Weed stems are more fibrous than the buds of the plant, so they’ll burn hotter and produce a harsher smoke that can also give you a headache When smoking cannabis, people typically use either the flower, buds, or leaves. But what about the seeds and stems? Can these be smoked too? Although | Cannabis Sciences Want to make use of your weed stems? We've got three smokeless ways to help you do it.
Weed stems: here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do with them
They supported your buds all the way to harvest, but when it’s time to smoke, for most of us it’s no stems, no seeds, no exceptions. Stems don’t need to bring you down, though, and if you grow your own herb, here are some things you can do with the stems you don’t just throw in the compost.
Can you smoke weed stems?
Yes, you can smoke weed stems. You can also smoke pencil shavings, that doesn’t mean that you should.
Weed stems are more fibrous than the buds of the plant, so they’ll burn hotter and produce a harsher smoke that can also give you a headache. That wouldn’t matter too much if there was enough THC in the stems, but unlike the buds, there simply isn’t that much THC at all, meaning you’ll give yourself a harsh smoke for no good reason.
Can you eat weed stems?
Yes, you can eat weed stems, but it wouldn’t taste very good and it wouldn’t get you very high.
The stems contain very little THC, so you would need to chew a large amount (probably several grams) of weed stems, which could be a great source of fiber but not a great way to get high. Besides, you would also need to decarboxylate the stems first.
Yes, you can smoke weed stems. You can also smoke pencil shavings, that doesn’t mean that you should. (Shutterstock)
Can you get high off weed stems? How to extract THC from stems
Long before your friends and coworkers all had their favorite gummies brand, people across the world were using the flowers and leaves of cannabis to make hash. Be it Nepalese “temple ball hash,” black Indian “charas,” or sweet golden brown Moroccan hash, the same principles apply — use your hands and some basic tools to to remove the dry, THC-containing trichomes (also known as “kief”) from the flowers and leaves of the plants, and press it into hash.
But what if all you have are stems? While today’s cannabis flower very often contains more than 25% THC, with weed stems it’s been measured at just 0.03%.
This means you may need to get creative.
You can make “bubble hash” just like you would with cannabis flower or “sugar leaves” (the leaves that protrude from or surround the buds and have a healthy dusting of trichomes), though you may want to repeat the process one or two times to make sure you extract enough kief to make hash.
Traditional charas is made by rubbing live flowers and leaves between your hands and scraping off the resin. With stems, you can use the same method, though you will need much, much more plant material to get enough resin. This is a method that would work best for growers who may have a few ounces or more of stems just lying around.
Finally, you can pull the kief off the stems just like you would with flower or sugar leaves. Simply freeze the stems and then shake them repeatedly over a large, clean tray. Scoop up whatever kief falls off, and then scrape it together with a card.
Make tea with weed stems
Arguably the most surefire way to use stems is to make some tea. First, grind up a few grams (or around one tablespoon) of stems and then decarboxylate them in the oven. Take them out of the oven and put them in tea bags or a tied-up coffee filter and steep for about 7-10 minutes. You’ll want to add some honey or sweetener to mask the flavor.
Make edibles with weed stems
Weed stems can be used to make edibles if you first use them in a cannabutter recipe. Keep in mind though, it won’t be nearly as potent as cannabutter made with cannabis flower.
To make cannabutter with weed stems, melt about a cup of butter (225 grams) in a saucepan and add a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add around 20 grams (or whatever you have) of ground, decarboxylated weed stems and continue to simmer for about 3-4 hours, stirring frequently. Take it off the heat, let it cool, and then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate it until the butter hardens. If there is excess water that has separated from the butter in the container, feel free to toss it out.
With this new batch of cannnabutter you can whip up all types of cannabis edibles, just keep in mind it won’t be anywhere near as potent as butter made with cannabis flower.
Should You Smoke Cannabis Seeds and Stems?
When smoking cannabis, people typically use either the flower, buds, or leaves. But what about the cannabis seeds and stems? Can these be smoked too?
Although occasionally smoked after being ground into a powder, smoking seeds and stems is not a recommended practice. To begin with, both have either zero or very low quantities of THC and no CBD. Andrienne Santos-Longhurst from Healthline says that it therefore does not justify the negative effects of inhaling the substance as it burns.
Like when smoking other parts of the cannabis plants, stems and seeds produce toxins and carcinogens that damage the lungs and increase your risk for various diseases. As stems contain cellulose, they tend to burn at a hotter temperature. That makes the smoke they produce hotter and thus harsher than that from regular cannabis on the throat and lungs.
More than this, smoking stems are known to have side effects, including intense headaches, a sore throat, and a cough. Anecdotal reports also claim that the practice may cause gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and abdominal pain. Meanwhile, seeds tend to ‘snap, crackle and pop’ when ignited, making smoking an uncomfortable experience.
Although smoking cannabis stems and seeds may not be the best idea, there are other ways to ensure they do not go to waste. While many prefer to compost them, some choose to turn them into food. For example, after they have been baked for around 45 minutes, they can be ground to create both tea and butter.
Some choose to use them to make ‘marijuana liqueur.’ To do so, they place remaining stems inside a liqueur with an alcohol percentage of 40% or more, like vodka or whiskey, for around a week. During this time, any residues of THC should transfer into the liqueur. According to Royal Queen Seeds , replacing stems every week for a few months allows the drink to build up enough THC for a ‘cannabinoid’ effect.
3 ways to use your weed stems
Weed stems can be a gray area for the average cannabis smoker.
Can you smoke them? Should you smoke them?
If you find yourself wondering this very thing, you’re not alone. It’s a common question we get from people who are new to smoking cannabis. And since no question is a dumb question when it comes to having a great cannabis experience, let’s unpack all the details on weed stems.
What are weed stems?
Weed stems are the small, stick-like pieces that sometimes end up in the cannabis flower you buy from the dispensary. Depending on the quality of flower you bought, you may end up with a few or more stems in your haul. For example, shake bought from dispensaries tends to contain more stems than non-shake flower. Unlike the dense buds of the cannabis plant, weed stems contain very little to no THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis).
Can you smoke weed stems?
Although you may be tempted to, you should not smoke weed stems. Smoking stems from cannabis plants will not get you high due to their lack of THC. If you do decide to smoke stems, you’ll likely experience a few of the negative side effects that come with smoking, like coughing and sore throat, without the fun of a THC high.
In other words, it’s simply not worth it.
Alternative uses for weed stems
The good news is your stems don’t have to go to waste. Although you can’t smoke them, stems still have some surprisingly useful purposes in life. Here are a few of the most popular ways people are making good use out of their weed stems.
Did you know you can use discarded weed stems to help make a cannabis-infused butter? If you have a good amount of stems saved up, toss them in with the rest of your flower when you start the decarboxylation process. These stems won’t bring any potency to your final product, but they will add some cannabis-inspired umami. Butter containing cannabis is a good thing to have on hand because it is the foundation of most edible recipes.
2. Cannabis topicals
Much like the infused butter recipe, you can decarboxylate any leftover weed stems with 7-10 grams of dried cannabis. After this process has been completed, you can infuse the cannabis and stems with coconut oil. This creates the base for many cannabis topical recipes, like lip balms and lotions.
3. Cannabis tea
Another excellent way to make use of your stems is by making a cannabis-infused tea. Cannatea is a good choice for when you only have a small number of stems you want to use.
For example, our cannabis-infused tea recipe only requires 2 teaspoons of weed stems and is ready to drink in about ten minutes. This recipe is flexible and allows you to customize with different tea flavors until you find your ideal combination.
Start saving your weed stems
As you can see, the life of a weed stem can go above and beyond the time it spends in your grinder. If you want to get better about keeping your stems (given your new knowledge of their magic), we recommend that you keep a jar to collect your weed stems over time. That way, you’ll always have a fresh stash ready when you want to tackle any of these projects.
What do you think about cannabis stems?
Have you done anything special with your leftover weed stems? Are they more useful than we originally thought? We want to hear about it! Join the conversation on Twitter, or leave us a comment below.