What to Do with Cannabis and Hemp Stalks, Leaves, and Stems After Harvest Getting the most out of your harvest is the goal of every grower, no matter your crop. When it comes to cannabis though, Cannabis buds are harvested for THC, but what about leftover cannabis trimmings? Don't waste it—check out these 11 things you can do with your trimmings! After the months spent taking care of your plants, it is finally time to harvest them and, perhaps, make some extracts. Which is the correct time to h
What to Do with Cannabis and Hemp Stalks, Leaves, and Stems After Harvest
Getting the most out of your harvest is the goal of every grower, no matter your crop. When it comes to cannabis though, once the buds are cut, there is a lot of plant left over.
So What Do You Do with All of the Leaves, Stalks, Stems, Roots, and Even Soil?
Biomass, or the leftover plant material, can be used in a numerous ways. Biomass comes in a number of its own varieties. Some farmers mulch the entire plant. Others focus solely on leaves or roots. Some solely use trim to create high-potency oils. Using biomass promotes regenerative, sustainable gardening, and can also be quite enjoyable.
Many farmers sell biomass to concentrate processors. This is a great way to increase revenue and build relationships within the local cannabis community.
These leftover materials can be used to make a number of specialized products. Take a look at just some of the ways to utilize the rest of your hemp and cannabis harvest.
What to Do with Hemp and Cannabis Stalks?
The stalks of hemp pants can be broken down and shipped off for use in all kinds of textile industries. These industries include building materials, garments, and even utility equipment. Businesses with accounts on Kush.com can connect directly with buyers from across the nation. Create your free account now by clicking here.
If you don’t have a supply chain, and aren’t a member of Kush.com, then you could simply mulch them. Mulching can be done by shredding the stalks. Shredding creates more surface area for a quicker decomposition. Shredded stalks can be applied on top of the soil in your garden, yard or in the compost bin.
Mulching or composting is very valuable, because it gives life back to the soil. In compost micro-organisms break down organic matter. This produces nitrogen and other minerals in the process.
Mulched stalks can be returned to a crop next season. You could also use them to grow a variety of other crops if you choose, because it’s nutrient dense.
In mulch, the shredded pieces of stalk decrease evaporation and allow the soil to hold moisture more effectively. This can be great for growing in arid, hot climates.
A micro-biome is also created when mulch is applied to the ground as well. This creates an environment for beneficial bugs, bacteria, and other wildlife to grow and thrive
Stalks can be shredded by purchasing or renting a wood chipper. You could also simply mow them with a gas powered mower or tractor with a shredder attached.
What to Do with Cannabis Leaves?
Sugar leaves are rich and coated with trichomes giving them higher CBD and THC content. Although not as potent as their bud brothers and sisters, they can still be used to make tea, hash, or topical oils.
For hash, sugar leaves can be dried, chopped, and further processed into hash or cannabutter. These processed items can go into a wide variety of products.
Larger fan leaves are perfect for making teas. Fan leaves can be dried and stored in a sealed container with a silicone packet to regulate moisture. When you’re ready, the leaves can be placed in a cup, bathed in hot water and sipped to your enjoyment and leisure.
For oil production, a great number of leaves have to be collected. Once you have enough, press them to gain a rich oil that can be used in a multitude of products or distributed on it’s own.
What to Do with Cannabis Roots?
As with all parts of biomass, roots can be used in a multitude of ways. Roots have a long history of medicinal use due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Roots can be brewed into a tea for gastrointestinal relief. They are also commonly processed into topical ointments or salves for skin ailments.
Processing roots has been done for generations across the world. Creams and salves have been known to help with arthritis, gout, burns, rashes, and muscle pain.
Want to give it a try at home? Boil some into your next cup of tea or process a few roots for use in a topical lotion to treat aches and pains. To learn more on the benefits of cannabis roots check out The National Library of Medicine.
What to Do with Cannabis Soil?
Let us not forget about the soil. Here is where all the magic begins. Feed the soil and it will feed your plant.
At the end of the harvest, soil is low in minerals and nutrients, but can still be used a number of ways. If you plan on replanting in the same soil, try applying some minerals and additions. Compost or a seed starting solid fertilizer (NPK 4-4-4) are great places to start.
Also, before planting any new seeds or started plants, give the soil a good till or cultivation. This can be as simple as stirring the new compost or fertilizer into the soil with your hand if it’s in pots. You could also get a cultivator and till up the ground if outdoors. This not only combines the soil with the new amendments, but it also introduces a vital compound into the equation, oxygen.
This aerates the soil and allows life to grow more vigorously. In this case microorganisms and beneficial fungi. This simple task can go a long way in starting your next crop in the right direction. If you plan on replacing all your potting soil with new potting soil, the old soil can be composted as well.
When going this route, be sure to combine the soil with as close to equal parts brown material ( dried leaves, dried stalks, dried “brown” organic matter) and green material (freshly cut “green” leaves, stems, veggies, etc.). This allows the compost to start it’s process of new life with the right balance of ingredients.
Remember composting isn’t only decomposing matter, it’s also consuming matter. It’s about creating the right environment for beneficial bacteria, fungi, insects, and worms to live, work, and feed in harmony. Giving you a nutrient rich source for enriching your soil and growing healthy crops for years to come.
[PRO TIP] Remember that any plants or soil with pests or disease should not be composted. These will continue to grow and infect your compost bin and every future crop it is applied to. A trash heap, landfill, or burn pile is more suited place to dispose of it.
11 Ways You Can Utilize Leftover Cannabis Trimmings
The flowering buds of the cannabis plant have always been the star of the show due to their high concentration of cannabinoids like THC and CBD that create effects for consumers. But what many don’t know is that other parts of the plant—specifically the trim removed after harvesting—can be used for a variety of purposes.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some ways to repurpose your seemingly useless cannabis trimmings to avoid being wasteful with this amazing plant.
What Exactly Is Cannabis Trim?
Cannabis trim is everything that’s removed from cannabis plants after they are harvested, including the sugar leaves, fan leaves, and bits of cannabis buds. After cannabis plants have fully grown, professional cultivators and home growers pick the plants and trim them with trimmers (trimming scissors). This is often done by hand, though larger commercial operations will sometimes use machines to complete the trimming process.
The purpose of trimming cannabis post-harvest is to create a more visually appealing and potent product by removing excess plant matter. Although trim is not nearly as potent as buds are, it does contain some trichomes that house cannabinoids. Trim should not be confused with shake, the loose buds and trichomes that fall off naturally in storage. Trim is generally not smoked due to its harshness and low cannabinoid content, whereas shake is sometimes smoked for a cheaper high.
What’s the Difference: Sugar Leaves vs. Fan Leaves
Fan leaves are the larger leaves protruding from the branches of the cannabis plant and contain virtually no psychoactive properties (cannabinoids). Sugar leaves, however, are typically heavily concentrated in cannabinoid-rich trichomes, making them much more useful overall than fan leaves. Sugar leaves are much smaller than fan leaves and grow directly from the buds rather than the branches. When repurposing your trimmings, these small leaves are ideally what you want to use.
Things You Can Do With Cannabis Trimmings
Now that you understand cannabis trimming, let’s take a closer look at some things you can do with your trim. As you will see in the list below, trim is highly versatile and can be repurposed into something useful for everyone.
Use Cannabis Trim for Concentrates and Extracts
One of the most common things cultivators typically use cannabis trimmings for is the production of cannabis concentrates and extracts. Through various methods, any existing cannabinoids in the trim can be extracted and turned into concentrates like shatter, wax, and kief. To prepare your cannabis trimmings for extraction, simply grind them the same way you would grind flower for a bowl or joint. Keep in mind that some concentrates require solvents.
Add Trimmings to Food
Cannabis trimmings can also be added to foods both within recipes and as garnishes. The first thing you’ll need to do is activate any cannabinoids in your trim through a heating process called decarboxylation. After decarboxylation has been completed, the trim can be added to any food for a mild buzz. Consider adding leaves to a salad or grinding the decarbed trim finely for brownie mix. Trim can also be made into butter, oil, or flour for more effective edibles, which is discussed further below.
Add Trimmings to Drinks
You can also add cannabis trimmings to beverages. If you’re looking to make a psychoactive drink, you will first need to decarb the trim to activate the cannabinoids. However, you may lose terpenes—aromatic compounds—and phytonutrients during decarboxylation, so decarbing the trim is not suggested if you’re interested in adding flavor rather than CBD or THC to a drink. Let’s explore some of the most common cannabis-infused beverages.
To make cannabis milk with your trimmings, finely grind them after decarbing. It is recommended to use a quarter-ounce of cannabis trimmings per 4 cups of whole milk. Simply place the ground cannabis and milk into a pan on low heat and allow it to simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half (ensure the liquid does not reach boiling point). Finally, separate the milk from the plant material by sifting it through a micron silkscreen or cheesecloth and allow the milk to cool before consuming.
Alcohol and cannabis tend to increase the effects of each other, so cannabis-infused vodka is an efficient way to get the most out of your trim. One of the most common forms of alcohol to be infused with cannabis is vodka. In fact, vodka has been utilized for many years to make cannabis tinctures like Green Dragon. To infuse vodka with cannabis trim, simply grind your cannabis after decarbing it and soak it in vodka for a prolonged period of time before removing the plant material.
If you’re interested in getting something other than a high out of your leftover cannabis, juicing is the way to go. Dietary cannabis specialist Dr. William L. Courtney has long advocated for juicing raw cannabis to obtain the benefits of THCA and other essential nutrients found in the plant. Just throw your cannabis trimmings into a countertop juicer to create your own raw cannabis juice. To boost the flavor and nutrition, you can add fruits and vegetables to the juice as well.
Cannabis-infused coffee can be made at home with ease. First, grind your trim—the recommended combination is a half-gram of cannabis and 3 cups of water. Throw the water in a pot with a small amount of coconut oil or butter and bring to a boil. Next, reduce the water to a low, simmering heat and add the cannabis. Leave the mixture on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, before straining the mixture and using the infused water to prepare your coffee like normal.
Make Edibles: Cannabutter, Cannaoil, and Cannaflour
Many folks use cannabis flower to create cannabutter, cannabis oil, and cannaflour, and trim can be used for this purpose as well (though the final product will be less potent than if flower was used). These substances can then be used in place of normal oil, butter, or flour to create cannabis-infused treats or condiments such as cookies and salad dressing. Before diving into the recipes for each infused ingredient (linked above), make sure to decarb and grind your trimmings to activate the cannabinoid content.
Create a Topical Salve or Cream
The nutrients and cannabinoids in cannabis can also provide benefits when applied topically. To make a topical cream, lotion, or salve with your trim, you will first need to decarb and grind the plant material to activate the cannabinoids. Then, you will need to create a cannabis-infused oil (outlined here). Feel free to add other nourishing or fragrant ingredients to your mixture like vitamin E or essential oils.
At this point, you can either add the infused oil to a cream or lotion you already use or combine the oil with beeswax to create a thick topical called a salve. If you would prefer a thinner consistency, just add any kind of oil (coconut, olive, avocado, etc.) in small amounts until the mixture is how you’d like it. You can also play around with adding shea or cocoa butter to create a more lotion-like substance.
Create Herbal Cooking Spices
Cannabis trimmings can also be utilized as a cooking spice. Simply decarb the trim and then grind it to the consistency you desire. Your cannabis “spice” can be stored in a spice container and used just like any other spice—try using it on pizza, pasta, and salads for some extra flavor, nutrients, and possibly a slight canna-buzz depending on the amount you use.
Use for Garden Compost
If you have a garden, consider composting your cannabis trimmings. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and enrich soil. Cannabis stems, stalks, and leaves low in cannabinoid content typically have high nitrogen and low carbon levels, making them a perfect product to add to compost. You can also make the trim into compost tea for feeding plants during cultivation.
Smoke Your Cannabis Trim
If nothing we’ve suggested so far has caught your eye, you can always simply smoke your leftover cannabis trimmings. That’s right—just like with the trimmed buds/flower, you can dry out the leaves and smoke them. You won’t receive the same cannabinoid content and flavor profiles—and smoking trim is known to be harsher on the lungs—but it’s still a better use of your trimmings than throwing them in the trash.
Cannabis trim might not be the most desirable part of the marijuana plant, but there are many things you can do to increase its usability. It’s important to remember that trim-based products will have much lower potency than flower-based products. That said, you can definitely swap in flower for any of the above uses to get that higher potency.
Interested in growing your own cannabis or using any of the cannabis products included in this article to medicate? Sign up for an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor here!
This blog post was originally written by Chane Leigh and published on 1/3/20. Updated 1/13/22.
Harvesting and Processing
After the months spent taking care of your plants, it is finally time to harvest them and, perhaps, make some extracts. Which is the correct time to harvest your cannabis plants? How to properly dry, cure and store your buds? How is hashish made? And BHO? You will find the answers to these questions in this category, which gathers all our posts related to post-cultivation issues.
How to make use of the leftovers from your cannabis harvest
While the goal of cannabis cultivation is to produce beautiful-looking, resinous and potent buds that result in an enjoyable and effective smoking experience, there are many other parts of the plant that are often left unused and discarded, including stems, leaves and roots. While these components may not be the most desirable parts of the plant, instead of going straight into the trash they can be used in a variety of ways to ensure you get the most out of your grow.
Reusing cannabis leaves
One of the most (unfairly) undervalued parts when it comes to the pruning and trimming processes are the fan and sugar leaves. However, both types of leaves can be reused once the plant has been harvested.
Guide to cannabis trimming machines
As every grower knows, the most time-consuming and labour-intensive part of the cannabis cultivation process is trimming the harvested buds. While a few small plants can be trimmed by hand with scissors in a reasonably short time, larger plants or greater numbers can be a gargantuan task and often call for the use of some kind of trimming machine if the harvest is to be carried out within the optimum time period.
Introduction to cannabis tasting
Is it possible to taste marijuana?
Marijuana is probably the known plant species with more organoleptic variations. Its richness in regard to flavours and smells is practically infinite, varying between organic and chemical notes, with sweet, sour, fruity or woody undertones – and many more. The different combinations of the more than 100 terpenes (mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes) that it contains produce flavours and aromas that vary enormously between different plants, providing completely different notes and undertones from one cannabis strain to another. It’s for this reason that marijuana tasting is such an important and exciting activity, in which we get to know better the strains we grow, trying to intensify our senses when smoking them so we get the best of our favourite varieties.
How to store marijuana buds
Storing our marijuana buds
After harvesting and properly drying our cannabis plants, storing them is a crucial stage if we want to enjoy top grade marijuana during the following months. A correct storing process is one of the most important and most oftenly forgotten aspects of cannabis cultivation, so it requires proper attention if we want to be proud of our buds.
As happens with the drying process, canabis buds are best stored in a dark, cool place. Light degrades the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the resin glands of our buds, so we should always keep them away from light sources. Storing our marijuana in cool places also helps to preserve their cannabinoid and terpene content, but it should be noted that, while refrigeration slows down the breakdown of cannabinoids, freezing buds is not advised since the water inside the buds crystallizes and pierces the plant tissues (a phenomenon known as ice nucleation), allowing chlorophyll to escape and harm the resin glands.
Marijuana bud trimmers
Cannabis bud trimming machines
Techniques in growing marijuana have improved, as well as the processes performed after harvesting, e.g. the process of manicuring buds. Some of us – actually most of us – have spent hours and hours, with a small scissor on our hand, leaf by leaf, manicuring our precious flowers. This process is currently carried out by different machines that help us doing the job.
Spin Pro Trimmer
Spin Pro is a machine designed for trimming marijuana. No electrical power is needed, so you can take it everywhere regardless of access to power.
Its structure is divided into three sections:
Drying and curing marijuana buds
After harvesting our marijuana plants, the drying process begins. Drying your plants – along with curing the flowers once dried – is one of the most important steps to get first class buds.
We could say that, at the moment of harvesting, only half the work has been done. The following steps have the same importance than the nutrients used or the number of light hours received by our plants.
These are the correct steps to properly dry and cure our cannabis buds to keep at most their organoleptic and psychoactive properties.
When to harvest marijuana plants according to trichome ripeness
You have worked hard over the past weeks! Maybe you have spend some money in a growing tent or in cannabis seeds ; after a long time and hard dedication, you have finally arrived at this crucial moment.
How to know when to harvest your marijuana plants?
We will see here which is the best moment to harvest your marijuana plants at their psychoactivity peak, and try to understand what happens in our plants during the last weeks of flowering. In this way, you will be able to harvest your plants depending on the desired effect.
The marijuana harvest window is an aspect that, unfortunately, is rarely taken seriously; other times, what happens is that the grower just don’t have enough patience to wait for a few days to ensure highest levels of THC.
Some cannabis strains are better when harvested at their THC production peak, while others will be better if harvested a few days later.
When to harvest marijuana plants?
The harvest of marijuana plants is one of the most expected moments for any grower, who virtually enjoy the fruits of their labor after several weeks of hard work and impatience.
The big question for the vast majority of growers at late flowering is: When to harvest my plants? This question can have several answers, depending on the growing conditions and our personal needs.
About this Cannabis Blog
This is the official blog of Alchimia Grow Shop. This blog is intended exclusively for the use of adults over the age of 18 years.
To buy equipment for growing cannabis at home you can consult our catalogue of cannabis seeds, grow shop and paraphernalia