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Once we have made our way through our stash there are always those sad little stems that seem to have no use. So we just throw them away and go back to the dealer. However, what if I told you that there are loads of great ways to use your stems and other scraps? This is not only obviously far less wasteful but can be useful if there is still a bit to go before payday. Another sad aspect of us throwing away our stems is the amount of THC that lives in them. Just because they seem like waste and can’t really be smoked, it has been assumed that they are pointless. They are actually quite the opposite and if you can harness that small amount of THC it adds a whole extra bump of fun to your stash. This is a list of ways that you can use your leftovers rather than just chucking them in the bin.
The easiest way to use up your stems is the brew them into a tea. Of course, the THC levels on stems isn’t close to the buds, but it is still in there are this is a great way to get it out. Tea won’t be super strong but it will usually be a great way to really relax or chill out, especially before bed. Personally, I feel the best way to do this is to mix it with a herbal or chamomile tea to really up the relaxation. Perfect for having after a long day of work or if you just generally struggle with stress.
To make the tea either cut the stems in the centre so the middle of it is exposed, or you can just pop them straight in your grinder. Just don’t forget to clean the grinder before you next put buds into it. Making tea is not a quick process as we have to allow the stems to decarboxylate, just as we would making butter or oil. The easiest way to do this is to place the stems into boiling water and leave it to soak for as long as possible, at least overnight. Then all you need to do is reheat the water and use it to make the tea of your choice. If you want to make a decent amount of this cannabis water and store it should reheat well for a day or so.
Usually, we would make hash oil out of kief or out of the flowers, but it can also be made out of the stems. To do this we just grind the stems right down until they make a very fine powder. Then we just need to use a solvent, often people will use a high percentage isopropyl alcohol. Just add the two together in a jar and mix by shaking the container. Once it has been mixed drain it into a glass bowl through a strainer and let the alcohol evaporate. You are going to want to do this in a well-ventilated area. The remaining viscous sticky substance is your stem hash oil. This oil can then be used in a variety of ways including smoking, eating, vaping or rubbing straight onto the skin. It will not be as strong as normal hash due to the lower THC level, but it is still good for simply having relaxation in the evening. Definitely more of a medicinal vibe than a recreational one.
You can also use your leftover stems and other scraps to make yourself some butter. Again we start by decarboxylating the stems so that they become active. This is usually done by carefully heating them in the oven to activate the THC. Once this is done grind the stems to make a fine powder. Melt some butter in a pan, carefully so it doesn’t burn, and stir in the stem powder. This only really needs to be cooked for about 45 minutes, but just watch the mixture until it turns brown and again be careful not to overheat. Once it is done let it cool a little and then strain it through a fine sieve or preferably through cheesecloth. Again, this butter won’t be as strong as if we were using fresh buds, but it will still have a bit of a kick to it. It can be consumed straight away or can solidify in the fridge for spreading or use in cooking.
This is great for anyone who isn’t bothered about consuming the stems but wants to feel the effects of them. Cannabis is often used in tinctures, topicals, and a variety of other beauty products. Usually this is for the calming effect of the cannabinoids rather than the high. There are a number of reasons to put cannabis into topicals. It can be antiseptic and antiinflammatory so great for treating cuts, bites, bruises and other skin issues. It can also be used to treat joint and muscle pain when it is put into a cream or moisturiser. If you regularly struggle with pain, swelling or other issues this is a great way to use leftover stems and save some money on shop bought treatments.
Cut up the stems into little pieces and place them into a jar with a sealable top or cap. Use medicinal alcohol and pour it into the jar with the pieces. Place that jar in a cool dark space and once all of the pieces of stem sink to the bottom it should be ready. The easiest way to use this method is to place the rubbing alcohol directly onto your skin. It is up to you whether you wish to strain out the pieces or not. This can then be added to plain moisturisers etc for easier application and should keep very well. As always with skin products probably do a patch test to make sure your skin doesn’t react to the mixture, don’t just go slathering it on.
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