What Are the Uses of Leftover Leaves and Stems?

Leftover leaves and stems from cannabis are also referred to as cannabis trim. This refers to all those parts of the cannabis plant that are left behind after the cannabis has been harvested. It usually includes sugar leaves, fan leaves, and some leftover cannabis buds.

Many people often wonder whether trim contains THC or CBD. The truth is that trim usually contains small amounts of cannabinoids that are packed in trichomes. This means that you can enjoy similar benefits from consuming trim, even though they may not be as potent.

Fan leaves should also not be confused with sugar leaves. The fan leaves are large and grow from the branches. They do not contain any trichomes. Sugar leaves, on the other hand, are small and grow directly from the buds. They contain trichomes and this makes them more useful than fan leaves. When collecting trim, aim to collect as many sugar leaves as possible.

Trim is not the same thing as shake. Shake refers to the loose buds that separate from cannabis that is in storage. Shake is as potent as the mature buds that have been collected.

How is Trim Consumed?

Trim should not be smoked because it produces harsh smoke and also it has low potency. However, it can be used to make infused butter and edibles.

Use Leftover Leaves and Stems to Make Butter

Cannabis trim can be used to make cannabis-infused butter, even though it will be less potent than the usual cannabutter.

Here is a simple recipe to use:

  • Clean and dry the cannabis trim, removing the stalks and fan leaves
  • Decarboxylate the trim
  • Spread on parchment paper and heat in the oven for 30 minutes at 240°F
  • Melt 2 cups of butter in a heavy saucepan. Once melted, add 2 ounces of the decarboxylated trim and stir to mix
  • Add 2 cups of water and stir.
  • Heat until the mixture begins to simmer
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 2 hours. Keep the saucepan covered to prevent the butter from evaporating.
  • Add water to prevent the butter from scorching
  • Remove from heat and let it cool
  • Store refrigerated, away from direct sunlight

Baking With Trim

Cannabis-infused chocolate cookies
Cannabis-infused chocolate cookies

To bake with trim, you will first need to make infused-butter from the trip using the recipe mentioned above. You can use this infused-butter in any baking recipe that requires butter. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider:

Do’s:

  • Use high-quality infused butter
  • Maintain a consistent temperature
  • Simmer the butter for 2 – 3 hours
  • Use quality trim from
  • Store the butter in the fridge

Don’ts:

  • Forget to decarboxylate the trim
  • Overheat the butter
  • Rush the process

Other Ways to Use Cannabis Leftover Stems and Leaves

cannabis-infused roasted tomato soup
Bowl of cannabis-infused roasted tomato soup with beans, celery and sweet pepper.

Add Trim to Food

Cannabis trim can be added to foods as garnishes. You will first need to decarboxylate the trim by heating it in low heat. This process activates the cannabinoids, bringing out the full potency. Once this has been done you can add the trim to any food to create that extra buzz. Consider salads and similar cold recipes.

Add Trim to Beverages

Beverages can also be infused using cannabis trim. Just as with foods, you will need to decarboxylate the trim to bring out the cannabinoids. Beverages that can be infused with trim include the following:

  1. Milk
  2. Wine
  3. Coffee
  4. Beer

Step to Infuse Beverages with Trim

  • Finely grind the trim
  • Decarb the trim on low heat
  • Mix the (milk) and trim; quarter ounce of trim per four cups of milk
  • Simmer on low heat for an hour and a half ensuring not to exceed the boiling point
  • Remove from the heat and cool
  • Strain with a cheesecloth to remove the excess plant material
  • Store in a dark colored container, away from direct heat and light

Use Leftover Leaves and Stems to Make a Topical Salve or Cream

Make Concentrates & Extracts From Trim

Trim can also be used to make salves and creams for the skin. The skin is richly endowed with cannabinoid receptors creating a great opportunity for the skin to benefit from cannabinoid therapy. CBD removes dryness from the skin, nourishes it, and makes it supple and younger-looking. Cannabis-infused topical creams can also be used to relieve inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. Topical salves are made with the same recipe that is used to make butter (as above). Once you have your infused butter you can add beeswax to thicken it to create a skin salve. For a lighter consistency, consider adding extra coconut or olive oil.

You can make concentrates and extracts using leftover stems and leaves. The first step is to collect kief. You can do this using a silkscreen. As you harvest the trim, rub it against the screen like you would do when grating cheese. The kief will separate automatically and accumulate at the bottom of the screen. You can use the kief to make rosin by pressuring it using a rosin press.

trimming cannabis
Trimming of cannabis buds and storing them in glass jars

Make Hash from Leftover Leaves and Stems

Hash is a highly concentrated form of cannabis extract that is made purely from trichomes. Hash can be made from leftover sugar leaves using different methods to separate the resin from the plant material. A simple way to go about this is to use ice and water, this is also called the bubble technique.

What you will need:

  • Sugar leaves
  • Bucket
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Strainer bag

Method

  • Put the ice and water in the bucket
  • Add the trim
  • Shake moderately to separate the resin glands from the trim
  • Strain with a fine mesh strainer bag

FAQ

Can you get high off weed stems?

Even though weed stems have tiny trichomes that may contain some THC, this amount is not enough to get you high. So no, you cannot get high off weed stems.

Do stems have THC?

Yes, weed stems and fan leaves have small amounts of trichomes that contain THC.

Final Note

While leftover stems and leaves might not be the most desirable part of the cannabis plant, they can be put to some good use. Instead of throwing trim away, consider using it to make butter, infused foods, beverages, or skin salves and lotions. Sugar leaves will give you a higher amount of THC to add an extra boost to your infused products. The fan leaves and stems are also beneficial because they carry a host of nutrients.

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