Don’t throw away your cannabis leaves! Here are four uses for marijuana leaves that are better than putting them in your local landfill.
Leaves are the primary energy gatherers of the cannabis plant. Green chlorophyll in the leaves helps harvest the sun’s energy, transforming it into vital fuel. Without healthy leaves, the cannabis plant is not able to live up to its full potential.
However, it is the buds of the cannabis plant that are harvested for medical and recreational use, meaning marijuana leaves that are pruned during cultivation and harvest are often seen as a byproduct, rather than a valuable product of the cannabis plant.
Here, we will discuss the various potential uses of marijuana leaves to ensure you are getting the most out of your cannabis plant each and every harvest.
Types of Cannabis Leaves
Before diving into all the exciting ways to use cannabis leaves, let’s start with some marijuana leaf basics.
Many users ask about how many leaves the marijuana plant has. While the number of leaflets (the individual fingers of the leaf) on marijuana leaves may differ depending on the type of cannabis plant, its place in the growth cycle, and more, they will have a odd number of leaflets, with mature leaves displaying serrated edges. Usually the number of leaflets is between 7-9, but some marijuana leaves can have up to 13.
When deciding how to use cannabis leaves, it’s important to first recognize that there are two types of leaves on a cannabis plant – the fan leaf and the sugar leaf. The two types of cannabis leaves have unique features that you may find makes them more ideal for a particular use.
- Fan Leaf: Broad marijuana leaves that shoulder most of the cannabis plant’s light gathering. Cannabis fan leaves are often recognized as the iconic symbol for cannabis. Fan leaves on indica plants are typically darker green with wider “fingers,” while sativa’s fan leaves often are lighter in color with lean, slender “fingers.” Cannabis fan leaves on hybrid cannabis strains generally feature a blend of the two. These leaves are typically trimmed during cultivation and contain low levels of cannabinoids. While they are among the most under-recognized and under-utilized parts of the cannabis plant, cannabis fan leaves are filled with flavor, resin, and phytonutrients that support wellness and health.
- Sugar Leaf: Smaller marijuana leaves that grow close to the cannabis plant’s flowers or “buds” during the plant’s flowering stage. Often times marijuana sugar leaves are hidden, with only their tips peaking through the larger marijuana fan leaves. Marijuana sugar leaves are usually trimmed after harvest to make buds appear more appealing to consumers, either before or after drying and curing. Sugar leaves are typically coated in white, delicious trichomes as if coated with a dusting of powdered sugar, and contain higher levels of cannabinoids than fan leaves.
These two types of marijuana leaves are often discarded, but they can be very valuable for making nutritious and cannabinoid-infused beverages and edibles that you can make at home or to amend previously-used soil to grow strong and healthy plants. Here are 4 healthy and green ways to use your cannabis leaves.
Juicing Raw Cannabis Leaves
The cannabis plant is highly nutritious, containing significant levels of essential vitamins and minerals, omega fatty acids, proteins, fiber, terpenes, flavonoids, and of course, cannabinoids. Raw cannabis fan and sugar leaves are great for upping the nutritional impact of green juices.
When kept fresh and raw (not dried or heated), cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are found in their acid form rather than their “active” form, meaning you will not experience psychoactive effects or a “high” from eating or drinking raw cannabis leaves. Cannabinoids in their acid form, such as THCa and CBDa, provide their own unique benefits through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis juice can be made at home with any type of blender. The raw cannabis leaves and even buds are first pulverized and then hand-pressed through a strainer or cheesecloth, which separates the pulp from the juice. Alternatively, a home juicer can be used to add marijuana leaves to any preferred juicing blend of fruits or vegetables.
Cannabis Tea: A Healthy Alternative
Cannabis has many health benefits to offer, and drinking cannabis-infused tea is one of the best and most ancient ways to get them. In many cultures throughout history, people have enjoyed cannabis tea for their health and happiness. Traditionally shared with guests in some cultures and with those suffering from illness in others. It’s been widely acknowledged as a soothing and nourishing drink.
The medical benefits of cannabis (specifically, the cannabinoid compounds THC and CBD) have been researched for decades. The evidence base is growing to support what the world’s cultures have known all along. Cannabis can help with many of the body’s vital systems and provide comfort to many who are suffering.
Drinking tea is a gentler way to access these benefits compared with smoking or eating cannabis products. While not offering a cure-all, cannabis tea’s benefits are wide-ranging and powerful.
#1: Reduces Inflammation
Chronic inflammation plays a central role in several major health conditions, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. THC, an active ingredient in cannabis tea, has been shown to reliably reduce inflammation and is being explored as a potential anti-inflammatory drug. Furthermore, It’s a safe and natural way to receive these anti-inflammatory benefits.
#2: Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Cannabis is widely understood to help with anxiety and depression. Studies have proven that THC and CBD both have neuroprotective properties, helping the brain to function as it should. In addition, brain inflammation is considered a leading cause of depression and anxiety. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids improve these conditions.
Drinking cannabis tea may be one of the most comforting ways to access these benefits. Taking the time to brew and sip a cup of tea is soothing and relaxing. It can become part of a daily self-care routine.
#3: Contributes to Healthy Lungs and Heart
Cannabis is considered a helpful treatment for those with lung disease and respiratory problems. Active ingredient THC has been proven to contribute to lung health. It opens up bronchial pathways, reduces inflammation in the lungs, and coughing. For these patients, cannabis-infused tea is a particularly important alternative to smoking.
THC contributes to heart health by relaxing the arteries and lowering blood pressure. However, smoking marijuana can initially raise heart and blood pressure, with the longer-term benefits coming later. By drinking cannabis instead of smoking, the beneficial properties are absorbed through the digestive tract and liver, which happens more gradually.
#4: Relieves Nausea
Cannabis is widely acknowledged for its antinausea and anti-vomiting benefits. It’s suggested for chemotherapy patients to help them withstand extreme nausea they experience. Furthermore, it can be a life-changing improvement for them, since being able to hold food down means their bodies can restore themselves more quickly.
When your stomach is upset, tea is a gentle way to consume cannabis and receive those antinausea benefits quickly. If you suffer from chronic nausea, a daily routine of drinking cannabis tea offers a road to long-term relief.
Marijuana Tea Effects
For people who are used to smoking or vaporizing cannabis, it can be difficult to know what to expect from marijuana tea. Results will differ from one brew to the next (depending on the amount of marijuana used and the strain used to make it), but here are some of the effects that are common with cannabis tea:
Mellow, Euphoric High
Much like consuming marijuana-infused edibles, the marijuana tea high is described as a more mellow high than smoking or vaping marijuana. People who consume marijuana tea report feeling mildly euphoric and renewed.
Slow to Kick In
Also similar to edibles, marijuana tea effects don’t kick in right away. They can take half an hour or as long as 90 minutes to appear. This is because rather than being inhaled into the lungs (where the cannabinoids are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream), the tea must go through the digestive tract. Because of this, those who are new it its effects are advised to start with a small amount, as it’s easy to overconsume before the initial effects set in.
When smoking marijuana, the effects wear off rather quickly, but marijuana tea can last several hours. This makes it a particularly useful remedy for pain, insomnia, or any condition in which the patient wants to avoid having to take repeated doses throughout the day or night.