How It Works Start My Diary Login Sign Up

What to do with Weed Stalks, Stems, Leaves, and Roots?

Added 8 March 2023

Harvest season is the most exciting part of the cannabis cultivation process. This is when all your hard work comes to fruition — literally and metaphorically — with many cannabis buds. 

During this time, one thing that stands out is the number of leftover cannabis parts like stalks, stems, leaves, roots, and soil. A newbie would think of simply tossing all this in the trash bin; however, a veteran will think of ways to use them. 

Why throw away all those amazing goodies when you can still use them?

You can still recycle all the leftover cannabis parts and soil to create intriguing things like concentrates, topicals, and teas. So many types of teas. 

But, how do you recycle your old cannabis plant parts? 

Read on to know more. 

How to Recycle Cannabis Stalks and Stems?

How to Recycle Cannabis Stalks and Stems?

Once you harvest your cannabis plant, you’ll be left with many stalks, stems, and leaves. But, since your focus is on the buds, most beginners simply toss them thinking they are useless.

However, you’d be wrong to assume so. What if we told you that stalks can be used in various ways; some might even surprise you.

Just remember not to smoke stalks and stems, though. They contain very little THC and other cannabinoids, and the risks far outweigh the benefits. Smoking stems and stalks can irritate your throat and even cause a sore throat, so rolling them in a joint is not worth it. 

But what are the other uses of stems? Historically, stalks and branches have been used to make various products like rope, paper, boat sails, uniforms, and a lot more. Of course, making all these products is not possible at home, but here are some ways to recycle your cannabis stalks and stems.

1. Use It as Mulch for Your Garden

Perhaps one of the best uses of old stalks and stems of the cannabis plant is mulch. These parts are highly fibrous, so you can shred pieces of branches and use them as mulch in your garden. 

Mulching stalks are highly advantageous for any garden as it decreases the evaporation of water and improves moisture retention in the soil, which is especially good for hot or arid climates. 

Another benefit of mulch is that it forms a micro-biome on the soil’s surface, creating an environment that brings beneficial bacteria and bugs to your plants. An active, friendly ecosystem is always a benefit for your plants. 

Mulching does not mean you simply toss the stalks on your garden bed, though. You need to first shred them. For this, you can rent or purchase a wood chipper, or if you are feeling a little adventurous, you can mow them with a gas-powered mower using a shredder attachment.

Once the shredded stalks are ready, spread them on your garden bed or add them to your compost. When applying the mulch, only apply it to living soil so that it breaks down and becomes food for beneficial insects. 

Additionally, if any of your cannabis plants had infestations or diseases, do not add their stalks to the mulch — they can transfer the illness to the new batch of plants. It’s better to toss these stalks in the trash. 

2. Make Hemp Paper

Are you the artistic kind and enjoy unique types of paper? Now, you can make paper at home with leftover stalks and stems. This process is tedious, but you can turn the stalks into paper!

Follow these steps to make hemp paper at home with leftover cannabis stems:

  1. In a 1:1 ratio, add regular paper and cannabis stems in a blender. 
  2. Add some water and blend well.
  3. Spread a mosquito screen on a wooden frame and stabilize it — you need a flat surface to strain the mixture. Some people also use pantyhoses stretched on a wire screen to remove excess water from the mixture. 
  4. Pour the pulp over the screen and let it sit for some time so the water can drain out. 
  5. You may need to spread the pulp further to create an even surface. 
  6. Let it sit for over a day.
  7. The pulp will have turned into paper; remember to hang it for a day or two more so it dries well.

Congrats, you have made hemp paper at home! What are you going to draw on it? 

3. Brew a Tea

While cannabis stems are not the ideal smoking choice, they make terrific tea. Brewing tea with cannabis stems is easy and delicious and offers many benefits. It can get you relief from anxiety, headache, asthma, insomnia, nausea, and low appetite. 

Would it get you high? Depends. Cannabis stems don’t contain a lot of THC, but depending on the strain you are growing and the brewing process, the tea may have some THC that will get you high. 

Follow these steps to make stem tea:

  1. Decarb cannabis stalks (optional).
  2. Take one ounce of cannabis stems per cup of water. 
  3. Add water to a pot. 
  4. Add ½ teaspoon of coconut oil or butter per cup of water — this is the binding agent. 
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil. 
  6. Add your cannabis stems and let them simmer for up to ten minutes. Remember to stir frequently. 
  7. Then, remove the pot from the stove.
  8. Filter the tea using a strainer or coffee filter. 

That’s it. Your cannabis stem tea is ready! Enjoy it with your favorite joint. 

4. Make Cannabis Concentrates

Stems can also be used to make various cannabis concentrates like cannabutter, hash oil, or bubble hash.

  • Stem Cannabutter

You can use cannabis stems to make cannabutter. Use a ratio of 1:1 cannabis stems and butter. Start by melting the butter in a pan. Next, add the stems, and let the mixture simmer for half an hour. 

Strain the mixture. Finally, place the strained liquid in the fridge for a while until it becomes slightly harder, and your cannabutter is ready. 

  • Hash Oil

You can also make hash oil with cannabis stems and stalks. Follow these steps:

  1. Grind cannabis stems into a fine powder.
  2. Decarb the powder in an oven. 
  3. Add the decarbed powder to 99% isopropyl alcohol in a glass jar.
  4. Shake the mixture vigorously for a few minutes. 
  5. Immediately strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
  6. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set it in a well-ventilated area, so all the alcohol evaporates.

The resulting compound is your hash oil. The hash oil will not be the most potent, but it gets the job done. 

How to Recycle Cannabis Leaves?

How to Recycle Cannabis Leaves?

Any competent cannabis grower with a bushy cannabis plant will be left with tons of leaves. Fortunately, there are many ways to recycle these leaves as well. 

Cannabis plants feature two types of leaves — sugar leaves and fan leaves. Whole sugar leaves contain extra resin, it’s best to use them to make concentrates like kief, and dry sift hash while fan leaves can be used to make teas and other interesting stuff. 

1. Brew Tea

Almost any part of the cannabis plant can be used to brew tea, and leaves are no exception. The benefits of cannabis tea include improved sleep quality, boosted focus, and if you use suitable leaves, you can even get high. And let’s not forget — a leaf tea is delicious for a relaxing day. 

Follow these steps to brew a cup of cannabis leaves tea:

  1. Heat some water in a pot.
  2. Add cannabis fan leaves to it and let the mixture simmer for half an hour. 
  3. Then, add ½ tbsp coconut oil along with honey, mint, or lemon as per your preferences. 
  4. After half an hour, strain the brew. 

That’s it. Your tea is ready. 

Do note that, depending on the strain, your cannabis tea may contain some cannabinoids including THC, so do not drink it on a workday if you’re making it for the first time to be on the safer side. 

2. Make Cannabutter

You have used up the fan leaves for brewing tea, but what do you do with the sugar leaves? They are laden with resin, so you’d ideally use them to make concentrates, but you can also make cannabutter. The resin contains cannabinoids that dissolve in fat, so making a potent cannabutter is a terrific choice. 

But before you start making cannabutter, you need to decarb your sugar leaves. To do this, grind the leaves and bake them at 220°F or 104°C for 40 minutes. 

Once the leaves are decarbed, follow these steps to make cannabutter:

  1. Add 250 grams of melted butter and 300 ml of water to a pan and mix them well.
  2. Add decarbed sugar leaves to the pan and cook on low flame for up to eight hours. 
  3. When it is brewing, keep adding 50 ml of water every hour, so it does not dry out, and stir the mixture occasionally.
  4. After eight hours, remove the pan from the burner and strain the mixture through a cheesecloth.
  5. Add the green liquid to a glass jar and place it in your fridge until it solidifies. 

This cannabutter will contain THC and will get you high, so use it accordingly.

3. Prepare Salves

On the other hand, you can also use cannabis fan leaves to create salves or skincare products. It is easy, and you get to enjoy the various skin-related benefits of cannabis using something that would otherwise be wasted. 

Follow these steps to prepare cannabis salve at home:

  1. Decarb your cannabis leaves as mentioned above.
  2. In a pan, add cannabis leaves with 2 cups of coconut oil and let the mixture simmer for up to 25 minutes on low heat.
  3. Then, strain the mixture using a cheesecloth. 
  4. In the same pan, melt ½ cup of beeswax and slowly pour your strained cannabis mixture into the pan. 
  5. Once the mixture is infused well, let it cool and store it in an airtight mason jar.

That’s it. Your cannabis salve is ready, and you can use it as you wish on your skin! 

4. Make a Smoothie

With cannabis fan leaves, you can even make a raw smoothie (or any other type of juice) and reap the benefits of cannabis. And since this will be a raw smoothie, you don’t have to worry about decarbing the leaves. 

Since the leaves are raw and cannabinoids are in their acidic form and not activated, they will not get you high. Still, they can give you many benefits that cannabis is associated with. 

There is no particular recipe to make a smoothie using fan leaves; follow a smoothie recipe that you like and add a generous amount of cannabis leaves to it. Hopefully, you like the taste of fan leaves. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of bananas making a smoothie you don’t enjoy. 

5. Compost the Leaves

If you don’t want to make cannabutter or like tea, you can add the leaves to compost instead. Cannabis leaves are nutrient-rich and can benefit your next batch of cannabis plants. Plus, using these leaves will reduce your reliance on fertilizers and supplements. 

Here, both fan and sugar leaves work. Add the leaves to your home compost and let the magic brew within.  

How to Recycle Cannabis Roots?

How to Recycle Cannabis Roots?

Cannabis roots may not look like the most versatile of ingredients, but you’d be surprised with what you can do with them. Cannabis roots have been used for centuries as medicine — the oldest records can be traced back to 2700 BC. So yes, cannabis roots do have a ton of uses. 

The two best ways of recycling old cannabis roots are to brew a cup of tea (why aren’t we surprised?) and prepare topicals.

1. How to Clean Your Cannabis Roots?

Before you start preparing root tea or topicals, you must learn how to clean the roots properly so you don’t end up brewing soil in your tea. To begin with, you should only use fresh roots from a healthy plant and soil, or they may contain pollutants that are not safe for you. 

First, cut the roots from the stem and wash them in warm water. Then, use a soft brush to clean off any soil on the roots. Once they are clean, place them in a cool, dark place for a couple of days for drying. That’s all you need to do to clean your cannabis roots. 

Now, let’s brew a cup of tea with cannabis roots.

2. Brew Yet Another Cup of Tea

Cannabis seems like the perfect plant for tea lovers, doesn’t it? Cannabis roots make delicious yet a little bitter tea, which has a lot of benefits. For example, cannabis root tea can help you get relief from stress, pain, or insomnia. 

And don’t worry, if you don’t like your tea bitter, you can compensate for it using oils, syrup, or other spices like cinnamon or anise. 

Follow these steps to make cannabis root tea at home:

  1. Wash the roots and chop them up into medium-sized pieces. 
  2. In a slow cooker, add the chopped-up cannabis roots and cover them with water. 
  3. Cook the mixture for 12 hours. 
  4. After that, strain the brew and place it in the fridge.
  5. To make tea, dilute the brew with hot water — you can adjust the ratio as per your preferences. 

Try to finish the brew within a couple of weeks as it is not supposed to be consumed after that — the taste may be sour, or the brew may go bad with time. Also, do not consume a lot of cannabis root tea. The roots contain pyrrolidine and piperidine, which are toxic in large quantities. 

3. Make Skin Topicals

If you’re into skincare, cannabis roots will surprise you as they can be turned into highly beneficial skin topicals! These topicals can be used as skincare products but may also help with localized pains, gout, and cramps. 

Follow these steps to make cannabis root topicals at home:

  1. Clean and dry the roots and grind them into a powder using a food processor or grater.
  2. In a pan, place 1 to 2 balls of roots with 2 cups of water and four cups of coconut oil.
  3. Heat the mixture on low heat for 12 to 18 hours. 
  4. After that, strain the mixture, and your topical is ready.
  5. If you want to harden the topical, you can melt some beeswax and add the mixture to it.
  6. Finally, place it in the fridge for a day or two so that it hardens properly.

Your cannabis root topical is ready! However, since this is a mixture containing oil and water, you’ll need to add broad-spectrum preservatives if you want to use them for a long time. If not, the shelf-life will not extend more than a week. 

How to Recycle Cannabis Soil?

How to Recycle Cannabis Soil?

Once you harvest your plant, you’ll be left with a lot of soil. Should you let it go to the trash bin? Not really. You can still amend the soil for future use. Recycling old soil not only helps you grow healthy plants but can also save you a lot of money!

Here are the benefits of recycling old soil:

  • It is a more sustainable option and reduces your garden’s carbon footprint since soil production consumes a lot of energy and takes a lot of packing material.
  • It drives down your growing costs significantly since high-quality soil is expensive, and you need a lot of it before every season. 
  • Since it is an involving process, you get to learn a lot about soil, helping you become a better cannabis cultivator. 

Of course, there are some downsides to recycling old soil, too. The cons of recycling soil are:

  • Old soil can contain various pathogens like fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes that can be transferred into your next batch of cannabis plants. 
  • Many pests lay eggs, and they may still be present in old soil — this can reinfect your cannabis garden with pests. 
  • Old soil may lack some nutrients, leading to deficiencies in the next batch if they have not been amended at the right time. 

These downsides are not deal breakers but highlight one crucial aspect of recycling old soil — you must be careful. It goes without saying that if your plants have suffered from any pest infestation or diseases, it is best not to recycle old soil. 

Additionally, you must check your soil for nutrient deficiencies before planting the next batch. Fortunately, this is easy to do with testing kits that give detailed insight into the nutrients present in the soil. 

Follow these steps to recycle your old soil:

1. Loosen the Soil

The soil in your garden will be compacted after a season, especially if you use pots. So, you need to start by loosening it. You can do this with your hands or a rake, whichever is easier for you. 

2. Clean the Soil

Next, you need to clean the soil of any roots or foliage that may be left behind from harvest. Also, look out for any signs of pest infestation or the presence of eggs at this point.

3. Pasteurize the Soil

Next, you need to rest it for some time. For this, start by washing the soil with boiling water — this will eliminate any pests or pathogens from the soil. Then, move the soil into plastic bags once it is dry and bake it under strong sunlight for two weeks. 

4. Introduce Life to Your Soil

After pasteurizing, the soil will likely not contain any microbial life, but for soil to be healthy, it needs to harbor life — it is a complex ecosystem, after all. This micro-life is extremely beneficial for cannabis plants, so you must rebuild it from scratch.

An ideal way to do so is to use worm casting in your soil. Add up to 20% worm casting to your soil and let it sit for a while. The micro-life will thrive in no time. You can also add Trichoderma and mycorrhizae to enrich the soil further. 

At this time, you should also supplement it with nutrients that might be missing from it. 

Post this, your soil is ready. You may need to add extra soil since old soil is usually 25% less than what you’d need for the next batch. So, buy high-quality soil and spread the mixture on your garden bed, and start planting. 

Summary: What to do with Weed Stalks, Stems, Leaves, and Roots?

Isn’t it fascinating the amount of things you can make with what otherwise looks like a waste? That’s perhaps the magic of cannabis — it is a versatile plant, and almost all parts are usable in some way. And practically all uses have a ton of health benefits associated with them. 

Let’s not forget the teas you can make with a single cannabis plant can help you launch your own Starbucks Cannabucks. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare a cup of cannabis tea, and start making concentrates, paper, and topicals while sipping on the tea. 



I was looking for something like this. Thank you.


Dog Chew Toy 4 Stalks n' Stems