Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning its female and male reproductive organs are found on separate individuals. Female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males to produce what we find in medical and recreational stores: seedless, high potency marijuana flowers, traditionally known as “sinsemilla.”
In order to reproduce, the flower of a female plant must be pollinated by a male plant after which the female flower produces seeds. However, many varieties of cannabis can produce some male flowers alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors or left to flower for a longer than normal period. This is known as the hermaphrodite condition, and sometimes these male flowers will produce viable pollen and self-pollinate the surrounding female flowers to create seeds.
Once the seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are either dropped to the ground where they germinate and grow into new cannabis plants the next spring, or they are harvested for processing into hemp seed oil, food products, or to be sown to become the next generation of plants.