The Importance Of Cannabis Fan Leaves

Fan leaves are the fingered big leaves typical of cannabis and they’re vital in the life cycle of a cannabis plant.
10 June 2020
4 min read
The Importance Of Cannabis Fan Leaves

  • 1. What do fan leaves do?
  • 2. Parts of a fan leaf
  • 2. a. Petiole
  • 2. b. Ventral surface
  • 2. c. Dorsal surface
  • 2. d. Apex
  • 3. Do fan leaves contain cannabinoids?
  • 4. When to remove fan leaves?
  • 5. Uses for the fan leaves
  • 6. In conclusion

Fan leaves are the typically fingered leaves in cannabis plants, they are the bigger leaves that stick out of the plant. And even though most growers don’t know it, they’re the most important organ of the plant.

1. What Do Fan Leaves Do?

All leaves on a cannabis plant are essential to the process of photosynthesis and due to the size of fan leaves, they’re even more. Leaves absorb light to photosynthesize, allowing the plant to perform the processes needed to continue growing and developing.

They also have pores that open and closed (called stomata), allowing them to “breath”. Plants take in CO2 and let out oxygen during the day (under light), in the process of photosynthesis.

And they take in oxygen and let out CO2 during night time (in the dark), in the process of cellular breathing. This is why fan leaves are the most important organ of the cannabis plants.

Tip: Fan leaves are called like that because the multiple fingers resemble the fan blades.

2. Parts Of A Fan Leaf

Fan leaves are the typical fingered cannabis leaves, they're composed of the petiole, ventral surface, dorsal surface and apex. Each one of these parts work together to absorb light, perform photosynthesis and breathe, exchanging CO2 and oxygen with the environment, this allows it to multiply the cells and grow.


Petiole is the short stem that connects the leaves to the branch, this not only connects them but also allows energy, information, and food to be transported between them.

Ventral surface

The ventral surface is the upper side of a leaf (including fan leaves), this is the area your plant has available to absorb light. 

It is extremely important for a plant to have healthy leaves. If you see them yellowing or browning, it is a sign that something is wrong and it can affect the growth rate of your plant.


Fan leaves are composed of four parts: Apex, ventral and dorsal surfaces, and petiole.

Dorsal surface

The dorsal surface is the lowers side of the leaf and it is where plants can store small amounts of water. This water is used by plants to avoid reducing yields when they’re being grown in hot climates.


This is the name given to the tips of all kinds of leaves, and not only fan leaves. For example, cotyledons (the baby leaves) have 1 apex while fan leaves can have 5 apexes or more.

3. Do Fan Leaves Contain Cannabinoids?

Fan leaves usually only contain around 0.3% THC and 0.7% CBDThey are used to make hash, cannabutter or other types of concentrates when they’re covered in trichomes. If your fan leaves aren’t frosty, there won’t be a lot of cannabinoids you can extract.

Have in mind that to get high you need around 100mg of THC, to be able to get that from leaves without a lot of trichomes you would need around 300g of fan leaves.

4. When To Remove Fan Leaves?

Although it is not recommended to remove fan leaves, there can be too much of them in the beginning of the flowering stage.

If there are too many fan leaves covering the plant, the light won’t be able to reach deep, blocking other leaves from absorbing light and also blocking the airflow that helps prevent mold and bugs.


Remove fan leaves only when you feel that they are affecting your plant in a bad way.

Because of this, if your plant is too bushy and you think it is affecting it in a bad way, it is recommended to slowly remove around 20% of the fan leaves to allow a better airflow and light absorption to the lower part of the plant.

5. Uses For The Fan Leaves

If you grow a strain that doesn’t produce many trichomes on the fan leaves, you can still use them.

As you may know, cannabis leaves and petioles have a high amount of fibers and can be used in nutritious juices, salads, or even give them to your pets to help with digestion. Just make sure to clean them before consuming them!


When covered in trichomes fan leaves are used to make hash, cannabutter or other types of concentrates.

Fan leaves are also used in the making of cannagars, where they are used as the rolling paper or can be used to brew teas.

Note: Giving fan leaves for your pets to eat or brewing teas with them won’t have an effect because the amount of cannabinoids is extremely low.

6. In Conclusion

Fan leaves can have various uses, depending on what to aim to do with them and the amount you have available. 

But if you want to make hash for example, you will need a strain that produces a high amount of resin, for this case we recommend our new Strawberry Pie Auto.

Strawberry Pie Auto
Strawberry Pie Auto
Sativa 15%/Indica 85%
Strawberry Pie Auto
8 – 9 weeks
400 – 500 gr/m2
60 – 100 cm
Up to 26%
< 1%
1 fem
13,00 €
2 fem
24,00 €
3 fem
36,00 €
5 fem
55,00 €
10 fem
99,00 €
25 fem
215,00 €
50 fem
365,00 €
100 fem
590,00 €
500 fem
1 950,00 €
1000 fem
3 400,00 €
3 fem
Add to Cart
36,00 €

This strain produces a huge amount of trichomes on the buds and leaves, perfect not only for the quantity but the quality of the resin. If you grow a strain that doesn’t produce much trichomes, you can still use the fan leaves for their fibers.

10 June 2020