We say ‘waste’ leaves because we’re not talking about those beautifully frosty trichome-covered leaves around the buds themselves. When you can see a ton of THC without having to look for it, you know exactly what to do with it.
But what about the rest of the cannabis plant? How about all those leaves you’d normally just toss in the trash? Is there something you can (or should) be doing to extract and make use of their cannabinoids? For that matter, do waste leaves contain enough THC or other cannabinoids to be of any real use to you?
The short answer is yes…they do. In fact, every part of a cannabis plant is packed with goodies you may as well make the most of. Even if not at the same potency levels as the buds themselves, it’s still better to waste as little as possible.
Next time you find yourself dealing with a bunch of ‘waste’ leaves, here’s how to put them to practical use:
1. Vape Them
It’s no secret that smoking trimmed leaves isn’t normally a good idea. Setting light to this kind of plant matter can produce the kind of smoke that can dry and irritate the lungs and airways, with very little payoff. However, it’s perfectly possible to vape trimmed cannabis leaves and gain something from the experience. It’s simply a case of chopping up the leaves as they are, or using them as the basis for a vape liquid. There’s nowhere near as much THC in there as in the buds, but there’s still a decent amount to play with.
2. Make Smoothies with Them
There are two options available when it comes to making smoothies with trimmed cannabis leaves. If you add the raw cannabis leaves to a bunch of other ingredients to make a smoothie, you’ll benefit from the various beneficial and health-promoting compounds therein. However, if you heat the leaves first (aka decarboxylation), this will activate the THC in the leaves and could help give you a buzz. Either way, far better than simply throwing them in the trash.
3. Make Them into Cannabutter
Again, a batch of cannabis butter made with leaves isn’t going to be nearly as strong as a second batch made with high-strength cannabis flowers.Nevertheless, you can still make a decent (and very tasty) batch of butter with nothing but leaves. You simply follow the same basic recipe, which involves gently simmering shredded leaves in butter and water for a while, before straining it, cooling it and enjoying it. You can also use the same method to make your own cannabis-infused oils, if you prefer.
4. Use Them to Roll Joints
This can be a test for even the most seasoned stoners, but it’s perfectly possible to use fresh cannabis leaves to roll blunt-like joints. It’s far from the easiest process and you’ll need a decent tutorial to guide you through the process, but the results can be pretty awesome if you manage to pull it off.
5. Make Them into Cannabis Pills
Last but not least, you can always use this kind of ‘waste’ plant material to make cannabis pills. This is basically a process whereby plant matter is chopped, heated to convert the THCa into THC, ground to a powder and dosed into empty capsules. Some combine this cannabis powder with other nutrients and vitamins, or simply use it to get high. It’s not going to completely knock your head off, but can certainly make for an enjoyable experience. And let’s face it - it’s technically free!