These are crazy times, so it’s not that weird that you’re looking at your bowl of weed stems and contemplating smoking them. Waste not, want not, right?
As nice as it is to reduce waste and be resourceful, smoking stems isn’t the way to go.
For starters, they don’t contain much THC
If stems are all you have left, then you’ve already smoked the good stuff.
Stems contain almost no THC. What little may be in there doesn’t even come close to being enough to produce a high.
Smoking them can also lead to some uncomfortable side effects
The negligible amount of THC in stems isn’t worth the unpleasant effects and risk to your lungs that come with smoking.
Inhaling smoke harms your lungs. It doesn’t matter if it’s bud, seed, tobacco, or burning wood. Toxins and carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) are released from the combustion of materials, even stems. This damages your lungs and increases your risk for cancer and heart and lung diseases.
Smoke effects aside, smoking stems can cause:
- a raging headache
- a sore throat
It’ll also taste like you’re smoking wood chips.
Some people on Reddit and other forums who admit to having smoked weed stems also reported uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea and abdominal pain.
What about the seeds?
Nope. You shouldn’t smoke those either.
Marijuana seeds aren’t going to get you high no matter how many you crush and smoke. There’s just not enough THC in the seeds to produce any effects.
Lighting them up will create a lot of snap, crackle, and pop. The acrid smoke will irritate your throat and damage your lungs like other smoke. But that’s about it.
You don’t necessarily have to throw them out, though
Stems and seeds aren’t worth smoking, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely useless. You may be able to use lingering stems and seeds. Exactly what you can do with them depends on how many you have.
If you just have a few seeds kicking around, you could plant them and try growing your own stash (if you live in an area where this is permitted, of course).
Have an abundance of stems and seeds to play with? Consider eating it.
Here are some ways to make it appetizing.
Brew some stem tea
Before getting your brew on, you’ll want to bake the stems on a baking sheet in the oven for around 45 minutes at 225°F (107°C). When done, let the stems cool, and then grind them up.
Put your ground stems in a tea diffuser and let them steep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can steep your ground stems in a pot of boiling water and then place a coffee filter over your mug and pour so it strains your brew.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?