Seeds And Stems Of Weed

Let's take a look at stems, these often-neglected bits of the cannabis plant, and their potential uses. To know more about the different parts of the cannabis plant will facilitate cultivation and help us achieve better results. In this post we explain t Ever wonder why your prerolls spark sometimes? Or when you light your bowl, once in a while the weed will crackle? Today we explore the most common reasons why your weed is talking to you like it's RIce Krispes.

Weed Stems 101

You’ve used up all your current stash of cannabis flower, and now you’re looking at what’s left — a collection of stems. Before you simply toss out those stems, however, you can’t help wondering whether you can get some value out of that debris, either from any THC lurking within it or through some other application. Let’s take a look at these often-neglected bits of the cannabis plant and their potential uses.

What Are Weed Stems?

Like so many varieties of flora, the cannabis plant consists of multiple parts. However, only the female plants produce the THC-rich buds and flowers that cannabis users actually smoke. Other parts of the plant include trichomes (hair-like appendages that contain aromatic terpenes) and the strong, fibrous stems that support the plant. Both stems and seeds are traditionally thought of as throw-away components that don’t create a high or provide useful medical benefits.

Why Shouldn’t You Smoke Weed Stems?

You might feel tempted to smoke your weed stems, but you really shouldn’t. For starters, weed stems contain so little THC that you can’t derive any noticeable benefits from smoking them as you would flowers. To make the prospect even less appealing, smoked stems taste and smell acrid, like burnt wood chips. Smoking them can cause coughing jags, a sore throat, and pounding headaches. It’s little wonder, then, why experienced marijuana users have grown accustomed to tossing these parts of the plant out with the garbage.

What Use Can You Get From Weed Stems?

Just because you can’t get any benefit from smoking weed stems, that doesn’t mean these plant pieces hold no value at all. Many people happen to enjoy the flavor and aroma of cannabis, no matter what part of the plant it comes from. If you’re one of those individuals, you can always brew your stems into a tea along with your favorite kinds of tea leaves.

You can use stems to make your own cannabis-infused butter. Simply bake and grind the stems and then combine them with melted butter, straining this mixture and letting it cool. You can also infuse alcoholic beverages with stems, season your favorite dishes with them, or even mix them with alcohol and let the liquid evaporate in a pan until you can scrape away the residual hash.

Of course, the whole question of what to do with weed stems is academic if you don’t have the necessary weed. If you’re looking for high-quality medical marijuana and you hold an Arizona medical marijuana card, explore our wide selection at All Greens Dispensary and place an order with us today!

Anatomy of the Cannabis plant

When it comes to cannabis, the part of the plant that gets all the attention is naturally the bit we’re all growing for: the flowers. But while it’s easy to be enamoured with the beautiful frosty flowers we shouldn’t overlook the rest, because behind the bud there’s a whole plant, with all its component parts, each playing an essential role in bringing us our precious harvest.

Here at Alchimiaweb we strongly believe that the more we know about our favourite plants, the more success we’ll have cultivating them, and the happier we’ll be with the results! For these reasons here we’re going to take a closer look at the cannabis plant and identify all the different elements of its anatomy to help you get to know this wonderful plant a little bit better.

1, male flower, enlarged detail; 2, pollen sac; 3, pollen sac; 4, pollen grain; 5, female flower with bract; 5, female flower, bract removed; 6, female seed cluster, longitudinal section; 7, seed with bract; 8, seed without bract; 9, seed without bract; 10, seed cross section; 11, seed longitudinal section; 12, seed without hull (Franz Eugen Köhler 1887)

The Cannabis seed

For most of us, our introduction to cultivation comes when we buy or are gifted some cannabis seeds for the first time, so let’s set out on our examination of cannabis anatomy starting with the seed.

A healthy, mature cannabis seed will be well-rounded in shape with one pointed end and one flat end. They have a tough outer casing that is rigid to the touch, preventing the seed from being easily crushed. A seam separates the two halves of the shell (also known as the hull or pericarp) and is where the seed opens during germination.

Depending on their genetics, seeds can vary greatly in size, from really tiny (800 seeds per gram) to absolutely massive (15 seeds per gram). In mature seeds the outer shell should be covered with attractive dark markings known as “tiger stripes” which, like snowflakes, are unique to each seed and are in reality a thin layer of cells coating the seed and can be rubbed off easily, revealing the true tan/beige colour of the seed beneath.

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Detailed view of a cannabis seed

Inside the seed we will find the embryo of the plant, everything needed to start a new life, dormant until the right conditions of moisture and warmth are met. We have the root, or radicle as it’s known while still in the seed, the cotyledons, those first, fat, rounded embryonic leaves containing the seed’s food reserves for early development. Cannabis is a “dicot” plant, meaning it has two cotyledons. Situated in between the cotyledons, surrounded by the first two true leaves is the apical tip, the point from which the plant will continue growing once germinated.

Roots

When we germinate a cannabis seed, the first thing that emerges from the opened seed will be the tap root which will begin to grow downwards, seeking out moisture and nutrition and colonising the substrate. The root system has three main purposes, not only does it anchor the plant in the substrate, it provides it with water and the nutrients, and it also acts as storage for sugars and starches produced by photosynthesis. It’s hard to overstate the importance of the roots in cannabis cultivation, they really are the foundation upon which everything else is built, without healthy roots we won’t harvest beautiful flowers!

Roots themselves can be classified into three types. Firstly the tap root, which is the principal component of the root system, the subterranean counterpart to the plant’s main stem, pushing vertically downwards and shooting off branches as it grows. These branches are the second type, the fibrous roots, which branch off from the tap root, extending outwards to form an underground network approximately the same size as the aerial part of the plant. A third type of roots are known as adventitious roots, these are the thick roots that sometimes sprout from the stem just above ground. These are the roots that make it possible to reproduce plants by taking cuttings and cloning them.

Adventitious root growing from the stem of a clone

Cannabis plants grown from seed will start life with a tap root system that develops into a fibrous root system, while clones don’t have a tap root, starting instead with adventitious roots before developing a fibrous root system. In all cases, a root system needs an adequate balance of moisture and air to be healthy and if care and conditions are right we will be able to see thick, bright white roots with plenty of fine hairs when we transplant.

The root crown

The part of the plant where the roots and stem join is called the root crown, or sometimes collar, or neck. This is a vital part of the plant, the dividing line between upward and downward growth, where the vascular system switches from roots to stem, and one of the places in the plant where most cell division takes place.

The root crown is naturally situated very close to the surface, where aeration is at its most, however some growers will transplant with the crown buried well below the surface, which encourages adventitious roots to sprout from the buried section of stem. It’s good way to deal with those leggy seedlings that stretched to get to the light and ended up too tall.

Stem and nodes

The stem of the cannabis plant is the part responsible for keeping the plant upright and for supporting the weight of the plant. It contains the vascular system which works to carry moisture and nutrients from the roots to the leaves via xylem cells, and to transport the sugars and starches produced via photosynthesis around the plant for use or storage via the phloem cells. Phloem is otherwise known as bast, the part of the cannabis or hemp plant that is traditionally harvested for fibre to make rope, canvas etc.

Cross section of stem showing a node

The stem, which can sometimes be hollow, is divided by nodes where the lateral branches begin, with the space between them being known as the internode. Seedlings will begin by growing opposite pairs of nodes and leaves but as time passes the nodes will start to grow alternately, sign the plant is mature and ready to flower.

Taller, stretchier Sativa plants will have a larger internode spacing than squat, compact Indica varieties, although environmental factors can also influence internode space. The nodes are where the first flowers appear (pre-flowers), so it’s the first place growers look when trying to determine the sex of plants grown from regular seeds. The small, narrow spear-like leaf growing at each node is called the stipule, and shouldn’t be confused with pre-flowers.

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Nodes are one of the parts of the cannabis plant where most growth happens and most hormones are produced, for this reason we always cut clones with at least one node to be planted below ground in the substrate, so it can produce auxins (rooting hormones) to begin root development in the undifferentiated meristem cells of the node.

Leaves and petioles

Cannabis leaves are palmately compound (shaped like the open hand, with multiple parts), with anything from 3 to 13 veined, serrated leaflets or fingers. Indica varieties will generally have wider and shorter leaflets of a lush dark green colour, but fewer in number, while Sativas will have longer, narrower leaflets and can be of a lighter green shade. Of course, cannabis is a hugely diverse genus and there are exceptions to this rule, most notably the Ducksfoot variety, with its webbed leaves. Autoflowering varieties will tend to have smaller leaves, with the shape depending on the individual genetics, but as a general rule leaning more to the Indica side.

Leaf and structure comparison of the different cannabis species

A cannabis plant will have large and small fan-type leaves, which we remove and dispose of at harvest time, and also sugar leaves, which are the small, resin-covered leaves that protrude from the bud. These will either be trimmed away and kept aside for resin extraction, or simply left on the bud and smoked with the flowers.

Leaves from two different hybrids

As a seedling grows, each set of leaves has an increasing, odd number of leaflets, so the first set of leaves above the cotyledons will almost always have a single leaflet, the second pair will have three, the third will have five and the fourth will have seven leaflets, and so on until the plant reaches the usual number as dictated by its genetics.

The leaflets join at the point known as the rachis, from where they attach to the stem or branch by a leaf-stem known as the petiole. Petioles can be of varying length depending on the variety and can naturally vary in colour from green to dark purple, although in normally green plants a purple petiole can often be a sign of a phosphorous deficiency.

The fan leaves function both as solar panels and air conditioning for the plants, with the darker green upper side of the leaf producing energy via photosynthesis and the underside regulating internal processes via stomata, tiny pores that absorb the CO2 needed for photosynthesis and at the same time release water and oxygen. The stomata will close at night to conserve moisture and during the day will respond to heat and humidity levels, opening and closing to constantly balance internal moisture levels with external environmental conditions and keep metabolic functions working.

Flowers

Cannabis is dioecious, meaning the male and female reproductive organs are on different plants. Unless we’re planning on doing some home breeding and making seeds, we won’t be growing any male plants to full maturity, but it’s important to be able to identify them, even if we’re growing exclusively from feminised seeds, just in case.

Female pre-flowers on the left, male flower cluster on the right

The male, staminate flowers effectively resemble green balls on sticks, composed of five petals which open to reveal five pollen-producing stamens. They grow in long, loose bud clusters from internodes on the branch and once pollen is released the male plants will soon die off. Male flowers contain low levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Female pistillate flowers are formed of tight clusters of bracts, the small, teardrop-shaped green petals that we growers refer to as calyxes. Each bract or calyx contains the ovary and the pistillate hair or stigma, which is what growers call the pistil and is the part of the flower that catches airborne pollen. Once pollen lands on the stigma, it is transported down the pollen tube to the ovary where fecundation takes place and the seed is formed, filling and swelling the bract as it grows. The thick, white pistil or hair will shrivel and turn a brown or red colour one it has served its purpose. The seeds are usually mature after a further 4-6 weeks time.

Both cannabis flowers and leaves develop beautiful colours

After pollination, female plants will devote their energies towards seed production, at the expense of resin. This means that seeded buds will have lower levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, and is one of the main reasons we strive so hard to grow sinsemilla (seedless) flowers, quite apart from the awful taste of smoking a seed in a joint!

Trichomes

Trichomes clustered on a bud

Botanists are still unsure as to exactly why cannabis plants produce such a large quantity of trichomes, but most agree that they most likely have the function of protecting the flowers and developing seeds, whether from harsh UV light, insects, grazing animals or extremes of temperature.

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Trichomes have two different basic types: Glandular and non-glandular, with the principal difference being that non-glandular trichomes grow without a trichome head or gland, having the appearance of small hairs and mainly developing on stems, leaves, petioles and to a lesser extent on the flowers themselves, while glandular trichomes are found mainly on the flowers and sugar leaves, and possess the resinous gland where the cannabinoids and terpenes are secreted.

Glandular trichomes under the microscope

Glandular trichomes are themselves divided into three main kinds, which are: bulbous, the smallest and least numerous; capitate-sessile, which are larger and grow low, close to the leaf surface; and finally capitate-stalked, which are the largest, most numerous trichomes, found in highest concentration on the flowers and those with the greatest cannabinoid content, appearing somewhat like a tall mushroom, with a long stem and a large, rounded head – the iconic image of a trichome.

As the flowers mature, the trichomes will change colour, starting out transparent, passing through a milky-white stage nearing maturity and going on to become amber coloured when fully mature. Different growers will harvest their flowers depending on personal taste and the effect they’re looking for, but on our blog you can read a useful guide to harvesting according to trichome ripeness, which will help you to bring your crop down at the optimum moment.

Hopefully after reading this you’re now a bit more familiar with the anatomy of the cannabis plant and will become a better grower as a result. Knowledge is power!

The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.

Why Does My Weed Crackle? | Reasons Why Your Hemp or Weed Sparks

You’re here because you lit up your joint or bong, and your weed sparked up, making your smoke crackle like Rice Krispies cereal. If you’ve never experienced this before, you might find it surprising and a bit off-putting. There are a few reasons why this might happen. Let’s jump right in.

Dried Bud

This may seem like the most obvious reason. If you left your weed out for too long, or if wasn’t handled properly before it got to you, then it may have just gotten too dry. When your hemp or marijuana is crackling, it’s similar to what happens when you light tinder to start a fire.

Seeds

Another common reason that your buds might be snapping and popping at you is that your weed has some seeds in it.

Seeds will occur in cannabis plants when pollination occurs. It usually means one of two things: that the female cannabis plant came into contact with pollen from a male plant, or that the seeds are from a case of hermaphroditism. We don’t want to get too scientific here, so we’re going to leave it for the botanists to explain.

Long story short, seeds will pretty much always snap, crackle, and pop. It’s not a good thing.

Stems

Similar to seeds, stems are not meant to be smoked. They’ll be harsh and will crackle as well, especially if they’e on the dry side. In prerolls, often times you’ll see sparks because the manufacturer didn’t properly de-stem and sift their flower or trim. If you’re experiencing this in a hemp or marijuana cigarette, then that’s a telltale sign of a poor quality product.

Flushing

Often times when you’re smoking on crackly weed, you’ll find one of the previously mentioned points as the culprit. But if you’ve already eliminated those, then improper cultivation is probably the reason.

During the cannabis cultivation process, plants must undergo a phase where they stop receiving nutrients, and only take in water. This phase is called flushing, which allows the plant to absorb nutrients that have already built up within them, and preventing an overload of nutrient contamination in your buds.

Proper flushing technique and timing can dramatically improve the overall quality of the final product. Specifically, flushing will create a better tasting and smoother smoke. Alternatively, if the flushing process is not doing properly or at the correct timing, you may end up with crackly, harsh weed.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this helps you understand more why some hemp or cannabis will burn smoother than others. Remember, not all hemp/cannabis is made equal. Good product manufacturers will make sure that quality plant material goes into their products, and will also store them properly once they’ve completed their production. If your prerolls or flower is crackling out of the package, then you’ll probably want to switch brands.