Most growers disregard their cannabis trimmings.
But the smart ones think: Hmmm, what can I do with weed trimmings?
They’ve been led to believe that these leaves, sometimes referred to as “sugar leaves,” or “fan leaves” serve no purpose for the marijuana enthusiast.
Why Are Cannabis Buds Trimmed?
Why should I waste all the trichome-covered leaves by trimming them, you ask?
Well, there are several reasons to trim your buds.
Aesthetically speaking, the buds look neater with no leaves peeking out when trimmed.
But apart from the appearance, even the quality improves with trims.
Remember the last time you smoked buds with too many sugar leaves?
Yeah, not very pleasant, I imagine.
Once the buds rich in THC are exposed, your smoking experience becomes much better.
The leaves contain some THC and can be used to make other products like Dry Ice Hash, Marijuana Tea, Butter or even oil.
Since you’re technically not wasting anything, trim all the leaves to your heart’s content so that the buds look good and taste fantastic too.
More on Trim Leaves
During the growing process, what becomes trim leaves are known as fan leaves, and they play an integral role in the growing process.
Fan leaves are an indicator of plant health and can help you know when your plant is lacking essential elements such as light, water or nutrients.
At harvest, however, the trimmer is more concerned with the bud.
When trimming you take great care to remove the fan leaves through careful pruning.
So, should your trim just get tossed away?
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The Benefits of Your Trim
It’s true; you can’t get any benefit from smoking your trim leaves.
The trimmings do not contain a high enough level of THC to get you high while smoking.
Smoking your trim will only result in a stinky, harsh smoke.
Despite this, there is a lot of hope for your trim!
Your marijuana trim still contains the valuable cannabidiols (CBDs), which can be put to many practical uses.
Using other methods, you can also activate some of the psychoactive properties within your trim.
So, your hopes of getting high on your trim isn’t for nothing!
The Role of Decarboxylation
In a couple of the examples shared below on what you can do with your trim after harvest, will require your trim to go through the decarboxylation process.
Decarboxylation is a process that involves heating up your plant so that the CBDs are activated.
Also, the properties of the plant become enhanced.
Without heat, the process must be done manually by the grower using particular techniques that involve heating the plant.
What to do With Weed Trimmings: 5 Ideas
Here are some solid ideas on what you can do with your trimmings after harvest:
- Make Cannabutter
Cannabutter (cannabis-infused butter) is one of the most common ways to make edibles.
It can be made from your trimmings so that you can enjoy the benefits of the CBDs in your snacks and meals.
Making cannabutter is a long process, that requires the attention and careful skill of the cook.
This YouTube video, provided by GrowGreenerGuru shows how you can take sugar leaves and make different kinds of cannabutter:
This video demonstrates the difference between cannabutter where the plant has been decarboxylated vs. plant that has gone through this process.
When done correctly and at the proper heat levels, the resulting cannabutter can be potent in CBDs and many cases, THC.
Cannabutter can be used to both cook and bake with.
Many use cannabutter as butter and oil substitute in some of their favorite cooking and baked good recipes.
- Take Your Tea Time
The trimmings from your plant after harvest can also be used to make some teas that will allow you to enjoy the dietary benefits of cannabis.
The levels of psycho-activity produced through teas has been debated.
And this method of using marijuana isn’t the most effective if you want to get a buzz
Still, don't discount using the trim of your plant for cannabis teas, as you’ll still get the CBD benefits.
Remember, decarboxylation may help you release the psychoactive properties of your trim.
So, this will have to be undertaken if you hope for a tea-high.
- Put it on Your Skin
Using cannabis in topical ointments or salves has been shown to be very beneficial for skin health.
The CBDs that exist in your trim (without decarboxylation) have antioxidant properties.
This leads many to use cannabis creams for their anti-aging properties.
Also, many use topical cannabis products such as ointments to relieve joint pain and muscle aches.
The grower interested in making the most of their cannabis trim may be interested in making their topical creams and ointments at home.
- Juice It
The leaves of the cannabis plant are a significant source of protein.
It's also lauded for its high levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
If you throw some non-decarboxylated cannabis leaves into your juicer or you’re your blended smoothie, you can expect to enjoy not only the nutritional benefits of the plant but also the CBDs.
Nutritionists have pointed to the benefits of raw cannabis juicing and cannabis-infused smoothies as being incredibly useful in the treatment of many chronic illnesses.
- Concentrate It
Making concentrates requires a significant amount of trim to get any effectiveness.
Since you’re not using the bud in this process, your resulting product may not get you super high but will be sufficient to get a nice buzz.
Some people choose to make butane hash oil (BHO), which is an effective way to extract the good stuff from your plant.
It can be a dangerous process, though.
Alternatively, making hash will allow you to separate the trichomes from the parts that are less useful.
Before making any kinds of concentrates, it’s best to become extremely educated on the how-to!
What’s the Best Way to Trim Cannabis?
To be honest, the way you trim cannabis leaves depends on personal choice.
Some growers remove the fan leaves and leave the small sugar leaves on the bud.
Other growers trim all the leaves with a vengeance until there are none left.
A few growers try a combination where they let the buds dry and then trim them.
So, what’s the best way?
Well, you’ll know only after you’ve tried all the combinations because it’s a matter of personal preference.
A trial-and-error way will lead you to recognize what method suits you the best.
But, if you lack time, it’s good to understand the different methods of trimming to get an idea of what your final product would look like.
Remember, the way you trim will affect the quality of the final product.
Trimming Buds Wet or Dry
Growers follow two different techniques to trim the plants.
Notice how the leaves stick right out when the plant is just taken down?
That’s because of the moisture in the leaves.
If you proceed to trim now, it’s a wet trim.
This method is used by most growers and is perhaps the best way to trim cannabis.
It’s just easier to trim the leaves when they are plainly visible and sticking out.
As soon as the plant is harvested, remove the fan leaves with your fingers.
Don’t harvest everything at once, especially if have 8-10 plants.
You don’t want to spend an insane amount of time trimming the buds covered in sticky resin.
Cut down only a few branches and place them in a brown paper bag.
Next, grab a tray and place some of the buds on it.
Use a good pair of sharp scissors that allow you to get even the smallest leaves.
Don’t trim too much in your excitement, though, because if you start nipping into the buds, you’ll waste them.
Change the scissors if they are coated with too much resin (what a great problem to have!)
Remember only to trim and not shave the buds bald!
Hang the buds along with the branches (easier that way) on a hanger or use a drying rack and wait for the buds to dry.
Unlike wet trimming, dry trimming involves waiting for the buds to dry so they can be trimmed later.
After the plant is harvested, you can take down the fan leaves and proceed directly to dry the buds on the rack.
After the buds dry for about a week or so, you can then trim the sugar leaves.
You’ll probably notice how difficult it is to trim the leaves after the bud has dried because the sugar leaves tend to curl inward.
Obviously, it's not possible to remove most of the leaves, but you do the best you can.
The scissors will not be coated with as much resin as wet trimming, so that’s a plus.
This method is pretty difficult compared to wet trimming, but it suits people in dry climates where it’s optimal to dry the buds slowly.
Dry trimming produces a harsher effect when you smoke because most of the sugar leaves are still present on the buds.
If you do decide to spend a lot of time and trim the leaves, make sure you collect them all in a paper bag so you can make something else with them later.
Learn more about the differences between wet and dry trimming.
Supplies You Will Need
Whether you’re dry trimming or wet trimming, you’ll need:
- Sharp scissors with pointed ends to trim leaves
- Shears to cut branches
- A clean tray
And, that’s it!
So, now you know the difference between dry trimming and wet trimming.
Depending on the climate and your preference, you can try either.
But, most growers stick to wet trimming because it’s easier and allows you to cut more sugar leaves.
If you’re willing to spend a lot of time on the buds, however, dry trimming may be great for you.
It’s because it produces buds that are superior in quality (only if you spend time and remove all the sugar leaves)
You could use machine trimmers too, but their ideally for commercial grows.
No matter what method you choose, remember to take it slow and treat the buds with love, and they will return the favor!
Don’t Let It Go to Waste
The above examples are just a few ways that you can make the most from what you harvest.
What to do with weed trimmings doesn't have to be a hard decision.
Be creative with your cannabis trim and try new things!
Don’t always be so quick to go to the options that will ensure you can extract a high from your trim.
Explore some of the methods that capitalize on the non-psychoactive properties of cannabis.
You just may find a new-found appreciation for the wider benefits of the marijuana plant!