All about splitting cannabis stems

Published Jul 1, 2019 01:52 p.m. ET
iStock / Yelantsevv

If you are still learning the ropes surrounding how to trim weed, then this technique is likely not for you. Though splitting the stems of marijuana plants is a technique that has been practiced for many years, it became wildly popular in the 60’s when it became widely believed that this method alone was responsible for the success of Columbia Gold which is potent and highly sought after marijuana strain that was developed at that time.

This technique was also common amongst Dutch cannabis growers were also known for their use of the method, but it has never been so popular as it is right now. So, what is cannabis stem splitting? Why would you want to do it, and are there any possible dangers? Here we will answer all those questions, and provide a basic guideline including the potential risks for those who would like to attempt to use this method themselves.

Are there benefits to splitting cannabis stems?

Though there is very little data available on this high stress growing technique, many marijuana cultivators have had incredible amounts of success with it. The key is knowing the anatomy and limits of the cannabis plant, which will help in causing the least amount of damage in the process. The most common reason that this method is used is to increase flower production and potency.

When to split cannabis stems

Unlike many other growing techniques that are implemented in the early stages of a growing marijuana plants life, this one has a much smaller window for error and is not used until approximately 7-10 days before harvest.

How to split cannabis stems

Splitting cannabis stems is most recommended for outdoor plants, as the introduction of so much stress can be much more difficult for indoor grown plants to recover from. It is also not recommended for auto-flowering strains, as there have been very few with any success using those varieties.

You will need:

  • 1 sharpened paring knife (or another non-serrated option)
  • 3 skewers
  • 1 roll of string
  • 1 tape measure

Instructions

  1. Ensure that all your tools are sterilized and that your hands are clean.
  2. Use a tape measure to scale out an area of the stem that is approximately 20cm long beginning one or two inches below the lowest branch.
  3. Use the string to wrap off the measured area at either end. These will be the edges that your split should not travel beyond.
  4. Pres the tip of the knife blade into the center of the section that you previously measured, and slowly and gently slide it downwards to split the stem. To avoid breakage, use your fingers to put pressure on the outsides of the stem on either side of the knife blade.
  5. Gently open the slice just enough to press a skewer into the middle of it.
  6. Now place the remaining two skewers into the cut on either side of the first. This will help to prop it open and keep the wound from completely healing, which is necessary for success.
  7. Pull the outer skewers up or down to the tied off strings and leave them that way.

Risks associated with this technique

Since this is a high-stress method, it is possible that the impact could be damaging or detrimental if improperly performed.

Fun fact - How to make hash with stems

Did you know that you can make some good quality bubble hash with nothing more than cannabis stems? Though the plant materials in the base do not contain any resins, they do slowly collect residue from the bud flowers. This is enough to produce a tasty batch of bubble hash in just a few easy steps.

  1. Take enough stem to fill a blender and add an equal amount of cold water and ice.
  2. Pour the mixture into a jar using silkscreen to cover the spout of the container.
  3. Once it has drained, give the mush around 30 minutes to set. You will see the trichomes begin to collect towards the bottom.
  4. Repeat these steps four times over for a high-quality hash.
  5. Once you have run the mixture through the screen four times, pour out the top inch or two of liquid from the jar.
  6. Fill the mason jar with fresh ice water and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
  7. Take a coffee filter and strain the fluid that remains through it. This will collect the fine particles of bubble hash. Squeeze the screen to remove excess moisture, and smoke immediately or store for later.

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