Although the flowers get most of the attention—and rightly so—every part of this complex species has a critical and interesting function. As a cultivator, it helps to familiarise yourself with the anatomy of the cannabis plant. In doing so, you’ll develop an eye for what your plant requires, what it needs less of, and when to harvest.
Without a doubt, cannabis claims the title as one of the most beautiful plants on Earth—from its glittering trichomes and signature leaves to its complex root system. Many growers frequent their grow rooms just to stand in awe at what grows before them.
After liberating nutrients from the substrate, the mycelium uptakes and shuttles them around to plants. Because cannabis roots aren’t capable of this impressive function themselves, they have to “bargain” with the mycelium to access these nutrients. Luckily, plants produce sugars during photosynthesis, and transport many of these molecules down into the roots. Here, they swap these energy-rich exudates for the nutrients they need to fulfil important physiological functions.
Mycorrhizal fungi participate in a give-and-take relationship with cannabis plants. These species form networks of thin, hair-like filaments in the soil—known as mycelium—and produce enzymes to break down organic matter.
Mycorrhizae ultimately act as an extension of the root system. Not only do they break down organic matter to release nutrients, but they also transport these important molecules from areas plants could otherwise not reach. Ultimately, mycorrhizal fungi play a fundamental role in plant nutrition and soil biology and chemistry.
If you’re growing weed and just got done harvesting and hanging up your buds to dry it may well come about that you become curious about what to do with all those leftover stems and leaves. It sure wouldn’t be the first time that someone has the idea to smoke them. But don’t!
While this may seem ridiculous at face value, according to BBC News, a study at Buffalo University has linked chronic marijuana smoking to a lower sperm count among males. Head researcher Dr. Lani Burkman claims that THC is “doing something to sperm” — something which makes the little guys swim too fast so that they end up getting tired before finishing the job. In terms of female fertility, however, results from a separate study are inconclusive.
WHAT TO DO WITH CANNABIS STEMS?
It probably comes as no surprise that, yes, by planting seeds found in shake, it is possible to grow marijuana plants. While this seems like an attractive idea in theory, what many stoners don’t realize is the time and effort that goes into cultivating reefer. Especially if you’re living in New York, as a college student, there’s nowhere in the city a plant would have access to proper soil and enough sunlight to prosper — this, of course, is a lot for any smoker. Despite the fact that potheads aren’t of the most responsible breed, if your weed is shitty in the first place, why would you even want to reproduce it?
We all know what it’s like to spend 60 bucks on a disappointing eighth of weed that’s way too stemm-y and chock full of seeds. While it’s not only a hassle to de-seed and de-stem the sub-par product, what you’re left with once your eighth is gone seems entirely useless — but somehow you convince yourself to save it all anyway.
If you want an alcohol-based cannabis tincture rather than a tea, you can use the stems to make a “Green Dragon” cannabis cocktail. To make a Green Dragon, fill a mason jar all the way up with some stems. Get some high-proof food-safe alcohol. Everclear or Vodka can be a good choice for this method. Pour the alcohol into the jar with your stems and fill the jar all the way up. Store the mason jar with your mix in a dark and cool place such as a cupboard and allow the mixture to soak for at least one week. Shake the jar daily! The longer you allow the stem mix to soak, the more THC and flavour your cannabis cocktail will have. After you had the stems soaking, pour the mix through a filter or strainer to remove the remaining plant matter.