What’s in the Stems?

We tested three different samples of cannabis stems for cannabinoids. Here's what we found.

We have all heard the rumors regarding cannabis stems. Some say they don’t contain any cannabinoids, some say they do. We decided to investigate. We took three very different stem samples and ran an analysis using HPLC-UV.


Our first stem sample was from my personal stem jar. Many people save their stems for one reason or another. The stems in this jar had come from various high-quality strains, and they had been previously sifted over a screen to harvest the kief. A portion was parsed out of the jar and processed using the same procedures and methods as a typical cannabinoid profile. These stems had a Max THC of 1.2%. There was no CBD and 0.1% of CBN.


The second stem sample came from flowers that had been pollinated. The sample was prepared in the same manner as the previous one, and the results were very similar. The Max THC was 1.1%, and there were no other cannabinoids found.


The third stem sample came from flowers we had previously tested. The tested flowers had a Max THC of 18.3%, which is higher than average. We expected these stems to measure similarly to the previous two samples. We were surprised to see that the Max THC of these stems measured out to 9.2%, which is higher than many bud samples we’ve tested.

We will be conducting tests on more samples to get a better understanding of what to expect in stems, however these results show us that not all stems are created equal. Just like the variance we see in flower and concentrate samples, stems can have varying levels of potency. When trying to make some sense of these numbers, consider this: one gram of stems from the third sample has about 80 more mg’s of THC than one gram of stems from the first two samples. Think twice before throwing your stems away next time.

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