Marijuana PSA: Don’t Toss Your Stems and Shake
Nobody likes smoking stems or shake, but that doesn’t mean they should be tossed in the trash the minute the buds are picked clean. Waste not want not, as they say. Especially when that waste can get you high. Here are six easy and great ways to maximize your stash. No crazy apothecary skills or witchcraft needed.
Vape it up
While you definitely don’t want to smoke a bowl or roll a joint with these leftovers, they’re perfect for vaping. Just toss them in your grinder and pulverize the best you can. It’s enough for a few bowls typically, and vaping should help smooth out any harshness associated with the debris. Honestly, it’s not going to taste all that great, but let’s not pretend we expect that from our stems and shake. Feel free to save the leftovers for cooking or salve, too (see below).
Become a master chef
While stems typically have low THC content compared to shake and the stuff at the bottom of your bag is too messy to smoke in a bowl — but is just as potent as the nugs it came with. Take advantage and grind those up, then infuse it into oil or butter and bake it into pretty much anything.
Be sure to decarboxylate (heat it up!) before infusing (vaping will do that nicely) and pre-soak your stems and shake in water the night before — this will rinse off some of the chlorophyll responsible for the more aggressive weed taste. After that, you can take the concept of “easy bake” to any level you see fit. (Check out a handy recipe right here)
Make infused booze
If you’re looking for a more discreet or more potent medication method, ignore that cookie nonsense and go buy some high-octane liquor. We’re talking 100-proof or higher here, though remember that Everclear tastes just as bad under your tongue as it did as a shot.
Once you’ve picked your 100+ proof liquor, grind, decarboxylate, and rinse your stems and shake, then pick a glass jar with a screw top and fill it up with your leftover weed. Pour enough booze to cover all the plant material and seal. Keep in a cool, dark area and shake daily for two+ weeks. After that, you’ve got the basis of some delicious cocktails. Or some really gross shots.
Turn it into a salve
In news that should surprise no toker, warm, just-been-extracted plant material is rich in essential oils, making it a cheap way to combat dry skin patches and other minor dermatological ailments. Hang onto to those stems and that shake from your infused oil process and apply liberally to problem areas. Mind you, it won’t get you high, but be sure to shower off before work the next day. Here’s a quick and easy way to get in touch with your inner apothecarian.
Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock
Brew some herbal tea
Provided you’re good with dairy, infused tea takes minutes to make. On range, stir in ¼ cup decarboxylated stems/shake with one cup half and half, and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, watching closely while stirring. Then take it off range, strain it through cheesecloth (we’re sure you have some of that just laying around, right?), and add to whatever tea you’ve already selected. Raw sugar, honey, and/or more tea will help dilute the plant taste. If you want to get even fancier, Leafly has a more intense but also more delicious recipe here.
Grind it up and smoke it down
We’re really not advocating this, unless a) you’re extremely desperate or b) you hate yourself and everyone you’re with. It’s tastes like a tree, won’t burn clean, and is sure to cause a headache. That said, if you’re in an extreme pinch, grind up your leftovers finely and let roll the dice. It’ll do the trick, but we’re not necessarily sure it’s a trick worth doing.
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Tyler Hurst once wrote a story that produced eight death threats, three client threats, one public encounter, an online impersonator, 2,000 words of insults, and five+ months of reader reaction. Follow him to vitriol @tdhurst.
Marijuana Frequently Asked Questions
Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant that is used for a variety of purposes in the world, including paints, textiles, animal feed. One if its more well-known uses is in the substance we refer to as marijuana. Often called pot, weed, grass, reefer, or herb, Marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, and seeds and flowers of the cannabis plant.
The active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), creates a “high“ in users after it is inhaled or ingested. When inhaled, most users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes (called joints, among other names) or using a pipe or water pipe called a bong. Marijuana can also be combined with tobacco to create a marijuana cigar, or blunt. Marijuana can also be vaporized.
When ingested, the oil from marijuana can be cooked into certain foods (brownies, cookies, etc.) This gives the product the effect of creating a potent high. It can sometimes take users 90 minutes to 2 hours to feel the affects of this high.
Marijuana is a depressant, which means that it slows down messages traveling between your brain and your body. In some cases, though not all, using marijuana can result in hallucinogenic effects like intense paranoia or seeing things that aren’t there. These experiences may cause people to act erratically.
What are the effects of marijuana?
The human brain continues to develop until around the age of 25. In the teen years, the brain is not growing, but actually eliminating unnecessary connections (synapses) it feels it does not need. In addition, the brain is producing myelin, which can be thought of like the insulation around an electrical wire. This insulation helps signals move more quickly in the brain.
THC fitS into the brains natural cannabinoid receptors, resulting in less natural production of endocannabanoids AND CREATING A DEPENDENCE ON MARIJUANA.
While not fully understood, some research suggestions that marijuana can affect both these processes. Marijuana seems to negatively influence the production of myelin, which could result in long-term cognitive deficiencies for individuals who use in their teens. Additionally, using marijuana in your teens can affect certain neurotransmitters produced in the brain. As the brain strives to become more efficient, it could prune away synapses which produce these neurotransmitters, resulting in a deficit in adulthood.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
While marijuana may not be physically addictive, like we might think of alcohol or heroin, marijuana is still mentally addictive. In the section above it was mentioned that marijuana can affect certain neurotransmitters being produced in your brain. One of them is actually a chemical very similar to THC, called an endocannabinoid. These neurotransmitters are responsible for helping you to calm down, or to fall asleep, or deal with stress. If a teen is using marijuana to help them with stress or anxiety, research suggests that their brains may prune away it’s ability to produce endocannabinoids as efficiently, meaning that without marijuana the teen will have a harder time coping, which would continue into adulthood. Its easy to see how this situation could develop into dependence.
What about medical marijuana?
The medicinal properties of marijuana have been confirmed to contain active ingredients with therapeutic potential for relieving pain, controlling nausea, and stimulating appetite. As a result, an Institute of Medicine report concluded that further research on cannabinoid drugs (marijuana) and safe delivery systems was warranted. It is important to remember that marijuana is not a cure for any illness or condition, but a treatment to help manage certain symptoms.
With the recent passage of the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law, it is important to note that, as well as with all medicine prescribed by a doctor, the prescription should only be taken by the person to whom it was prescribed, as prescribed, and any unused marijuana should be properly disposed of.