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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.

How To Reuse Cannabis Stems

Published : Jul 5, 2019

Wondering what to do with those seemingly useless cannabis stems? They contain valuable resin, and can actually be used to make everything from hash to paper.

Once you’ve harvested your plants and trimmed your flowers, you may be wondering what to do with all of the stems that have been left behind. Sure, you could throw them onto the compost pile to return the nutrients to your garden, but they have so many other uses that they’re worth holding on to. Every part of the cannabis plant has a use, which is precisely why it’s been an industrial crop for so long. At first glance, stems might seem like a bit of a waste product, but wait until you see what you can do with them. Stems contain small amounts of resin, and therefore, THC. Check out the ideas below for some inspiration.

USE YOUR STEMS TO MAKE SOME TEA

After a hard few hours of harvesting and trimming, one of the best things you can do to relax is treat yourself to a fresh cup of tea. Before doing this, you’ll need to decarboxylate your stems just like you would when making edibles or extracts with bud. This process converts non-psychotropic THCA into active THC via heat. To do this, preheat the oven to 110°C and scatter your stems over a baking tray. Place them in the oven for 1 hour.

Your once dormant stems are now active, and it’s time to make some tea. Slice your stems into small pieces and add them to a saucepan with some water and full-fat milk. THC is lipophilic, meaning it likes to bind to fat. Bring the mixture to a light boil for 10 minutes, then strain it through a sieve. Add honey, stevia, or sugar to taste.

MAKE SOME CANNABUTTER

Cannabutter is a classic extract that is a staple for almost all edibles. There’s enough resin in weed stems to make a batch that can be used to bake cookies, brownies, and cakes that offer a psychoactive punch. To begin, decarb your stems using the method mentioned above. To make cannabutter using stems, you’ll need 1 part butter to 1 part stems in weight. When you have your ingredients prepared, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and then drop in the stems. Let the mix simmer for up to 30 minutes. Strain the cannabinoid-infused butter and place it in the fridge to set.

MAKE SOME BUBBLE HASH

Bubble hash is an extract that uses water to wash off resin from buds, but it’s just as effective when using stems. This extract provides a smooth and often euphoric high, and is a far better use for stems than throwing them away. The easiest way to make bubble hash is to use a specialised hand washing machine, although you can simply use a spoon or spatula to mix if you don’t have one of these. You’ll also need around 3kg of ice.

If you’re using a machine, layer it with an open micron bag and add one third of the ice. Place the stems on top of the ice, then add another one third of the ice on top and close the bag. Place the remaining one third of ice around the bag and close the machine.

Fill the machine with water up to the water mark, and begin a 12-minute cycle. Once complete, let the bag rest for another 10 minutes. Now, grab a bucket and strain the water through 3 micron bags (or specialised bubble bags), layering the largest micron size on top and the smallest on the bottom. Scrape up the collected bubble hash from each layer. Crush the hash up using a spoon and let it air-dry. Once dry, use a hash press to form your bubble hash into the shape of a coin for an end product that is pleasing to the eye.

OR MAKE SOME STEM HASH OIL INSTEAD

Stem hash is a neat little extract to add to joints and blunts for an added kick. Begin by decarbing the stems and grinding them up into a fine powder. Add the powder to a glass jar along with enough 99% isopropyl alcohol to cover it. Attach the lid and shake well for 2 minutes; strain right away. Pour the liquid into a glass bowl and place in a well ventilated space to allow the alcohol to evaporate.

MAKE YOUR OWN SKIN PRODUCTS

Depending on the strain used, the resin from the stems will contain small amounts of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. These molecules can be infused into oils and applied to the skin to activate the endocannabinoid system, which plays a major role in various skin processes. Simply heat your stem in an oil of your choice (coconut oil works well) and then strain. You can really get creative here by adding other herbs to the mix to tailor the scent and skin-nourishing properties to your preferences.

CRAFT SOME STEM BOOZE

Stems can be used to add a small amount of cannabinoids and some intriguing colours to your booze stash. Add stems to a bottle of vodka, whiskey, or anything that contains over 40% alcohol. Let this sit for a few weeks and you’ll have a resin-infused bottle with an impressive green colour to enjoy with friends.

MAKE YOUR OWN PAPER TO RELIVE HISTORY

Hemp has been used as an industrial crop for centuries, including in the creation of paper products. This act can be recreated at home using stems. Blend them up with equal parts recycled newspaper or office paper, and add enough water to allow the contents to mix well. When the stems and paper have become a smooth pulp, pour the mix out evenly onto a deckle. To make a deckle, stretch out some tights over a mesh screen that is raised above the ground. Let your paper drain and dry out on the deckle for at least a day before hanging it up to dry fully.

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Cannabis stems might seem like a waste product, but in reality they have many uses. Click here for 7 great ways to reuse your cannabis stems. ]]>