How to buy marijuana seeds

Many cannabis consumers like the idea of growing their own marijuana plant — whether the plants are used for recreational purposes or to produce medical marijuana. Very often, people find it incredibly rewarding to consume cannabis that they grew themselves, and many enjoy being able to nurture their plant all the way from the seed to the final harvest.

marijuana seeds
Marijuana seeds are now easier to find and purchase than ever before.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Fortunately, marijuana seeds are now easier to find and purchase than ever before. That said, the way you go about buying marijuana seeds is still very dependent on the laws in your area. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to purchase marijuana seeds.

How do marijuana laws affect buying cannabis seeds?

The law is the first thing to take into consideration. Before doing anything else, you'll want to double and triple check the laws in your area about which types of cannabis products you're allowed to purchase as well as any laws about growing weed at home. This is important because the legal status of both cannabis products and home-growing cannabis will in large part dictate where and how you buy your seeds. If you live in a state where it is legal to grow weed at home and there are not that many restrictions on home growing, then you'll likely be able to buy cannabis directly from your favorite licensed dispensary. In some cases, you may even have the option of buying from a brick-and-mortar retailer or an online retailer. 

Plan Ahead

However you go about buying your cannabis seeds, you need to plan ahead. Here are some of the most important factors you need to think about to ensure that the marijuana seeds you buy will meet your needs and objectives.

Indica, sativa, or hybrid

There is a seemingly endless variety of cannabis strains now in existence. Before buying marijuana seeds you need to know what kind of weed you want to grow. Start off by figuring out if you want to grow an indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or hybrid strain. As a broad generalization, indica-dominant strains tend to produce effects more pronounced in the body, often contributing to pain relief, relaxation, and feelings of sedation or even sleepiness. Sativa-dominant strains are typically recognized as producing more cerebral highs that can be energizing and mentally stimulating. Hybrid strains produce a variety of effects depending on the specific mother strains used to create the hybrid.

Which strain do you want to grow?

Beyond the three main categories of indica, sativa, and hybrid, you should also figure out which specific strain you want to grow. If you are not totally sure which strain you want to grow, or you're curious to learn about other strains that you might not be familiar with, browse through the online catalogs of reputable seed banks and read about the various strains currently available.

When you've decided which strain you want to grow, be sure to do a bit of research to familiarize yourself with the unique growing needs and specifications of that strain. While there are general guidelines for growing any type of cannabis, different strains also have their own specific needs. Similarly, some strains do better in specific parts of the world or climates. You should grow a strain that is well-suited to the growing environment you will be creating for your plants.

Growing indoors or outdoors?

You also need to decide if you will be growing your marijuana indoors or outdoors. Growing inside gives you a bit more flexibility as you can control and fine-tune the growing culture for your plants. This gives you more freedom in terms of which seeds you decide to buy. If you plan on growing outside, you should probably spend a bit more time researching the specific seeds you want to purchase to make sure they will thrive in your unique climate and environment.

indoor marijuana cultivation lighting
Growing inside gives you a bit more flexibility as you can control and fine-tune the growing culture for your plants.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Regular seeds, feminized seeds, or autoflowering seeds?

If you browse through seeds being sold at a dispensary or an online store, you will immediately see some seeds described as feminized or autoflowering. A vital part of understanding how to buy cannabis seeds is understanding the differences in the types of seeds being sold.

Depending on how a seed has been bred, you can purchase regular cannabis seeds, feminized cannabis seeds, or autoflowering cannabis seeds. These are not strains of marijuana; they are categories that refer to the sex and maturation process of the seeds.

When you buy regular seeds, some will grow up to produce male plants and others will grow into female plants. You need to be aware of this because growing regular seeds requires you to pay close attention to the sex of each plant so that you can get rid of any males plants that show up. Male marijuana plants do not produce flowers, and therefore will not give you anything to smoke. Even worse, males will pollinate your female plants, producing low quality buds that are full of seeds. If you plant regular seeds, you should plan on buying more seeds than you might actually need, as a higher percentage of these seeds will produce male plants.

On the other hand, feminized seeds have been bred to produce only female plants. This means you won't need to buy quite as many seeds because a higher percentage of the seeds you plant will grow into productive females. However, feminized seeds are not fail-proof, so you should still pay attention to the sex of your plants as they mature so you can spot and eliminate any males that might pop up. In general, feminized seeds are easier and more straightforward to grow.

Finally, autoflowering seeds have more to do with the growth cycle of the marijuana plant. When growing regular seeds, you will need to adjust the type and amount of light your plant receives in order to trigger the flowering process. But autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce a plant that automatically flowers without you needing to be fully on top of altering the light your plant receives.

cannabis seedling
Autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce a plant that automatically flowers without you needing to be fully on top of altering the light your plant receives.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

How many plants do you want to grow?

Regardless of the strain you buy, or if you buy regular seeds, feminized seeds, or autoflowering seeds, you should have an idea of how many plants you'll want to grow. It's also a good idea to circle back to your area's laws and check the number of plants you're legally allowed to grow.

You should always plan on a certain percentage of your seeds failing to germinate or growing into weak and unviable plants. Understanding this, you should plan on purchasing more seeds than you think you will need. As a general guideline, assume that at least 25% of the seeds you plant will, for one reason or another, not make it to harvest. For best results, buy and plant more seeds than the number of mature plants you want to produce.

How to buy marijuana seeds online

Buying seeds online is in many ways the simplest way to purchase cannabis seeds. Buying online makes it convenient to research and learn about the various strains you can grow. Online retailers often have a larger selection to choose from than smaller brick-and-mortar retailers.

At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks to buying seeds from an online store. For one, some weed-legal locations still outlaw buying and shipping seeds across state or national borders. There are also issues of reliability. If you want to buy from an online seed bank, take some time researching the company. Make sure they are reputable and in good standing with their customers. 

How to buy cannabis seeds in a brick-and-mortar store

Buying seeds directly from a brick-and-mortar shop gives you the benefit of being able to talk to an expert before making your purchase. Make sure the dispensary you're buying from has budtenders who are experienced with the growing process.

Here are a few questions you should ask your budtender before making a purchase:

  • What is the potency of the strain? If you are looking to buy seeds with a high THC level in the mature plant, you should ask if the strain tends to produce plants with high THC levels or high CBD levels.
  • Are the seeds designed to grow into mature plants with high yields?
  • Are these seeds better suited for medical marijuana or recreational marijuana?

Bottom line

In many ways, buying marijuana seeds is very much like buying anything else related to cannabis. Even in places where weed is legal, seeds are generally considered cannabis products the same as flower, edibles, oils, and anything else coming from the cannabis plant. For that reason, you should always pay very close attention to the legal status of marijuana seeds in your area. It may be easier today than ever before to find and buy high-quality seeds, but you'll want to take the time to research your options before you make that final purchase. 

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on December 9, 2020.