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How To Put Your Cannabis Stems To Good Use

It’s common to hear people associate cannabis stems with low-quality bud, and you might think they’re nothing but a headache. Try saving them next time you find them, though. Whether you want some THC-kissed tea, cannabutter, hash, or even some twine or yarn, the possibilities are nearly endless if you save them and know what to do.

Repurpose your cannabis stems to make the most of your crop!

  • 1. What to do with your marijuana stems?
  • 1.a. Smoking
  • 1.b. Charas
  • 1.c. Kief
  • 1.d. Bubble Hash
  • 2. Don’t forget decarboxylation
  • 2.a. Tea and chai
  • 2.b. Marijuana liqueur
  • 2.c. THC butter and other edibles
  • 3. Topicals
  • 4. Arts and crafts
  • 4.a. Paper
  • 4.b. Weaving small
  • 4.c. Weaving big
  • 4.d. Mulch
  • 5. Put your humble weed stems to good use
  • 1. What to do with your marijuana stems?
  • 1.a. Smoking
  • 1.b. Charas
  • 1.c. Kief
  • 1.d. Bubble Hash
  • 2. Don’t forget decarboxylation
  • 2.a. Tea and chai
  • 2.b. Marijuana liqueur
  • 2.c. THC butter and other edibles
  • 3. Topicals
  • 4. Arts and crafts
  • 4.a. Paper
  • 4.b. Weaving small
  • 4.c. Weaving big
  • 4.d. Mulch
  • 5. Put your humble weed stems to good use

If you’re not the type to grind up your stems with your bud, you’ve either got a garbage bag full of them or an impressive collection. If you’re in the former group, we’ve got some information that might make you reconsider. If you’re in the latter, though, today just might be your lucky day.

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR MARIJUANA STEMS?

You see, those stems are a lot more than scraps to throw out when grinding your cannabis flower. In fact, if you store up enough, you can get plenty lifted off those alone. And, if you don’t want to get high, you can even give them a second life as arts and crafts items, or even mulch! How? We’ll cover the details as we go along.

SMOKING

The simplest solution, although it’s the least recommended, is to grind your stems up and smoke them. This is always a harsh experience, and the smoke contains many unwanted compounds from the cellulose in the stems. The cellulose also makes stems burn extremely hot—more than enough to burn your throat and lungs. Again, it is not recommended, so please be careful. Very few people do this, but for some reason, some decide to light them up.

CHARAS

Hash doesn’t get much more hands-on than this. To obtain charas, start by rubbing your stems between your hands. After that, rub your hands together over a container to get a whisker of hash. It won’t be much in that moment. However, work through 100 grams of stems with average THC content, and you may be impressed at what you’ve managed to gather. The end result is a multi-flavoured pile of hash that’s as old-school as it gets.

If you want to get this process started, just take your stems, break them down, and throw them into a resealable plastic bag. Place this bag in your freezer, and let it sit until you’ve got more to add. When you add to the collection, give the bag a healthy shake. Each time you shake, the now-frozen resin crystals will begin to detach from the stem fragments. Slowly but surely, you’ll build up an impressive pile at the bottom of the bag. Once you sift out the stems, you’ll have a whole bunch of kief ready to smoke!

BUBBLE HASH

Similarly, if you want some quality bubble hash, the first step is freezing the stems. Rather than shaking, though, you’ll be throwing these in a blender. Use the blender method recipe from our full guide to making hash—just replace “flowers” with “stems”. If you follow all the right instructions, repeating the process about 4–5 times, quality bubble hash will be in your future.

DON’T FORGET DECARBOXYLATION

Before anything, if you want to make use of the THC content of your stems, decarboxylation is key. It might seem like a confusing process based off the name, but it really just means you’re heating them up to a certain point. This process creates the easily absorbable and immediately psychoactive THC from its precursor chemical, THCA. This, in turn, makes the stems perfect for tinctures, hash, extracts, and edibles.

To decarboxylate, evenly spread your stems on an oven tray and place in the oven at 110°C (or 100°C for a fan-assisted oven) for 60 minutes. Once decarboxylated, your stems are ready to go!

TEA AND CHAI

To get started, you’ll need a healthy handful of stems that have not been rubbed for hash. Start off by putting 450ml of water and a tablespoon of coconut oil into a small saucepan. Chop and add your stems and slowly bring to a gentle, but not rolling, boil, stirring continuously. Let them boil like this for 7 or 8 minutes, as the fluid needs to reduce. Strain out your stems, let the mixture cool for a bit, and enjoy!

Plain cannabis tea can taste a bit rough, though, so you might consider adding herbs and sweeteners to your beverage. For tea, mints, lemon, honey, sugar, or any flavoured tea bag can mask the taste. If you’re making chai, adding cardamom pods, pepper, and ginger for that traditional zing makes it a tasty and tingly delight.

MARIJUANA LIQUEUR

Whiskeys, vodkas, or tequilas that are 40% alcohol or more can all dissolve the resin of cannabis. We’ve got a great recipe for cannabis-infused vodka here, but it’s quite a simple process overall.

Decant your chosen alcohol into a mason jar to allow for easier access. Let the stems sit in there for a week or so at a time. By the time you’ve got another handful of stems ready to add, the old ones will have released their treasures into the mix.

For potency to build, this little project may take a few months and a few handfuls of stems. By the end of the process, though, you’ll have a strong cross-fade in one convenient, potent drink.

THC BUTTER AND OTHER EDIBLES

If you have enough broken-down stems to fill up half a saucepan, then THC-infused butter is on the menu! Replacing stems for buds in this cannabutter recipe will produce a similar product, but with a much milder effect. Where the recipe suggests “28g of flowers”, replace with “as many chopped stems as possible”. Using your butter in culinary creations will add a nice buzz to any course.

TOPICALS

Perhaps one of the most unconventional ways to enjoy cannabis are weed-infused topicals, which have become quite popular over the past couple of years. Along with moisturising your skin, cannabis-infused lotions and creams can help care for your muscles in a new way. They’re also a wonder for supple joints, along with tackling sensitive, red skin especially well. Thankfully, we’ve already got a recipe for cannabis lotion! Note, however, that you’ll be replacing “15–30g of flowers” with 2–3x the amount of stems, or the closest you can get.

ARTS AND CRAFTS

You might not think about it often, but there’s a good bit more you can do with cannabis outside of enjoying its effects. It’s a natural plant material like any other, and that means it can see a lot of use in arts and crafts!

PAPER

It might sound unconventional at first, but remember that hemp is one of the main alternatives to wood-based paper. Considering that, stem-based paper is far from odd, albeit a bit coarse.

The most challenging part of making paper is first making a vat. This can be pantyhose stretched over a wire armature, or old fly-wire screen stapled to a wooden frame. The idea is to have a flat, permeable surface that will let the water in the pulp drain away.

Then, in a blender, combine an equal amount of stems and regular paper. Add enough water for the mixture to move and blend freely. When the mix is a slurry with minimal bits left intact, pour it out evenly onto the vat. Gently shake the vat until the pulp is evenly spread. If you’re making a larger piece of paper, you’ll need a squeegee to get things even. Leave this to drain and dry. After 24 hours, gently peel your paper away and hang it out to dry. Trim to your needs, and enjoy!

WEAVING SMALL

Even on the small scale, stems and small stalks can be stripped of their outer fibre. This process, called decorticating, involves one of the most sophisticated tools out there: your hands. Held together by a cellulose matrix, these fibres need to be rubbed between the fingers to be separated into individual strands. These individual lengths of fibres can be twisted into tough lengths of raw twine. If you save up enough, you’ve got tons of creative possibilities! Might we suggest a tasteful homemade bracelet?

WEAVING BIGGER

The possibilities get even wider, though, if you’re a home grower with even more stems lying around. When you strip trunks and main branches of their much longer fibres, you can start making decorations, baskets, and even yarn if you work at it long enough!

MULCH

Capping things off, you can even use your stems to grow yourself some more cannabis! Specifically, you can use a wood chipper (or another processing method) to turn the stems into a reliable mulch. This will protect the soil under it, making sure plants keep as much of their rainwater as possible. There’s a lot more information to cover when it comes to properly applying mulch in the growing process, but we hope to have sparked your interest in the idea!

PUT YOUR HUMBLE WEED STEMS TO GOOD USE

See? There’s no need to get mad at the humble stem! There’s a world of use to be found if you’ve got the right supplies, and you can even get high on them if you play your cards right! We hope this has helped you appreciate just how versatile the cannabis plant can be!

You might think cannabis stems are a waste. On the contrary, there are quite a few ways to put them to good use! Find out how inside.

What to do with weed stems, stalks, leaves and roots

Many of those that grow their own cannabis seeds treasure the potent buds and simply throw away the rest of the plant. If you have ever wondered what to do with leftover leaves and stems read on for some inspiration.

How to recycle cannabis plants parts after harvest

Once you have harvested the buds from your cannabis plant you may be left asking yourself what to do with fan leaves and stems etc. Every part of the cannabis plant can be put to good use. Some parts, such as the resin coated leaves, can be used to make some bonus hash, stash or cannabis concentrates.

Grind weed stalks to make mulch for your garden

What to do with weed stems and weed stalks? Do weed stems have THC? Weed stalks don’t usually produce enough THC to get high from. In this respect, marijuana stalks are one of the less valuable leftovers from your home grow. Some strains produce trichomes on the stems but most people would struggle to capture sufficient quantities to consider e.g. hash production worthwhile. Instead, many people simply mulch the weed stalks and stems into compost.

Other ideas on what weed stems can be used for include drying/grinding them for use in baking or tea. Weed tea with stems is a treat for some growers. Can you smoke weed stems? It’s a common question but THC production from weed stems is very low. Using weed stems to make potent edible cannabis products is also not recommended for the same reason.

Make your own tea, juice or hash with fan leaves

Learning how to make weed tea with leaves is one of the more popular ways to reuse cannabis harvest left-overs. You can dry the leaves or use them freshly picked to make tea from. Some use the cannabis leaves as salad leaves, or even juice them, though the strong taste may not be to everyones liking.

Do marijuana leaves have THC? Yes they do. Often you can see trichomes (resin glands) on the fan leaves, though you may notice many more trichomes on the smaller sugar leaves in the buds. One common question from cannabis growers is ‘what to do with marijuana leaves after harvest?’. There are several fan leaf uses other than weed tea. Some learn how to make hash out of weed leaves. Others become expert in how to make weed butter with leaves.

The following links may be useful, including for those who want to know how to make weed butter with stems.

Related:
How to make cannabutter
Understanding and using cannabis leaves
What to do with already vaped weed

Blend sugar leaves in THC butter and other edibles

The uses for marijuana leaves and stems are numerous. Sugar leaves are some of the most useful. Sugar leaves are the smaller leaves that you find in your buds. They are often completely coated with a resinous layer of cannabis trichomes giving them a ‘sugary’ appearance. You can use sugar leaves to make THC butter (cannabutter) or hash (dry sift or ice hash). Or you can simply vape the sugar leaves.

Related:
Hashish. What is hash and how can you make it easily?
What are cannabis trichomes and how do they affect your smoke?

Turn cannabis roots into tea or topicals

Cannabis root tea is one of the more popular cannabis root uses. The roots are usually washed clean, dried and made into a tea. Some people dry and grind the roots to use as part of a skin/topical cream.

Amend used soils with nutrients for future plants

Even the old soil used to grow your cannabis seeds in can be reused. Many old-school growers will recycle their coco fibre or soil. Usually the soil will need amending with fresh minerals and nutrients. This is usually only recommended for experienced professionals that can lab test the soil and adjust it accordingly. Those new to cannabis seed growing are always recommended to start with fresh soil.
Organic growers will claim that organic soil is the most suitable for re-use, especially when used with slow release organic nutrients such as those from BioTabs.

Best yielding indoor and outdoor feminised seeds

Trying to use all parts of the cannabis plant is increasingly popular with those that grow their own cannabis seeds. If you do grow your own weed then you may want to focus your cultivation purely on the best yielding cannabis seeds. The following links and seed recommendations are essential reading for the yield conscious growers.

Related:
The top 5 best yielding indoor cannabis seeds
The best 5 yielding outdoor feminised cannabis seeds
The best 5 yielding autoflower seeds

Growing cannabis with the highest THC levels is the main focus for many home growers as well as commercial growers. If you share that approach, then the next links will be well worth reading. Whatever you grow next, see if you can use the whole of the cannabis plant from your harvest and enjoy the grow!

Useful ways to recycle your cannabis plant. Read on if you've ever wondered what to do with left over leaves, marijuana stalks, cannabis roots and stems