What is Sinsemilla?

Are you looking for highly potent weed that doesn’t have seeds? If so, you need to try Sinsemilla. No, it’s not the latest cannabis strain.

  • Sinsemilla is not a cannabis subspecies like indica or sativa.
  • Sinsemilla is not a cannabis strain (cultivar) like White Widow or Gorilla Glue.
  • Sinsemilla is not a cannabis plant or its flower (the weed).

Sinsemilla is an older breeding technique that ensures there won’t be any seeds in the flowers of your female cannabis plant. Nowadays, the term is also loosely used when referring to seedless plants or weed, in general. Learn all about sinsemilla (aka sensimilla) today!

Why is it called sinsemilla?

The word sinsemilla is Spanish for ‘without seed.’ The term became popular in the 1970s to describe potent and seedless buds. It’s also the name of the growing technique for creating seedless and highly potent weed. It should be noted that no one coined the term; it’s a simple word to describe an equally simple growing technique.

The sinsemilla growing technique involves separating or culling male plants from female ones to avoid pollinating them. Doing so ensures that all the flowers remain seedless. It’s a completely different method than the one we use today to make feminized seeds, which is a slightly more complicated breeding process. You can read more about it in our article on feminized marijuana seeds.

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History of sinsemilla

Cannabis sinsemilla started in the early 1980s and was introduced by Rafael Caro Quintero, who used this high-quality cannabis to develop his marijuana empire in Sinaloa and Sonora. His domestic cannabis production projects reached Guadalajara, where his plantations adopted the sinsemilla growing technique to grow highly potent cannabis. If all of this sounds familiar, it’s part of the plot of Narcos: Mexico.

Many stories are told about the history of sinsemilla weed, some of which are real. So if you’ve heard a tale or two about lost dudes in the Guadalajara desert being picked up by the locals and offered a joint that nearly made them pass out, there could be some truth to it.

Back to reality, it’s not that far of a reach for someone like Rafael to develop sinsemilla. He may have been known as a Mexican drug lord, but before that, he was the son of someone who worked in agriculture and grazing.

Is seedless cannabis better?

It’s said that sinsemilla cannabis is better because it has more cannabinoids and terpenes than its seeded counterpart. The logic was that cannabis plants have a finite amount of energy and that most of it was used in producing seeds once pollinated. So by ensuring that female cannabis plants remain unpollinated, the energy they were supposed to use to produce seeds is instead used to create more cannabinoids in the flowers(2).

A study published in 2016 also confirms the greater potency of sensimilla cannabis by collecting cannabis material from 1995 to 2014. The results showed that as sensimilla cannabis samples increased over the years, the more potent the samples were.

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How does the sinsemilla technique work?

The sinsemilla technique works by growing cannabis plants normally and separating male plants from female ones once they show their sexes during their pre-flower. The question here is why the growers at the time couldn’t use feminized seeds to get around the problem. The answer is that the feminization technique hadn’t been developed yet. Sinsemilla cannabis was introduced in the 1980s, but the first feminized seeds weren’t sowed until 1998.

Growers had to make do with what they had then, so the labor-intensive technique was developed. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the modern-day home grower having to separate their male plants from the females. We no longer have to worry about that since we have feminized seeds.

The difference between sinsemilla and feminized seeds

But how are sinsemilla and feminized cannabis different from one another since they both create highly potent cannabis buds by making them seedless? The difference lies in the process. Sinsemilla is a labor-intensive process that doesn’t change the seeds. Instead, it separates male plants from female ones to ensure the flowers remain unpollinated.

With feminized cannabis, it tackles the issue at its roots by removing the odds of a male cannabis plant ever being produced by seeds. It’s made possible by breeding two females together using silver thiosulfate. The resulting fertilized cannabis plants produce seeds that only have female chromosomes, which only yields female plants.

Is sinsemilla more potent?

Back in the day, seedless buds were considered highly potent. But a lot can change in a decade, and there’s no better example than with sinsemillas themselves. Before they were introduced, old 70s weed only contained 1-3% THC, and in comparison, sensimilla cannabis had 4-6%, which would only increase as the years went by.

Outside of potency, the terpene content also increased, which brought more flavor and a stronger smell. This is why sinsemillas and skunk were often interchangeable words to describe potent weed.

Then came feminized seeds and soon stronger hybridized cannabis with the addition of modern growing techniques. And like sinsemilla cannabis, these growing techniques focused on increasing the cannabinoid and terpenes in cannabis. Feminized seeds soon became a must-have since they cut down the menial labor of separating males from female plants.

Nowadays, all we have are seedless cannabis with a global average THC content of 15%. Seeded cannabis is now grown deliberately to produce seeds instead of smokable flowers.

Is sinsemilla still natural?

In a way, sinsemilla is the most natural form of cannabis. Since feminized seeds are made through specific breeding techniques, it’s hard to say they’re ‘natural.’ But with sinsemilla cannabis, they’re grown from regular seeds with no genetic modification. That meant the seeds would produce male plants, which had to be manually removed to avoid pollination.

It should be noted that sinsemilla isn’t a term for a subspecies like indica, sativa, or ruderalis. It is seed-grown cannabis, whether sativa or indica, that had males removed during pre-flower or as soon as the growers spotted them.

Can you smoke sinsemilla?

Seedless cannabis is still weed. If anything, it’s better weed since it doesn’t have seeds that would make for a rough smoke. And when first introduced, they were the most revolutionary cannabis buds you could find.

Learn more about cannabis seeds

Nowadays there are several types of cannabis seeds on the market. Be sure to get the right seeds for your needs:

All seeds in our seed store grow Sinsemilla plants as well, so you never have to bother with pollinated flowers or seeds in your weed. Be sure to try your hand at growing yourself, it’s not hard! Robert’s free Weed Grow Bible will help you get started in no time.

Happy growing!


Avatar for Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner

Botanist and academic

Chris Gardner is a botany buff with years of experience in agriculture and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science an ... See profile

9 comments on “What is Sinsemilla?”

  1. I can’t seem to grow seedless buds, all my plants have seeds in them, even the plants I buy from other seed companies. Feminised and atuo they all have seeds , really frustrating , I’m about to give up. All are out door grown,,,.jhelp

  2. You know it very well, breeding seeds for certain and growing, my god hands down one of the greatest. So could you give me the best 24x48x60 tent set up for led(?) Seed (?)hydro(?)soil(?) Co2(?)fans(?). Would like 12-16 tennis ball cans with 2 or 4 lower Nugs only 18-20 Inch Tall.? Rockwool for meduim? Like led lighting cause of heat, new but 1st timer and cant understand the hole keep light far away thing . why? How far? How far does light penetrate then? Simply kit .seeds fertilizer manual and recommendation for 2×4 and 3×4 3×3 4×4 set ups . Can i get 16-20 once off a 2x4x60tent?