Learn more about using fan leaves in edibles, their impressive nutrition benefits, and get some delicious recipe ideas for using them up, so nothing goes to waste.
- An overview of what fan leaves are and how to identify them
- An explanation of why they may not be very potent
- Their nutrition benefits and how to use them in recipes
Why You Will Love This Guide
When we use cannabis to make edibles, we typically use the dried flower buds of the plant.
But the buds aren't the only useable part of the cannabis plant - you can use cannabis fan leaves in edibles.
Members of my Well With Cannabis Community are always talking about the delicious ways they save these leaves and use them in recipes.
While the benefits are more nutritional than medicinal, these leaves are still beneficial, especially when making healthy cannabis recipes.
This guide will explore what cannabis fan leaves are, how to use fan leaves and their nutrition benefits, and I will share some delicious recipe ideas of how to use them up.
What Are Cannabis Fan Leaves?
You may be familiar with using CBD or THC flower buds to smoke or make edibles, but have you ever worked with fan leaves?
As cannabis becomes legalized throughout the country, more and more people have access to raw cannabis.
Cannabis plants produce fan leaves, trim or sugar leaves, raw flower buds, seeds, stems, stalks, and more.
However, it's important to know that different parts do not contain cannabinoids, or the medicine, in the same concentrations.
The female flower buds contain the highest concentration of trichomes that contain cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
The fan leaves contain the lowest concentration of trichomes, meaning they do not contain as much medicine and may not make you feel high.
The cannabis plant has large fan leaves that protrude from the stalk and stems used to collect sunlight and support photosynthesis.
Cannabis plants can get quite large, and they often have more leaves than growers know what to do with.
Many growers will compost them, but we can also get some health benefits from the cannabis plant from these fan leaves.
Sugar Leaves vs. Fan Leaves
As I teach in my beginner-friendly Cannabis Compass Online Course, there are two primary kinds of leaves on the cannabis plant: sugar leaves and fan leaves.
Sugar leaves, sometimes known as trim, are the tiny ones that protrude from the flower bud, while the larger fan leaves protrude from the plant's branches.
For their visual appearance, sugar leaves are called 'sugar,' as their trichomes look like sugar granules.
Fan leaves are the larger, fan-like leaves that appear during the vegetative stage.
Fam leaves don't typically contain as many trichomes as sugar leaves.
Below, we will explore the uses of fan leaves specifically.
Do Fan Leaves Contain Cannabinoids?
Cannabis buds are loaded with most of the plant's cannabinoids, but trace amounts of cannabinoids can be present in nearly every part of the plant, including the leaves.
Fan leaves have low concentrations of cannabinoids like THC and CBD (usually less than 0.1%) but are still a good source of nutrition benefits.
This means fan leaves likely won't get you high because of their minimal amount of THC. However, they may contain trace amounts of cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA.
Research is still being done on the health benefits of these cannabinoid acids, but they may have powerful medicinal properties.
And like other leafy greens (think spinach, kale, etc.), cannabis leaves are full of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
This means they are a great option for making nutritious edible edibles containing low levels of therapeutic cannabinoids.
It's important to note that the taste of raw cannabis can be quite strong, so use it sparingly by itself, or mix it with other flavors.
How to Prepare + Safety Considerations
There are a few precautions about safety and side effects that you should consider before eating raw cannabis leaves.
The first precaution would be to ensure that you are purchasing your raw cannabis from a reliable, reputable source; otherwise, you might risk ingesting unwanted pesticides, fungicides, and other harmful microbes.
Another precaution to consuming raw cannabis is the importance of cleaning the plant before consumption.
Once the plant is in your kitchen, ready to be used, the leaves should be soaked in cold water and apple cider vinegar to help eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria.
You can find step-by-step directions for this process in the recipe card below. Although this is a rare side effect, reports suggest that raw cannabis can mildly irritate the digestive tract.
How to Make Edibles with Fan Leaves
So how do we consume cannabis as a plant-based superfood, you ask?
There are many ways to consume raw cannabis.
Like any other green leafy vegetable, this plant can be incorporated into your daily diet by simply consuming it in its whole form.
You can add leaves directly to recipes like any other fresh herb that might be used, such as in smoothies, fresh cannabis pesto, or as a garnish to a dish.
You can eat them raw, steep dried leaves in hot water to make tea, juice them, add them to smoothies, or use them in salads or pizzas, or anywhere else you may use other leafy greens.
You can infuse coconut oil with cannabis leaves for topical applications, so creating a balm or salve is a great idea.
I've even seen my community members infuse fresh leaves into cannabutter or make alcohol-based tinctures.
Just keep in mind that if you use an alcohol or oil extraction method to extract cannabinoids from fan leaves, it will take a lot of fan leaves to get an extract that will be as powerful as an extract made from the bud.
Even so, fan leaves still have some of the medicinal properties that make the cannabis plant so famous, so if you have access to a supply, put them to good use.
Here are even more ways my community members report using fan leaves:
- Juice them
- Add them when making cannabutter
- Add the leaves to smoothies
- Sautee them like spinach
- Add them to a BLT
- Deep fry them
- Use as a garnish and decoration for cakes, etc
- Make tinctures
- Make FECO
- Infuse into coconut oil for topical use
- Use them in topical products like salve
- Use them for crafts - resin, epoxy
- Press them like traditional flowers
- Create a cannabis floral arrangement
- Feed to pets including pigs, rabbits, chickens
- Add to the compost pile
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. The one thing you should never do with fan leaves, though, is throw them away, after all, you don't want to throw away valuable benefits!
Recipes To Make With Fan Leaves
Once you have your cannabis fan leaves harvested and ready for use in edibles according to the guide below, it's time to use them up!
Below you will find some of my favorite recipes that you can use fan leaves in:
- How To Make Cannabis Juice + Nutrition Benefits
- All-Natural Cannabis Recovery Drink
- Mint Chocolate Cannabis Smoothie
- Tropical Green Cannabis Smoothie
- Easy Cannabis Pesto » with Leaves or Oil
- Cannabis-Infused Beet Hummus
- Cannabis Pesto Veggie Skewers
- Beet & Walnut Cannabis Leaf Salad
- Spinach Salad with Cannabis Lemon Vinaigrette
- Cannabis Pear & Arugula Salad
- Cannabis Rainbow Chicken Salad
- Cannabis Strawberry Vinaigrette with Burrata Salad
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How to Prepare Cannabis Fan Leaves For Edibles
- 1 large cannabis plant
- Ensure that you are obtaining your raw cannabis from a reliable, reputable source, otherwise, you might risk ingesting unwanted pesticides, fungicides, and other harmful microbes.
- Harvest the fan leaves from the plant. You want to ensure you are selecting the highest quality leaves with no visible sign of damage.
- Trim off any long stems.
- After harvesting and trimming, soak the leaves in a mixture of cold water and apple cider vinegar for 10-minutes to help eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria.
- After soaking, drain and pat the leaves dry.
- Enjoy the leaves by following the recipes above.
- The health of these leaves reflects the plant's overall health, so unhealthy leaves are one of the first signs of an unhealthy plant. Do not use unhealthy looking leaves.
- Although this is a rare side effect, reports suggest that raw cannabis can be mildly irritating on the digestive tract.
My Edibles Made Easy Online Cooking Course will teach you how to easily make cannabis edibles and topical recipes at home. This step-by-step video course will teach you how to infuse, extract, and create edibles with many different product types - all from the comfort of your own home.
Learn more and enroll today →
How would I go about using the leaf ontop of chocolate like pouring melted chocolate over the leaf so you can see it ontop of the chocolate? Does the leaf have to be dried out?
Hello Nicole, I haven't experimented with this technique, but I would say a fresh leaf would work better than a dry one in this situation 🙂
i dont get it ?? if im tryin to make canabutter to use in other recipes like cookies or somethin, in 1 of ur earlier sites you said that you would just double the amount of flower as you would the bud ?? so instead of an ounce of bud to a cup of butter you would use 2 ounces of flower to a cup of butter. Am i understanding this right???
Hi Rola! Remember that there is a big difference between using fan leaves and sugar leaves for edibles. Yes, for sugar leaves and edibles I recommend doubling the amount. But there is very little cannabinoids on the fan leaves, so feel free to use as much as you want.
Hi there, can the fan leaves and trip be frozen in the same way as other herbs (ice cube)?
Hello Ida, fabulous question and idea! Yes, absolutely 😀
My husband harvested his plants and dried them. There are lots of fan leaves. I was wondering if I could ground them up and use it like a power in gummies.
Hello Penny! Yes, you can 🙂 Just remember, they are not very potent!
Is there a way of knowing how much thc or CBD is in the fan leaves?
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Ilene. Fan leaves have low concentrations of THC and CBD usually less than 0.1%.