Can you make edibles out of stems

Can you make edibles out of stems

The culinary world is abuzz with inventive ways to use every part of our ingredients, reducing waste and exploring new flavors. This ethos has seeped into the cannabis sphere, where the often overlooked stems are finding their way into the kitchen. The question isn’t just whether you can use stems to make edibles, but how to harness their subtler strengths to create something unexpectedly delightful.

At a glance, stems may seem the underdogs of the cannabis plant—tough and less potent than their flowery counterparts. Yet, they harbor cannabinoids and terpenes that can infuse edibles with a gentle touch of the plant’s essence.

Stems vs. Flowers in Edibles

Cannabis FlowersCannabis Stems
High in cannabinoids like THC and CBDLower cannabinoid content, but still present
Strong, distinct flavor profilesSubtler flavors, can complement rather than dominate
Ideal for potent ediblesBest for mild edibles or as a supplementary ingredient

Cannabutter from Stems


The first step to making edibles from stems is creating a base ingredient infused with their essence. Cannabutter is a staple in cannabis cuisine, and stems can step in to craft a milder version.

The art of making stem-based cannabutter doesn’t stray far from the traditional path. It begins with decarboxylation, the process of heating cannabis to activate its cannabinoids, particularly THC. After this, the stems are simmered in butter, allowing the fats in the butter to absorb the cannabinoids. Following a period of gentle simmering, the mixture is then strained to remove the solid matter, leaving behind the infused butter. This cannabutter can then be cooled and solidified, ready to be used in various edible creations.

The Decarboxylation

To ensure that the stems are more than just a fibrous addition to your butter, they must undergo the transformative process of decarboxylation. This stage is essential to activate the THC-A (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) present in the raw plant material, converting it into the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Skipping this step would result in an edible that lacks the characteristic effects of cannabis, delivering flavor without the accompanying experience.

Decarboxylation of cannabis stems is a simple yet precise process. The stems must be ground to increase the surface area, allowing for more even heat distribution. Once ground, the stems are evenly spread on a baking tray and heated in an oven. The temperature and duration are critical—too low, and the activation is incomplete; too high, and you risk vaporizing the very compounds you seek to harness. The consensus suggests a sweet spot of around 230 F (110 C) for about 60 minutes to achieve optimal decarboxylation. The result is a set of stems that are primed to release their full potential once introduced to the fatty embrace of butter​.

Delicate Dose

With stem-based edibles, the lower potency becomes an advantage for those seeking a lighter experience. By adjusting the ratio of stems to butter and fine-tuning the decarboxylation time, one can craft an infusion that complements the culinary creation without overpowering it​​.

Cannabutter made from stems carries a more mellow flavor, allowing the other ingredients in the edible to shine through. This is particularly beneficial when crafting edibles that are meant to tantalize the taste buds with complex flavors beyond cannabis​.

Beyond Butter

he journey of cannabis stems in the kitchen does not end with cannabutter. The versatility of this plant part is vast, opening doors to a myriad of culinary applications. Cannabis-infused oils are an excellent alternative for those who prefer a different medium over butter. These oils can be used in dressings, marinades, or as cooking oils, infusing every meal with a hint of cannabis.

For the more adventurous cooks, creating tinctures from stems is another intriguing venture. Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts, and when made from cannabis stems, they offer a discrete and easy method for dosing. A few drops under the tongue or added to a beverage can impart the subtle effects of THC.

Moreover, for those interested in the more artisanal aspects of cannabis use, stem hash oil and bubble hash present unique opportunities. Stem hash oil is made by extracting the resin from the stems using a solvent like isopropyl alcohol. Once the solvent is evaporated, what remains is a potent oil that can be used sparingly in recipes or as a base for homemade topicals. Bubble hash involves a solventless extraction that uses ice-cold water to separate trichomes from the stems. The resulting hash can be used in edibles or smoked for a more traditional consumption method.


This exploration of stems in cannabis edibles unveils a treasure trove of potential for those willing to experiment. The key takeaway is that stems, though often discarded, can become a cornerstone of a more sustainable and creative approach to cannabis cuisine.

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