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Sugar Leaves: What They Are & What To Do With Them

Before you go on and roll a sugar leaf joint, there are a few things you should know! Let’s get into the best ways to use your sugar leaves.

Cultivators are always looking for ways to maximise the utility of every single part of the cannabis plant. This includes utilising trim for various purposes, which ultimately involves extracting cannabinoids for consumption. But there are parts of the cannabis plant that fall in a grey area of whether they should be considered trim or smokable. These are the sugar leaves.

You might not know what they are by name, but you’ve certainly seen them on your cannabis plants! Some growers trim them completely from the buds, but others will just leave them on for reasons you’ll soon understand. Let’s get a better sense of what sugar leaves are, and what they’re used for.

WHAT THEY ARE

Sugar leaves are small leaves that grow out of your buds. They aren’t the large fan leaves you see protruding from branches on the plant. These can be easily distinguished. For starters, you’ll most likely be able to locate the stems of your fans leaves. Sugar leaves, however, are more hidden, with only their tips peaking through. The title “sugar leaves” comes from the white coating of delicious trichomes they have at the end of the flowering phase. While fan leaves also have trichomes, they are far less concentrated and therefore, less potent. However, fan leaves can still be used when making edibles.

Different strains will have different amounts of sugar leaves with different amounts of trichomes. And these traits are not correlated. Having more sugar leaves does not mean more trichomes, nor will resinous flower automatically signal more sugar leaves. Their size will also vary a lot. Sometimes they’ll cover the bud, while other times, they’ll barely peek through the flower. This will also be affected by how their size compares to that of the bud.

On the other hand, there seems to be a relation between the number of leaves and the size of the buds. When the buds are larger, they tend to contain fewer sugar leaves. But when the buds are smaller, they will have more sugar leaves. Why this happens is still a mystery, but growers have reported a noticeable trend.

ARE THEY SMOKABLE?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. It’s up to you as a grower to make the decision. Some growers will choose to leave them on for the extra weight. On certain strains, the sugar leaves will even make the buds more visually appealing due to the abundance of trichomes on them. They will also help the drying process happen more naturally.

On the other hand, sugar leaves will absolutely yield a harsher smoke. If you smoke them by themselves, the joint or bowl you pack will not taste good, nor will it be smooth on your throat. Although containing THC, sugar leaves are less concentrated than the flower and contain excess amounts of chlorophyll and other trace elements that contribute to a plant-like taste. Also, you’ll have to grind a larger weight than usual to feel the same high with sugar leaves. If you so choose to smoke them, you’re best leaving the leaves on the buds and grinding them with the flower as you go. This way, it will increase your volume of smoke without having too much of an unpleasant effect on the experience.

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR SUGAR LEAVES

The decision to smoke sugar leaves will partially depend on the amount you have. If, after curing, you feel they aren’t that present on your buds, you might as well leave them. They won’t be worth the trouble of trimming further. But in case you’ve decided the cons of smoking sugar leaves outweigh the pros, here’s what you can do with them.

MAKE A BATCH OF CANNABUTTER

Although sugar leaves aren’t too strong on their own, they offer a potent high when their trichomes are extracted and condensed.

This quintessential cooking extract can be infused into just about any recipe imaginable, from cakes and cookies to salad dressings and pasta dishes. Here’s how to make it:

INGREDIENTS

· 28g trimmed sugar leaves
· 250g salted butter
· 300ml tap water (add another 50ml for every hour the mixture is left simmering)

HARDWARE

· Kitchen knife (or a blender)
· Cheesecloth
· Storage container
· Measuring jug

Wondering if you should smoke your sugar leaves? We'll help you decide, and give you some other great uses for sugar leaves.

What Do I Do With Weed Trim?

Weed trim is a common term used to describe the excess parts a cultivator must trim from their plants post-harvest in order to fully maximize a plant’s bloom and, in turn, get more desirable crystals. In short, a good trim will get the grower a bigger, higher quality plant yield. With a varying amount of states now allowing marijuana-users to legally grow their own crops, cultivation and harvesting techniques are, arguably, more important now than ever before. When it comes to the excess scraps that come from a fruitful harvest, an inexperienced (or in some cases, even an experienced) grower might not know what to do with weed trim. Luckily, there are several ways you can utilize your weed trim, rather than simply dump it in the garbage and call it a day. So let’s go through and look at what to do with trim leaves after a successful harvest.

What To Do With Trim Leaves — What Are Trim Leaves?

First, let’s go into a little more detail about weed trim, before getting into how to best utilize it.

Typically, weed trim is collected after harvest. In fact, it plays an important role during the growing process, as it serves as an indicator for your plant’s health. The leaves, which are commonly referred to as fan leaves before they are trimmed, can help a cultivator determine if the plant is lacking nutrients, water, or even sunlight depending on the colors of the leaves.

Removing trim helps make the plant’s buds achieve the classic nug look, but it also helps remove some unnecessary parts of the plant, at least in terms of smoking. But some of these parts, although low in potency, can still be consumed. And yes, you can still get high. Or, at the very least, achieve a higher level of physical and mental wellness.

Make Cannabutter

Basically, any part that still contains trichomes can be saved for later use. Luckily, some of these trichomes still contain some of the basic ingredients to get you high, such as terpenes and cannabinoids.

One of the more popular uses for weed trim, at least for those still trying to achieve that psychoactive high we all know and love, is simply making cannabutter for edibles. So it’s no surprise that cannabutter is first on the list of what to do with weed trim.

When using weed trim for cannabutter, you might find yourself with a more CBD-heavy edible, which is one that won’t necessarily get you high. However, if you happen to get lucky and score a trichome-heavy trim leaf, you might get a decent amount of THC in your cannabutter.

The first step is to decarboxylate the trim. This is necessary to gain the maximum potency in your edibles.

Our suggestion would be decarbing your bud straight from the jar, courtesy of High Times’ simple instant pot method.

This method is fast and easy. All it requires is a fat of your choice, either a pair of pantyhose, an old t-shirt, or ideally, a piece of cheesecloth, and of course, a canning jar.

To decarb, stretch your pantyhose or cheesecloth around an opened jar to create a makeshift filter. Grind your buds and pour them into the filter. Then place the lid on the jar and screw the ring to secure the jar shut. Put it in the oven at 225 degrees for around 30 minutes, and it should turn a deep green.

From there, you add fat—whether that be traditional butter or coconut oil— into the jar. The jar shouldn’t be more than 3/4 full.

Then, simply place the jar in the Instant pot and fill it with water until it’s halfway up the jar.

Click the “pressure cook” button and lock the lid. In this mode, the pressure cooker will automatically set itself to a half hour—the perfect time allotment for this endeavor.

When the 30 minutes is up, pull the pressure release valve and remove the jar from the pot carefully with tongs or some other sort of device. Finally, unscrew the lid and strain your cannabutter from the filter. We’d suggest simply squeezing all of the cannabis-infused back into the jar you used. You also might want to wear gloves for this part—unless you’re trying to live up to your high school football nickname, “butterfingers.”

One thing to keep in mind when making cannabutter out of trim—make sure it’s ground to a mulch-like texture. In this case, a food processor or blender would be ideal, as a regular grinder might not work in this instance.

Once you have it properly blended, you can begin to use it for your cannabutter. For our recipe on cannabutter, take a look here.

Put It In Your Tea

Here’s a little bit of a simpler solution when wondering what to do with trim leaves: just put it in your tea!

This method won’t get you stoned, but it can unlock some of the powers of CBD, such as anxiety and stress relief.

So if you’re looking for more of a subtle, relaxing method of utilizing your weed trim, you might want to just go ahead and put in in your tea. It might prove to be the perfect combination.

Make Your Own Hash

Hash, or hashish, is one of the oldest forms of marijuana concentrates in the book, and that could be partially attributed to the fact that it’s easily made out of weed trim. So if you’re looking to get as high as possible, and still don’t know what to do with trim leaves, hash could be your best bet.

The tricky part about making hash is separating the trichomes from the weed trim. However, extracting it is similar to a standard decarboxylation process.

First, grab your weed trim and place it on a silk screen over a piece of wax paper. Then, simply use your hands to physically move the trim around so that the trichomes come apart from the leaves. When the trichomes fall off, use a scraper or some sort of similar tool to scrape it all together. Then, with the use of a pollen press, you can compress it into hash. Easier said than done, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll always have a fool-proof plan for what to do with trim leaves.

Cannabis Milk, Anyone?

When thinking of what to do with weed trim, making your own cannabis milk could be another viable option.

And yes, cannabis milk is a real thing.

Making cannabis milk is actually super easy to do. First, heat up your milk until it begins to simmer. Then, add your cannabis trimmings.

This part might require a bit of stamina, but it’s well worth. Stir the milk for about 30-40 minutes, until the complexion turns into a yellowish-green. Strain the trimmings out, and put it in a container. You can store in the refrigerator for as long as the original milk-expiration date says.

Skin Topicals

Skin topicals and creams have become a huge part of the retail cannabis industry, and fortunately, you can make your own at home—without even using any of your own weed.

After decarbing your weed, grind it up into a fine powder. You’re then going to want to mix in other essential oils like lavender, rosemary, clove, or lemon—whichever you prefer. Mix all ingredients together, and then begin the cooking process, which unfortunately takes 3-4 days. It’s a simple recipe, but definitely pretty time-consuming. However, it’s worth it in the long-run.

Juice

Our final suggestion on what to do with weed trim is another simple and super-healthy way to consume your cannabis leaf trim—juicing it!

Cannabis leaves are known to possess high levels of protein, in addition to Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Again, just throw your decarboxylated weed into a juicer with some of your favorite foods and/or veggies and blend away. You’ll get a bunch of the natural benefits associated with CBD, for the cost of essentially, ziltch.

Voila! Now you know what to do with weed trim. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to drop us a line.

Weed trim is a common term used to describe the excess parts a cultivator must trim from their plants post-harvest in order to fully maximize a plant's bloom