Firstly, trimming away fan leaves during the vegetative stage of growth helps to encourage optimal bud production. Furthermore, giving cannabis buds a good trim after harvesting gives them a beautiful, well-manicured appearance.
So, what can you do with cannabis trimmings other than throwing them on the compost pile? Here are a few suggestions.
Getting the most out of your marijuana trim
Before we dive into how to use cannabis trim, we have a couple of tips on how to get the most out of it. After all, trim is not that different from buds in many ways.
On the one hand, fan leaves contain little in the way of trichomes, meaning a low cannabinoid content. Therefore, it is possible to use them raw, directly off the plant. Although they won’t get you high, fan leaves do have some benefits, which we will discuss in tip number one.
However, the sugar leaves that you trim off after harvesting are another matter. Of course, they are not as rich in cannabinoids and terpenes as buds, but they do have a smattering of trichomes.
This means that you need to prepare them in the same way as you would with cannabis flower; by first drying and curing them carefully and then decarboxylating them to activate their cannabinoids.
How to dry and cure cannabis trim
Drying and curing cannabis properly is an essential part of the growing process. Failure to do so can result in weed that lacks flavor and potency. It may also increase the risk of developing mold. Fortunately, drying cannabis trim couldn’t be easier. Simply spread it out on sheets of newspaper and leave it in a dry, shaded area until crisp. Trim dries much quicker than flower and should be ready in a matter of days. You can then transfer your trim into storage jars and cure it in the same way you would treat buds.
Don’t forget to decarb
If you want to experience a high from your trim, you will need to decarboxylate it first. The process involves heating the weed to convert inactive THCA and CBDA to active THC and CBD. Decarboxylation is not necessary if you want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without intoxication. You can also skip this step if you plan on smoking your trim. When you combust cannabis in a joint or bowl, this activates the cannabinoids automatically. The simplest way to decarb trim is by spreading it on a baking sheet and placing it in a low oven. You can find all the details on timings and temperature in our easy-to-follow decarboxylation guide.
How to use cannabis trim
The fan leaves that you trim from cannabis plants in the vegetative stage won’t get you high. However, they do have a myriad of benefits.
Like all leafy greens, cannabis leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals. Some of the fantastic nutrients that you will find in cannabis trim include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Make cannabis trim infused butter or oil
You can also use cannabis trim to make delicious edibles by infusing it into cannabutter or your oil of choice. Of course, it won’t be as strong as if you use buds, but it will save you a whole lot of cash! The process is the same as making regular cannabutter or oil. Just don’t forget to dry, cure, and decarboxylate your trim first.
Season your cooking with Marijuana Trim
If the process of preparing cannabutter seems like too much effort, you can also use marijuana trim as a seasoning. Keep a jar of prepared trim in your kitchen cabinet and add a pinch or two to your meals. The savory, herbal flavor of cannabis gives a unique twist to curries, sauces, and soups. You could even sprinkle some into your scrambled eggs. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means you should eat them with a small amount of fat or oil to allow your digestive system to absorb them. Otherwise, you’ll get all of the flavor but none of the effects!
Make cannabis Trim tea
You can also consume your cannabis trim by making it into an herbal tea. Again, you’ll need some fat to help your body absorb those cannabinoids for maximum effect.
Here is one of our favorite cannabis tea recipes:
- 1–2 teaspoons cannabis trim
- A few slices of fresh ginger
- One small cinnamon stick
- 3–5 cloves or cardamom pods
- One black tea bag
- Sugar or honey to sweeten
- Full-fat milk or coconut oil to serve
- Place two cups of water in a pan and bring to a simmer
- Add the cannabis trim and spices
- Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add the teabag
- Leave to brew for 2–3 minutes
- Strain the tea into a cup and sweeten to taste
- Stir in full-fat milk or a dab of coconut oil
Make cannabis Trim dry sift
If your sugar leaves are particularly laden with trichomes, you could try your hand at some simple, homemade concentrates. One of the most popular methods is a process known as dry sift.
It involves rubbing your cannabis trim over a series of mesh screens to separate the trichomes. The result is a fine powder (kief) that you can add to joints or bowls, or press into rosin.
To make dry sift, you just need a few pieces of equipment and some patience. We outline the steps in our complete dry sift guide.
Final thoughts on how to use Marijuana Trim
These are just a few of many diverse ways you can put your cannabis trim to good use. However, there are plenty more. We have even heard of people smoking their trim, although it can be quite harsh on the throat.
Therefore, we prefer the methods we have outlined above. They are simple, effective, and help to reduce waste. After all, when you’ve put so much effort into growing cannabis, you’ll want to get as much out of it as you can.
Cannabis leaves are also full of beneficial antioxidants, making them a great addition to any healthy meal.
One of our favorite ways to use fan leaves is blended into a raw cannabis smoothie. However, you can use them as you would any other green vegetable; steaming, stir-frying, and mixing into salads all work well.
How To Decarboxylate Marijuana Trim
Marijuana trimmings, or bud trimmings, are left over after a grower harvests a crop and manicures the buds. This method also works for shake and other material that is not as dense as marijuana bud. For instructions on decarboxylating bud, see this. When preparing marijuana to be eaten, made into a tincture, or some other method of ingestion other than smoking or vaporizing, it must first be decarboxylated. This is done so the active components of marijuana will be more easily absorbed by the human body. Many people try to make some type of marijuana food or drink, only to have the resulting product provide very little psychoactive effect. The most common cause is not decarboxylating the marijuana enough, or in some cases not decarboxylating at all.
When a marijuana plant is harvested, most of the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary active cannabinoid in marijuana) is in its acidic form. This is called THCA, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. THCA is not psychoactive to humans. Curing and drying causes some of the THCA to convert into THC. Smoking or vaporizing also causes THCA to convert into THC. So when smoking or consuming it in a manner that heats the marijuana to a high temperature, some or most of THCA is converted to THC with no extra effort. When eaten or drunk, an extra step called decarboxylation must be employed. This is accomplished by heating the marijuana under specific conditions prior to incorporating it into a recipe, or consuming it another manner.
The first step is to decide how much mj trim to decarboxylate. If you are not sure, 14-28 grams is a reasonable amount for a first attempt. After you decide how much trim to decarboxylate, the next step is to make sure it is dry so it doesn’t clump together. If the trim clumps together there is a chance that it won’t decarboxylate evenly, so dry the trim before attempting to decarb it. Bud trim is small leaves trimmed away from the bud, there should be no need to grind it. When marijuana bud is decarboxylated, it has to be ground into small pieces.
If there is any bud or dense material mixed in with the trim, grind it to a point where the particles are about the same size as marijuana when it is rolled into a joint, several times larger than grains of salt. Place the dry marijuana trim in a pyrex dish or some other type of oven safe dish. Try to level the marijuana in the pyrex dish so it is roughly the same depth in all parts of the pyrex dish.
Making it relatively level and no more than about 1 to 1.5 inches/25 to 38 mm deep, is so the marijuana gets heated at the same rate. If you were to dump the trim into a pile, or if it’s too deep, the material at the center will take longer to heat than the exterior, incomplete decarboxylation. Wrap aluminum foil around the dish so it is well sealed. Some compounds in marijuana may vaporize when decarboxylating.
Keeping the marijuana as air tight as possible will allow any vapor to be absorbed by the marijuana instead of escaping into the air. Regular foil is ok if that is all you have available. Heavy duty foil is best and can be reused. Set the oven to 240°F/116°C and wait until it reaches that temperature. If necessary, use an oven thermometer for accuracy. When it reaches 240°F/116°C, put in the pyrex dish containing the marijuana trim in the oven. The length of time to keep the marijuana in the oven depends on how it will be consumed.
If you are going to make something that will require heating the trim again, for example making marijuana butter, decarboxylation takes less time because the extra heating will further decarboxylate the marijuana. From when you put the marijuana into the pre-heated oven, wait about 60 minutes with the temperature at around 240°F/116°C, then turn off the oven.
Leave the pyrex dish in the oven until it cools to room temperature and you can remove it with bare hands. Leave it covered until you are ready to prepare it for consumption. If you are going to make something that will require little or no more heating of the marijuana, for example making marijuana tincture, decarboxylation takes more time.
From when you put the marijuana into the pre-heated oven, wait 90 minutes with the temperature at around 240°F/116°C, then turn off the oven.Leave the door for the oven closed and let the pyrex dish cool to room temperature. When cool, you can remove it with your bare hands.
Leave it covered until you are ready to prepare it for consumption. The decarboxylated marijuana trim pictured here was heated in the oven for 60 minutes, then left to cool. After decarboxylation, marijuana trim can be made into marijuana butter or oil and prepared into a recipe that has butter or oil as an ingredient, mixed with alcohol and made into a tincture, or eaten or drunk in another way.