When looking at a marijuana plant, we see a typical plant made up of roots, stems, leaves, and the cola composed of floral clusters rich with trichomes. But even though all parts of the plant are useful, not all parts are always used. Cannabis cultivators are generally interested in the smokable part of the cola – the nugs, which contain the most cannabinoids, and throw away the trim.
For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the marijuana growing process, you should know that trimming is an essential part of the marijuana harvest in order to get the final product, the cannabis buds. But even though cannabis is trimmed, there’s no need to throw away that precious plant material. It also contains a significant amount of trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes, but in a lower amount compared to the nugs.
First-time growers should know that you can use your cannabis trim as a superfood in drinks and baked goods, and also for making other cannabis products, all depending on your personal preference. And in this article, we’ll focus on exactly that, utilizing the weed trim instead of throwing it away.
What Is Cannabis Trim?
The excess part that a marijuana cultivator trims in order to maximize the plant’s bloom during the harvest is referred to as weed trim. The trimming process is practiced because it results in a bigger plant yield of higher quality.
Home growers generally hand-trim their cannabis, but commercial growers tend to use a machine to get the job done in a timely manner. The excess leaves and other marijuana parts are what’s left behind as trimmings.
In the past, this plant material was tossed out, although today it’s mostly used to make additional products. But before we get into what those products are, we need to differentiate between the cannabis leaves that are trimmed from the cannabis buds.
Cannabis Trimmings: Sugar Leaves vs. Fan Leaves
Sugar leaves are the smaller, trichome-covered leaves that are close to the cannabis bud and contain a decent amount of THC and CBD. Their appearance is the reason they’re called sugar leaves – because trichomes make them appear as if they’re sprinkled with sugar.
Fan leaves are the 5-7 fingered leaves which are located lower on the plant. Compared to the sugar leaves, they contain a smaller amount of THC and CBD. However, you can still get some use out of them to make various cannabis products which we’ll include below.
Wet Trim vs Dry Trim
Depending on the personal preference of the grower, the trimming can be either wet or dry.
Wet trimming means that the plant is chopped down, all the leaves are immediately trimmed, and then the buds are spread out to dry.
Dry trimming involves chopping the plant down and allowing it to dry. Only after the grower is satisfied with the moisture content of the plant will they trim it to perfection.
Using up Trimmed Sugar Leaves
While some growers choose to leave the sugar leaves on the buds in order to make their harvest heavier, others trim them since they’re harsher to smoke. If you choose to leave them, that’s fine, but if you do trim them, you shouldn’t dispose of them because you can get much use out of your trimmed sugar leaves.
Making Cannabutter and Cannabis Oil
This one is a no-brainer, because it’s also one of the main cannabis products made with buds, and you can also use sugar leaves to make cannabutter. Just don’t forget to first decarboxylate the sugar leaves. The decarboxylation process is needed to convert THCA to THC and CBDA into CBD, so you can enjoy a psychoactive and relaxing high.
After decarbing, you should use your grinder and grind the leaves well before making the cannabutter. Since THC is fat soluble, this will increase the surface area of the plant material and will allow more THC to get absorbed into the butter.
You can also choose to infuse other types of fat to make cannabis products to use in baking and cooking. For a vegan option, you can infuse your preferred oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and others. After you’ve made your desired cannabutter or cannabis oil, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth and your product is ready to use.
Kief From Sugar Leaves
You can turn your sugar leaves into kief by using bud trimmers, or you can collect kief by using a silkscreen. Whichever way you decide to collect your kief, you can later use it as if you would use kief from the buds and top your joint, include it in your cannabutter, or make moon rocks.
Rosin From Sugar Leaves
Rosin is the safest and tastiest solventless cannabis concentrate available. You can use your trichome-rich cannabis leaves to extract rosin by using a rosin press. Another way to make it is to first turn the leaves into kief or hash and then use the press to make a higher quality extract.
Hash From Sugar Leaves
You can take the kief you made from your sugar leaves and produce an even more valuable product – hash. You can use the hand method to make hash which involves rubbing the sticky plant material so it forms small balls, or you can use a machine. One way of making hash after you’ve made your kief is to press the kief into a hash with a pollen press, and another way is to use the ice wash method.
Wax and Shatter From Sugar Leaves
While making rosin is a solventless extraction method, wax and shatter are solvent-based methods of extracting psychoactive ingredients from sugar leaves, although they won’t be as potent as extracts made from cannabis nugs.
You can make some homemade butane hash oil (BHO), and use up your trimmings all in one go. Depending on the extraction method and the quality of the marijuana trim, you can get concentrates of different qualities.
Using up Trimmed Fan Leaves
Your cannabis trimming session can leave you with a lot of sugar leaves, but you’ll definitely come across some fan leaves as well which are great for DIY cannabis products.
Cannabutter From Fan Leaves
You can make cannabutter from fan leaves, although it definitely won’t be as potent as the butter made from sugar leaves or cannabis buds, so it’s better to stick to the other cannabis products on this list. The reason for this is that making cannabutter from fan leaves is likely to create a butter heavier in CBD than in THC.
Cannabis Milk From Fan Leaves
Cannabis trim can also be used to make drinks like cannabis-infused milk, as well as smoothies. Just heat up your milk and simmer for 30-45 minutes to get your cannamilk. Strain the plant matter from the liquid and store it in a sealed container.
Use it in milkshakes, smoothies, or even try making your own version of bhang (an Indian variation of making cannabis milk, which is drunk as a tribute to the god Shiva).
Topicals and Creams From Fan Leaves
Cannabis can also be absorbed through the skin and used to treat various skin conditions like eczema and acne. You can turn your trimmings into a salve and apply it where needed. Add essential oils and other aromatics and use your topical cream to reduce inflammation after a heavy workout, or spot-treat acne.
Juices From Fan Leaves
Fan leaves don’t contain many trichomes, but they’re a green superfood that can be used to make green juices. You can add them to your preferred juice blend because they taste a bit bitter when juiced on their own. A good juice blend to try is carrot juice, since it masks the flavor of the raw leaves.
Herb From Fan Leaves
You can use dry fan leaves to make an herb to sprinkle in your food. Grind up the dried leaves, store them in a container, and top your favorite pizza, salad, or sauce, to take advantage of the nutritional benefits of marijuana.
Tea From Fan Leaves
You can make yourself a tea by using trimmed fan leaves, and even make a blend by combining it with other teas. This CBD tea can reduce anxiety and relieve stress, and is a good way to utilize leftover fan leaves.
Final Thoughts on Using Weed Trim
There are many ways you can use your weed trimmings to make a whole variety of weed products at home. And if you’re not a fan of DIY products, you can compost the leaves and stems to turn them into nutritious food for your cannabis plants.