What to Do With Your Stalks, Stems and Leaves

What to Do With Your Stalks, Stems and Leaves

You lovingly raised your cannabis crop from seed to flower; you harvested those beautifully frosted buds, trimmed, washed, and dried them; and now, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with a truly excellent toke.

But what do you do with the rest of the plant once you have what you wanted?

Are the stalks, stems and leaves of your crop worthless, or can you make them as valuable as the flower?

Make Homemade Concentrates

Though the trim — the industry term for non-flower vegetable matter, like stalks, stems and leaves — doesn’t have nearly the same cannabinoid and terpene content as the flower, there are still some good compounds within them.

While smoking trim directly will provide a dreadful experience, you can distill all the good stuff and remove the unwanted vegetable content by making concentrates.

Here are a few concentrates you can make at home using your trim:


Hash, or hashish, is a block of trichomes, or the sticky, crystalline structures that make cannabis glitter.

To make hash with trim, you will need to remove the vegetable matter and reserve the trichomes.

You can do this by flat screening, or rubbing frozen trim against a silkscreen and capturing the dry sift, or you can blend your trim with water and rest the mixture on a silkscreen over a jar; the trichomes will sink to the bottom of the water, making them easier to harvest.

From there, making hash is a relatively easy procedure: pressing the trichomes into a block or ball using your fingers or a mold.


Tinctures are alcohol solutions that strip away the vegetable content and preserve the cannabinoids.

To make a tincture from trim, you simply place your trim in a jar with a potable alcohol — ideally one without much flavor, like pure grain alcohol or high-quality vodka — and store the mixture in a cool, dark place for a week or so, as long as the tincture takes to reach the desired potency and flavor.


Shatter is one of the purest concentrates, even when it is a trim run.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to make shatter at home without an industrial extraction rig or even dangerous solvents — though the best-quality shatter from Washington, D.C. dispensaries use both.

First, use the same method as you did with hash to harvest the trichomes from your trim; next, wrap the trichomes in a couple layers of parchment paper, and clamp the package hard in a heated hair straightener for a couple minutes.

Once the trichomes melt into a honey-colored substance, you have shatter that is ready to smoke.

Make Homemade Edibles

Using trim to make edibles is a perfect way to make the most of your stems, stalks and leaves.

Not only will you mask the vegetable flavor of the trim with the flavors of your cooking, but you also don’t risk overdosing your food with too many cannabinoids from high-quality nugs.

The two best ways to incorporate trim into your cannabis kitchen are through:

Cannabis Cooking Oils

You can infuse almost any cooking oil with cannabis, to include olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil and even butter.

Some of the best recipes use slow cookers, which reduce the loss of cannabinoids through steam.

While making and using cannabis-infused oils, you need to be diligent to prevent the temperature from getting too high, which can degrade the cannabinoids before you enjoy them.


Simply steeping your trim in hot water can release the cannabinoids and create a tisane that offers a mellow high.

However, the tea isn’t likely to taste good unless you add more palatable ingredients, like other herbal teas or honey.

Compost It

Usually, you don’t want to add too much green matter to your compost pile.

Green plants have a higher amount of nitrogen and protein, which will cause the pile to heat up; while your microorganisms definitely need some green matter as fuel, too much green stuff can damage your micro-ecosystem.

If adding all your stalks, stems and leaves to your compost pile would throw your 4-to-1 browns-to-greens ratio out of whack, you might consider making “compost tea,” instead, which requires soaking your cannabis trimmings in fresh water for a few weeks and using that to feed your outdoor plants.

Make Hemp Rope

Cannabis was among the first crops ever domesticated by humankind, not because of its psychoactive effects but because of its strong, lightweight fibers, which can be woven into rope or clothing.

In truth, it isn’t terribly difficult to remove the fiber from the stalks of the cannabis plant and spin it into rope.

You can use this rope for almost anything, especially because it is water-resistant, UV-resistant, pest-resistant and extremely durable.

Every part of your cannabis plants can be valuable — if you know how to use them.

You can transform your trim into something incredibly valuable, like concentrates, edibles, compost or rope, as long as you are dedicated to avoiding waste and learning more about cannabis applications.

Source: cannatechtoday.com