In this current era, saving some cash is more important than ever, especially when it comes to weed. And one hack for sticking to a budget is reusing and recycling, like harvesting kief from a grinder, or coming up with creative ways to use your stems. Once you see that stash get down to the stems and dregs, you’re bound to wonder, is there THC in stems? Though smoking stems remains a possible choice in using them up, it isn’t the biggest hit for your buck. Stems, while they hold the same risk for your lungs as smoking the bud itself, hold less THC value. Instead of the high you’d expect from ground flowers, you’ll get a taste of wood chips and likely, a nasty headache.
Instead, learn how to extract THC from stems, and feel confident in your savvy and earth-wise approach to using the whole nug from the bag.
Can You Smoke Weed Stems?
Some die-hard consumers may choose to grind up and smoke their stems. Smoking stems, however, does not lead to the smooth and comfortable experience most flower enthusiasts enjoy. Stems are fibrous and contain more sturdy cellulose than dried bud. As a result, they conduct heat more efficiently and can burn at substantially hotter temperatures.
While stems do contain small amounts of cannabis resin, they are more likely to burn your throat and the delicate tissues of your lungs more harshly. The overall result is a nasty taste and an uncomfortably harsh experience.
Further, smoking cannabis stems is unlikely to give you the oft sought-after high. Compared with leaves and flowers, stems and stalks contain very little cannabis compounds. For this reason, it is better to save stems and use them en masse for making homemade tinctures and basic weed infusions. If consuming stems doesn’t tickle your fancy, however, there are all sorts of crafts and projects that make excellent use of this overlooked part of the plant.
Does Smoking Weed Stems Cause a Headache?
While scientific documentation on the matter is lacking, many consumers report that smoking stems can trigger a headache. Whether this is fact or myth, however, is up for debate. In fact, most of the discussion of weed stems and headache is limited to online forums and anecdotal evidence.
Regardless, using stems in tinctures and edibles doesn’t seem to be associated with this particular problem. So, until actual research is done and results are put to the test, it’s hard to tell whether or not smoking stems is more likely to cause a headache than other parts of the cannabis plant.
What Do You Do With Weed Stems?
Cannabis stems and stalks are the parts of the plant most often used to make fiber. Throughout history, fiber from stocks and stems were used to make rope, textiles, and paper. For those interested in putting in the time, it’s fairly easy to make your own DIY crafts and other infusions from leftover stems. Here are the top ideas:
Brew Tea (or Hot Cocoa)
Tea is a popular choice for a quick use of stems. It can be made with water (for flavor only) or a high-fat liquid like coconut oil or half-and-half (which will absorb the cannabinoids so you can get high). To make stem tea, decarboxylate your stems then grind them and wrap in a coffee filter/DIY tea bag. Simmer on low heat for a minimum of seven minutes then mix with your favorite tea or hot cocoa.
Make Your Own Topicals
Marijuana topicals are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their amazing therapeutic potential. With a few stems and basic supplies, you can make your own at home. Just use a basic marijuana topical recipe then add your choice of skin-friendly vitamins and essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender, for example, are excellent pain relievers, too.
Make a Hemp Wick
For those who want to avoid butane fumes when smoking off of a pipe, hemp wicks can be an excellent solution. To make your own hemp wick, strip long stems or left-over stalks using a sharp blade until you gather multiple long, stringy fibers. Twist the fibers together tightly to form a rope then fold the rope over and twist again. Dip the twisted fiber in beeswax, wipe of excess then allow it to dry.
Create a Stem Pen
If you’ve got left-over stalks from a recent harvest, turn them into one-of-a-kind stem pens that are sure to be the envy of all your stoner classmates. To make a stem pen, you’ll need a drill press, a few fatty stalks, sand paper and basic pen kit which can be found online or at a local craft store.
Craft Hemp Paper
Make your own holiday cards and gift tags with hemp paper. To make it, soak ground cannabis stems and paper scraps in water overnight. After soaking, add the paper/stem soak to a blender and blend thoroughly (adding water as needed). Next, pour the pulp evenly onto a screen, or “deckle” (make your own by stretching a pair of nylon stockings over a wooden frame), then allow it to dry. Depending on the thickness of the paper and moisture of the room, this should take about 24 hours. For best results, remove the hemp paper from the deckle before it is completely dry.
Turn Them into Kabobs Skewers
Marijuana stems make for some very tasty kabobs. To use them, sharpen the end of a few long stems then soak overnight. Once prepared, use the cannabis skewers to make kabobs out of your favorite meats and veggies then grill to perfection.
Make your own basket out of old marijuana stems. To keep them from breaking while you’re weaving, soak a number of long stems in water overnight. The next morning, tie a few stems together in the center using hemp rope then use the remaining stems to weave between the base stems. Continue until the desired diameter is reached then add more stems to “stake up” the basket, or form its sides. This wicker basket tutorial can help explain the process.
Extract Bubble Hash
Bubble hash is a solvent-less hash that is made by washing the resin off of marijuana plants with ice cold water. The resin is filtered through special bags resulting in a pure, potent hash that can be smoked, vaporized or otherwise consumed. Bubble hash can be made using buds, shake or (you guessed it) stems.