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 (hint: it’s not).
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.
Here are a few different ways to put your stems to use.
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.
How To Make Weed Stem Tea
Once you activate the stems grind them into small pieces, but avoid grinding them into a powder as this will leave a very bitter taste in your cup.
Put your stems into a small pot and cover with water and a dollop of butter or coconut oil. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Pour the water through a fine strainer, coffee filter or cheesecloth and squeeze all the liquid through.
Use the stem infused water to brew your favorite tea (throw a couple tea bags in) and enjoy!
Green Dragon / Tincture (Stem Infused Alcohol)
Infusing alcohol with marijuana has been around for quite some time, with the legal marijuana market currently booming there are even cannabis infused wines and beers available commercially. This is more of a home-brew recipe designed for high-alcohol spirits. Many people use everclear in order to get the best results, but a 40% alcohol vodka or whisky works just fine.
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.
Stem Hash Oil
This is exactly the same as making hash oil with your bud or kief. The biggest difference is the potency is quite a bit lower when using only stems.
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!
photo via thecannabist.co
This is exactly the same as making cannabis butter, except with stems… We won’t go into detail on this one, as we have already covered how to make cannabis butter in a previous post, so just replace the bud with stems and follow the same stems. Keep in mind that using stems instead of buds will result in a far less potent butter.
Arts & Crafts
If you are looking to re-purpose your stems into something that won’t give you a buzz, there are plenty of ways to do so!
Using stems in arts and crafts generally requires much thicker and longer stems than most people are used to getting in their gram bag. But we figured it was worth mentioning nonetheless.
Using a sharp blade, you can peel away the fibers of the stem and weave them into a bracelet or basket… or whatever people weave. Another awesome way to use stems is to use them in place of classic BBQ skewers. Simply gather a few long stems that are relatively straight, widdle the end into a sharp point and soak them in water for an hour or two. Skewer some chunks of meat, veggies or whatever you’re cooking and throw them on the grill. The skewers will impart a very mild ‘marijuana-ee’ flavor and aroma to the dish, just don’t expect any sort of buzz.
What do you save your stems for?