Can you smoke weed stems?

can you smoke weed stems

Can you smoke weed stems? Many stoners have asked themselves this question, and it’s easy to guess why. Preparing flower to grind and consume is only possible after picking the flower off of the stems.

Looking at the stems, it makes sense why someone would question if they have cannabinoids. They have little hairs slightly reminiscent of trichomes. Unfortunately, these hairs don’t hold the same power as trichomes found on flower. But cannabis stems aren’t useless; there are beneficial ways to use them.

Stems are a natural part of the cannabis plant, which has many strains, all with similar anatomy. Knowing the makeup of a weed flower is an excellent way to identify which parts are good to smoke and which should stay behind.

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can you smoke weed stems
Big green cone of marijuana closeup on dark wooden table Photo: Olena Ruban / Getty Images

Anatomy of a cannabis flower

Cured cannabis flower is composed of stems and buds, among other things. Prepping flower to smoke, vape, or otherwise consume means pulling the plant matter off of stems to use and discarding the twigs.

Stems can vary in size and tensility. Some break easily, while others are harder to snap. The strength and makeup of the fibrous material show where the nug grows on the cannabis plant. Flower on top of the plant, or colas, will have stronger stems compared to flower goring on lower branches that get less light. There are some other things to look for when picking out the stems.

Not all, but some nugs will have seeds in them. Seeds should be picked out along with stems asthey can also be harsh to smoke. Consumable cannabis flower grows on female cannabis plants. If some pollen blows over from a male plant, the female may hermaphrodite. If she does, seeds will develop in the buds. Since the seeds shouldn’t be smoked, this can be a major issue for people looking to blaze the bud that they’re growing.

Can you smoke weed stems?

Do not smoke weed stems. Those asking, “Will weed stems get you high?” should know that the answer is no. To start, there’s very little psychoactive cannabinoid content in stems. The little twigs won’t get you traditionally high, but those who smoke cannabis stems might have some negative side effects.

Smoking cannabis stems could lead to a sore throat, coughing, or even a raging headache. It’s just not a good idea to smoke them, but there are other ways to use stems.

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can you smoke weed stems
Beautiful green marijuana cones close-up as background Photo: Olena Ruban / Getty Images

How to use weed stems

While cannabis stems don’t make for a great smoke, they can be repurposed into other products. Topicals or tinctures are an excellent way to use stems. What’s even better is that both are easy to make at home—here’s how.

Making tincture with stems

  1. Grab a jar or bottle and fill it halfway with stems.
  2. Pour high-quality 190-proof alcohol over the stems, filling just shy of the top.
  3. Close the top of the vessel and shake the contents so alcohol has been distributed throughout.
  4. Let the mixture sit in a cool, dark place for 15 to 30 days, giving the jar a shake every few days.
  5. Once the infusion is finished, it’s time to strain the tincture. Put a cheesecloth over a fine mesh colander with a clean container beneath.
  6. Pour the contents of the jar over the clean container, straining out the stems. Squeeze the stems in the cheesecloth to get every drip of alcohol.
  7. Take one-half dropper (1 mL) to test the effects and figure out your dose.

How to make cannabis topicals with weed stems

Making a topical with stems is as easy as infusing the right fat and following a topical recipe. There are many topical recipes, each with its own draw. Identify the base moisturizing ingredient as one way to choose a recipe that fits the right skin type and/or needs. Ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax are common in DIY balms and lotions.

Decarboxylate stems before making cannabis topicals with them. This process is often used for edibles; heat activates the cannabinoids before infusion. Decarbing flower converts THCA to THC, readying it for consumption without combustion. Many cannabis infusion machines have a decarboxylation setting to make this easier, but the process is easy to do in the oven. After decarbing the bud, infuse the chosen fat source and use it as directed in the topical recipe.

Can you smoke weed stems?

Do not smoke weed stems. There is very little chance of getting high from smoking stems. Actually, there are negative side effects, not positive ones. Smoking them isn’t an option, but stems make a great topical product, and some enjoy tincture made from the stuff. There are ways to use weed stems, but inhaling them isn’t one of them.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.