It’s harvest time, you’ve plucked your precious buds from those beautiful plants you spent the last few months growing. Next, you’re going to be drying & curing some of the best nugs you’ve ever grown, let alone smoked. All that hard work, time and resources have been poured into these wonderful plants, but now that you’ve harvested the bud you might be asking yourself: What should I do with the weed leaves?
For many growers, all of the plant material below the buds is simply wastage – tossed into the compost, a disposal bin or the incineration pile. You don’t have to make use of simple weed leaves, but there are a lot of benefits to repurposing leftover plant material such as weed leaves, stems, trim, and even roots.
If you’re keen on reducing your carbon footprint, or you’re an innovative DIY-type that enjoys getting the most out of everything they make/do, then learning what to do with leftover leaves and stems & what to do with shake and trim is a great idea. By repurposing weed leaves, stems and other plant material you can learn how to make strong edibles from trim, marijuana leaf butter, cannabis nutritional shakes or juices and much more.
Let’s decide what to do with our marijuana leaves after harvesting the cannabis flowers. Time to be creative while upholding our promises to be sustainable for a greener world.
WHAT’S IN A SIMPLE WEED LEAF?
Beyond their critical functions as the respiratory, energy processing and immune-response systems for cannabis plants, weed leaves can contain a lot of nutrients and even some phytocompounds that we humans can benefit from.
Cannabinoids are primarily resident in the buds themselves, but trace amounts can be found in the leaves, stems or trimmings throughout the plant fibers. These trace amounts of THC, CBD CBG and others are typically so miniscule that they’re almost not worth mentioning, but nonetheless they are there. These very low concentrations of highly sought after phytocompounds might not get you high but they can provide ancillary benefits to your health & wellbeing.
There is a catch to this concept of weed leaves having lower cannabinoid contents, however. Those leaves that are closest to the kolas themselves, otherwise known as “sugar leaves”, can include higher than average weed-leaf-cannabinoid values. Simply due to their proximity to the trichome-laden flowers, these sugar leaves can have a moderate amount of cannabinoids and terpenes residuals on their surfaces and within their plant fibers. For these reasons, sugar weed leaves are most commonly used in marijuana leaf butter or for any weed leaf edible. We’ll talk about sugar leaves a bit more when we discuss how to make strong edibles with trim.
In addition to some cannabinoids contents, marijuana leaves and stems are typically full of a number of nutrients that can benefit humans, animals and even other plants. Raw cannabis leaves and stems can be consumed like a greens superfood. This leftover plant material is full of vitamins & minerals that are simply going to waste in many cases. Juicing cannabis leaves, mixing cannabis leftovers into smoothies, utilizing weed leaves in salads or cuisine, and making simple weed leaf tea are just a handful of the creative ways you can get the most out of your plants.
Combining the earlier concept of trace amounts of cannabinoids with the nutritional value of weed leaves, cannabis leftovers can also be rendered into incredibly beneficial topical creams, lotions, oils or made into medicinal teas, edibles and capsules. These kinds of products that are derived from marijuana leaves are an excellent starting point for anyone who has a very low tolerance for THC, or someone who is leery about consuming cannabinoids at all.
Cannabis topical extracts can be obtained by rendering cannabis leaves into oils or creams which can be combined with other beneficial ingredients to create a healthy lotion, cream, gel or salve. Weed leaf tea is an excellent way to make use of leftover plant material as it can be dried and stored for long-term use. If consuming fresh cannabis plants is more your thing, cannabis juices can also have a lot of remedial applications for pain, inflammation, nausea and sleep disorders.
Deciding what to do with marijuana leaves should be an easy thought process: should you make use of the easy-to-absorb, raw/acidic forms of THCA, CBDA, CBGA? Are anti-inflammatory compounds like canniprene of interest to you? How about the high amounts of vitamins K & C, iron or calcium found in every simple weed leaf? The question isn’t necessarily “SHOULD you repurpose cannabis leaves?”, the obvious truth is instead “HOW can you start benefiting from marijuana leaves?”.
BEST WAYS TO USE THE ENTIRE CANNABIS PLANT
There’s really no limit to the kinds of creative uses you can come up with for your marijuana leaves. Some people make hats or clothing out the strong plant fibers of stems, while others roll big fat cannagars with weed leaves as the casing. As is usually the case with cannabis, your imagination is the only thing limiting how this plant can be incorporated into your life.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular things to do with marijuana leaves, stems, and leftover plant material. Without further ado, here’s the top ways to repurpose your weed leaves!
What To Do With Leftover Leaves & Stems?
Simply put, cannabis greens can make any salad or leafy garnish a lot more exciting, not to mention a lot more nutritious. Wash the leaves very thoroughly and even marinate or sautee them a bit to soften up, if need be. Marijuana leaves aren’t the tastiest thing on the planet, so season or flavor as needed to suit your preferences.
Juicing weed leaves and stems is sure to boost your immunity, reduce fatigue and help you to feel energized and focused throughout the day. Fair warning: cannabis juices taste like bong water, so be sure to mix with lots of fruit or healthy sweeteners to make this nutritious nectar more palatable.
A little green ganja garnish on your penne? Some freshly grated pot to top off your linguini? Whether you add a dash of cannabis or cook the leaves & stems into the dish itself, marijuana leftover plant materials make for the perfect final touch to any chef’s creation.
If you’re fond of spinach on your pizza then why not consider switching to some marijuana leaves? Great for decorating your next pie, marijuana leaves and/or ground up stems provide a boost of nutrition to the convenient deliciousness of pizza.
You can juice the leaves & stems and add to a blender or just throw the plant leftovers in raw for some extra fiber. Smoothies are the best way to “hide health” inside a nutritious snack for those picky eaters – not to mention they’re 100% customizable so canna-shakes really suit any person’s dietary needs.
Beyond the obvious food choices, weed leaves also make for excellent papers or cannagar wraps. Their strong fibers rarely lead to breakages even when in a semi-dried state, and because of their residual cannabinoids they can enhance the puff-puff-pass experience.
Marijuana leaves and stems are used in textiles by a lot of folks, but for those of us who rarely dabble in making our own clothing or jewelry this can be a fun experiment after all those long hours of growing. Weed leaf bracelets, necklaces, hats, even shoelaces can be fairly easy to fashion out of marijuana plant leftovers. You think you’re a true stoner? If you’re willing to turn your own plants into part of your wardrobe on top of smoking your own supply, count yourself amongst the weed elite.
What To Do With Shake & Trim?
Weed leaves, shake and sugar leaf trim are easy to grind up, soak, or extract into absorbable forms for topical use. The potency values for THC/CBD/etc might not compare with those of cannabis flowers, but there are still a lot of health benefits to be derived from marijuana leaves & leftovers. If you need a more potent topical derived from plant materials, use sugar leaves as much as possible as the trichomes they’re coated in will yield stronger effects.
We’re not sure “concentrate” is the best word to use for any extracted forms from leaves or stems, but shake and trim certainly can combine to produce some decent cannabinoid/terpene contents.
Weed leaf oils or natural oils pressed from stems, shake or trim can provide some cannabinoid potency but they have nutritious dietary or topical applications as well.
How To Make Simple Weed Leaf Tea?
The tagline says it all: making weed leaf tea is super easy and it can make a lot that lasts you a long time. Simply dry out your leaves the same time you’re drying/curing your harvested buds and grind/mill them into teabags. You can add other herbal teas that tickle your fancy – especially if you don’t know if you can stomach the sometimes bitter/potent flavors of dried weed leaves. Sugar leaves make for a very nice blend of some subdued psychoactivity when brewed in a tea, so use these particular leaves whenever possible.
How To Make Strong Edibles With Trim?
Sugar cookies + sugar leaf trim = mellow high with high amounts of flavor. Some stoners actually use weed leaf cookies to bring them down when the munchies really kick in. Sugar leaves offer more potent cannabinoid values but not as much as typical flower-derived edibles. So, if you’re looking to make strong edibles with trim you’re going to need a lot of plant materials. Even if you use every fiber of your plants, it still might not be enough to induce psychoactive effects. Because of this, a lot of edibles cannaseurs mix in marijuana leaves, stems and trim in with their buds to use the entire plant but still achieve the THC/CBD values they’re used to.
What Is Marijuana Leaf Butter Good For?
Grilled cheese toasted with marijuana leaf butter… need we say more? Weed leaf budder or oils can be melted into a tea, included in smoothies, used for cooking or baking in all the same ways that cannabutter is delicious, nutritious and gets you high. The only difference with marijuana leaf butter is that the psychoactivity will be undoubtedly minimized, so for days when you need weed but you can’t afford to lose your head it’s the perfect spread.