Cannabis Plant Anatomy

If you’re an avid cannabis enthusiast, you may want to start growing your own plants at home. At this point, you should at least be familiar with the basic structure of the cannabis plant, and getting a deeper understanding can help you troubleshoot potential growing issues.

Having an understanding of the plant’s anatomy will ensure you get high-quality, consistent results if you’re planning on refining your cannabis, such as making your own shatter or dab.

While understanding cannabis plant anatomy is an intriguing learning experience, you can get by with just knowing about buds, especially if you’re buying from a dispensary.

At Cannabis and Glass, we have a huge selection of flower, concentrates, and accessories catering to the Spokane, WA, community. Visit one of our shops to see if we have the ideal products for you.

Male vs. Female Marijuana Plants

Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning that individual plants will contain either male or female reproductive organs. Only female plants produce the resin-secreting flowers that you find in your stash, while males produce small pollen sacs that can fertilize these flowers, leading to seed production.

To prevent any seeds from developing before harvest, most commercial plants that are sources for the products you can find at our Cannabis and Glass shop in Spokane Valley are seedless. While seeds are essential for reproduction, they’re detrimental to flowers meant for consumption.

Hermaphroditic Plants

A hermaphroditic plant contains both female and male sex organs on the same plant and can self-pollinate to produce flowers with seeds. The main reason why cannabis plants “herm out” is due to stressors such as:

  • Disease
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Damage to the parent plant
  • Poor genetics
  • Unsuitable growing conditions

We strongly recommend using a greenhouse or growing rig if you’re growing your own plants in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. A dedicated rig allows you to control the humidity, temperature and light exposure to prevent the development of hermaphrodites. If you start noticing some of your plants changing, look for signs of disease or nutrient deficiency and adjust accordingly.

Parts of the Cannabis Plant

The Flower

marijuana flower

The most iconic part of the cannabis plant, the flower, is the part that contains the highest concentration of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. The flower is a massive structure that consists of several different components, including the:

  • Pistil and stigma: The main reproductive part of the plant, the pistil contains small hair-like growths called stigmas that help collect and trap pollen from male plants. While vital for seed production, the pistil and stigma don’t offer much to the flower’s taste or potency.
  • Cola: Also known at the bud site, the cola is a cluster of buds that will eventually grow into the larger flower structure. The main cola is the “apical bud,” which grows at the tip of the plant.
  • Bract and calyx: The bract is the protective array of small leaves protecting the flower. These leaves contain the largest concentration of trichomes on the plant, making them the main source of THC and CBD.


Trichomes are small globes that secrete resin to protect the plant from predators and cold weather. The resin contains plenty of terpenes and cannabinoids, making trichomes essential in hash production. You can find Trichomes on the leaves and stems of the cannabis plant, but the highest concentration is on the flower.


The node is where a branch grows off the main stem or branches off another branch. Flowers and leaves will only grow on nodes and not on the space between nodes.

Fan Leaves


marijuana leaf

These large fanning marijuana leaves give the cannabis plant its iconic shape and are essential for providing energy to the plant. They are not really useful for smoking due to their lack of resin or cannabinoids.

Sugar Leaves

These resin-coated leaves are the precursors to buds, and most growers will save them during trimming for pre-rolls or extracts.


The plant’s main stalk acts as a nutrient delivery system, while the root system harvests nutrients directly from the soil. Most growers will limit their stalk’s height to encourage lateral growth and bud production.

Visit One of Our Dispensaries

You don’t need to be a botanist to appreciate cannabis plant anatomy and how it contributes to the product we all know and love. But if you prefer consuming to appreciating, visit our team at Cannabis and Glass and browse our amazing selection of cannabis products today!