MythPuffers: What’s The Deal With Stems And Seeds?
We all know what it’s like to spend 60 bucks on a disappointing eighth of weed that’s way too stemm-y and chock full of seeds. While it’s not only a hassle to de-seed and de-stem the sub-par product, what you’re left with once your eighth is gone seems entirely useless — but somehow you convince yourself to save it all anyway.
It’s been posited by some potheads that seeds and stems contain no THC, taste like shit, and will make you sick or even infertile. More positive stoners, on the other hand, have faith in the byproducts’ heightening abilities and promote the smoking, drinking, and planting of stems and seeds. Obviously when it comes to drugs like marijuana, everyone reacts to these things differently, but that, my friends, is how legends are born. This week’s MythPuffers is seed-and-stem-centric — focusing on not one but three common myths and questions surrounding the two little things potheads dread most.
One of the more popular ways to rid of seeds and stems is to smoke them — un-ground in many cases. One myth that has spurred from the smoking of these stems and seeds is that they will negatively affect your fertility. What? That’s right — some people believe that smoking stems in particular will lessen a male’s sperm count and damage a woman’s ovaries.
While this may seem ridiculous at face value, according to BBC News, a study at Buffalo University has linked chronic marijuana smoking to a lower sperm count among males. Head researcher Dr. Lani Burkman claims that THC is “doing something to sperm” — something which makes the little guys swim too fast so that they end up getting tired before finishing the job. In terms of female fertility, however, results from a separate study are inconclusive.
While this may not be great news for all the pot head dudes out there, it turns out smoking stems and seeds doesn’t really matter because smoking weed in the first place is what affects sperm count. Therefore — since smoking stems tastes disgusting and your sperm is going to die anyway — why not consider something like stem tea?
Not only is stem tea easy to make but, also, if done correctly ,it’s a great way to get rid of saved stems. While some might believe that stem tea is a sham after learning last week that THC is not water soluble, there are several recipes available on the Internet (like this one) which suggest steeping your pot in something fatty, like milk, or for the hard-core tea drinkers, something alcoholic. Although stem tea will not produce a high as strong as one from smoking — leaves, not stems — there are traces of THC in the stalks and thus drinkers will experience mind alterations if the beverage is prepared correctly.
Now that your stems have been taken care of, what about your seeds? One of the most popular myths — or hopes rather — is that planting seeds found in dumpy weed will grow into beautiful marijuana plants.
It probably comes as no surprise that, yes, by planting seeds found in shake, it is possible to grow marijuana plants. While this seems like an attractive idea in theory, what many stoners don’t realize is the time and effort that goes into cultivating reefer. Especially if you’re living in New York, as a college student, there’s nowhere in the city a plant would have access to proper soil and enough sunlight to prosper — this, of course, is a lot for any smoker. Despite the fact that potheads aren’t of the most responsible breed, if your weed is shitty in the first place, why would you even want to reproduce it?
Of course, there are many other ways to deal with pesky stems and seeds that are possibly more affective and slightly more reasonable than stem tea and planting seeds. Green Dragon, for example, is a notorious weed, stem, and seed concoction that MythPuffers will be investigating in the coming weeks — so stay tuned.
3 ways to use your weed stems
Weed stems can be a gray area for the average cannabis smoker.
Can you smoke them? Should you smoke them?
If you find yourself wondering this very thing, you’re not alone. It’s a common question we get from people who are new to smoking cannabis. And since no question is a dumb question when it comes to having a great cannabis experience, let’s unpack all the details on weed stems.
What are weed stems?
Weed stems are the small, stick-like pieces that sometimes end up in the cannabis flower you buy from the dispensary. Depending on the quality of flower you bought, you may end up with a few or more stems in your haul. For example, shake bought from dispensaries tends to contain more stems than non-shake flower. Unlike the dense buds of the cannabis plant, weed stems contain very little to no THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis).
Can you smoke weed stems?
Although you may be tempted to, you should not smoke weed stems. Smoking stems from cannabis plants will not get you high due to their lack of THC. If you do decide to smoke stems, you’ll likely experience a few of the negative side effects that come with smoking, like coughing and sore throat, without the fun of a THC high.
In other words, it’s simply not worth it.
Alternative uses for weed stems
The good news is your stems don’t have to go to waste. Although you can’t smoke them, stems still have some surprisingly useful purposes in life. Here are a few of the most popular ways people are making good use out of their weed stems.
Did you know you can use discarded weed stems to help make a cannabis-infused butter? If you have a good amount of stems saved up, toss them in with the rest of your flower when you start the decarboxylation process. These stems won’t bring any potency to your final product, but they will add some cannabis-inspired umami. Butter containing cannabis is a good thing to have on hand because it is the foundation of most edible recipes.
2. Cannabis topicals
Much like the infused butter recipe, you can decarboxylate any leftover weed stems with 7-10 grams of dried cannabis. After this process has been completed, you can infuse the cannabis and stems with coconut oil. This creates the base for many cannabis topical recipes, like lip balms and lotions.
3. Cannabis tea
Another excellent way to make use of your stems is by making a cannabis-infused tea. Cannatea is a good choice for when you only have a small number of stems you want to use.
For example, our cannabis-infused tea recipe only requires 2 teaspoons of weed stems and is ready to drink in about ten minutes. This recipe is flexible and allows you to customize with different tea flavors until you find your ideal combination.
Start saving your weed stems
As you can see, the life of a weed stem can go above and beyond the time it spends in your grinder. If you want to get better about keeping your stems (given your new knowledge of their magic), we recommend that you keep a jar to collect your weed stems over time. That way, you’ll always have a fresh stash ready when you want to tackle any of these projects.
What do you think about cannabis stems?
Have you done anything special with your leftover weed stems? Are they more useful than we originally thought? We want to hear about it! Join the conversation on Twitter, or leave us a comment below.
What you need to know about weed stems
Weed stems aren’t waste. There, we said it. They get a bad reputation because they don’t contain trichomes, which means they don’t have THC and won’t get you high. So, to many cannabis consumers, weed stems have no use and often get tossed in the trash. Nobody is interested in smoking stems. Everybody is interested in “smoking weed” (which, in this case, is the flower).
Cannabis stems and other plant fibers offer source material for textiles and commercial building materials. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
But the attitude that weed stems are useless stems (pun absolutely intended) from a misunderstanding of the very real value cannabis stems and other plant fibers offer — source material for textiles and commercial building materials.
This guide will help you understand what weed stems are, how to use them if you want to get the most out of your plant, and ways the construction and textiles industries are making use of weed stems and other cannabis fibers.
What are weed stems?
Cannabis plants have a lot of parts. Weed stems are the part of cannabis plants that support the flowers and leaves. The structure of the cannabis plant consists of the main stalk, similar to a tree trunk, with various branches and smaller stems that grow out to create the cannabis plant’s structure. Some cannabis strains have thick, stout stem structures, while others are thinner and taller.
Weed stems are the part of cannabis plants that support the flowers and leaves.
Can I smoke weed stems?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Smoking stems won’t get you high. Smoking stems won’t enhance the flavor of your hit. Smoking stems will only serve to introduce into your lungs more plant material that’s potentially harsh and unpleasant. If you happen to get a piece of a stem into your grinder, don’t worry too much about it. But don’t go out of your way to grind stems to add to your cannabis flower thinking it will elevate your experience. It won’t.
Can I consume weed stems in other ways?
Should you grind up your stems and add them to your bowl? No. But that doesn’t mean stems can’t be used in a consumable preparation.
One of the more popular ways people use cannabis stems is to add them to cannabis tea. If you don’t have a tea bag handy, you can use a coffee filter or pair of unused nylon stockings to steep your flower-and-stem tea. Some people like the flavor of weed. Marijuana stems may not have trichomes but they do have essential oils. Adding stems will add flavor without adding THC.
One of the more popular ways people use cannabis stems is to add them to cannabis tea. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Can weed stems be added to topicals or edibles?
If you happen to have some weed stems, there’s no harm in adding them to flower and leaves when steeping a cannabis tincture. You can also include stems when making oil-based cannabis-infused concoctions. It’s best to make high-quality flower the feature ingredient if you’re looking to make potent edibles or topicals. But if you want to make use of your stems, it certainly can’t hurt to let them steep alongside your ground flower in topical or edible preparations. You can find many recipes online for cannabis-infused coconut oil, cannabutter, a cannabis cocktail or two, and other edible goods.
Can stems increase my cannabis concentrate yield?
Stems can be marginally useful in maximizing trichome yields for kief or bubble hash. Unless you’re a licensed manufacturer tumbling pounds at a time, it won’t help to add weed stems when you’re making kief or hash at home. While stems won’t turn a mediocre bubble hash yield into a spectacular one, trichomes are sticky and might have gotten attached to stems during processing. Including them helps get the most off the plant, but the amount of residual trichomes that may have gotten stuck on cannabis stalks or stems is negligible so place your hopes appropriately.
How are cannabis stems used commercially?
Beyond attempts to squeeze the last possible amount of THC out of weed, the fibrous plant material in hemp and marijuana, including weed stems, can be used to make hemp rope, hemp paper, wood chips, paper scraps, and even a plant-based concrete.
The textile industry has also historically used hemp as a substitute for cotton, and modern fashion has seen increased interest in hemp-based textiles for reasons of sustainability.
Sustainable agriculture means making better use of more leftover cannabis plant matter that doesn’t traditionally wind up in the jars that line dispensary storefronts.
Increasing marijuana legalization provides us the opportunity to look beyond the medical and adult-use benefits of the cannabis flower and toward the many benefits of cannabis as an agricultural commodity crop.
Instead of trying to smoke your stems, look to cannabis fiber-based goods, such as hemp paper, rope, fabric, and other textiles to support sustainable agriculture and promote the many beneficial qualities of cannabis that don’t come with a head change.