Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 30, 2022

Cannabis growers often remove the fan leaves as a way to defoliate the marijuana plant and allow more sun to get to the cannabis buds. This is mainly the case for sugar leaves which grow around the crystal like-nugs.

However, removing more marijuana leaves than necessary can stress out the plant as well as affect chlorophyll production. Furthermore, the plant leaves are crucial for the photosynthesis process and the overall health of the plant, so if you do decide to defoliate them, do it as much as necessary but as little as possible by following our guide on defoliation.

Apart from its main role in photosynthesis, the cannabis leaf also contains cannabinoids and terpenes that can be used to make some weed products. This is exactly what we’ll cover in this article, apart from answering whether weed leaves can be smoked – which is what most growers and cannabis users often wonder.

But before we get into that, let’s first go over the most smokable parts of the cannabis plant.

The Parts of the Plant That Are Generally Smoked

Seeing as the weed leaf is the symbol that’s mostly associated with smoking weed, it’s no wonder why some newbies assume that that’s the part mainly used for smoking. If you’re a cannabis user and you’ve been reading our articles for a while, you know that isn’t true.

As you probably know by now, the cannabis flower or the cannabis bud is the part of the plant which is generally used for smoking. The bud contains the most resin glands which contain the highest levels of both cannabinoids and terpenes than any other part of the plant. However, people wouldn’t be able to experience the effects of weed without the endocannabinoid system. This cell-signaling system is the one that gives you the psychoactive, sedative, and other effects that you experience when you get high.

But can you experience these effects if you smoke cannabis leaves? We’ll answer this question right after we go over the types of weed leaves you can find on the cannabis plant.

Types of Cannabis Leaves: Fan Leaves vs Sugar Leaves

Apart from your favorite Sativa or Indica strain having potent buds, its leaves also contain a small amount of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, together with a wide range of terpenes. Some types of leaves have more cannabinoids, while others have less, and we’ll discuss both below.

Sugar Leaves

Sugar leaves are the small weed leaves that are closest to the buds and their name comes from their appearance. The sugar leaf is covered in sticky trichomes which gives them a crystal sugar-covered look. These leaves are rather potent as they contain lots of trichomes, though they aren’t as potent as the cannabis bud itself.

Fan Leaves 

Fan leaves are the larger leaves which grow in the bottom parts of the plant. Their main role is soaking light for the process of photosynthesis. The amount of THC in fan leaves isn’t as high as the one in sugar leaves, which is why you won’t get a very potent high if you do decide to give them a try inside your bong.

Can You Smoke Weed Leaves?

Many inexperienced cannabis users and cannabis growers want to know the answer to this question, and the answer is yes. You can smoke most parts of the cannabis plant, including the leaves, though they won’t give you the same “high” as cannabis buds do. 

You can consume the leaves of the cannabis plants by vaping them in a vaporizer, adding them to your bong, topping your joint with both dried leaves and kief, as well as making other cannabis products.

Apart from the psychoactive properties, weed leaves also have medicinal properties which is why a lot of cultures have been using them through the millennia to make beverages and food as a way to improve health.

Other Ways You Can Use Your Marijuana Leaves

Apart from smoking your weed leaves, you can use them to make a wide variety of cannabis products.

Using Cannabis Leaves to Make Tinctures

Similar to how you would use cannabis buds to make a tincture, you can also use weed leaves for the same purpose. This won’t yield a tincture as potent as the one made from nugs, but rather a tincture higher in CBD.

Using Cannabis Leaves to Make Tea

Another way you could use the cannabis leaves is to make tea. If you’d like to make a CBD-rich tea using cannabis leaves, you can take a look at our article on how to make tea with CBD flower, and swap out the flower with cannabis leaves.

Using Cannabis Leaves to Make Cannabutter and Edibles

If you’ve ever tried making cannabutter at home, you know that it’s a staple in the kitchen of many cannabis users. The butter is later used in drinks, in savory and sweet dishes, but also for making edibles such as weed brownies. While you’d need cannabis buds to make strong weed brownies, weed leaves can also be used to make cannabutter. 

If you’re interested in making your own cannabutter from scratch, you first need to decarboxylate the cannabis leaves to unleash the full potential of the cannabinoids (converting THCA into THC and CBDA into CBD). Afterward, you can proceed to making your own cannabutter with weed leaves by following our step-by-step guide.

Juicing Your Cannabis Leaves

If you have fresh cannabis leaves that haven’t been dried or cured, you can use them in their raw form by adding them to your juices and smoothies. Even though they’re unlikely to give you a high, they have a lot of nutrients and would be a great addition to your morning juice or smoothie.

Using Cannabis Leaves to Make Hash

While we don’t recommend making solvent-based cannabis products at home (such as BHO), you can use your weed leaves to make bubble hash, by following our guide on how to make hash.

Final Thoughts on Whether You Should Smoke Weed Leaves

Even though cannabis leaves aren’t as potent as cannabis buds, you can smoke them similarly to how you would smoke buds. The best option is to smoke them after the drying and curing processes are done to get the highest cannabinoid content.

If you enjoy other cannabis products more than just smoking the weed leaves, you can use them as you would use cannabis buds to make tea, cannabutter, edibles, tinctures, juices, hash, and many more.

Seeing as the cannabis plants and all their parts are very versatile, you can experiment and figure out which product suits you the most. Remember to enjoy the experimentation process, as well as your smoking session.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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