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What are weed leaves and what are they for?

The weed leaf has become a symbol representing a whole cultural movement since the 1960s. Few things have created more controversy since then, on the one hand the supporters of prohibition, defenders of the interests of the pharmaceutical companies, and on the other hand us, cannabis activists who fight for their total liberation.

But the leaves of the cannabis plant are much more than that, and that’s why it seemed right to write this post, reviewing its importance as a vegetative organ, its uses in different areas, parts, variations, etc. Interesting, isn’t it? Keep reading because you want to know this…

⭐ What is the main function of cannabis leaves?

The leaves fulfill the mission of solar panels for the plants, that is, thanks to the surface of the leaf they can absorb the light they need to carry out the photosynthesis. This happens with all vascular plants, it is their way of transforming light into the energy they need to feed themselves.

Another important function they have is transpiring, which serves to manage the level of humidity inside the plant, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Thanks to this we can say that plants and trees are the lungs that provide us with the oxygen we need, purify the air and regulate the gases.

But we can use cannabis leaves for more things, for example to know the health status of the plants. When they are healthy they show a uniform green color, but when they are deficient or in excess of nutrients they often show discoloration, stains, burns or malformations.

⛳ Weed leaf parts

Picture of a diagram showing the different parts that make up a cannabis leaf*

  1. Petiole or Peciolo: It is like the stem of the leaf, with which it joins the trunk. There are varieties that have very short petioles, so much so that they are barely seen, and it seems that the leaves come out of the main trunk, and there are others that develop it a lot.
  2. Rachis or base: It is like the central axis of the plant, where the petiole ends and the formation of the leaflets begins.
  3. Leaflets: Imagine that the leaf is a hand, because the leaflets are the fingers, each of the separate parts into which a leaf is divided.
  4. Veins: These are the lines that can be seen on the surface of the leaves. This is the vascular system of these, and is divided between major vein or midrib, which is the main line that separates a leaflet, and minor or secondary veins that are those that come out of each major vein.
  5. Limbo: It is the surface of each leaflet itself, it is divided into sections that are delimited by the nerves.
  6. Blade: This is the part of the leaf that we see, the adaxial or upper side of the limbs, usually thicker and darker than the opposite side.
  7. Underside: The inner side of the limb, or underside of the leaves, thinner and lighter than the beam, and the place where the stomas are located.
  8. Stomas: These are microscopic holes or openings on the underside of the leaves that are responsible for gas exchange.
  9. Margin: This is the edge of the leaf, which in the case of cannabis is usually serrated, with pronounced tips.
  10. Apex: It is the tip of the leaf, the opposite part of the rachis, although in the foliated leaves such as cannabis ones, it is possible to say that they contain an apex in the tip of each leaflet.

🎬 Cannabis Leaf Types

As you may have already noticed, there are many different kinds of leaves on our favorite weed plants, right? This is because over the years, the different varieties have been acclimatizing to their environment, mutating their structure to adapt as best as possible to the conditions of their surroundings. The leaves are larger or smaller, wider or narrower, thinner or thicker depending on the amount and intensity of light, the percentage of average relative humidity, temperature, amount of oxygen and other environmental factors in each habitat.

Indica leaf

They are the largest, thickest and darkest cannabis leaves, an indica leaflet can be larger than a whole sativa or ruderalis leaf. However, they usually contain fewer leaflets than sativas, usually about 9 maximum. We’ve seen Indica leaves bigger than the steering wheel of a car, if you don’t believe me take a look at the Deep Chunk strain, a pure Afghani indica with giant leaves, and it’s not the only one.

Image of a cannabis indica leaf*

Sativa leaf

The leaves of cannabis sativa plants can have up to 13 leaflets or more, but they are very narrow compared to those of the Indica varieties, especially those of equatorial sativas. The color is also lighter in general, and its thickness is lower, but we must also take into account that these plants produce a greater amount of leaves in general, so they can compensate for the lack of surface of these.

Photograph of a sativa cannabis leaf*

Ruderalis leaf

They are the smallest in general, as is the whole plant, which is also usually smaller than the other subspecies. Their leaflets are usually 5 or 7 and are more similar to those of sativa leaves, both in spread and size.

Image of an example of a Ruderalis leaf*

Green, purple, red and even black leaves

This plant is so wonderful that even visually it can be beautiful, with a palette of colors ranging from lime green almost yellow, like those of the Mexican Landrace “Verde Limón”, to black Afghanis or Uzbekas, the red of the Panamanian or Colombian and even the purple of the Pakistani Chitral Kush.

There are plants that can have the calyxes of the flowers in dark colors and the leaves in light colours, and the other way around too, although this is not very common. Pigmentation also has to do with the environmental conditions many times, especially the cold or the thermal difference between day and night. We can even find mutations that interfere with both the color and the morphology of the leaf.

✨ Weed Leaf Mutations

  • Albinism: As with other plants or animals, cannabis can also be albino, and is expressed in the same way with the leaves, which are white. It is a genetic malformation, or a capricious combination of nature, where the plant lacks pigmentation and does not produce chlorophyll, hence its white appearance.
Plant with Albinism symptoms
  • Variegation: This mutation also has to do with the lack of pigmentation, but it’s even rarer. In this case you can find a leaf with half white and half green, something very showy and striking, and not as bad as albinism, since the plant can still make part of the photosynthesis.
Plant with Variegation Symptoms
  • Verticilated phyllotaxis: This usually happens with triploid or polyploid plants, which instead of producing 2 branches per node produce 3 or 4, which can be very productive, but unfortunately are always sterile and cannot reproduce. They are also usually trifolics and trichotilledonics, that is, they are born with 3 cotyledons and instead of generating pairs of leaves they generate groups of 3.
Plant with Verticilated Phyllotaxis Symptoms
  • Duck leg: It is a type of deformation that occurs in a few varieties. It supposedly began in a landrace in Australia, although in Hawaii they have also been found for many years, and the breeder Wally Duck stabilized it in a variety known by that name, Duck Foot. From it came the Frisian Dew from Dutch Passion and a few other hybrids.
Plant with Duck Leg Symptoms
  • Flowers on the leaves: You can imagine what this is because of its name, because that’s what it’s all about, flowers that appear on the rachis of the leaves instead of on the buds. This mutation or malformation is more common than the previous ones, but it is also quite curious.
Plant with Flowers on the leaves Symptoms
  • Rounded leaf: This only happens in a variety known as “Australian Bastard Cannabis” and is a rare mutation that makes the plant not look like a regular cannabis plant until it flowers. Its leaves are very rare, instead of being pointed they are rounded and not serrated. Currently there are breeders who are crossing it with modern hybrids, because although it lacks high psychoactivity, it is very resistant to cold.
Plant with Rounded Leaf Symptoms
  • Revegetation: During the revegetation phase, that is, the period during which the plant changes from the flowering cycle to the vegetative cycle, it usually produces leaves with only one leaflet, and almost no sawing. This is corrected after a few weeks, and can also happen during cutting.
Plant with Revegetation Symptoms

👌 What can we do with weed leaves?

There are many different uses for it, personally I like to make Bubble hash with the resinous leaves that come out of the buds, and compost with the large leaves that do not contain resin. But there are people who prefer to use them for cooking cannabis recipes, making creams or cosmetics, or even rolling Blunt style joints.

Can you smoke weed leaves right away?

Yes, you can also smoke them as if they were buds, but only those containing resin, because the others will not give you a good high. On the other hand, the resinous ones are almost like the flowers, but they have the disadvantage of the taste, which loses a lot because of the chlorophyll contained in the leaves.

☕ Cannabis leaf as an icon

It is the symbol that represents a whole activist anti-prohibitionist movement of resistance. In some countries you can’t even wear a T-shirt or a cap that looks like a cannabis leaf, it can be considered drug advocacy. But fortunately more and more states are regulating the use of this sacred plant.

📖 Conclusion

The leaves of cannabis plants can be of many types, have various functions and we can give it many different uses. Did you like this post? If so we would like you to share it, we thank you in advance.

In this post we will see everything related to the leaves of the cannabis plant, function, uses, types and all the information…

4 Healthy and Green Uses for Cannabis Leaves

Don’t throw away your cannabis leaves! Here are four uses for marijuana leaves that are better than putting them in your local landfill.

Leaves are the primary energy gatherers of the cannabis plant. Green chlorophyll in the leaves helps harvest the sun’s energy, transforming it into vital fuel. Without healthy leaves, the cannabis plant is not able to live up to its full potential.

However, it is the buds of the cannabis plant that are harvested for medical and recreational use, meaning marijuana leaves that are pruned during cultivation and harvest are often seen as a byproduct, rather than a valuable product of the cannabis plant.

Here, we will discuss the various potential uses of marijuana leaves to ensure you are getting the most out of your cannabis plant each and every harvest.

Types of Cannabis Leaves

Before diving into all the exciting ways to use cannabis leaves, let’s start with some marijuana leaf basics.

Many users ask about how many leaves the marijuana plant has. While the number of leaflets (the individual fingers of the leaf) on marijuana leaves may differ depending on the type of cannabis plant, its place in the growth cycle, and more, they will have a odd number of leaflets, with mature leaves displaying serrated edges. Usually the number of leaflets is between 7-9, but some marijuana leaves can have up to 13.

When deciding how to use cannabis leaves, it’s important to first recognize that there are two types of leaves on a cannabis plant – the fan leaf and the sugar leaf. The two types of cannabis leaves have unique features that you may find makes them more ideal for a particular use.

  • Fan Leaf : Broad marijuana leaves that shoulder most of the cannabis plant’s light gathering. Cannabis fan leaves are often recognized as the iconic symbol for cannabis. Fan leaves on indica plants are typically darker green with wider “fingers,” while sativa’s fan leaves often are lighter in color with lean, slender “fingers.” Cannabis fan leaves on hybrid cannabis strains generally feature a blend of the two. These leaves are typically trimmed during cultivation and contain low levels of cannabinoids. While they are among the most under-recognized and under-utilized parts of the cannabis plant, cannabis fan leaves are filled with flavor, resin, and phytonutrients that support wellness and health.
  • Sugar Leaf : Smaller marijuana leaves that grow close to the cannabis plant’s flowers or “buds” during the plant’s flowering stage. Often times marijuana sugar leaves are hidden, with only their tips peaking through the larger marijuana fan leaves. Marijuana sugar leaves are usually trimmed after harvest to make buds appear more appealing to consumers, either before or after drying and curing . Sugar leaves are typically coated in white, delicious trichomes as if coated with a dusting of powdered sugar, and contain higher levels of cannabinoids than fan leaves.

These two types of marijuana leaves are often discarded, but they can be very valuable for making nutritious and cannabinoid-infused beverages and edibles that you can make at home or to amend previously-used soil to grow strong and healthy plants. Here are 4 healthy and green ways to use your cannabis leaves.

Juicing Raw Cannabis Leaves

The cannabis plant is highly nutritious, containing significant levels of essential vitamins and minerals, omega fatty acids, proteins, fiber, terpenes, flavonoids, and of course, cannabinoids. Raw cannabis fan and sugar leaves are great for upping the nutritional impact of green juices.

When kept fresh and raw (not dried or heated), cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are found in their acid form rather than their “active” form, meaning you will not experience psychoactive effects or a “high” from eating or drinking raw cannabis leaves. Cannabinoids in their acid form, such as THCa and CBDa, provide their own unique benefits through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabis juice can be made at home with any type of blender. The raw cannabis leaves and even buds are first pulverized and then hand-pressed through a strainer or cheesecloth, which separates the pulp from the juice. Alternatively, a home juicer can be used to add marijuana leaves to any preferred juicing blend of fruits or vegetables.

Cannabis Leaf Butter

Although you can make much more potent cannabis-infused butter with the plant’s flowers, marijuana leaves, especially sugar leaves, can also be used to create cannabinoid-infused butter or cannabutter.

To create cannabis leaf butter, you will need to heat your butter and leaves over low heat. This will both decarboxylate your cannabinoids and assist in their absorption into the butter. The same general technique can be used to infuse cannabinoids into oils like olive oil or coconut oil. Once the butter has been strained of the plant material and cooled, it can be spread on toast or used to create any number of cannabis-infused edibles. Try incorporating your cannabis leaf butter into baked goods like brownies, or using it to top baked potatoes or a steak at dinner for a twist on the traditional marijuana edible.

Get full instructions for making cannabis butter here .

Cannabis Leaf Tea

Marijuana leaves can also be dried and used in teas. Simply add dried marijuana leaves into hot water for a soothing cannabis herbal tea. If you do not enjoy the taste of the cannabis plant by itself, you can add other herbs and botanicals for taste or to draw on the benefits of various herbs.

The psychoactive effects of drinking cannabis tea is often debated. The hot water in tea is not likely to be hot enough to cause decarboxylation, which “activates” THC so that it can interact with the body to cause its euphoric effects.

Additionally, the resin of the cannabis plant, which is what holds cannabinoids, is fat soluble. For the cannabinoids to efficiently produce psychoactive effects, the resin needs to be dissolved into a carrier fat. One way to do this would be to add milk or cream to your tea.

A more effective method might be to heat dried cannabis leaves in some coconut oil. This will extract and amplify whatever cannabinoids happen to be present in the leaves. This cannabinoid-infused coconut oil can then be added to loose leaf tea and used to create tea with activated cannabinoids and a carrier fat to make them more easily absorbed by the body.

Composting Cannabis Leaves

If you are growing your own cannabis at home, either indoors or sun grown, then there are a few ways to use cannabis fan leaves better than as compost.

Composting is a great way to add the nutrients your plants need to your soil. By simply collecting your kitchen and yard waste, including leaves from your cannabis plants, you can divert as much as 30% of your household waste away from landfills and into your garden where its nutrients can help support bigger, healthier marijuana plants. Additionally, microorganisms living in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material, and ward off plant disease.

Whether using your compost on your cannabis plants, your home garden, or both, you will be saving the nutrients in your household waste and returning them to the soil where they can provide the most benefit.

Read More About the Cannabis Plant

There is always more to learn about the cannabis plant on our Cannabis 101 page , including articles about growing marijuana at home, the types of cannabis products available, and picking the best dispensary for you.

What can marijuana leaves be used for? What are the uses for cannabis leaves? We're here to give you some great ways to use your cannabis leaves! Click to read more! ]]>