Cannabis Leaves: More Use, Less Refuse
The leaves of the cannabis plant are the main source of energy for the plant. Because of the amount of green chlorophyll in the leaves, energy from the sun is absorbed and transformed into the fuel the helps the plant grow and live up to its maximum potential. Surprisingly, they’re also the most underused part of the plant.
There are many uses for the iconic cannabis fan leaves that you might not have known. They’re filled with flavor and resin, plus additional phytonutrients. The fan leaves help to determine the general health of the plant and are the first signals of any environmental distress.
To explore a few of the uses for cannabis leaves, it’s helpful to first learn about the two predominant types of leaves found on cannabis plants:
Fan Leaf. The leaves of this type are broad and absorb the majority of the plant’s
light. They’re typically trimmed during the cultivation process and only have a low level of cannabinoids.
Sugar Leaf. Sugar leafs are grown close to the flowering part of the cannabis plant, or the buds. After the plant is harvested, these leaves are usually trimmed—before or after the drying and curing of the buds. Unlike the fan leafs, they contain higher amounts of cannabinoids.
Now, here’s how to make use of those leaves to get the most out of the cannabis plant:
Raw juicing of the cannabis leaves can produce a highly nutritious drink. Significant levels of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, omega fatty acids, fiber, flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids.
The psychoactive effects from eating or drinking raw cannabis (cannabis that isn’t dried or heated) is not experienced when taken, because raw cannabinoids are in an acidic form versus “active” form, which is the form of cannabis that produces the high experienced from smoking or eating it. In their acid form, THCa and CBDa cannabinoids are beneficial in providing their own distinctive benefits by way of interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
All you need is a regular blender to make your own cannabis juice. Pulverize and hand-press the raw leaves (including buds) to separate the pulp from the juice using a strainer or cheesecloth. If you like to mix it up, you can combine the leaves with fruits and vegetables in your blender for a tastier health drink.
Cannabis leaves, particularly the sugar leaves, can make cannabis-infused butter, although not as potent as when made with the plants flowers. To make cannabis butter, the butter and leaves must be heated over a low heat.
Through a process called decarboxylation, which activates the compounds in cannabis through heating, the cannabinoids are in a more conducive state in which to be absorbed by the butter. This process also works when you want to inject cannabinoids into other types of oils such as coconut or olive oil.
After the plant material has been strained from the butter and allowed to cool down, you’ve got a potent butter that can be spread on toast or used to create your own edibles infused with cannabis.
If tea is your thing, you can enjoy a soothing, cannabis leaf herbal tea made from dried cannabis leaves. All you have to do is add the dried leaves to hot water. But if the pure taste of the cannabis plant alone doesn’t appeal to you, try adding other herbs and botanicals to make the taste more palatable, as well as to bring out the added benefits of the other ingredients.
In tea, cannabis leaves may not get hot enough in the water to activate compounds that bring out the typical psychoactive effects smoking or eating cannabis edibles would, but a way to accomplish that is to heat the dried leaves in some coconut oil to draw out and intensify the cannabinoids that may be stored there.
Also, there’s resin in cannabis plants, and that’s the substance that holds the cannabinoids together. The resin needs to be dissolved in a carrier fat like milk to effectively produce the feeling of euphoria.
Good to Grow
Cannabis fan leaves are great for a number of additional uses, but probably their greatest value is as compost to assist in cannabis growth at home. Plus it’s an earth-friendly way of reducing landfill usage when combined with kitchen and yard refuse. Composted cannabis leaves can provide your home-grown cannabis plants with the nutrients they need to grow larger and healthier.
The microorganisms that live in compost also contribute to soil aeration, the prevention of plant diseases, and the breakdown of organic substances. Plant disease is also combatted.
Cannabis leaves have many uses among them, and when it comes to a home garden, the nutrients they contain can provide the most benefit to grow the strongest and richest plants.
Thoughts to Leave You With
Get it? “Leave” you with? Oh well, pardon our attempt at a little humor, but what you can get from what you’ve read so far is that the leaves of the cannabis plant are not just a famous symbol of marijuana culture, art, and history.
There are distinct characteristics that make the leaves an incredibly beautiful part of the plant, as well as an excellent source of medical benefits—containing as much medicinal power as the buds harvested for different methods of consumption to treat medical conditions.
With one of the most versatile plants on earth at your disposal, make sure you’re not disposing of your cannabis until you’ve gotten everything you can out of it!
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