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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 Make Weed Stem Tea: 6 Easy Steps

The effortless way to put those stems to good use.

by Macey W. – November 15, 2019

When you’ve used up your stash and have a pile of stems left, you may be tempted to smoke them up as a last resort. Don’t do that. There are other ways to use these pesky stems that won’t result in a massive headache and disappointment like smoking them would. Learning how to make weed stem tea is your best bet and requires little effort.

If you’ve made other weed tea, you have a general idea of what you’re getting into. Weed stem tea will probably be much less potent than regular cannabis tea because the stems do not have high concentrations of THC.

Ingredients for Weed Stem Tea

  • Weed stems (at least ¼ cup of them, but feel free to double or triple the amount)
  • 2 cups of water for one serving, double with each person you’ll be serving
  • Coffee filter, cheesecloth, paper towel, or another similar filter
  • Alcohol, butter, milk, or coconut oil for binding (just pick one for flavor’s sake)
  • Saucepan for boiling water
  • Additional tea bag, sugar, or other flavors (optional)

How to Cook Your Tea

1. Gather Your Stems

You can decide if you want to grind your stems beforehand, but it’s not necessary to do and may end up making the straining process more complicated.

So either grind up your stems or gather what you have and move on to the next step.

2. Boil Water

Fill your saucepan with water and bring to a boil. If you’re using milk, butter, or oil, add it to the saucepan before bringing to a boil.

If you’re using alcohol as a binding agent, do not add it to the water yet. It will boil out.

3. Add Stems to the Boiling Water

Add your stems to the boiling water and give it a good stir. Continue stirring frequently for the next 10-15 minutes.

4. Remove From Heat

Once you’ve stirred the stems in boiling water for a good 10-15 minutes, you can take the saucepan off the heat and allow it to start cooling.

If you didn’t add a source of fat to the boiling water, now is the time to add alcohol. Three tablespoons should do the trick. You can use vodka, rum, or whatever alcohol you have on hand that might make a good pairing.

5. Strain the Contents of the Saucepan

Secure your cheesecloth, paper towel, or coffee filter over a cup or pot to pour the contents into. Slowly pour your mixture over the filter, straining the weed stems out.

6. Enjoy

I’m telling you to enjoy but deep down I know weed stem tea is not very tasty. This is a great time to add in additional tea bags to steep, honey, sugar, or other ingredients to make the tea more appetizing. Otherwise, you can drink it plain and really soak up the earthy flavor.

Does Weed Stem Tea Get You High?

In theory, yes. The verdict is out on just how much THC stems actually have. We know researchers have found small CBD and THC contents in hemp stems. This is notable because hemp typically has lower THC than other varieties of cannabis.

Scour the internet for a bit and you’ll find several people who claim to have had success making stem tea. You’ll also find people disappointed that nothing happened when they drank theirs.

Regardless, stems do have small amounts of THC. Efforts to make a stem tea will not be in vain, even if the result is just a more relaxing than usual evening in.

The Tea Will Not Get You High Without a Binding Agent

There are factors to keep in mind for stem tea potency. If some trichomes were still hanging around on the stems when the tea was made, it will have a higher THC content. The plant’s overall potency and THC content will factor in as well.

If you’re not using a binding agent, you can be certain your stem tea will not have any effects. Binding agents are crucial. THC is not water-soluble and needs something to bind to in order to activate.

Weed stem tea can be prepared using alcohol as a binding agent, or with any source of fat like milk, butter, or coconut oil.

Final Thoughts for Weed Stem Tea

Nobody seems to get excited about weed stems, for good reason. They take up extra weight when purchasing without being useful for smoking. This leads a lot of people to throw out their weed stems as soon as they come across them, writing them off as completely useless. But they don’t have to be.

THC content in weed stems varies, but the biggest factor in the tea’s effectiveness is the proper use of a binding agent.

Weed stem tea may serve as a good experiment for the stoner who ends up with lots of discarded stems. Some find fats like milk or butter work best to bind, while others swear by the use of alcohol. If your weed stem tea fails, try again using a different binding agent and see if there’s a difference.

It’s not the most ideal way to get high, but it can be a good alternative to smoking. Most of all, making weed stem tea is a wonderful way to benefit from all parts of the cannabis plant, especially when you’ve already paid for it.

Do you have a bunch of weed stems left over? Don't smoke them. Learn how to make weed stem tea. It's as easy as you think.