning; “heavily seeded.” Unless you are a cannabis expert, you probably think seeds are no big deal. They are still natural, right? And they probably have the same amount of THC.

When a grower makes a little bit of a goof-up, and the cannabis is allowed to get frisky with other plants in the greenhouse, seeded nugs happen. Everyone loves a discount! They are a great deal. Having seeds in your whole flower cannabis must be just an aesthetic thing that people don’t like.

Think twice before you get the bargain basement cannabis loaded up with seeds. No, it’s not going to add more fiber to your diet (although you could use seeded cannabis for making edibles). But as far as using it in your pipe? Definitely read up on why it is discounted before you buy.

Photo Credit: Yarygin | Deposit Photos

The Birds and The Bees: Cannabis is a Highly Evolved Plant

Did you know that about 80% of plants on the planet are self-pollinating? Cannabis is a highly evolved plant. It is a dioecious species, which means it has separate male and female plants. Cannabis plants have three sexes. There can be male plants and female plants. And occasionally, a strain will produce hermaphrodite plants (both male and female).

If you were walking through a medical dispensary’s greenhouse, you would see plants that have zero flowers. Lots of leaves, though, but no buds. Then you would see plants blooming with buds. Guess which one is the female plant?

The male cannabis plant is worth empathizing with. He tries hard but barely gets a date. The male cannabis plant typically has a thinner stalk and fewer leaves. But the male cannabis plant grows and produces valuable pollen taken by the wind or breeze to nearby female plants. (Cue the disco music). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how marijuana buds are born.

Every time a cannabis plant seeds, it is a 50/50 split between male and female seedlings. Some strains can produce up to 75% of male plants. But you can’t tell in a greenhouse until they have started to grow. It usually takes about six weeks in the greenhouse before female plants begin to bloom. Then the male cannabis plants are separated from the female cannabis plants.

The female plants are valuable because they will produce crops of flowers or buds. Male plants, however, are not the star of the show, and they are either mulched for fertilizer or repurposed into other cannabis products.

What Happens to Male Cannabis Plants?

Dispensaries are interested in cultivating cannabis flowers from female plants. Some of the male plants are kept if they show specific attributes that are valuable for breeding. You plant corn, you get corn? It’s a little more complicated with cannabis. Most of the male plants are incredibly low in cannabinoids. Not all of them but most. And so, other than pollination, to a commercial dispensary, the male cannabis plant isn’t worth keeping around.

During the vegetative growth phase (when cannabis is maturing into a seedling), the male plants have higher THC concentrates in the leaves. It is only when the female plants mature to the adult stage that they have a higher potency. Female plants are the only sex to create sinsemilla. That is the compound that produces the psychoactive effects in THC.

Male cannabis plants don’t have a very long lifespan. Cultivators worldwide have tried to breed in high THC and bloom production in male plants, but with no success. You can’t delay the pollination process for male plants, nor can you breed enhanced resin production for male cannabis.

More sad news for male cannabis plants; their pollen is detrimental to female plants. So, if you have a happy crop of male cannabis plants sending their pollen over to the ladies on the other side of the aisle, it can stifle the crop. It will reduce the size and production of female cannabis plants.

Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants Have It Worse

The creation of hermaphrodites or both male and female sexed organisms is a rare occurrence in nature. But the genetic anomaly can happen to any species on the planet. And that includes the cannabis plant.

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Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are considered trouble. When they are discovered, they are separated from other female plants. A few hermaphrodite plants can ruin an entire harvest and jeopardize the quality of the flowers produced. They are found, uprooted, and destroyed in a way that does not allow them to cross-pollinate with any other plants. It’s very much ‘seek and destroy’ when a cultivator finds them in the greenhouse.

The potential for genetically mutated hermaphrodite plants to reproduce with quality strains is very high. So, it is very much ‘seek and destroy’ when a cultivator finds them in the greenhouse.

Photo Credit: Yarygin | Deposit Photos

What Is Seeded Weed Good For?

When you look at a seeded flower, the composition seems similar but extra chunky. Throughout the bud, you will notice seeds of different sizes. Fully germinated and non-germinated seeds (or baby seeds). More fiber! So, the cannabis seeds must be good for you? Well, they are. Just not in your pipe or cone.

There is a market for marijuana seeds because they contain many health benefits. They are a great nutritional resource and have more than thirty (30) healthy fats. Some of the types of healthy fats include alpha-linoleic acid, which is the plant version of omega-3 fatty acid. They are also a high source of plant-based clean proteins.

Fiber! Boy, are cannabis seeds full of fiber, and they are great for digestive health. So much so that some clinical studies have suggested that cannabis seeds can reduce intestinal and colon cancers. Both soluble and insoluble fiber is found in cannabis seeds.

The soluble fiber is absorbed quickly and makes you feel full longer while providing energy. The insoluble fiber has a cleaning effect. It doesn’t digest but has an exfoliating impact as it travels through the digestive tract.

There are many supplements and nutritional products that are made from cannabis seeds. Also, for cosmetic products and skincare. Cannabis seeds are also high in an amino acid called arginine, which helps with muscle relaxation, blood vessel dilation, and reduced blood pressure. Cannabis seeds are often used for nutritional products sold for weight loss.

Why Are There Seeds In Cannabis Flower the Dispensary is Selling?

Full disclosure? Cultivators and dispensaries know that ‘seeded weed’ is a goof up. They know that it still can provide some wellness benefits. However, both the aesthetic and some of the seeded weed side-effects make the product less desirable to patients.

Does seeded weed still have THC and psychoactive properties? Yes. The cannabis potency is usually not any different, and it is still tested before being sold. The website of the dispensary will confirm the THC content in the description of the product.

Seeded weed happens when pollen from a male cannabis plant touches the female plant. Congratulations, you have a baby seed. But a lot of pollen can interact in a single exchange (from more than one male plant). That’s when you end up with bud that looks like an apocalypse of seeds in the cannabis colas.

Photo Credit: TeriVirbickis | Deposit Photos

Can You Grow Cannabis from Seeds You Find In Your Medical Bud?

If you live in a state that has legalized home-growing for personal use, you may be looking at those seeds and wondering if you should plant them? What would happen if you collected all the seeds and then tried to plant them?

Some seeds would germinate, and others would not. But when you are trying to cultivate seeds from a cannabis strain that has been prone to seedy weed, you would not want to grow plants that had the same properties. That would be lower quality cannabis. And you’d be stuck with more seeds. No one wants to reproduce a mediocre hybrid.

What Happens if You Smoke Cannabis With Seeds In It?

It’s cheap. Maybe you are thinking of just throwing it into the grinder and packing your bowl to see what happens? Well, unfortunately, when you incinerate seeds, you are changing the chemistry quite a lot. And while they can produce psychoactive and physiological effects (you will still get high), they can also produce some side-effects.

Both cannabis seeds and stems should be picked out and not consumed. They both contain cellulose, which burns at a hotter temperature than marijuana flowers. And that cellulose, when incinerated, produces carcinogenic toxins (cancer-causing). It makes the smoke hotter and harsher on your respiratory tract.

Some of the other side-effects that patients have experienced when smoking weed seeds are:

  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal and abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough

Finally, if you do happen to roll some cannabis seeds in your cone, it’s going to freak you out a little bit—the seeds pop and crackle. Very loudly when you incinerate them, it’s kind of feels like taking a drag off a lit firecracker. No thanks!

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What Do I Do With Cannabis Seeds If I Can’t Smoke Them?

Just because cannabis seeds are not ideal for smoking doesn’t mean that they will go to waste. There are other ways you can repurpose them after you separate or sift them from your bud.

Try placing stems and seeds on a baking tray in the oven for about 40 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabis. That activates it. Then, you can grind them up and use them to create a tea or a cannabis-infused butter. You can even add it to your flour if you want to bake some buzz-worthy edibles at home.

Another cool idea for seeds and stems is to add them (after decarboxylation) to a liqueur. You’ve seen vodka’s with hot peppers in the bottle, right? Same thing! You can place them into a bottle of vodka or whisky for a week and then filter them out. Repeat this process every week for a few months to build up the THC content in the alcohol.

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Heed Weed Seed Size

When you hear weed specialists toss around the terms “large-seeded weeds” and “small-seeded weeds,” you might wonder which are which and what difference it makes? Good questions.

“Weed seed size comes into play in particular with no-till and strip-till,” points out University of Wisconsin weed scientist Chris Boerboom. “With those systems, large-size weed seeds don’t get incorporated and therefore don’t germinate well. For example, velvetleaf, a medium- to larger-seeded weed, becomes much less of a problem in no-till farming.”

In contrast, Boerboom notes, small-seeded weeds and annual grasses, if not managed, can become more prevalent in no-till and strip-till. That’s because they’re able to germinate near the surface.

“When the seeds of large-seeded weeds lie on the surface, as they do with no-till, they make only one flush and are easier to control with a single herbicide application,” explains Jeff Stachler, weed scientist at Ohio State University. “Also, since they are on the surface, they are more likely to be eaten by rodents, insects and birds. Over time, because of predation, good weed control, and lack of incorporation, the number of large-seeded weeds declines in no-till fields.”

But small-size weed seeds in no-till fields usually get incorporated by rainfall, tire tracks and other natural soil disturbances just enough to germinate, Stachler explains. Thus, they become dominant weeds.

When fields are tilled, large-seeded weed seed gets incorporated. That allows them to germinate better and over a longer period of time, says Stachler. But small-seeded weeds, when incorporated by tillage, become less competitive because they’re pushed below their optimum germination level, he points out.

Germination and growth patterns of medium-seeded types, says Stachler, fall between the large and small.

In general, he adds, large-seeded weeds are more competitive on a per-plant basis than small- or medium-seeded weeds. “The larger seeds tend to germinate faster because of more energy, and they tend to be larger weeds,” he notes. “It may take four to eight times as many small-seeded weeds to be as competitive as a single large-seeded weed.

“On the other hand, small-seeded weeds like pigweeds and lambsquarters tend to produce more seeds per plant and can spread faster,” Stachler says. “That’s the reason they can take over so quickly in no-till if not properly controlled.”

Herbicide-wise, soil-applied products such as dinitroanilines (Prowl, trifluralins), acetamides (Harness, Dual II Magnum, Lasso, etc.) and pigment inhibitors (Command, Balance, Callisto) are the most effective for small-seeded weeds, says Stachler. Except for the few products that need incorporation, all can be used with no-till.

Pre-emergence PPO inhibitors (Authority, Valor, etc.) control mostly small- and medium-seeded weeds. “To control large-seeded weeds with pre-emergence products, go with triazines or ALS-inhibitors, assuming there is not a resistance problem,” Stachler advises. “They also get medium- and small-seeded weeds.”

As a rule, large-seeded weeds are more difficult to control with pre-emergence herbicides than are small-seeded weeds, notes Wisconsin’s Boerboom. “That’s partly because they emerge from a greater depth and don’t take up as much herbicide as do those weeds that germinate near the surface. We can usually control large-seeded weeds more effectively with post products.”

Boerboom points out that most pre-emergence grass killers, especially for corn, also are touted to help control small-seeded broadleaf weeds. But, he says it’s important to keep in mind that their control can vary depending on the broad-leaf. When those grass herbicides are premixed with atrazine, control is good and consistent for most small-seeded broadleaves.

Weeds And Their Seed Sizes

The following list of broadleaf and grass weeds, found in the Midwest, comes from Ohio State University:

Large-seeded broadleaf weeds: common cocklebur, giant ragweed, the morningglories, common sunflower and burcucumber.

Medium-seeded broadleaf weeds: common ragweed, velvetleaf, jimsonweed, smartweed, Canada thistle, kochia and common dandelion.

Small-seeded broadleaf weeds: pigweeds (including waterhemp), lambsquarters, eastern black nightshade, marestail, field pennycress, chickweed, purple deadnettle, wild mustard and shepherd’s-purse.

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Large-seeded grass weeds: shattercane, johnsongrass, field sandbur, woolly cupgrass, downy brome and wild oats.

Medium-seeded grass weeds: foxtails, barnyardgrass and wild proso millet.

» WSSA » Weeds » Articles on Garden Weeds » NEVER LET ‘EM SET SEED

Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The good news is that with a bit of dedicated effort, you can reduce the weeding you do year by year until your vegetable garden is virtually weed-free.

Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The good news is that with a bit of dedicated effort, you can reduce the weeding you do year by year until your vegetable garden is virtually weed-free.

The key is to know a bit about something called the “weed seed bank” and how to manage it. Most people don’t realize that a weed can produce literally thousands – or even millions – of seeds per plant. Early in my career as a university professor, I conducted research to document the number of seeds coming from even a single weed plant. The accompanying chart shows the results were pretty stunning. And all those seeds fall to the ground and become part of a “seed bank” that fuels new weed growth.

The weed seed bank is central to the “never let ’em set seed” rationale. Seeds “in the bank” can remain viable for quite a long time and sprout when conditions are right. That means it will take several years for you to reach your weed-free goal.

How many years? The answer depends on the weed species growing in your garden. Seeds of most annual weedy grasses die after two or three years, but some broadleaf weed seeds can last for decades. On average, though, the bulk of your weed seed bank will be depleted in about five years if no additional seeds are added. That means diligence is the key. Never let one weed go to seed or you will be back to square one!

What about seeds blown onto your garden or dropped there by birds? They shouldn’t be a big problem. The seeds for most weed species drop directly to the ground, close to the mother plant. There are only a few bad actors with windborne seed, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and groundsel (Senecio vulgaris). And it is rare for annual weed seeds to be spread by birds. It’s a bit of gardening lore that isn’t substantiated by fact.

To hasten the path to a weed-free garden, I recommend a two-pronged strategy: drive down the number of viable seeds in the soil and quickly intervene when those that remain sprout. I grow between 70% and 80% of the vegetables my wife and I eat, and I now spend almost no time weeding them. I have managed to drive down the seed bank using solarization, mulching, hoeing and hand pulling. In case you haven’t heard of solarization, it involves covering the soil with a clear plastic tarp for several weeks in the summer to heat the soil and kill weed seeds. It may sound farfetched, but it works.

While there is never a 100% guarantee in the natural world, if you follow a “never let ’em set seed” strategy, I can virtually guarantee that you will soon be doing a lot less weeding in future years.

This column is provided as a courtesy by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). The author Robert Norris is an avid gardener and a professor emeritus in the Plant Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

Examples of Weed Seed Production per Plant*
Weed name Seeds per plant Where the plant
was located
Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli 750,000 Davis, CA
Purslane, Portulaca oleracea > 2,000,000 Davis, CA
Black nightshade, Solanum ptycanthum > 800,000 Rosemount, MN
Puncturevine, Tribulus terrestris > 100,000 Pullman, WA
Powell amaranth, Amaranthus powellii 268,000 Freeville, NY
Shepherd’s purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris 40,000 Sheffield, UK
Chickweed, Stellaria media 25,000 Rothamsted, UK

* Data collected by various researchers around the globe.

A Note about Perennial Weeds

Most of the perennial weeds that plague perennial flower gardens and lawns need more than the “never let ’em set seed” rule for effective control. Many perennial weeds grow from underground roots or tubers – making the path to weed-free perennial gardening much tougher. Not only should you prevent seed production, but you need to control the roots and tubers, too. Frequent removal of the shoots of perennial weeds will eventually starve and kill the underground tissues. You’ll need to be especially persistent and use a variety of control methods to reach your goal. If necessary, this can also be achieved with the careful use of appropriate herbicides.

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