Modified on: 11/09/2023
Cannabis leaves: what can be done with them? Here’s the answer
Cannabis leaves, often considered merely waste, may harbour unsuspected potential.
While most users focus on the THC-rich flowers and hashish, the leaves may offer surprising benefits.
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Let’s find out if smoking cannabis leaves is a practice to be taken seriously.
First thing to know: cannabinoids can be found on the whole cannabis Sativa plant
As you may know, cannabinoids are the main culprits behind the effects of cannabis, whether it is traditional marijuana or legal CBD weed with very low THC content.
Cannabinoids are produced by special glands called trichomes, which are present on the whole plant except for the roots and the inner part of the branches. They are present in a very high proportion in the buds (i.e. the flowers, also known as tips) and in minimal quantities in the rest of the plant.
Among the main cannabinoids present in marijuana are THC and CBD:
- THC is psychoactive and is present in large amounts in illegal marijuana, and tiny quantities in legal CBD cannabis;
- CBD reduces the effects of THC and has only physical effects.
But let’s come back to our topic: trichomes, which produce cannabinoids, are found on almost the entire cannabis plant (even on CBD flowers).
So, would it be useful for marijuana users to smoke not only the flowers, but also the stems and leaves of the cannabis plant?
Cannabis leaves are generally used in hashish production, as well as the buds and other parts of the plant. Production is done by grating the buds, leaves, and other parts of the plant that have already been processed.
Cannabis leaves are also often used as fertiliser for the cannabis itself and for cooking (to make tea or herbal tea with cannabis, although fried leaves are very famous).
Some even use them chopped or rolled to make mixtures with cannabis flowers.
The leaves that can be smoked must be organically grown and must not show any defects or signs of poor quality. For example, it is best to choose those that have a pleasant light colour and discard those that are damaged, yellowed or brown. Of course, it is possible to smoke dry leaves, not fresh leaves; many people use them rolled up as if they were paper.
But is it possible to smoke cannabis leaves in the UK?
Not really, because their use is forbidden, just like that of cannabis flowers. We, therefore, recommend that you only do so if you are in a country where the ban on marijuana has been lifted.
What are the supposed benefits of smoking cannabis leaves?
Many people wonder and ask us if it is possible to smoke cannabis leaves. In theory, there is nothing to prevent it; indeed, smoking cannabis leaves has in the past characterised many cultures, despite their low THC content.
As for leaves in general, however, it must be considered that not all leaves can be smoked and, above all, it must be ensured that no chemical additives have been used for cultivation.
In fact, it is the inflorescences that are the primary target of growers and users, which contain the well-known psychoactive principle of marijuana.
The leaves of marijuana take on a very important task because they reveal the health of the plant.
- if they turn a dark brown colour, the pH of the water is not sufficient;
- if they are yellowish, you probably need to limit exposure to light and heat;
- if yellowish or brown spots appear, there may be a lack of calcium.
Cannabis leaves, in addition to being used to obtain resin, can also be used to make a special infusion that is believed to be useful in curing many illnesses.
The leaves are a valuable addition to a tea mixture as well, but don’t forget that they are not water-soluble, so to get a good result, they should be mixed with oil or butter.
How to recycle cannabis leaves?
Recovering cannabis leaves to create compost
A simple and straightforward way is to use the residues of the CBD-rich leaves obtained from processing to create compost, which is a mixture of plant waste that is used to nourish plants naturally and contribute to healthy and vigorous plant growth. Compost is an opportunity to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and allow plants to develop in a 100% natural way.
Another of the easiest ways to recover cannabis leaf waste is to turn this plant residue into an edible product: marijuana butter. You can use it in the same way as normal cooking butter, an essential ingredient in the preparation of your desserts, various kinds of creams and mouth-watering sauces, so that you can season both savoury and sweet dishes in a healthy and original way.
The cannabis milkshake
Milkshakes made from cannabis leaf waste, which is rich in CBD, are a pleasant and healthy way to recover processing waste, fully appreciate the benefits of the natural substances in hemp leaves and prepare a healthy and 100% natural product.
To make a good cannabis smoothie, you need:
- half a cup of chopped hemp leaves;
- half a cup of hemp milk;
- 1 banana;
- 2 slices of melon (summer or winter melon, depending on the season);
- 2 ripe apples;
- 1 small fennel;
- 1 small piece of ginger;
- 1 tablespoon of honey.
Place everything in the blender, if the mixture is too thick, add water, add 3-4 ice cubes and continue blending until the consistency of a milkshake is achieved, then pour and serve.
Recover cannabis leaves to prepare Bhang
Bhang is a typical preparation from Indian culture, the origins of which date back to the mists of time. The basis of this typical beverage – still widespread today – is milk or yoghurt, enriched with various spices, dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant and natural sweeteners.
Particularly rich in beneficial substances, Bhang has an intense, addictive flavour and can be consumed at any time of day.
To prepare it, you need:
- 2 cups of water;
- 5 grams of CBD flowers;
- 5 grams of leaves;
- 3 cups of milk;
- 5-6 tablespoons of sugar;
- 2 tablespoons of coconut milk;
- 1 tablespoon of ground almonds;
- a pinch of ginger powder and one of the garam masala mixture;
- 1 tablespoon of fruit syrup (sour cherry, peach or whichever flavour you prefer).
Once you have all the ingredients, bring the water to the boil, add the cannabis leaves and flowers and stir for a few minutes over low heat, add the milk, stir for another 3-4 minutes and then turn off the cooker.
Then, pour the liquid through a sieve to remove any cannabis residue, add the almonds, coconut milk and syrup. Stir the mixture to make it smooth, then add the ginger, sugar and garam masala. Finally, allow it to cool completely, refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, then serve.
Hemp lotion for the face and body
Processing and recovering cannabis leaf waste is an excellent opportunity to make natural and effective do-it-yourself cosmetic creams and lotions that can moisturise the skin, calm skin irritations and even smooth out wrinkles.
When applied locally on a regular basis, the hemp-based lotion is able to rejuvenate and smooth skin that is fatigued, tired and stressed by daily life and the elements, which inevitably contribute to the ageing of the epidermis.
To quickly and easily create a lotion for the face and body, simply heat 500 g of coconut or almond oil in a saucepan over low heat, then stir and leave on the heat for about a couple of hours. Then add 250 g of ground hemp leaves, stir again, turn off the cooker, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, the liquid obtained must be filtered to remove any residue, and the lotion must be stored in a glass jar and used as needed on the skin of the face, body and also the hair, which will be strengthened in this way.
Read also: How long do dabs stay in your system?
In conclusion, cannabinoids, the compounds responsible for the effects of cannabis, can be found throughout the cannabis Sativa plant. While the main focus is usually on the buds or flowers, which contain higher concentrations of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, the leaves of the plant also possess some potential uses.
Cannabis leaves are commonly utilized in the production of hashish and are sometimes incorporated into various cannabis-based recipes. They can also be smoked, although this practice is subject to legal restrictions in many countries, including the UK.
Although cannabis leaves have a lower THC content compared to the buds, they have been historically used in different cultures. However, it is essential to ensure that the leaves are organically grown without any chemical additives.
Furthermore, the health of the plant can be assessed by observing the condition of its leaves. Discoloration or spotting may indicate issues with pH levels, light exposure, or nutrient deficiencies.
Additionally, cannabis leaves can be used to create infusions believed to have medicinal properties. When using leaves in tea, it is important to mix them with oil or butter, as they are not water-soluble.
In summary, while cannabis leaves have lower cannabinoid concentrations compared to the buds, they can still serve various purposes within the cannabis community, whether in traditional practices or potential therapeutic applications. However, it is crucial to be aware of the legalities surrounding their use and to ensure proper cultivation practices for optimal results.
💡Takeaways on cannabis leaves
- Cannabinoids, responsible for the effects of cannabis, are found throughout the entire cannabis Sativa plant, with the exception of the roots and the inside of the branches. They are present in greater quantities in the buds (i.e. the flowers) and in smaller quantities in the rest of the plant.
- The main cannabinoids present in marijuana are THC and CBD. THC is psychoactive and is present in large quantities in illegal marijuana, while CBD reduces the effects of THC and only has physical effects.
- Cannabis leaves can be used to make hash along with buds and other parts of the plant. They are grated and processed to obtain the final product.
- Cannabis leaves are often used as fertiliser for the plant itself or for culinary purposes, e.g. to make cannabis tea or herbal teas.
- It is possible to smoke cannabis leaves, but their use is prohibited in the UK, as is the use of cannabis flowers. It is therefore only recommended to do so if you are in a country where the ban on marijuana has been lifted.
- Cannabis leaves contain a low amount of THC and are not the main target of growers and users. However, they may provide indications of the health of the plant based on their appearance, such as a dark brown colour indicative of insufficient water pH, or a yellowish colouration that may indicate the need to limit exposure to light and heat or a lack of calcium if yellowish or brown spots appear.
- Cannabis leaves can be used to prepare special infusions that are believed to be useful in treating various illnesses. However, since the leaves are not soluble in water, they should be mixed with oil or butter to obtain a good result.
- Before smoking cannabis leaves, it is important to ensure that they have been grown organically and that they do not show any defects or signs of poor quality. It is advisable to choose light-coloured leaves and avoid damaged, yellowed or brown leaves. The leaves should be dry, not fresh, and many people use them rolled up like paper.
FAQ about cannabis leaves
Where are cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant?
Cannabinoids are found throughout the entire cannabis Sativa plant, with the exception of the roots and the inside of the branches. They are present in large amounts in the buds (also called flowers or tips) and in small amounts in the rest of the plant.
What are the main cannabinoids found in marijuana?
The main cannabinoids present in marijuana are THC and CBD. THC is psychoactive and is present in large amounts in illegal marijuana, while CBD reduces the effects of THC and only has physical effects. Legal CBD cannabis has minimal amounts of THC.
Is it possible to smoke cannabis leaves?
In theory, it is possible to smoke cannabis leaves, but their use is banned in many countries, including Britain. It is only recommended to smoke them in countries where marijuana prohibition has been lifted.