These days, we squeeze every different extract we can out of a cannabis plant, in all different ways. Some use solvents to create butane hash oil, shatter, or resin. Some like rosin, are extracted via cold and compression. And some are left in a liquid like alcohol or oil until the components inside leach out. But there’s one more extract of the cannabis plant that doesn’t have to be extracted. Much like many other plants, cannabis produces and exerts, xylem sap, a sweet sticky treat that might well signal a whole new cannabis product category.
There are so many ways to enjoy cannabis, whether its dabbing cannabis shatter, drinking an infused soda, or eating cannabis xylem sap, (although this last one still has to catch on). One of the best ways to enjoy it? With delta-8 THC, the THC with less psychoactive effect, less anxiety produced, and an energetic, clear-headed high. If you didn’t know an alternate form of THC existed, this is the perfect time to check out our great Delta-8 THC deals, to experience it for yourself.
What is sap?
Sap is fluid found in plants that resides in plant vacuoles, or small cavities that are within living cells. It contains both food and waste products, like inorganic salts and nitrogenous compounds, as its main job is to carry nutrients from the soil, through the root system, and up to the leaves. Some of the water in it is lost through the process of transpiration where the water moves throughout the plant, evaporating out through the leaves and stems as it goes. This generally takes place during the day only. There are different kinds of sap. Xylem sap carries nutrients from the soil to the leaves, and phloem sap (sieve-tube), carries nutrients from the leaves to the other parts of the plant.
Sap is something we’re all aware of, as it comes out of most trees. Think about maple syrup, which is an example of xylem sap, and one of the more famous kinds of sap out there. It’s sweet and delicious, and we spread it all over pancakes and waffles. That sap is collected from maple trees (Sugar maple, Red maple, Silver maple or Black maple) . In colder climates, these trees store starch in both the roots and trunks to prepare for winter, which is why a product like maple syrup is made in colder climates like Canada or Vermont.
The starch eventually converts into sugar, and by late winter – early spring, the sap is very high in sugar. The collection process involves drilling holes into the trunks of trees, and inserting a small, spout-like piece that diverts the sap from the tree, into a bucket. The sap is then filtered to remove debris, and boiled to kill bacteria. During the boiling process, water is evaporated out, leaving behind a much more dense, sugary concentration. It’s then put on a stove to get the last water out, leaving it at a consistency of approximately 33% water, and 67% sugar.
It goes through one more filtering process at this point, before being bottled hot. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Maple syrup is especially sweet and tasty, which is why it’s such a well-known product the world over. And though not every tree can be used for sap consumption, there are still quite a few others that can, like other kinds of maple, including Bigleaf maple and Canyon maple, as well as walnut trees like Black walnut or English walnut, and birch trees like River birch and Yellow birch.
Is sap healthy?
Good question. After all, it is direct from a plant, which implies it could have some intense health benefits. On the other hand, it’s loved so much for its intense sweetness and off-the-charts sugar content. Sap, in fact, is one of the most healthy things to come from a plant. Maple, walnut, and birch trees are all known for having sap rich in enzymes, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Other trees, like pine trees, also produce useful sap, however, its not tasty, so it’s not generally consumed, instead used in different herbal medicine treatments. Pine sap can be used to treat wounds, rashes, and to help stop bleeding. It has anti-inflammatory properties, antiseptic, and astringent properties as well. At the right consistency, the sap can be chewed to treat colds and sore throats.
Different trees have different kinds of sap with different properties. Birch tree sap is considered better tasting, and can be drank as a juice of sorts, with a sweeter taste than something like pine, and a thinner consistency than maple syrup. Birch sap contains proteins, enzymes, amino acids, and sugars like xylitol. Birch is beneficial for both the liver and kidneys, and offers certain detox benefits. It is even said that oil made from birch can help reduce cellulite over time.
What else can maple syrup do other than cover your pancakes and improve breakfast? It can help with osteoporosis symptoms, lower blood pressure, prevent hangovers, and even help to prevent gastric ulcers from forming. Like nearly any other plant, sap producing plants and trees have tons of medical benefits, and these can often be attained through the sap itself.
What about cannabis xylem sap?
Cannabis plants contain the same sap structure to bring nutrients to different parts of the plant. And much like with pine trees, where the sap leaks out from inside to cover the outer bark in sticky droplets, the same can happen with cannabis plants. In cannabis plants, its called guttation, when the sap comes out of the axils of the cannabis leaves to form little droplets among the flowers of the plant, which can look like natural hash oil.
Plants, especially in the morning, can have dew on them, which is simply atmospheric water that condensed onto the plant. This is something else entirely, and should not be confused with the small droplets that come out of the plant, even though they look similar. Remember how we went over that water generally moves through the plant during the day? Well, that’s because, at night, the pores in the epidermis (outer layer) of the plant, also known as stomata, close. And this means water can not evaporate out.
With the stomata closed, when water from the soil moves up through the system of the plant, it builds up pressure since it can’t get out through the stomata. This pressure eventually pushes droplets out through the plant’s axils, the leaf tips, leaf edges, and modified pores called hydathodes. It comes through as thick, sticky droplets, or sap. Basically, the inability for water to evaporate out, forces it to comes out in certain places as sap.
The sap can vary in color, from almost clear to a dark red. And just like the sap from pine and maple trees, the sap contains both organic and inorganic compounds like potassium, sugars, minerals, and other nutrients. It both smells and tastes sweet, and for that reason, can attract bugs if too much is being produced by a plant.
Is cannabis xylem sap psychoactive?
Of course, this would be a big question, as cannabis is so often used for the purposes of its psychoactive effect. The answer – while there hasn’t exactly been much studying done on it – is actually rather intuitive. A regular cannabis plant is chock full of THCA, the precursor to delta-9 THC, which it turns into upon being heated (or through time passage and sunlight) through a process called decarboxylation.
THCA is not psychoactive, which is why if a cannabis plant is eaten raw, medical benefits can be gotten out of it, but the user won’t feel high. It wouldn’t make any sense for the cannabis xylem sap to contain a psychoactive compound. However, as stated previously, sap itself comes with its own nutritive benefits.
Xylem sap should not be confused with the cannabis extract called sap. Cannabis sap extract is an extract from fresh cannabis plants, with the term generally encompassing concentrates of mainly cannabinoids. It is also used to denote a specific type of concentrate with a consistency and texture that make it viscous, sticky, and of the consistency of tree sap (hence the same). This sap would most certainly be psychoactive, but it in no way resembles what actual xylem sap is.
Can you buy cannabis xylem sap products?
Xylem sap is produced in very tiny amounts by a cannabis plant. In fact, it can go unnoticed by many growers, meaning only a tiny amount can be seen. It does seem that some plants produce more than others. When growing, xylem sap isn’t technically desirable to see in large amounts, as it can mean the plant has been overwatered, or fed too many nutrients. In that way, it’s not a byproduct that most growers want to have accumulating, and in order to produce large amounts, a plant might have to be worked hard to do so. Very little has been done to establish how to use it as a product, but there are mentions online about people tasting it, and possibly collecting it to sell.
Some of the things stated about it, are that since it’s mainly sugar and water, it can’t easily be smoked. It generally comes out in the flowering stage, and it seems to have to do with the overproduction/feeding of sugars/nutrients. When nutrient levels are too high, the xylem can even burn the plant leaves. So having it in excess, would therefore not be desirable for growers.
For today, someone who wants to try xylem sap is best off finding a friend growing cannabis, or growing it themselves. If you encounter it on a plant, just scoop it off, and give it a taste. It is mentioned frequently on message boards, and its known that the taste is sweet, that it can be added to things, and that it doesn’t cause a psychoactive high. Hopefully in the future, there will be cannabis xylem sap products on dispensary shelves.
It would be hard to imagine that the whole cannabis plant has medicinal properties other than the sap coming out of it. As such, it can pretty much be assumed that there’s something good about the stuff (including the deliciously sweet taste), even if it’s not currently a focus in the cannabis world. Let’s be honest, neither was shatter, or delta-8, or gummies just a few years ago. So while the cannabis xylem sap industry hasn’t taken off yet, our knowledge of cannabis in general, sap in general, health in general, and business in general, would certainly indicate that a line of cannabis xylem products should soon be coming.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.