Once the resinous marijuana is used, what happens to the stems? Throw them out or put them to good use?
You may think that cannabis stems and stalks are useless, but think again! There’s resin on those sticks, so why not make use of it? Most people throw away their cannabis stems and stalks all the time, believing them to be worthless – but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you have a little forethought, and a collection jar, within a few short weeks you’ll have enough leftover cannabis stalk to be of use.
The cannabis plant is incredibly versatile and instead of just tossing them to the side, you should know that there are many creative ways to put those stems to good use.
Start Your Weed Stem Collection
If you buy from a dispensary, your weed shouldn’t come with that many sticks, stems, and seeds. If you do discover one in your professionally produced bud, you’ll likely start questioning the quality. Dispensary weed should rarely come with stems, and when it does, they’ll be small and perhaps not worthwhile to save.
If you purchase cannabis on the black market, or from a home-grown source, stems are much more commonplace. You’ll likely get a couple in every batch. Keep a glass mason jar handy, and start a small collection. Seal the jar tightly every time you open it to avoid mold and mildew.
If you grow for yourself, you have all the stems you could ever want. You might even be overflowing with sticks and seeds. You’ll have enough stems from one plant to get creative with any of the ideas below – no long-term collection needed. You’ll also have access to enough cannabis-by-product that it’ll make economic sense to use them in some productive way.
If you’re on a tight budget, it may be worth recovering whatever you can from your stalks – so here are a few ways to do it. Some of these ideas are a bit more outrageous than the others, but if you’re looking to get creative – we want to hear from you in the comments below.
DECARBOXYLIZING FOR ADDED STRENGTH
To get the most from your stems turning up the volume of your THC is the number one priority. The decarboxylation process is just as crucial for the stems, as it is for the buds. If you intend of using the stems for their cannabinoid content, you’ll first need to decarb them. Decarbing is the process of exposing cannabis (or other organic material) to heat and time, to transform some chemical compounds into others. In marijuana, the decarbing process converts THCA and CBDA, into their better-known sister cannabinoids THC and CBD. Although stems have significantly lower levels of cannabinoids, you’ll still want to decarb them before use. To decarboxylize, evenly spread your stems on an oven tray and place in the oven at 110 C for 60 minutes or 100 C for a fan forced oven. Once decarboxylized your stems are ready to go.
Stem TEA & CHAI
To make any kind of tincture you will need a healthy handful of stems that have not been rubbed for hash. Put 450 ml of water or milk in a small saucepan. Chop and add your stems and slowly bring to a gentle, but not bubbling boil, stirring continuously. This should be done for seven or eight minutes as the fluid needs to reduce. Strain out your stems and return to the pot and gentle flame.
Plain cannabis tea can taste a bit rough so you might consider adding herbs and sweeteners to your beverage. For tea, mints, lemon and honey or any flavoured teabag and sugar masks the taste. For chai adding cardamon pods, pepper and honey for that traditional zing is a tasty and mildly stoning and tingly delight.
Yes, that’s right. If you have a ton of stems you can make cannabutter for all of your baking needs. To do this you need to make sure you have a ratio of 4 grams of butter to 4 grams of stems. First, simply melt the butter in a pan over low heat and sprinkle in the stems. Let it simmer on low heat for about 15-30 minutes and boom. You’re all set.
Make Your Own Stem Topicals
Marijuana topicals are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their amazing therapeutic potential. With a few stems and basic supplies, you can make your own at home. Just use a basic marijuana topical recipe then add your choice of skin-friendly vitamins and essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender, for example, are excellent pain relievers, too.
Keep your stem stash in the freezer. Chop or break your stems into small bits and store in a heavy plastic bag. Every time you add to your collection give it a good shake. Well frozen resin crystals easily break off surfaces when they are fully frozen. You will watch with patient excitement as a subtle layer of liberated kief accumulates in the bottom of the bag.
Whether you are interested in tinctures for sublingual oral delivery of medical marijuana, or more for recreational purposes, cannabis infusions are a perfect way to reuse stems. Keep in mind, unlike other tinctures made from bud; you won’t know the strength of your concoction until you test it. Go slow with any new batch of weed stem tincture to make sure the potency is one you can handle.
Place all weed stems, roughly chopped, into a liter of high percentage alcohol like Everclear. The more stems and shake, theoretically the more potent the tincture.
Re-seal bottle, and place in a cool, dark, place for at least a month.
Every few days, gently shake the mixture to allow the alcohol to absorb all valuable cannabinoids.
Strain the mixture, and place the tincture into a dark glass bottle.
Test carefully, to understand the strength of dose.
Blending recycled newspaper or office paper with cannabis stems makes a coarse, but interesting paper useful for making a number of items. The most challenging part to making paper is first making a deckle. 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.
In a blender combine equal amounts of stems and recycled paper. Add enough water for the mixture to move and blend freely. When the mix is a slurry with minimal bits left unpulverized pour out evenly onto the deckle. Gently shake and vibrate until the pulp is evenly spread. You will need a squeegee to get things even if you are going big. Leave to drain and dry. After 24 hrs, gently peel your paper away and hang to dry thoroughly. Trim to your needs.
Extract Bubble Hash
Bubble hash is a solvent-less hash that is made by washing the resin off of marijuana plants with ice cold water. The resin is filtered through special bags resulting in a pure, potent hash that can be smoked, vaporized or otherwise consumed. Bubble hash can be made using buds, shake or (you guessed it) stems.
Chances are, if you smoke marijuana, you have a stash of stems somewhere in your home. Rather than toss them, use one of these creative ideas to turn your stems into something spectacular.
Save Yourself All the Effort and Just Smoke Them
Notably, most of the options on this list take a little forethought. You not only need to collect weed stems for weeks, or months, in advance, you also need the energy to process them. What if you have no time to get creative, and no desire to carefully process the valuable stems?
The easy answer to this problem is to smoke your stems. Will it change the quality of your smoke? Will it taste a bit different? Will it make the toke harsher? Probably, but if you grind the stems fine enough, you may not even notice. Mix in finely ground stems into your finely ground cannabis flower; you’ll likely never see a difference. The best part? No part of your plant goes to waste.