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mature vs immature cannabis seeds

Choosing seeds to sprout-mature vs slightly immature

Choosing seeds to sprout-mature vs slightly immature

We all have a bias towards sprouting large dark brown tiger striped fully mature seeds. I’ve wondered whether this makes a difference, if the less mature, whitish seeds produce plants that are just as good. I decided to pay attention this year and record what happened. This isn’t a scientific study but it is my observations.

I found the less mature seeds were more likely to sprout seedlings with defects. Problems pushing out of their seed shells. Often the first couple sets of leaves would be deformed and asymmetrical. Germination rates were fine but slightly lower then from the fully mature brown seed.

Once the plants grew bigger, developed their 3rd, 4th, set of true leaves they were normal vigorous cannabis plants. Absolutely no difference in development or growth rate. I’m sure other people have tested this before but I couldn’t find any sources, it seems like something so basic would have been discussed more often.

My takeaway is that I’d still rather start from fully mature seed but it doesn’t make that big of a difference. If you have very few seeds of a strain and they are borderline mature you’ll want to baby them, maybe give them some help cracking out of their shells.

As far as seed size goes, the best reason for a bias towards larger seeds is that larger seeds will produce larger bracts which will contain more resin glands per bract thus more resin. Large seeds are more likely to be from Afghan dominate plants, more oily fuel smell and wider leaves and chunkier buds. Smaller seeds are often from plants with narrower leaves, or plants with purple colors and fruit/sweet vs fuel/skunk. This is a huge generalization and can be proven wrong plenty of times but it seems to be the overall trend.

Pot Glossary: Cannabis Terms For Vermonters

When it comes to cannabis, there are a ton of terms that get thrown around in laws, in conversation and on products or advertisements.

To help you keep things clear and understand the naunces of Act 86, Vermont’s new pot law, we’ve created a glossary of terms you might hear in conversations about pot.

Marijuana — “the dried flower of the cannabis plant, used as a drug for recreational or medical purposes.” [AP Stylebook]

  • A mature marijuana plant is defined under Vermont law as a female, flowering plant or flowered plant that has buds
  • An immature marijuana plant is defined under Vermont law as a female plant that has not flowered and does not have buds.

Medical Marijuana — marijuana used for medicinal purposes. Vermont law gets more specific for therapeutic uses and defines “usable marijuana” to mean “the dried leaves and flowers of marijuana, and any mixture or preparation thereof, and does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.”

Cannabis — the genus name for the plant, often used outside of North America. Why? There’s the argument that “the term marijuana was popularized in the United States in the early 20th century to stoke anti-Mexican sentiment.” [AP Stylebook]

CBD — cannabidiol, another one of the chemical components of cannabis — though not intoxicating like THC.

Genetics refers to the characteristics of a strain or variety of the specific cannabis plant. It’s often used to refer to exchanges or swaps of plants.

Hemp either the fibers of the marijuana plant used in paper or clothing products OR hemp oil (see “Hemp Oil” below). It contains less than 0.3 percent THC.

THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabis’ main psychoactive component.

Edibles — baked goods, foods or items intended to be ingested that are made from or with marijuana butter or oil.

Hashish — concentrated, resin-like form, extracted from marijuana. Can also be made into hash oil, which can be “smoked, vaporized or infused into edibles.” [AP Stylebook] More on hash oil, here.

The new law defines the volume of Hashish at 5 grams instead of the 1 ounce of marijuana allowed for Vermonters 21 and older. For more, read Act 86.

When is a Marijuana Plant a “Plant” under Michigan Law?

Michigan’s two marijuana licensing statutes—the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”) and Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“MRTMA”) place limits on the number of plants a licensed grower can cultivate. This is in contrast to most other states that limit cannabis cultivators by total canopy size rather than number of plants and is the reason why Michigan grower’s tend to cultivate plants differently than in other states.

Generally speaking, MMFLA licensed cannabis cultivators grow bigger plants than licensed growers outside of Michigan since Michigan growers are focused on maximizing their yield per plant, as opposed to out of state growers that focus on yield per square foot or yield per watt of energy.

Since all legal Michigan cannabis growers are limited by their “plant count”, it’s important to know exactly what constitutes a “plant” for purposes of the MMFLA and MRTMA. Here, it is important to note that Michigan law differentiates between a “mature” and “immature” plant. An immature plant is defined by the MMFLA Rules as a nonflowering marijuana plant produced from a cutting or seedling that is no taller than 8 inches, no wider than 8 inches, and that is in a growing medium or growing container. Conversely, a mature marijuana plant is a plant that has taken root and is taller or wider than 8 inches.

Both mature and immature plants count against a Michigan cannabis grower’s plant count, though immature plants do not yet need to be individually METRC tagged, unlike mature plants. Turning back to our original question, the MMFLA defines a “plant” as any living organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and has observable root formation, though this begs the question—at what point does a marijuana seedling or clone meet this definition?


A marijuana plant has 4 main points during its growth cycle: seed germination, seed growth, vegetation and flowering. During the seed germination and growth periods the seed is exposed to heat, light and moisture and the seed slowly starts to open and reveal seed leaves. Once sprouted, the seedling is considered an immature plant under Michigan law.

As noted above, while immature plants do not need individual METRC tags, they still count against a Michigan licensed grower’s plant count and must be accounted for in the statewide monitoring system in batches of no more than one hundred plants. Moreover, once the plant has grown to be greater than 8 inches tall or 8 inches wide it must be marked as an individual plant in METRC and entered into the statewide monitoring as such.


Clones or “cuttings” are typically cut from plants during their vegetative stage. This means the plant the cutting is coming from has its own root system and is considered a plant, but at what point does the cutting become a plant for plant count purposes?

According to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, or MRA, a cutting is not counted against a Michigan licensed cannabis grower’s plant count until the clone or cutting is put into a growing medium and the cutting starts to take root. Prior to this time, a cutting is not considered a plant for purposes of a grower’s plant count.


When purchasing genetics or creating new clones from a mother plant, it is important to know at what stage your plant is considered a “plant” under the MMFLA and MRTMA since going over your plant count could lead to regulatory action against your cannabis company. This question is especially important for small plant count growers like the MRTMA Class A grower’s license, which only allows 100 plants, or the MRTMA microbusiness license , which allows 150 plants.