Growers often trim ‘sugar leaves’ off their flower to make cannabis buds look more attractive. Where some would just throw this out as trash; other growers go out of their way to get the most out of their crop. Sugar leaves are often full of THC and other cannabinoids, so it’s a shame to let them go to waste. Use these tips to put your sugar leaves to use too and never spill a gram again.
Table of Contents
Sugar Leaves: Packed With Goodness
Sugar Leaves are the small leaves growing out the sides of a cannabis bud. Not the iconic bigger fan leaves with multiple fingers, but the small one-fingered ones that usually glisten with trichomes. These are sugar crystal-like glands that get their name from their appearance; and they’re extremely important parts of the cannabis plant. After all, this is where most of the plants cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and other useful compounds like terpenes and flavonoids are stored.
It’s these trichomes that make cannabis trim – the ‘plant waste’ leftover after the harvested buds are trimmed – valuable ‘trash’. To be fair, we don’t think it’s trash, but the Dutch literally call it knipafval [‘trimming trash’]. Where some growers would trim these small leaves off and throw it out to make their flower more aesthetically pleasing; most cultivators search for ways to get the most out of their precious crop. And with the following tips you will be able to do the same, without having to do the research.
1. Vaping Cannabis Sugar Leaves In A Vaporizer
If there’s a vaporizer at hand, vaping sugar leaves might be the most obvious solution. Vaping is a process where the active components in cannabis are heated to the point where they evaporate, without burning the plant matter as happens in a joint, a bong, or a pipe. These days, good quality vaporizers are widely available; anyone can pick one up at the Coffeeshop Info Centre right here in Amsterdam, for instance.
Sugar leaves contain both cannabinoids to produce a high and terpenes for flavor (and to direct the strain’s entourage effect). Since vaping is all about consuming these active compounds and not the other plant material, this is the perfect way to utilize your trim with little effort. Simply smoking sugar leaves in a joint would give a harsh taste, due to an excess of chlorophyll and other unpleasant tasting components in the leaves. Vaping doesn’t depend on actual combustion (burning); a vaporizer evaporates the useful substances in cannabis trim instead. That means maximum terpene taste and cannabinoid effect, without the acrid smoke you’d get from burning (sugar) leaves.
2. Making Cannabis Edibles From Sugar Leaves
Another way to make good use of your sugar leaves is to process them into edibles. Although we must admit, this method requires a bit more time and effort than the previous one. The tricky part is turning the cannabinoids in the sugar leaves into THC and CBD. When smoking (combustion) or vaping weed (vaporization), the high temperatures turn precursor cannabinoids like THCA into THC. If that doesn’t happen, you will not experience the ‘high’ effect many people seek. Baking a cake or muffin doesn’t involve the kind of heat you get with burning or evaporation. That’s why you need to decarb your sugar leaves first. Find out all about decarboxylation in this blog on cannabis edibles, and you’re all set to get busy in the kitchen!
To make edibles, most bakers infuse butter or coconut oil with cannabis to bake with. When baking with sugar leaves, it is advised to use double the weight you would use when cooking with cannabis buds. Sugar leaves carry cannabinoids and terpenes in trichomes, but the glands are far less concentrated on these leaves than they are on a nug. Doubling up on your trim ingredients ensures an adequate effect after eating.
One more thing about cannabis edibles: take it easy and don’t eat all of them at once! Cannabis edibles take longer to enter the bloodstream and make their effects felt. Take half a slice of cake, then wait at least thirty minutes before you take another bite. That way, you make sure you don’t eat too much of a good thing.
3. Cannabis Trim For Home-Made Hash
The most laborious way to use your sugar leaves is to turn them into hash, by extracting the cannabinoids from the trim. Hash is basically a concentrated form of cannabis flower, in which the trichomes containing the cannabinoids are separated from the rest of the organic plant matter. In fact, making hash from cannabis sugar leaves is not that hard if you understand the basic techniques. Methods like dry-sifting, ice water extraction, CO2-extraction, mechanical drums (and more) could potentially turn trash into treasure. One downside, it takes some time, effort and investing in the proper equipment. But as soon as you get a hold of this hash-making thing, you might discover you’ll never want anything else again!
Trimming Buds: Sugar Leaves And Sticky Fingers
Anyone who has ever trimmed a few buds knows they make your fingers sticky as, well, as resin, really. Most growers use latex gloves to keep their hands clean and to prevent contaminating their crop. If you really want to make the most out of every gram, make sure to collect all that sticky goodness after you’re done trimming. Simply collect the leftover resin and roll it into a ball. This is the easiest way of making hash: sticky fingers while trimming weed are a sure sign that the joys of the harvest are just around the corner!