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Leaves are not considered to be waste material. They have their benefits.
In fact, there are so many benefits you should never wonder what to do with them. You can enjoy all parts of the marijuana plant including the leaves. In fact, cannabis leaves have some of the same medicinal power as the rest of the marijuana plant.
If you grow your own marijuana plants and it is now time to trim your flowers, you should keep the cannabis leaves and stems. Some marijuana growers make the mistake of throwing away the stems and leaves, treating them as waste material.
If you're wondering what to do with cannabis leaves and stems, we have 17 great ideas! But first, why you should keep them.
Do Cannabis Fan Leaves Contain Cannabinoids?
The iconic marijuana leaf also contains a trace amount of trichomes, the microscopic resinous glands that produce the plant’s therapeutic compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Each one of these compounds contributes to a strains unique potency and aroma.
Compared to cannabis flower buds, however, cannabis leaves contain an insignificant amount of cannabinoids. With enough pot leaves and even stems, however, users can make a range of consumables that contain a decent amount of cannabis compounds.
You can utilize cannabis leaves in various ways. This allows you to squeeze the most out of the harvest. In a traditional sense, various parts of the marijuana plant were used for a wide range of reasons and this is the case even today. The cannabis leaves are not all useless and you should take advantage of them.
17 Great Uses of Cannabis Leaves and Stems
1. Smoking Stems and Cannabis Leaves
During the trimming phase, you will usually notice larger fan leaves. Sugar leaves are the smaller version, which will usually be covered with trichomes. For this reason, they have a high level of THC content.
To avoid the loss of the high potency, some marijuana growers will generally let the sugar leaves stay on the buds. In so doing, however, when you smoke these leaves, they are not as smooth and they are definitely stronger.
2. Cooking With Marijuana Leaves
Fan leaves are not smoked because of their lower levels of THC content and fewer trichomes. However, you can use fan leaves to make your edibles such as cake or brownies. The cooking and baking process extracts most of the leave's potency.
The good news is that you will have enough cannabis leaves to put in your edibles. You can also use the marijuana stems in your cannabutter.
If you make homemade pizza, you could add your cannabis leaves as a pizza topping. But, they have to be dried and grounded first. This also allows you to use it as an herbal product. It has quite a lot of nutritional value in this form. You can also sprinkle it on your salads and pasta.
3. Making Marijuana Tea With Leaves and Stems
Use the cannabis leaves to make tea. The cannabinoids that are present in the leaves are fat-soluble instead of water-soluble. What does this mean? It means that you can use it to make, not only cannabutter but also tea. Pour milk in a pot and put your leaves in it, bring to a boil and then simmer, allowing the smell and flavor to be transferred into the tea.
This is great medicine for the body and the mind.
4. Juicing Your Cannabis Leaves
If your cannabis leaves are moist and you haven't trimmed them, then you can juice those cannabis leaves. If you were to consume the leaves while they are raw, they would be considered superfoods. You would be able to absorb the cannabinoids much easier when consumed in a raw state.
So avoid letting the leaves be dried out after trimming. Instead, put the leaves in a blender and blend with other ingredients to make a smoothie. You could add banana, strawberry and coconut milk to it.
5. Making Marijuana Cocktails With Weed Leaves And Stems
Cannabis leaves and stems can easily be infused into your favorite cocktail or mocktail for an added kick of cannabinoids and terpenes. Users can make an infused Green Dragon concentrate, a type of cannabis tincture made with alcohol, to infuse into alcoholic beverages.
After grinding and decarboxylating marijuana leaves and stems, users can add the material into a jar with a lid. Add enough water to cover the material and let the solution sit in a dark and cool area.
Users can shake the jar daily for a week, after which the mixture can be strained to leave behind a concentrated cannabis tincture to be used in alcohol mixes.
6. How To Make Bubble Hash From Marijuana Stems And Leaves
If you have a large number of weed leaves and stems, you can perform a bubble hash extraction to produce some moderately potent and solvent-free concentrates. Bubble hash extraction uses ice, water, and agitation to remove the resin glands from cannabis matter.
First, the water and cannabis leaves and stems are placed in a bucket lined with filtration bags made of screens similar to ones used when producing dry sift kief. When agitated, the trichomes fall off and sink to the bottom, while the plant matter stays on the surface.
After the material has settled, the bags are separated and the trichomes are removed. The bubble wash is then dried and is ready to consume through smoking.
7. Using Marijuana Leaves And Stems For Arts & Crafts
If you don’t want to decarboxylate your stems and leaves for future consumption, you can always find other creative uses for your organic waste. For instance, a bunch of stems can work as a screen or filter for a bowl or bong piece when smoking.
The fibrous stems and stalks from cannabis can be worked into numerous functional and artistic objects including a DIY hemp wick. Simply strip long stems and stalks with a sharp blade to produce multiple strings of fiber.
Afterward, twist the fiber strands together in a rope-like fashion. Finally, dip your twisted fibers into beeswax to keep the wick together.
With extra-long stems and stalks, users can even make cannabis baskets by following a woven wicker basket tutorial.
Since cannabis stalks can run the risk of breaking, users should soak the stems and stalks overnight in water to make them more flexible.
8. Composting Cannabis Leaves
Master growers recommend composting cannabis scraps such as stems and leaves to produce an organic soil mixture.
Not only does saving your cannabis fan leaves provide nutrients to your plants through the soil, but it also reduces the amount of household waste produced.
Cannabis leaves can be shredded and mixed with other organic and inorganic compostable material to make a soil amendment. Leaves that are no longer marketable don’t have to end up in a landfill.
9. Herbal Cannabis Teas
Dried cannabis leaves can serve as the foundation for herbal teas. To make calming and fragrant infusions, combine them with other herbs like mint, chamomile, or lavender.
Cannabis leaves themselves don't have a lot of THC, but they might have a little calming effect, which makes them a suitable addition to your nightly tea practice.
10. Cannabis Skin and Body Care
The leaves of the cannabis plant are full of antioxidants and other substances that may be good for the skin. Some people have experimented with making their own cannabis-infused creams, lotions, and balms for skincare.
It is asserted that these products may have advantages including reducing inflammation and hydrating the skin.
11. Cannabis Crafting and Art
Cannabis stems and leaves are interesting materials for crafts and artwork for anyone with a creative streak. Stems can be used to create beads, ornaments, or even be a part of handcrafted paper.
Cannabis leaves that have been dried and pressed can be used for floral art or as a natural fabric dye.
12. Cannabis Composting and Gardening
Cannabis stems and leaves can help your garden grow and be more sustainable. Following harvest, the discarded plant material can be placed to compost piles to supply nutrients.
A cycle of nourishment is created when the decomposed material is used to improve the soil in your garden.
13. Hempcrete and Sustainable Cannabis Building
Industrial hemp, a form of cannabis, is recognized for its many applications, albeit not all cannabis plants may be used for it. Hempcrete, a sustainable building material, can be made by combining lime and the hurd, the inner core of hemp stems.
Hempcrete is a popular option for ecologically conscious builders since it has superior insulating qualities and is safe for the environment.
14. Cannabis Potpourri and Aromatherapy
Dried cannabis leaves can be used into home-made potpourri mixtures to give your living surroundings a distinctive scent.
They can be used directly or blended into carrier oils for diffusers and massages as part of aromatherapy procedures.
15. Natural Fertilizers and Cannabis Plant Boosters
You may make nutrient-rich teas from cannabis stems and leaves that serve as natural fertilizers for other plants in your garden. You can make a nutrient-rich solution that you can use to irrigate your plants by steeping the plant material in water.
This not only minimizes waste but also uses the cannabis plant's advantageous traits to promote the growth of other flora.
16. Extraction of Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Cannabis stems and leaves nevertheless contain useful substances like CBD and other cannabinoids, as well as aromatic terpenes, although having lower cannabinoid concentrations than the flowers do.
To make tinctures, oils, or concentrates, some people opt to extract these substances from the plant material. This may be a clever method to use every component of the plant and take use of any potential advantages.
17. Research and Cannabis Education
Cannabis stems and leaves can be useful teaching resources. They can be used to demonstrate the various plant components and support instructional programs about botany, plant biology, and the life cycle of cannabis.
These resources can be used by academic institutions and research centers to instruct the general public and students about the complexities of the cannabis plant.
The stems and leaves of cannabis plants frequently take a backseat to the flowers, but their potential should not be ignored. There are numerous ways to make the most of these frequently ignored sections of the plant, from gastronomic delights to sustainable crafting and gardening.
Our understanding of cannabis' many applications will change along with views against it as they continue to do so. Therefore, before you think of throwing those stems and leaves away, think about the variety of uses they can serve as a tribute to the plant's adaptability and the creativity of individuals who value it.
The cannabis plant has a lot more to give than is initially apparent, challenging us to think creatively and make the most of its unique qualities as we continue to explore the possibilities.
As you can see there are many things to do with weed stems and cannabis leaves that you may not normally have thought of.
Is it healthy to eat weed stems?
Cannabis stems should not normally be consumed for the following reasons:
Low Cannabinoid Content: Cannabis stems do have traces of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but their levels are far lower than those in flower buds. It is doubtful that eating stems will have any noticeable psychedelic effects.
Cannabis stems have a harsh texture and flavor and are hard to chew and digest due to their woody and fibrous nature. They may irritate or pain the digestive tract since they can be fairly rough.
Potential for Digestive Problems: Consuming more cannabis stems may increase your risk of experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, such as indigestion, bloating, and even abdominal pain.
Lack of Research: The safety and potential health implications of ingesting cannabis stems have received little attention from scientists. It is so challenging to say with certainty whether ingesting them is completely safe.
What part of the weed plant do you use?
The main cannabis plant components used for their cannabinoid content and related effects are the flower buds and trichomes. Seeds and leaves can be used in a variety of cuisines and offer nutritional value. Although stems and roots have few uses, they are frequently not as appealing for ingesting because of their texture and low THC concentration.
Do you remove stems before grinding cannabis?
Yes, it is typically advised to cut off the thicker stems before grinding cannabis. For users who intend to smoke or vape cannabis, grinding is a frequent procedure. This helps to break down the flower buds into a more uniform consistency, enabling a smoother and more even burn or vaporization.
Can you turn stems into kief?
Like the flower buds, stems do have trichomes, which are sticky glands that carry cannabinoids and terpenes. However, because there are fewer trichomes per square inch on stems than there are on buds, harvesting kief from stems is not as feasible. The collection of these trichomes is known as kief, and because it has a high concentration of THC and terpenes, it is frequently utilized to increase the potency of cannabis products.
It would be quite labor-intensive and most likely ineffective to try to extract kief from stems. Compared to those on flower buds, the trichomes on stems are often less developed and resinous. You would still only get a small amount of low-potency kief despite your best efforts.
Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.