The goal for many when growing marijuana is to produce the beautiful, potent buds that get smokers as lifted as possible. But when grow season has ended, and all those dank buds are harvested, growers are often left with a variety of extra cannabis parts. What are you supposed to do with cannabis leaves, stems, and roots after harvest?
Don’t throw away these valuable cannabis plant leftovers! Almost every part of the cannabis plant can be used in a productive way, and it definitely doesn’t belong in the trash.
Valuable Cannabis Leftovers
The entire cannabis plant, from the leaves all the way down to the roots and soil, can be repurposed for future use. Below are some examples of how each part of the marijuana plant can be recycled and reused.
Sugar leaves are the small leaves that form around the bud as the cannabis plant grows. These leaves are coated in trichomes and contain concentrated traces of THC.
This potency makes sugar leaves a fantastic base for cannabutter and bubble hash. Marijuana tea, juice, or oil are also excellent uses for these leaves.
Fan leaves are the large leaves on marijuana plants that create the iconic symbol of a pot leaf. These leaves are typically more abundant on sativa plants than on indicas or hybrids. While fan leaves don’t have as much residual THC as sugar leaves, they still have many great uses.
Raw, freshly trimmed fan leaves are popular for turning into salves. Alternatively, they can be juiced and added to a smoothie. When dried, fan leaves can be incorporated into cooking oil or used to brew your own special tea.
Stalks & Stems
Marijuana stalks are strong and fibrous. Cannabis companies often use this part of the plant to make hemp-based products.
For at-home growers, the most common way to repurpose stalks and stems is to turn them into mulch. This mulch can be added as a soil topper in your garden to help retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and stop weed growth. By boosting your soil, your next harvest will hopefully be more potent too!
The most obvious way to repurpose cannabis seeds is to grow more plants with them. Alternatively, these seeds can be mixed into food or drinks for a nutritional boost. Marijuana seeds are packed full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and Omega fatty acids. Consuming cannabis seeds can have health benefits for your heart, skin, digestion, and more.
Humans have been using the roots of marijuana plants as medicine throughout history. There’s evidence of cannabis roots being used in the 17th century to treat inflammation, gout, joint pain, and various other conditions. Unfortunately, many growers today, being unaware of these therapeutic properties, disregard the roots.
The ideal preparation for cannabis roots is to boil them into a tea. Alternatively, these roots can be dried and ground into a fine powder. This powder can be mixed into oil or butter for cooking, or into a topical balm.
After a successful harvest, there’s no reason to get rid of the used soil. Instead, consider reusing it for your next grow. First, purchase a soil testing kit from a garden supply or hardware store. This test will tell you what nutrients are missing from your soil.
After finding out what nutrients are lacking, you can amend your soil. This means that you can add materials to the soil to improve its chemical and nutritional properties. Amending your soil can also help improve properties like water retention and permeability. Pre-mixed nutrients and soil amendment kits are widely available to purchase.
Repurposed Cannabis Products
One of the quickest and easiest ways to get use out of stems, stalks, and leaves is by brewing them into a tea. Dry and grind up your trimmings before wrapping them in a coffee filter, tea strainer, or reusable tea bag. Then, steep it in hot water or brew it with your favorite tea blend.
If you need an extra little kick in the morning, grind the stems and leaves into you coffee beans. Adding a high-fat liquid like half-and-half, cream, or coconut oil aids in the body’s absorption of cannabinoids.
Cannabutter is a staple of the edibles community since it can easily be used in the place of regular butter for any recipe. With cannabis-infused butter, you can make some truly dank dishes. Sugar leaves are ideal for creating cannabutter, since they have a high concentration of THC.
THC is an oil soluble cannabinoid, meaning it can be extracted using any fat-based substance. Coconut oil, olive oil, or any cooking oil of your choosing can be used. The best plant leftovers to use when creating cannabis oil are the trichome-coated sugar leaves.
Loose, resinous trichome crystals that have been collected from marijuana plants through a screening process is called kief. If you use a grinder with a kief catcher, you’ve probably unscrewed it before to find a treasure trove of kief.
You can use this same grinder to turn cannabis trimmings into more kief, although it may take a significant amount of plant material.
Bubble hash is a potent and pure cannabis concentrate. This hash can be created using marijuana leaves, stems, and other trimmings. Creating bubble hash is an involved process that requires drying and curing the plant material before submerging it into ice cold temperatures. The plant matter is then sifted through screens until all that’s left is trichomes. Bubble hash is a great product to sprinkle into joints or on top of a bowl for a heightened smoking experience.
Make the Most of Your Marijuana
There are so many ways to repurpose marijuana plant material; it makes no sense to just throw it away. Repurposing cannabis leaves, stems, and other trimmings is smart, valuable, and eco-friendly. If you’re willing to put in a little extra time and effort, you can get the maximum yield out of your cannabis harvest.