Are you growing your first cannabis plant and wondering if you can use those beautiful fan leaves? They’re not very potent, but you can use them! Learn more about using fan leaves in edibles and their impressive nutrition benefits, and discover some delicious recipe ideas to use them up so nothing goes to waste.
Table of Contents
- 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
Don’t Waste Those Fan Leaves!
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?
As cannabis becomes legalized throughout the country, more and more people have access to raw cannabis.
However, it’s important to know that different parts do not contain cannabinoids, or the medicine, in the same concentrations.
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
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.
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 sourcing 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 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.
How to Make Edibles with Fan Leaves
So now that we’re washed and prepped, 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.
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!
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