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Hating weed seeds (and stems) is practically a commandment once you’re inducted to the holy order of smoke. Unless your weed-buying experience has been fully legal—and even then sometimes—you’re familiar with the disappointing eighth bag filled with seeds. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, an eighth could have cost you a good bit so this is frustrating on a number of levels. More money spent, less weed to smoke.

From a value perspective, marijuana consumers have always preferred fewer seeds and more usable plant. The presence of seeds in your weed is natural but can speak to the quality of your weed and suggest a few things. First, it’s important to understand why cannabis seeds exist.

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning its female and male reproductive organs are found on separate individual plants. In order to reproduce, the flower of a female plant must be pollinated by a male plant after which the female flower produces seeds. Some cannabis plants can produce male flowers alongside female flowers on the same plant. This is known as the hermaphrodite condition and is especially likely to occur if the plants are exposed to environmental stressors or left to flower for a longer than normal period. Once the seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are dropped to the ground where they germinate and grow into new cannabis plants the next spring.

Male and female cannabis plants

Because of all this, some growers prefer to cultivate “sinsemilla” (Spanish for “no seed”), or female cannabis plants grown in an environment without males to produce the seedless, high potency flowers we’ve come to know in dispensaries. If you’re familiar with the Netflix show Narcos: Mexico, this is the type of weed produced by Rafael “Rafa” Quintero on a large scale, a key reason they were able to accelerate the growth of the Guadalajara Cartel.

In reality, Rafa didn’t invent the process like the show claims, but he did create the world’s largest sinsemilla weed growing operation at the time. The word ‘sinsemilla’ has been associated with seedless cannabis flowers since at least the 1970s, with the lack of seeds also spurring a reputation for sinsemilla marijuana as being better. Proponents say the plant produces high-quality buds with more intense effects than seed-laced samples of the herb.

Narcos television show screenshot of main character smelling a sensimilla

So what to do with the seeds if you haven’t been blessed with sinsemilla this re-up? That depends on how involved you want to be. While it hurts to throw the money away, no one really recommends smoking the seeds. There are no health concerns, it’s just not a pleasant taste or gentle smoke. If you roll your weed, you may be familiar with the violent popping that occurs when a seed accidentally slips into your joint or blunt. If the seeds are healthy, and you have the time and money, you can try to grow them. All you need to do is make sure they’re healthy. Healthier and genetically superior seeds have darker colours on the outer shell. Shades of grey and black are signs of good seeds, sometimes they even have a tiger stripe aesthetic.

Healthy weed seeds will also look like they have a coating of wax of their shell. Darker and better-quality seeds will feel firm to the touch. Squeeze the seed between your thumb and index finger to test its resilience. If the seed feels firm and does not bend or break under the applied pressure, then it’s more than likely worth planting. Poor-quality or old seeds will crack and crumble under pressure.

Weed seeds spread out on a clothe

As I said though, growing your own marijuana plant isn’t as simple as just planting or picking out the correct seed. It’s a much more involved process than people think from the outside and can be frustrating if you don’t have the time, will and effort to produce the quality of weed you’re used to, especially if you shop at a dispensary. The real problem with seeds is no one really wants them to smoke and those who want to grow might not even be able to use them.

We made a buying guide that lists the best Indica strains on the market. If you want to learn more about Indica strains specifically or get just some quality suggestions, click here!