WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR MARIJUANA STEMS

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.

The home grower can add major stalks and trunks as sources of fibres and hurds for the arts and crafts enthusiast. With the amount of medical and recreational cannabis produced globally there is probably enough for there to be a thriving cannabis fibre underground.

DECARBOXYLIZING FOR ADDED STRENGTH

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.

SMOKING

The simplest solution, and least recommended, is to grind your stems up and smoke them. This is always super harsh and contains many unwanted compounds from the burning cellulose in the hurds. This cellulose also makes stems burn extremely hot. Hot enough to burn your throat and lungs. Again, this is not recommended, so please be careful. Very few people do this, but for some reason, some do.

MAKE CHARAS

Thoroughly rub your fingers all over the stem being sure to get all the little bends. Rub your fingers together for a whisker of charas hash and save. Over time scissor scrapings, grinder cleanings and finger hash rubbings can accumulate into a substantial block of multiflavoured old-school finger-hash. The real test is leaving it alone in times of no green.

Hashish Charas Rub fingers

TEA & CHAI

To make any kind of tincture you will need a healthy handful of stems that have not been rubbed for hash. Put 450 ml of water or milk in a small saucepan. Chop and add your stems and slowly bring to a gentle, but not bubbling boil, stirring continuously. This should be done for seven or eight minutes as the fluid needs to reduce. Strain out your stems and return to the pot and gentle flame.

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.

MARIJUANA LIQUEURS

Whiskeys, vodkas or tequilas that are 40% proof or more can all dissolve the resin of cannabis. Decant your chosen alcohol into a mason jar for easy adding of new and straining of old stems. By the time another handful of stems is ready to add the old ones have given up their treasures to the mix. This little project may take a few months and a few handfuls of stems for strengths to build.

THC BUTTER & OTHER EDIBLES

If you can half fill a large saucepan with broken down stems, then THC-infused butter or oil is on the menu. Replacing stems for buds in this cannabutter recipe will produce a similar product, but with a much milder effect. Where the recipe suggests "28g of flowers," replace with "as many chopped stems as possible". Using your butter or oil in culinary creations will add a nice buzz to any course.

STEM KIEF

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.

hemp fiber rope

STEM BUBBLE HASH

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.

ARTS AND CRAFTS

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.

STEM PAPER

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.

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.

WEAVING SMALL

On the small scale stems and small stalks can be stripped of their outer fibre. This is called decorticating. The fibres are still held together quite firmly in a tough cellulose matrix. The collected stem fibres will need to be rubbed between your fingers until they separate into individual strands. These individual lengths of fibres can be twisted into tough lengths of raw twine. Over time enough twine can be made for many purposes. Nothing says from the heart like a bracelet made from twine you made yourself.

WEAVING BIGGER

The home grower will have access to a lot more trim than the pure consumer. Trunks and main branches can be stripped of their much longer fibres. Once a feasible domestic retting process has been chosen the sky is the limit with enough fibre. Durable baskets and hats can be woven and a truly industrious person could make enough fibre to spin into high quality yarn.

There is really no need to hate on the stems. With a bit of patience and creativity they can be put to a pleasant mildly stoning effect. Making anything at all from stems and trim can give you a real appreciation for the versatility of the amazing cannabis plant.

 

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