The Basics: A Simple Guide to the Anatomy of a Cannabis Plant

Here at Black Rabbit, other than being your top online dispensary destination for same day weed delivery and weed delivery Canada-wide, we also aim to tackle conversations and topics that sit within the larger cannon of cannabis culture. We’ve covered the fun stuff, like how to make weed butter and even the Weed 101 stuff, like how much is a gram of weed (with helpful visuals and all). Today, in the spirit of higher learning and understanding where your bud actually comes from, we’re going to take you through the fascinating anatomy of a cannabis plant.

Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants are dioecious – pronounced dīˈēSHəs and that simply means that cannabis plants will either have male reproductive organs or female reproductive organs. Female plants are the ones that produce flowers abundant with cannabinoids while male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs.

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To determine the sex of a plant, check between their nodes (we explain more on these below), the area where leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Males plants will have pollen sacs in this node area and female plants will have stigma (again, more on that below). These “tells” are usually present on a plant within six weeks into the growth cycle of the plant.



Seeds are only produced in female cannabis plants however they carry the genetics of both male and female plants and once planted; the seeds begin to grow root networks.


The main function of the root is to essentially siphon or draw water and other nutrients from the soil into the plant. As the seed grows, a taproot (the main root or the centre root from which other rootlets spring) forms. Marijuana plants have small, whitish roots that create an extensive root network in order to fulfill the cannabis plants high water needs.

Branches and Stems

In each cannabis plant there’s a main stem that branches off into leaf nodes. It’s this stem that provides the structural support for the plant but it’s also the plant’s circulatory system which is a bunch of vessels or tubes that supply the plant with water and nutrients.


The nodes are the areas where branches grow off the main stem. The sex of a plant can be determined by the nodes where the beginnings of male (pollen sacs) and female (stigma) sex organs will appear.


The main function of the stigma is reproduction. Stigma’s collect pollen from male cannabis plants but they don’t contribute anything by means of a flower’s potency or taste. They’re usually yellow, orange, red or brown in coloration.

Fan Leaves

The fan leaves are somewhat of a universal symbol for the cannabis plant, but THC actually doesn’t come from these leaves. Their main function is to collect sunlight for energy while simultaneously shading and protecting the buds.


Flowers/buds are the main sources for the cannabinoids and terpenes that get you high and they only grow on female cannabis plants – their dried forms are what you smoke.


These are the cluster of buds that you find on each plant – there is a main cola at the top of each plant, often referred to as the apical bud.

Pistils and Trichomes

Both are important structures that make up the cannabis flower. We go in depth about trichomes here but essentially trichomes are known to produce cannabinoids (THC, CBD), flavonoids and terpenes that make the variety of different cannabis strains unique and dynamic.

We often refer to pistils here on the Black Rabbit site when breaking down the components of specific plants in our Strain Spotlight series, but pistils are the fine “hairs” you see on the flower. They’re often red, brown and orange in colour and while they do not contribute to THC production, they do collect pollen for fertilization.

Same Day Weed Deliver and Weed Delivery Canada-Wide

Smoking actual bud is another great way to get more familiar with the cannabis plant, so if you’re keen on doing more learning, check out our shops and start puffing. Black Rabbit has same day weed delivery in TorontoMississauga and soon to be Newmarket, Barrie and Brampton! Live outside of the GTA? We’ve got weed delivery Canada-wide too through our mail order program.

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