The long, spiky leaves… we’ve all seen them postered on everything – from propaganda to album covers. The thing is, the leaves are more than just a symbol of pop-culture within a minority demographic. Like every other part of this plant, hemp leaves can also be used in a variety of different ways.
There are two main types of leaves, the fan leaf and the sugar leaf. They both contain low THC and high CBD levels. Fan leaves are broad, and their function is to gather sunlight in order support the plant’s biomass production. They are packed with resin and phytonutrients.
The smaller leaves that grow close to the plant flowers are the sugar leaves. They are usually coated in white trichomes that look like a dusting of sugar. Sugar leaves contain higher concentrations of cannabinoids than fan leaves.
Juices squeezed out of vegetables are becoming more and more popular due to the array of health benefits that are said to come with consuming them. Similarly, cannabis plants have numerous recognised health uses, so juicing it is increasing in popularity.
This juice can be made at home with any type of the blender and then hand-pressed through a sieve. Another method is by using a juicer to create a blend of hemp leaves and other fruits or veggies.
Vegetables are defined as any plant cultivated for food, edible herb or root. Some vegetables are consumed in their raw forms, while others are cooked to make them more palatable. The heating involved in cooking makes them lose some of their nutrients and enzymes.
Cannabis leaves are just like any other type of vegetable, as they contain vitamins, fibre and minerals like other leafy greens. However, what is unique to this particular vegetable is the beneficial cannabinoids within it.
Juiced hemp leaves provide a high concentration of cannabinoid acids and a healthy amount of fatty acids that aid in the function of cell membranes. Juicing cannabis does not result in a “high” or any other psychoactive effects due to the minimal presence of THC. There are, however, trace amounts of the acid form of THC (THC – A). It is only upon subjecting the leaves to heat that THC- A can be converted into THC. Even then, there’s usually not enough THC to feel a high.
Smoked or vaporized hemp leaves can be used for medicinal purposes, but juicing helps you avoid the adverse health issues from those methods. You cannot use dried leaves to make the juice – you need freshly picked, raw cannabis leaf, or even flower.
Hemp leaf juice is said to limit cancer cell proliferation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties due to the terpene content. On top of that, the juice also has a high fibre composition, which promotes gut health and could even help prevent more serious health issues like cancers. The actions of CBD on the body’s endocannabinoid system encourage a feeling of well-ness, reduces anxiety and has analgesic effects.
Other products include…
Although more potent butter can be created with the flowers, the leaves, particularly sugar leaves can be used for the same purpose. To create this delicious and nutritious butter, the same method that is used to infuse cannabinoids to olive and coconut oil is used. The butter is heated along with the leaves at a low temperature then strained and cooled. You can use this butter on your toast and in baking goodies.
Hemp leaves can be dried and used to make tea. If you find the taste of hemp to be unpalatable, you can blend it with other herbs. Though the hot water might “activate” the THC – A, it is not present in sufficient quantities to result in a “high”.
If you grow your own hemp, using the leaves as compost is another great use for leaves. In particular, fan leafs are the best for composting. Composting is an excellent way to infuse the nutrients that plants need for optimal growth.
Collect the leaves from your plants, as well as any perishable household waste to make a compost that will result in bigger, healthier plants in your home garden.