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).
Many cannabis enthusiasts have found themselves wondering at some point whether or not it was a wise decision to smoke stems. Some are too lazy to pick out each and every stem before loading a bowl, others are dankrupt and all they have is a jar of stems to draw from. Let’s get to the meat of the issue and find out if smoking stems is a good idea.
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.
Is smoking Weed stems bad for You?
Simply put, smoking weed stems is bad for you.
It doesn’t matter how dankrupt you are, loading a bowl full of stems will accomplish little more than giving you a nasty headache. The THC levels found in the stem are virtually non-existent, any valuable part of the stem comes from the crystals that adhere to the outside.
The health problems associated from smoking stems are from the fact that you are combusting and inhaling plant material, similar to the negative health effects of smoking the bud itself. However the bud has plenty of psychoactive components and beneficial cannabinoids, the stems have almost none. It’s closer to smoking wood chips than smoking bud, but that doesn’t mean there is no point in holding onto those stems you’ve collected.
How to use Marijuana Stems
When looking for top-shelf cannabis, the resinous crystals are a tell-tale sign that the bud is going to be potent. These crystals are found on the bud itself, as well as the fan / guard leaves and even the stems. Harvesting the crystals from the stems is a great way to ensure you are getting every bit of goodness from your herb. This could be as easy as shaking the crystals off the stems, or as involved as using a complicated extraction process.
Infusing your favorite cup of tea with some of the cannabis stems you’ve saved up is a great way to relax. Stem tea won’t give you a super powerful high, but it will offer a deep relaxation effect and mild euphoria. Pair it with your favorite tea or herbal concoction. Personally I love adding it to a chamomile and peppermint blend or a chai tea.
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.
How to make stem infused alcohol (Green Dragon / Tincture)
Get a bottle of vodka, whisky, rum, or whatever you prefer. Just be sure it contains at least 40% alcohol.
Have a drink or two and make a bit of room in the bottle, otherwise you’ll need to transfer it into a mason jar or resealable glass container.
Grind the marijuana stems into small pieces and decarb them before placing them into the bottle. The stems should be completely submerged in the alcohol.
Tightly seal the bottle or jar and place it in a cool, dark space. Revisit the bottle every day and give it a good shake, repeat this for 7-10 days.
After a week or so you can pour the alcohol through a fine mesh strainer to remove any plant material.
Enjoy your homemade marijuana infused booze… responsibly. Marijuana infused alcohol delivers a very different sensation than cannabis or alcohol alone so start slowly.
How to make Stem Hash
Pick up a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol and gather your collected stems.
Grind up the stems until they are extremely fine. Place them into a mason jar and cover with the isopropyl alcohol.
Put the lid on the mason jar and shake vigorously for a minute or two.
Pour the liquid through a strainer in order to remove any excess plant material. Transfer the liquid to a wide bottom glass dish or bowl.
Let the dish sit in a well ventilated area until all of the alcohol evaporates. You will be left with a sticky, resinous coating along the bottom of the dish.
Simply scrape up the sticky hash and form it into a ball or pancake, smoke, enjoy!