Learn more about using fan leaves in edibles, their impressive nutrition benefits, and get some delicious recipe ideas for how to use them up, so nothing goes to waste!
Can You Use Cannabis Fan Leaves in Edibles?
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 Facebook Community are always talking about the delicious ways they save these leaves and use them in recipes.
While the flower buds contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids like CBD and THC, there are still many other benefits associated with eating the leaves.
While the benefits are more nutritional than medicinal, these leaves are still beneficial, especially when making healthy cannabis recipes.
This guide will explore more about what cannabis fan leaves are, how to use fan leaves in edibles, their nutrition benefits, and I will share some delicious recipe ideas of how to use them up!
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What Are Cannabis Fan Leaves?
As cannabis becomes legalized throughout the country, more and more people have access to raw cannabis.
Raw cannabis may come in the form of living plants that produce fan leaves, sugar leaves, raw flower buds, fresh leaf trim, seeds, stems, stalks, and more.
This increased access allows us to use cannabis as both a plant-based medicine and a plant-based superfood.
The cannabis plant has large fan leaves that protrude from the stalk and stems that are 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 of 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 are the tiny ones that protrude from the flower bud, while the larger fan leaves protrude from the plant's branches.
Sugar leaves are called 'sugar' for their visual appearance, as the trichomes present on them often look like sugar granules.
Fan leaves are the larger, fan-like leaves that appear during the vegetative stage and don't typically contain as many trichomes as the sugar leaves.
Below, we will explore the uses of fan leaves specifically.
Do Fan Leaves Contain Cannabinoids?
Cannabis buds are loaded with the majority 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 that they are a great option for making edibles that are nutritious and contain 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 a mixture of 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.
Lastly, although this is a rare side effect, reports suggest that raw cannabis can be mildly irritating on 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.
Just like any other green leafy vegetable, this plant can be incorporated into your daily diet by simply consuming it in its whole form.
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
- 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
- Green Cannabis Pineapple Smoothie
- Easy Cannabis Pesto Using Leaves or Oil
- Cannabis-Infused Beet Hummus
- Cannabis Pesto Veggie Skewers
- Beet & Walnut Cannabis Leaf Salad
- Chickpea Spinach Salad with Cannabis Lemon Vinaigrette
- Cannabis Pear and 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.