Cannabis Leaves: Can You Get High Off It?

Many cannabis users may have pondered at some point whether cannabis leaves can be smoked. The straight answer to the question is yes. But can cannabis leaves cause high? We will discuss the potential of cannabis leaves, and the different ways to ensure that you are getting the most out of your cannabis plant.

CBD and THC Are Present In The Leaves

To put things, yes, the cannabis leaves can be smoked. The more important question is whether cannabis leaves can get you high.

The entire cannabis plant contains cannabinoids. Resin glands are all over the cannabis plant, except the inside of the stems and the roots. So, the clear-cut answer is yes, and you can get high when you smoke cannabis leaves. However, this opens up another line of query: what kind of cannabis leaves can make you high?

There are different types of cannabis leaves: fan and sugar leaves. If you are looking to smoke cannabis leaves, you may want to check out sugar leaves. They are leaves that grow near to the cannabis’ buds during the flowering stage. Sugar leaves are coated with trichomes giving them a sugary appearance. Sugar leaves are often trimmed to make buds more appealing. Trimmed or not, both are coated with trichomes containing THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, the only that can get users “high” feeling. Sugar leaves are smokable; it may not give you an elated high like a bud would, but it could get the job done.

Fan leaves, on the other hand, are leaves that grow far from the buds. Fan leaves are a recognized symbol for cannabis. They are broad and pretty large, but unfortunately, they only contain trace amounts of CBD and THC. Some fan leaves may contain more trichomes than others, so it’s worth a shot to give them a look. But the THC level of fan leaves is not even near to the amount of THC sugar leaves contain. Fan leaves can give you a high, but it would take too much before it takes effect. You would probably feel light-headed due to excessive smoking before it could even give you high.

Just a heads up, you should not smoke all leaves. Most of the large ones shall be taken with caution because they may contain huge amounts of unknown fertilizers or chemicals.

How Many Cannabis Leaves Are Needed To Get High?

While cannabis leaves contain some amounts of CBD and THC, it will take a whole lot before you can get high. Cannabis leaves only contain about 0 to 4% THC and CBD so that a handful wouldn’t do the trick. 

You may notice from trimmed leaves THC trichomes visible. But even if these leaves boast CBD and THC contents, they are only trace amounts. And it is tough to say if you can get high from smoking cannabis leaves or how much is needed to get you there because your tolerance plays a significant role.

Smoking Is Not Your Only Option

If you are after high, smoking cannabis may not be the best choice. Here are some options that can get you high.

  • Vaporizer

Vaporizing is a better option than smoking, and it has been around for some time now. The process heats the dried cannabis or cannabis oils just below the combustion point. Because of this, health issues associated with harmful smoking are avoided. 

Vaping is considered a much healthier method of consumption as compared to smoking. There are numerous anecdotes of cannabis enthusiasts swearing by a smooth, safer cannabis experience with vaping. Also, the vaporization process doesn’t burn the bud. Hence, the active compounds present in it are used to their full potential. Cannabis vapor is much purer and could give users richer hits.

  • Edibles

Edibles are made with cannabis buds, leaves, or extracts. They are a popular and discrete method of consuming cannabis. They usually look like common baked goodies, candies, and beverages.

The downside of taking edibles is the slow kick in of effects. It typically takes around 30 – 60 minutes for edibles to take effect. This is because the CBD and THC are not transported directly to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body by lungs but through the liver. Not all cannabinoids absorbed by the liver get into the system; the liver breaks down some, and only a small amount of it gets into the ECS. Despite this, edible high boasts a length of 6 to 8 hours, much longer than smoking or vaping.

You can cook with cannabis buds for healthier consumption and to get long-lasting effects. A lot of cannabis recipes are available online, or you could purchase cannabis cookbooks too.

  • Cannabis extracts

Cannabis extracts concentrate, oils are all umbrella terms for different products in forms of tinctures, dabs, CBD oil, hash, and many more products derived from cannabis bud and processed into a concentrated form.

Concentrates are popular because of their quick onset time. Effects happen almost immediately after you consume them, and their effects last from 1 to 3 hours. Compared to raw marijuana, concentrates are more potent and have a wider range of consumption methods.

Make Your Cannabis Leaves Active By Decarboxylation

Cannabis leaves have to be heated or decarboxylated before consumption. If you take cannabis leaves raw, there will be minimal to no effects. The process of decarboxylation converts the THC and CBD of cannabis leaves into active molecular forms. When THC and CBD are active types, they will be able to influence the neurotransmitters of your body and hence, produce effects. Without this process, your cannabis leaves would only deliver a few of its medical and recreational properties.

Eating raw cannabis does deliver medical benefits, and it will be completely non-psychoactive. So if you want to get the full effects of cannabis, get yours decarboxylated. The process of decarboxylation involves the removal of the carboxyl (COOH) group from the THC-A and CBD-A by applying heat. The by-product of the process is carbon dioxide. Therefore, to decarboxylate, all you have to do is to use heat to your cannabis. But how much heat is needed? This question will be answered later in this article. Let’s first talk about the advantages of decarboxylation-aside from the fact that it “activates” the THC and CBD in cannabis.

  • When you decarboxylate cannabis, you cut the risk of botulism, a severe condition caused by foodborne botulism bacteria. When you are making edibles, botulism bacteria can quickly grow. Botulism can result in respiratory failure and ultimately, death. Decarboxylating your cannabis may save you from the danger of getting infected.

  • When you decarboxylate cannabis, the carbon dioxide in the compound turns THC-A to psychoactive THC. This will allow you to enjoy the maximum psychoactive effects of your cannabis.

Is Decarboxylating Cannabis Always Necessary?

Decarboxylating cannabis is required so that you will have a fully active THC or CBD product. It’s worthy of note, however, that raw, uncured, undried cannabis can still provide impressive health benefits but without the psychoactive effects. 

If your preference is raw and you are not after the high feeling, then it is fine not to decarboxylate. If you want to activate as much THC and CBD as possible, decarboxylate.

If you are making cannabis edibles, decarboxylating is required to get full potency and for safer consumption.

How To Decarboxylate Cannabis

To decarboxylate cannabis and fully activate its therapeutic and recreational effects, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cannabis flower/trim

Decide how much trim you’ll decarboxylate. 14- 28 grams is a significant amount for a first try. Make sure your cannabis is dry so they won’t clump together. Clumped cannabis will not decarboxylate evenly. 

If you are using bud trims, there’s no need to grind it. Cannabis bud, however, needs to be grounded into small pieces.

You can easily decarboxylate cannabis at home by following the steps below:

  1. Preheat the oven to 235 degrees Fahrenheit or 120 degrees Celsius. Place a parchment paper on the baking sheet and spread your cannabis flower across it. Break up large pieces if necessary. Make it relatively level; about 1 to 1.5 inches or 25 to 38 mm deep, so the cannabis will get heated evenly. Dumping your trim/buds into piles will only cause uneven and incomplete decarboxylation.
  2. Bake for about 45 minutes. If you are using cannabis with more moisture, baking could take longer- up to 90 minutes. If you have a hygrometer, better use it. Check the moisture level of your cannabis by placing them inside a closed jar or any container with the hygrometer.
  3. After baking, take the baking sheet out from the oven and let it cool at room temperature. The cannabis shall look rich, dark, and dry. If you are uncertain if the cannabis is done, you can touch it; it should be dry and crumbly but not black nor crispy.
  4. Once it has cooled down completely, you can ground your cannabis, and store it in an airtight container or a plastic zip bag.

The decarboxylation is now complete.

Tips for effective cannabis decarboxylation:

  • Head straight to an oven. Do not attempt using only a simple torch because it would only result in uneven heating, and it could burn your cannabis. Oven can provide even heat and can result in a higher-quality outcome. Oven makes the whole decarboxylation process easy and fast as it can decarboxylate large amounts of cannabis at one time.

  • Let the cannabis cool completely once it has left the oven. This will preserve the terpenes, the compounds that give cannabis its distinct tastes and smells. These terpenes also hold a wide range of medical benefits; they help relieve stress and improve attention and focus. Too much flame, and not letting the cannabis completely cool can damage the terpenes and destroy those desirable health benefits.