What are weed leaves and what are they for?
The weed leaf has become a symbol representing a whole cultural movement since the 1960s. Few things have created more controversy since then, on the one hand the supporters of prohibition, defenders of the interests of the pharmaceutical companies, and on the other hand us, cannabis activists who fight for their total liberation.
But the leaves of the cannabis plant are much more than that, and that’s why it seemed right to write this post, reviewing its importance as a vegetative organ, its uses in different areas, parts, variations, etc. Interesting, isn’t it? Keep reading because you want to know this…
⭐ What is the main function of cannabis leaves?
The leaves fulfill the mission of solar panels for the plants, that is, thanks to the surface of the leaf they can absorb the light they need to carry out the photosynthesis. This happens with all vascular plants, it is their way of transforming light into the energy they need to feed themselves.
Another important function they have is transpiring, which serves to manage the level of humidity inside the plant, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Thanks to this we can say that plants and trees are the lungs that provide us with the oxygen we need, purify the air and regulate the gases.
But we can use cannabis leaves for more things, for example to know the health status of the plants. When they are healthy they show a uniform green color, but when they are deficient or in excess of nutrients they often show discoloration, stains, burns or malformations.
⛳ Weed leaf parts
Picture of a diagram showing the different parts that make up a cannabis leaf*
- Petiole or Peciolo: It is like the stem of the leaf, with which it joins the trunk. There are varieties that have very short petioles, so much so that they are barely seen, and it seems that the leaves come out of the main trunk, and there are others that develop it a lot.
- Rachis or base: It is like the central axis of the plant, where the petiole ends and the formation of the leaflets begins.
- Leaflets: Imagine that the leaf is a hand, because the leaflets are the fingers, each of the separate parts into which a leaf is divided.
- Veins: These are the lines that can be seen on the surface of the leaves. This is the vascular system of these, and is divided between major vein or midrib, which is the main line that separates a leaflet, and minor or secondary veins that are those that come out of each major vein.
- Limbo: It is the surface of each leaflet itself, it is divided into sections that are delimited by the nerves.
- Blade: This is the part of the leaf that we see, the adaxial or upper side of the limbs, usually thicker and darker than the opposite side.
- Underside: The inner side of the limb, or underside of the leaves, thinner and lighter than the beam, and the place where the stomas are located.
- Stomas: These are microscopic holes or openings on the underside of the leaves that are responsible for gas exchange.
- Margin: This is the edge of the leaf, which in the case of cannabis is usually serrated, with pronounced tips.
- Apex: It is the tip of the leaf, the opposite part of the rachis, although in the foliated leaves such as cannabis ones, it is possible to say that they contain an apex in the tip of each leaflet.
🎬 Cannabis Leaf Types
As you may have already noticed, there are many different kinds of leaves on our favorite weed plants, right? This is because over the years, the different varieties have been acclimatizing to their environment, mutating their structure to adapt as best as possible to the conditions of their surroundings. The leaves are larger or smaller, wider or narrower, thinner or thicker depending on the amount and intensity of light, the percentage of average relative humidity, temperature, amount of oxygen and other environmental factors in each habitat.
They are the largest, thickest and darkest cannabis leaves, an indica leaflet can be larger than a whole sativa or ruderalis leaf. However, they usually contain fewer leaflets than sativas, usually about 9 maximum. We’ve seen Indica leaves bigger than the steering wheel of a car, if you don’t believe me take a look at the Deep Chunk strain, a pure Afghani indica with giant leaves, and it’s not the only one.
Image of a cannabis indica leaf*
The leaves of cannabis sativa plants can have up to 13 leaflets or more, but they are very narrow compared to those of the Indica varieties, especially those of equatorial sativas. The color is also lighter in general, and its thickness is lower, but we must also take into account that these plants produce a greater amount of leaves in general, so they can compensate for the lack of surface of these.
Photograph of a sativa cannabis leaf*
They are the smallest in general, as is the whole plant, which is also usually smaller than the other subspecies. Their leaflets are usually 5 or 7 and are more similar to those of sativa leaves, both in spread and size.
Image of an example of a Ruderalis leaf*
Green, purple, red and even black leaves
This plant is so wonderful that even visually it can be beautiful, with a palette of colors ranging from lime green almost yellow, like those of the Mexican Landrace “Verde Limón”, to black Afghanis or Uzbekas, the red of the Panamanian or Colombian and even the purple of the Pakistani Chitral Kush.
There are plants that can have the calyxes of the flowers in dark colors and the leaves in light colours, and the other way around too, although this is not very common. Pigmentation also has to do with the environmental conditions many times, especially the cold or the thermal difference between day and night. We can even find mutations that interfere with both the color and the morphology of the leaf.
✨ Weed Leaf Mutations
- Albinism: As with other plants or animals, cannabis can also be albino, and is expressed in the same way with the leaves, which are white. It is a genetic malformation, or a capricious combination of nature, where the plant lacks pigmentation and does not produce chlorophyll, hence its white appearance.
Plant with Albinism symptoms
- Variegation: This mutation also has to do with the lack of pigmentation, but it’s even rarer. In this case you can find a leaf with half white and half green, something very showy and striking, and not as bad as albinism, since the plant can still make part of the photosynthesis.
Plant with Variegation Symptoms
- Verticilated phyllotaxis: This usually happens with triploid or polyploid plants, which instead of producing 2 branches per node produce 3 or 4, which can be very productive, but unfortunately are always sterile and cannot reproduce. They are also usually trifolics and trichotilledonics, that is, they are born with 3 cotyledons and instead of generating pairs of leaves they generate groups of 3.
Plant with Verticilated Phyllotaxis Symptoms
- Duck leg: It is a type of deformation that occurs in a few varieties. It supposedly began in a landrace in Australia, although in Hawaii they have also been found for many years, and the breeder Wally Duck stabilized it in a variety known by that name, Duck Foot. From it came the Frisian Dew from Dutch Passion and a few other hybrids.
Plant with Duck Leg Symptoms
- Flowers on the leaves: You can imagine what this is because of its name, because that’s what it’s all about, flowers that appear on the rachis of the leaves instead of on the buds. This mutation or malformation is more common than the previous ones, but it is also quite curious.
Plant with Flowers on the leaves Symptoms
- Rounded leaf: This only happens in a variety known as “Australian Bastard Cannabis” and is a rare mutation that makes the plant not look like a regular cannabis plant until it flowers. Its leaves are very rare, instead of being pointed they are rounded and not serrated. Currently there are breeders who are crossing it with modern hybrids, because although it lacks high psychoactivity, it is very resistant to cold.
Plant with Rounded Leaf Symptoms
- Revegetation: During the revegetation phase, that is, the period during which the plant changes from the flowering cycle to the vegetative cycle, it usually produces leaves with only one leaflet, and almost no sawing. This is corrected after a few weeks, and can also happen during cutting.
Plant with Revegetation Symptoms
👌 What can we do with weed leaves?
There are many different uses for it, personally I like to make Bubble hash with the resinous leaves that come out of the buds, and compost with the large leaves that do not contain resin. But there are people who prefer to use them for cooking cannabis recipes, making creams or cosmetics, or even rolling Blunt style joints.
Can you smoke weed leaves right away?
Yes, you can also smoke them as if they were buds, but only those containing resin, because the others will not give you a good high. On the other hand, the resinous ones are almost like the flowers, but they have the disadvantage of the taste, which loses a lot because of the chlorophyll contained in the leaves.
☕ Cannabis leaf as an icon
It is the symbol that represents a whole activist anti-prohibitionist movement of resistance. In some countries you can’t even wear a T-shirt or a cap that looks like a cannabis leaf, it can be considered drug advocacy. But fortunately more and more states are regulating the use of this sacred plant.
The leaves of cannabis plants can be of many types, have various functions and we can give it many different uses. Did you like this post? If so we would like you to share it, we thank you in advance.
In this post we will see everything related to the leaves of the cannabis plant, function, uses, types and all the information…
The Marijuana Leaf: Everything You Need To Know
By Anthony Franciosi
The Marijuana Leaf: Everything You Need To Know
Long before it became a ubiquitous symbol of the modern global cannabis community, the marijuana leaf was a source of powerful inspiration (artistic and otherwise) for stoners in many cultures throughout history.
In this post, the all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana break down the biology behind the most common types of the marijuana leaf in addition to showing you a few leaf variations you may not have heard of.
We’ll also make sure that you can spot signs of poor leaf and plant health. Lastly, we’ll discuss the benefits of juicing and cooking your leaves into cannabutter in order to make the most out of them.
A Brief History Of The Marijuana Leaf
The cannabis plant has been around for a long, long time. Longer, in fact, than many people realize.
Stoners of yore — and we’re talking extremely yore — have been drawing the marijuana leaf on cave walls for millennia.
Take, for example, this cave painting in Kyushu, Japan dated from around 10,000 years B.C.
See the seven-lobed indica leaves in the orange circles? Ancient marijuana, man! And is that a unicorn at the top? Methinks it is! It’s no wonder that some of the best cannabis in the world comes from this area .
And lest you think the cannabis craze was isolated in the far east, check out this illustration of the Egyptian goddess Seshat. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III described this deity as, “she of the seven points.”
She’s obviously got marijuana on her mind. Smart lady.
Even the ancient Greeks got in on the marijuana-leaf action. Below is an illustration of the cannabis sativa plant taken from the Vienna Dioscurides, a Greek medical textbook, dated at around 512 A.D.
Scientists now call these ancient plants landrace strains because they are very different from the high-THC and high-CBD strains you can buy at your local dispensary.
Landrace strain or brand-new variety, it’s obvious that humans have recognized the marijuana leaf (and the cannabis plant as a whole) as a source of artistic inspiration, medicine, and, yes, psychedelia, for at least 12,000 years — and probably a lot longer.
Isn’t that groovy, man? We’re part of a long history that stretches back to before the domestication of crops and animals. Can’t say that about too many things these days.
Now that you know a bit about the history of the marijuana leaf — this really is a tiny amount; there’s so much more to learn — let’s turn our attention to the types of marijuana leaf we see today.
The Marijuana Leaf: Types
All of the different types of cannabis leaves belong to the general umbrella category or genus known as Cannabis sativa L .
The “L” in the plant’s genus name stands for Carl Linnaeus’s last name. He was the first to identify and name the species in 1753 according to the modern taxonomic nomenclature that he developed.
Linnaeus didn’t “discover” cannabis —- remember its use stretches back thousands and thousands of years — rather, he established the classification system (binomial nomenclature) that we’ve used for the past 260-odd years to describe plants and animals (even ourselves: Homo sapiens ) and keep everything straight in our heads.
Biology lesson complete, let’s dig into each type of marijuana leaf to see what we can learn.
Large cannabis sativa leaves can have up to thirteen long, slender, pronounced, jagged, spiky serrations.
The coloration of sativa leaves ranges from light to dark green.
Sativa leaves can come from either female plants — from which we harvest the smokable weed we all know and love — or from the male plants known as hemp.
Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC but are typically grown for a mind-blowing array of renewable, eco-friendly, industrial, planet-saving purposes.
Check out the illustration below for just a few of the many uses.
So even if you can’t use the marijuana leaf as medicine or to get high, you can use it and other parts of the plant for some truly righteous things.
Linnaeus mistakenly assumed that the cannabis genus was monolithic, meaning that it only had one species — the sativa variety itself.
There are, however, several other varieties of marijuana leaves that grow from the different subvarieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Case in point: Cannabis indica.
Cannabis indica leaves typically grow much shorter and wider than sativa leaves and contain seven to nine olive-green leaflets.
French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck coined the name Cannabis indica in 1785 to account for the differences between the Cannabis sativa hemp grown mostly for agricultural purposes in Europe and the Cannabis indica plants grown for medicinal purposes in India.
Russian botanist D.E. Janischevsky identified a third species of marijuana plant that he named Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis ruderalis grew across eastern Europe and was commonly used by Russians and Mongolians to treat depression.
There is some debate as to whether Cannabis ruderalis is actually its own species.
The leaves of the ruderalis plant possess five to thirteen leaflets and are very similar to those of the indica leaf. The only significant difference being that ruderalis leaves are somewhat smaller and narrower.
Ruderalis grows wild and doesn’t have as much THC content as the other species of cannabis plants.
In recent years, growers have experimented with crossbreeding ruderalis and indica plants in an attempt to create strains with shorter growing seasons.
Cannabis sativa and ruderalis crossbreeds have produced strains that flower automatically without having to reduce the amount of light (i.e., number of hours) to which the plant is exposed.
Wild Weed Leaf Variations
Marijuana is a very adaptable, dynamic plant that loves to mutate if given the chance. We’ll discuss three common mutations of the marijuana leaf.
However, it’s worth knowing that deliberate attempts to grow marijuana plants with these mutated leaves don’t always produce the best medicinal cannabinoids.
The Webbed Marijuana Leaf
Growers of the past (i.e., before cannabis was legal) attempted to stabilize the webbed mutation in order to disguise their plants from the prying eyes of The Man.
These webbed varieties have fallen out of favor in recent years because now growers can plant and cultivate the regular varieties (sans mutation) right out in the open.
If you’re interested, you can still obtain webbed varieties on the internet (Ducksfoot is a common option), but you’ll have to grow them from seed.
The Whorled Marijuana Leaf
In recent years, some growers have come to believe that plants with a whorled marijuana leaf produce flowers with higher potency. There is, however, no scientific evidence to prove this belief true.
Australian Bastard Cannabis
Australian bastard cannabis is another common marijuana mutation. The plant has hairless leaflets with no more than five points, which are only a few centimeters long.
As novel as these mutations may be, the best results for growing your own cannabis will come from cultivating a seed that comes from a healthy plant with normal characteristics.
To help you get the most out of DIY grow operation, we’ll now discuss how to keep your plant in good condition .
Signs Of Sickness In The Marijuana Leaf
The leaves of your pot plant are clues to all sorts of issues that your plant may encounter during the growing process.
Your leaves will show specific discolorations and deteriorations if the plant is deficient in key nutrients, such as boron, calcium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, or zinc.
Boron deficiency is characterized in two ways:
- Large gray or brown spots on the marijuana leaf
- Soft, purple stems between the marijuana leaf and the main body of the plant
To prevent boron deficiency, make sure your plants don’t dry out too often, don’t over-fertilize, and make sure the humidity in your grow space is above 25 percent.
Molybdenum deficiency is difficult to diagnose because it looks so much like other issues, such as nitrogen deficiency and calcium deficiency.
Molybdenum deficiency usually rears its ugly head by causing the marijuana leaf to develop brown, crispy edges and orange or pink shades in the center.
The best solution for molybdenum deficiency is to flush the growing medium with pure 6.0 pH water and then to make sure the pH of your soil is perfect from there on out.
Magnesium deficiency is characterized by a yellowing of the marijuana leaf and tips that eventually become dry, brown, and crunchy.
Curing your cannabis plant of magnesium deficiency involves flushing the substrate with 6.0 pH water, feeding the plant with an optimal-pH fertilizer, and then adding a high-quality, cannabis-specific magnesium supplement into the mix.
The Best Way To Avoid Deficiencies
You can avoid these deficiencies entirely by utilizing tried and true organic marijuana growing methods involving proper cannabis compost and our super soil formula for organic 420 fertilizer .
You can still add specific organic nutrients to the soil and stimulate new ganja growth if you keep the PH range of the soil optimal for the specific nutrient.
You’ll need to flush your lines with clean, neutral pH water containing half the plant’s nutrients for the deficiency to clear up and to stimulate new growth if you’re using hydroponic growing methods.
You’ll know you’re overwatering if the marijuana leaves grow firm, droop, and curl down toward their stems. At that point, they are essentially starving for oxygen.
If you see this happen, you’ll need to cut back on watering and give them time to recover.
You can try increasing the temperature from the lights and your airflow if you are growing indoors to speed up water absorption. You can also poke some holes in the soil with a pencil to give them some oxygen. Your plants may also require a better drainage system.
The serrated edges of the leaves will begin to curl up if they are exposed to too much natural or artificial light.
You’ll see yellow and brown burn spots on the leaves if they receive too much light or especially direct contact with a bulb.
To alleviate these issues, decrease the intensity of your lighting and increase air circulation with fans to help your indoor plants recover. Hang a large cloth or sheet or build some other source of shade for your outdoor plants.
Water them in the early morning and late evening to help them retain water and recover from heat and light stress.
Making The Most Out Of The Marijuana Leaf
Soaking your freshly harvested marijuana leaves in cold water for five minutes and then juicing them with some lemon, apples, carrots, beets or other vegetables is an extremely easy and incredibly healthy way to make the most out of your marijuana leaves.
Juicing your cannabis leaves won’t transform the raw THCA acid into the psychoactive THC cannabinoid that will get you high. However, many patients love experiencing the health benefits without the euphoric high by juicing ganja leaves.
Kristen Peskuski was bedridden, taking forty medications a day, told she would never be able to have children, and was near death due to a degenerative condition known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus when Dr. William Courtney (pictured above) prescribed raw cannabis juice.
Kristen recovered, married Dr. Courtney, and wound up giving birth to a healthy daughter without any complications or medical intervention.
This high-powered, 420-friendly family has since become a leading advocate for the miraculous medicinal powers of raw cannabis leaf juice.
Don’t Smoke The Leaves!
Well, actually you can! However, smoking raw marijuana by itself will only give you a mild buzz as opposed to a proper euphoric high .
This is why we don’t recommend smoking marijuana leaves unless you’re using them to smoke good ground bud by rolling it into a custom joint for yourself!
You can also harvest the THC-bearing trichomes on your marijuana leaves into an edible 11-Hydroxy-THC body high by cooking your leaves into cannabutter .
A Quick Cannabutter Recipe
Wash and soak about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) worth of your freshly harvested pot leaves in cold water for five minutes the same way you would before juicing them.
Then chop and grind up your leaves.
Toss in about 4 grams of your favorite ground weed bud for good measure.
Heat and simmer the ground weed leaves with equal parts butter and water in a saucepan for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove leftover plant matter, and let the mixture refrigerate to solidify into cannabutter that you can use to make a wide variety of marijuana edibles.
You can also harvest the trichomes from the marijuana leaves by using a grinder with a kief catcher to grate the plant matter. Once you’ve collected enough kief, you can sprinkle it in your joint before you close, mix it in your breakfast smoothie, or go crazy and make some moon rock weed .
The sky’s the limit at that point, so get creative with your kief.
A Quick Guide To Grinding Your Marijuana Leaves
Here’s how to collect the most kief from a four-piece grinder:
- Get a four-piece grinder (duh!).
- Make sure the grinder is clean .
- Assemble the grinder so it’s ready to go.
- Tear the marijuana leaf into small pieces that will fit in your grinder (depending on how many leaves you have, they may not all fit in the grinder at one time).
- When the grinding chamber is empty, reload and grind again.
- If the collection chamber fills up, empty the ground-up plant matter into a bowl for further processing.
- Once you’ve pulverized all your marijuana leaves, put the already-ground plant matter back into the grinder and grind some more.
- This time around, before emptying the collection chamber, bang the grinder against your hand or a table (gently) to separate more of the kief into the kief chamber.
- When you’re all done with the second round of grinding, we suggest steeping the ground-up plant matter in some hot water to make a weed tea .
- While your tea’s brewing, empty the kief chamber of its contents so you can use the powder as you see fit.
- Alternatively, you can leave the kief in the grinder and collect more when you grind your raw bud. It’s up to you.
If you do decide to store the kief in the grinder, we suggest at least cleaning the other parts of the grinder. That way the marijuana leaf plant matter doesn’t dilute the full-strength ganja you’re going to grind next time around.
Leafing You Dazed and Educated!
As a final reminder, it’s important to keep your leaves healthy so that you can enjoy the immense health benefits from juicing or creating cannabutter with your freshly harvested marijuana leaves.
Want to get to know the pot plant better? Learn about the marijuana leaf. The experts at Honest Marijuana tell you everything you need to know.