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…
Indica, sativa, or hybrid? How to read a cannabis leaf
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- What does an indica leaf look like?
- What does a sativa leaf look like?
- What does a ruderalis leaf look like?
- What is a hybrid cannabis leaf?
- Why is it important to know the difference between cannabis leaves?
- What can I do with cannabis leaves?
- Health benefits of cannabis leaves
While there are countless strains of cannabis to choose from , there are only four known “types” of cannabis: the well-known indica and sativa, along with the lesser-known ruderalis, and finally the hybrid, which is a combination of the others. Each has its own physical characteristics that make it identifiable to growers. Most notably, the leaf.
In this guide to reading cannabis leaves, you’ll learn how to identify each type of leaf just by looking at them. We’ll also share insider tips on the different ways you can use marijuana leaves.
What does an indica leaf look like?
First named in 1785 for a kind of marijuana that grows in India, the indica leaf is short and stout, possessing between seven and nine wide, finger-like structures.
Steven Somoza of Hydroponics, Inc. in Los Angeles, California, has more than eight years of cannabis cultivation experience and shared with Weedmaps, “ Indica-dominant strains tend to have a stocky bush-like appearance, typically developing fat and wide leaves.”
The indica leaf’s short stature makes it a good choice of cannabis to grow indoors. You can spot an indica leaf if you pay attention to color, as indicas are a deep shade of green, which signifies a high chlorophyll content. Pure indica strains may include Hindu Kush, Purple Kush, and Afghani Kush, but pure strains of any kind are rare and challenging to find.
The indica leaf is short and stout, possessing between seven and nine wide, finger-like structures. The slender sativa leaf has more fingers than the indica leaf, sometimes as many as thirteen.
What does a sativa leaf look like?
In contrast to indica plants, sativa plants fare better outdoors due to their exceptional height (up to 12 feet). The slender sativa leaf also has more fingers than the indica leaf, sometimes as many as thirteen.
In contrast to indica leaves, sativa-dominant genetics “typically grow lengthy, can take longer to mature, and develop skinnier leaves” according to Somoza.
Besides size and finger differences, you can distinguish between an indica and a sativa leaf by the latter’s lighter shade of green. Pure sativa strains may include Jack Herer, Panama Red, and Durban Poison, but connoisseurs debate whether these strains are truly pure or simply sativa-dominant. Jack Herer, for example, may be 80% sativa and 20% indica depending on the plant.
What does a ruderalis leaf look like?
Originating in Russia and Central Asia, ruderalis is a separate species of autoflowering cannabis that grows in the wild. It is shorter than sativa and indica, sometimes only reaching a foot or two tall. Ruderalis leaves are thin and each plant only exhibits three to five delicate fingers. Russian Auto CBD is one of the only known pure ruderalis strains, as most that contain this species are hybrids.
What is a hybrid cannabis leaf?
Finding pure marijuana strains is no easy task these days and hybrids are ubiquitous. Hybrid leaves tend to be harder to identify as they may favor their parent strains in different ways. White Widow, Cannatonic, Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue, Chemdawg, and Sour Diesel are some of the many popular hybrid weed strains available.
Why is it important to know the difference between cannabis leaves?
The ability to distinguish between cannabis leaves, particularly the indica and sativa varieties, is a useful tool for both new and seasoned growers. For starters, knowing how to read cannabis leaves gives cultivators insight into how well (or how poorly) their plants are flourishing.
Somoza elaborated, “A new grower must learn to ‘read’ these leaves as just one of many ways to get a feel for the plant’s health. Most deficiencies and problems will show at the leaves with quick enough onset: drooping, tip-curling, leaf spotting, pest damage, etc.”
To assess the health of your cannabis plants, do a quick, daily check-up to see if any of those signs are present. Somoza also advised, “Get in the habit of rubbing your leaves and turning over and inspecting leaves when you defoliate.”
Keeping a watchful eye on leaves during all stages of growth can help familiarize you with what makes a healthy cannabis plant and what constitutes a struggling one.
What can I do with cannabis leaves?
Raw cannabis leaves are versatile and valuable, so be mindful the next time you trim them from your plants. First, let’s identify the two types of cannabis leaves that you’ll encounter whether you’re growing an indica or sativa-dominant strain:
Sugar leaves: Coated in white trichomes, sugar leaves are small and grow from the buds. Somoza explained the process of sugar leaf development this way: “ As cannabis matures, the bracts or buds of the plant will swell and develop ‘sugar’ that will grow and fall on surrounding leaves. These sugar leaves are loaded with cannabinoids and are still useful when trimmed off during or after harvest.”
As a rule of thumb, indica strains produce more resin glands which yield a greater amount of trichomes. Therefore, indica strains tend to have more sugar leaves than sativa strains.
Fan leaves: Bearing a smaller amount of trichomes, these larger and broader leaves are easily seen protruding from marijuana plants. Like sugar leaves, fan leaves are also useful, as Somoza revealed, “ I find that fan leaves are great for composts or a compost tea that goes right back into your garden.”
Both sugar leaves and fan leaves have an array of uses and benefits in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Both sugar leaves and fan leaves have an array of uses and benefits in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet. Here are a few things you can do with cannabis fan leaves and sugar leaves:
- Make a raw cannabis juice from the leaves. Just pop a handful into the blender and sprinkle in other healthful ingredients, such as spinach, kale, apple juice, ginger, or maybe even almond milk if you want to experiment with a marijuana milkshake!
- Whip up some cannabutter that packs a punch with powerful cannabinoids. Sugar leaves make a great basis for cannabis leaf butter which you can spread on bread like any other special herb butter.
- Infuse coconut oil with raw cannabis leaves and use in recipes for baked goods like cookies and brownies. You can also use cannabis coconut oil on the skin.
- Chop up the leaves and toss into a romaine salad with your favorite superfood fixings like blueberries and flax seeds.
- Brew a potent cup of cannabis leaf tea and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice for an immunity boost.
- Compost any leftover cannabis leaves to ensure that not one part of the plant goes to waste.
Health benefits of cannabis leaves
Besides adding a flavorful twist to your recipes, cannabis leaves carry many potential health benefits. Cannabis is a plant and as such contains essential nutrients and antioxidant properties as any other leafy green would.
Raw marijuana also boasts heart-healthy “good fats” in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You may incorporate omega-rich avocado or salmon into your diet to derive skin benefits, but raw cannabis leaves can offer some of the same perks. If you need more fiber in your diet, raw cannabis leaves are excellent sources and can aid with digestive issues including constipation.
Further, cannabis fan leaves and sugar leaves are abundant in aromatic terpenes that may have antibacterial, antiviral, and even anti-tumor properties. Researchers have conducted numerous studies on the possible anti-tumor effects of cannabis terpenes, some of which have yielded encouraging findings. For example, myrcene, the most abundant terpene in cannabis, has demonstrated the potential to kill human breast cancer cells in a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry. Another study, published in 2012 in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the terpene cedrene, as an essential oil ingredient, might contribute to killing tumor cells in human tissue .
Whether your cannabis leaves end up in the compost pile to nourish the earth or in your body to nourish you, they can be nutritional powerhouses.
Indica, sativa, or hybrid? How to read a cannabis leaf Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What does an indica leaf look like? What does a sativa