If you are not one of the many people who happily grind the stems up with their buds, then you have a nice stem collection. Stems themselves don’t produce resins, but they do collect residues from the flowers they carried and nurtured. Being cannabis, it makes sense that they must have some kinds of value and over time it is possible to assemble quite a collection.
Cannabis has been used throughout history for many other things than just smoking. The first true papers were made from cannabis the long fibres being almost infinitely recyclable. The best quality canvas was made from cannabis as were innumerable other textiles. Stems and stalks can be sources of interesting textures and fibres for home arts and crafts.
To get the most from your stems turning up the volume of your THC is the number one priority. Decarboxylizing creates the easily absorb-able and immediately psychoactive THC from THCA which is perfect for tinctures, hash extracts and edibles. To decarboxylize, evenly spread your stems on an oven tray and place in the oven at 110 C for 60 minutes or 100 C for a fan forced oven. Once decarboxylized your stems are ready to go.
In a blender combine equal amounts of stems and recycled paper. Add enough water for the mixture to move and blend freely. When the mix is a slurry with minimal bits left unpulverized pour out evenly onto the deckle. Gently shake and vibrate until the pulp is evenly spread. You will need a squeegee to get things even if you are going big. Leave to drain and dry. After 24 hrs, gently peel your paper away and hang to dry thoroughly. Trim to your needs.
Exploring whether cannabis stems have any further use. Once the resinous marijuana is used, what happens to the stems? Throw them out or put them to good use?
Keep your stem stash in the freezer. Chop or break your stems into small bits and store in a heavy plastic bag. Every time you add to your collection give it a good shake. Well frozen resin crystals easily break off surfaces when they are fully frozen. You will watch with patient excitement as a subtle layer of liberated kief accumulates in the bottom of the bag.
Blending recycled newspaper or office paper with cannabis stems makes a coarse, but interesting paper useful for making a number of items. The most challenging part to making paper is first making a deckle. 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.
Plain cannabis tea can taste a bit rough so you might consider adding herbs and sweeteners to your beverage. For tea, mints, lemon and honey or any flavoured teabag and sugar masks the taste. For chai adding cardamon pods, pepper and honey for that traditional zing is a tasty and mildly stoning and tingly delight.
As with kief, resin glands are more easily liberated when they are frozen. When you have enough stems to fill a blender you can make some bubble hash. Combine in equal parts cold water, ice and a proportion of your stems and blend until you have a fluffy green stem frappe. Repeat until all stems are mashed. After following the bubble hash recipe, but replacing stem for other green you will have a tasty little chunk of damp hash ready to dry and consume.
Have you ever wondered what to do with your cannabis stems when all the flower material has been used?
Bubble hash is an extract that uses water to wash off resin from buds, but it’s just as effective when using stems. This extract provides a smooth and often euphoric high, and is a far better use for stems than throwing them away. The easiest way to make bubble hash is to use a specialised hand washing machine, although you can simply use a spoon or spatula to mix if you don’t have one of these. You’ll also need around 3kg of ice.
Stem hash is a neat little extract to add to joints and blunts for an added kick. Begin by decarbing the stems and grinding them up into a fine powder. Add the powder to a glass jar along with enough 99% isopropyl alcohol to cover it. Attach the lid and shake well for 2 minutes; strain right away. Pour the liquid into a glass bowl and place in a well ventilated space to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Fill the machine with water up to the water mark, and begin a 12-minute cycle. Once complete, let the bag rest for another 10 minutes. Now, grab a bucket and strain the water through 3 micron bags (or specialised bubble bags), layering the largest micron size on top and the smallest on the bottom. Scrape up the collected bubble hash from each layer. Crush the hash up using a spoon and let it air-dry. Once dry, use a hash press to form your bubble hash into the shape of a coin for an end product that is pleasing to the eye.
Your once dormant stems are now active, and it’s time to make some tea. Slice your stems into small pieces and add them to a saucepan with some water and full-fat milk. THC is lipophilic, meaning it likes to bind to fat. Bring the mixture to a light boil for 10 minutes, then strain it through a sieve. Add honey, stevia, or sugar to taste.
Hemp has been used as an industrial crop for centuries, including in the creation of paper products. This act can be recreated at home using stems. Blend them up with equal parts recycled newspaper or office paper, and add enough water to allow the contents to mix well. When the stems and paper have become a smooth pulp, pour the mix out evenly onto a deckle. To make a deckle, stretch out some tights over a mesh screen that is raised above the ground. Let your paper drain and dry out on the deckle for at least a day before hanging it up to dry fully.
After a hard few hours of harvesting and trimming, one of the best things you can do to relax is treat yourself to a fresh cup of tea. Before doing this, you’ll need to decarboxylate your stems just like you would when making edibles or extracts with bud. This process converts non-psychotropic THCA into active THC via heat. To do this, preheat the oven to 110°C and scatter your stems over a baking tray. Place them in the oven for 1 hour.
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Stems can be used to add a small amount of cannabinoids and some intriguing colours to your booze stash. Add stems to a bottle of vodka, whiskey, or anything that contains over 40% alcohol. Let this sit for a few weeks and you’ll have a resin-infused bottle with an impressive green colour to enjoy with friends.
Wondering what to do with those seemingly useless cannabis stems? They contain valuable resin, and can actually be used to make everything from hash to paper.
Cannabis stems might seem like a waste product, but in reality they have many uses. Click here for 7 great ways to reuse your cannabis stems.