The Risks of Buying Cheap Marijuana Seeds: How to Avoid Scams and Low-Quality Genetics

The quality of cheap marijuana seeds you plant determines your overall yield. No wonder studies show that different cannabis strains have varying effects on users. So, you can use the “garbage in, garbage out” principle to predict what you will get from your marijuana seeds.

Do you seek cheap seeds online to boost your harvest and maximize the cultivation output? Don’t worry if you need them because you can get affordable seed varieties online. However, be careful to avoid wasting your money on poor-quality cannabis seeds, which may be encountered when shopping for any of the three types of cannabis: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis.

But what are the risks of wasting your money on cheap cannabis seeds? How can you detect poor-quality seeds? This post answers these questions. Keep reading to learn more.

cannabis seeds

Understanding the Legal Technicalities

Cannabis is slowly emerging from a dark cloud of generational demonization and criminalization, hiding behind politically correct science. Therefore, legality is still a real challenge when handling seed matters—online and offline.

You may buy cannabis seeds online in some states that have legalized them but ensure you know the specific laws. Remember that the FDA doesn’t have federal laws regulating cannabis products. Transporting cannabis-infused products and substances is one of the federal crimes you may be charged with, even if your origin and destination states have legalized cannabis.

How to Spot Poor-Quality Marijuana Seeds

How do you define poor seeds that could cause you problems? It’s a bad seed that never germinates, wasting your time and money. Some cultivators also define bad seeds as male plants that pollinate females after maturing and destroy their yields. So, how do you test seeds to know whether they’re good or bad? Here are some time-proven tests to conduct before buying and planting seeds.

Visual Inspection

Healthy cannabis seeds are beautiful with a mottled brown appearance, plus dark and light patches. Some have gorgeous tiger stripes. If you view them closely, you can see them shining. Below are some ways to use your eyes to detect poor-quality seeds.

  • Color. A healthy cannabis seed has a dark color with gray or black patches. If you see white or green seeds, their germination chances are slim. Additionally, pale ones are old and don’t germinate well.
  • Waxy coating. A healthy cannabis seed has a shiny, waxy appearance. Anything else will waste your money.
  • Cracks. Check out for cracks in seeds. Any cracked seed won’t germinate.
  • Shape and size. High-quality seed is fat and round. If seeds don’t have this shape, they probably will fail to develop as they should. Please note that healthy seeds have various sizes and shapes. Some breeders produce small, compact seeds. However, their small sizes don’t necessarily mean the the seeds aren’t viable and won’t grow as long as they meet other requirements like color and age. Other healthy seeds appear large and bloated. This appearance could be due to their genetic makeup as well as high calcium and magnesium levels. Despite size differences, all healthy seeds have a similar shape. They all display a tear-drop body—round at one end and tapered at the other. Seeds that don’t conform to this standard are genetically flawed. Those appearing abnormally flat or misshaped have serious germination challenges and produce low-quality plants.
  • Mildew. Lastly, use your eyes to detect mildew. You can use a magnifying glass to view seeds closely. If you notice a white, dusty powder appearance, the seed has mold. Such seeds are infected with fungi, and you shouldn’t plant them.

You may also crack a seed inside to see if it has any signs of mildew in case you can’t detect it from the outside. If you notice the seed’s inside has a musty smell, the seed has gone bad. Also, a black interior means the seed is fermenting and won’t germinate.


You can also detect cheap seeds by touching them. A feel of cannabis seeds helps you know their germination viability. You can lightly squeeze the seed between your thumb and forefinger to evaluate its integrity. If the seed cracks under slight pressure, discard it because it won’t germinate. Most likely, such a seed has expired.

Test in Water

The water test is another way to identify healthy cannabis seeds. If other tests don’t work, drop the seeds in water to see if they will float or sink. You need a cup or glass of water to test them. Heat the water slightly; it shouldn’t be hot. Spring or distilled water would work best for this test.

Drop the seeds in the water, then wait for 1-2 hours. The floating seeds are bad and most likely won’t sprout, while the sinking ones are healthy. This method is easy to use and cheap. It also lets you test multiple seeds simultaneously.

After the test, germinate the healthy seeds because they will have absorbed water. If you don’t plant them immediately, they will dry and get damaged, losing their germination power. Please note that this test is only useful if you are ready to plant your seeds right away.


Lastly, use the germination test to determine if your cannabis seeds are healthy or of poor quality. You can germinate your seeds in various ways. For instance, plant them directly in the soil and see if the seeds will germinate. This method might sound primitive, but it works pretty well.

You may also use the paper towel method to test seeds. Dampen a paper towel but ensure you don’t soak it wet. Afterward, put this towel on a kitchen plate, place your seeds on it, and then cover them with a plate. This covering creates a moist, warm, and dark environment that causes seeds to germinate. Keep checking them once daily after sprouting to see a white taproot emerging.

After spotting the taproot, transplant the sprouted seeds into a pot. You can use tweezers and carefully handle the seeds without touching the taproots. Remember, these roots are delicate and can break. Touching the taproots can also contaminate them.

Closing Remarks

You are now abreast of all you need to learn about the dangers of buying cheap cannabis seeds and how to detect poor-quality items. Please feel free to follow this page to learn more about where to find cheap marijuana seeds that won’t disappoint you.

Lana Braslavskaia is AskGrowers’ ardent writer with a strong love for cannabis. She writes meaningful articles disseminating information about cannabis benefits and cultivation. Lana also specializes in PR and advocates equal access to business in the cannabis industry for all groups of people.