Do you grow your own cannabis or have access to trim? Are you wondering what you can do with all of those excess fan and sugar leaves? Are they even worth saving? The answer is YES and you can use this guide to learn how you can collect your cannabis trim to make edibles and topicals at home.

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Features

  • First thing: learn about the two different types of trim
  • Tips and tricks to get the most yield out of your product
  • How to put the trim to good use and make tasty edibles

Use Trim To Make Edibles

If you grow your own cannabis, you know that trimming your plant is important for a few different reasons.

Early in the growing stage, trimming can help encourage more bountiful yields and can help keep your plant healthy.

Later, after harvest, trimming the remaining leaves helps to ensure only the strongest, most potent part of the plant – the cannabis buds – are left.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do with the small leaves, or trim, that’s left over, and it’s a question I’ve been asked many times in my Well With Cannabis Community.

So – is trim just waste, or can you actually use it?

Great news – it’s perfect for making edibles and topicals! 

Read on to learn more about what trim is and how you can use it in your homemade edibles and topicals to ensure nothing goes to waste, including beneficial THC.

What Is Cannabis Trim?

Cannabis trim is the leaves that you intentionally prune from the cannabis plant before, during, or after your cannabis harvest

There are two types of leaves, each based on where they are taken from the plant: fan leaves and cannabis sugar leaves.

The first type is called fan leaves which are the larger leaves that you prune off the large branches of the cannabis plant.

Fan leaves are not the best choice for edibles if you’re hoping to enjoy an intoxicating experience, and some may even consider them one of the most unnecessary parts of the plant.

That’s because larger fan leaves have very few trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes and a lot of chlorophyll

The good news? They are extremely nutritious and can be juiced, used in salads, and more

That leaves us with the second type of trim leaves, the sugar leaves. These leaves are quite small, and you can find them growing on the buds of your cannabis plants. 

Sugar leaves have more trichomes than fan leaves and, therefore, more cannabinoids and terpenes

Many of these trichomes can be seen with the naked eye and are the reason for the name ‘sugar’ leaves, as they look like tiny sugar crystals.

This means you will be getting more medicinal compounds and a more intoxicating experience if working with THC.

So, yes, some trim does have value – but not all trim is created equal. Sugar leaf trim is better than fan leaf trim. 

If you need more plant guidance, be sure to check out this anatomy of a cannabis plant guide.

Note About Shake

Shake isn’t the same thing as trim, although the terms are often used interchangeably. 

Shake is the collection of stems, leaves, and popcorn buds that naturally fall off your dried cannabis in a closed container. 

Shake may actually have a higher cannabinoid and THC concentration than traditional trim due to the accumulation of trichomes.

How to Make Edibles with Trim

Now, for the part you’ve been waiting for, how to make edibles with trim.

Overall, you really can use trim just as you would cannabis flower, but there are a few subtle differences to be aware of. 

Fresh vs. Dried

The first step is to check in and see if you are using fresh or dried leaves from the trimming process.

Edibles are easy to make with trim, but it’s important to know that you may end up with a more green-colored and pungent-tasting end product.

This is because the trim contains more chlorophyll, or green color, than dried flower buds. 

This will be even more prominent if you use fresh trim rather than dried, and how much plant material you actually use.

While you can use fresh, wet trim, many people prefer to dry it first so the moisture from the plant doesn’t end up in your final product.

To Decarb or Not?

The next step is to decide if you want to or need to decarboxylate the marijuana leaves. 

If you want the activated effects of THC or CBD, the trim still needs to undergo the decarboxylation process. 

Whether you want to do it in the oven or Instant Pot, the choice is up to you.

The process is simple, simply bake your weed trimmings at a low heat, 240°F for 40 minutes for THC flower or 90 minutes for CBD flower.

Higher temperatures may destroy the cannabinoids found in raw cannabis, so stick with lower temperatures when possible. 

If you do not want intoxicating effects, and instead want the effects of acids like CBDA or THCA, you can skip the decarb process. 

How Much to Use?

One of the most common questions I get is, how much trim should I use to make weed butter?

It is important to note that trim generally contains fewer trichomes than flowers, so may have to use more to achieve your potency goal. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re using sugar leaf trim, it is recommended to double up on the amount of weed leaves used for best results.

For example, in my cannabis flower-to-oil ratio guide, I recommend using one ounce of flower to two cups of butter. 

In this situation, you would use two ounces of trim to two cups of butter to double the amount called for when. 

However, the only drawback is that you may not have enough oil or butter to cover all the plant matter. In this case, add more oil or butter as needed.

If you’re using fan leaf trim, you should be focusing on the nutrition benefits rather than the intoxicating benefits.

Try adding them to a smoothie, like this lavender blueberry or peach raspberry smoothie.

You can infuse your trim into various types of butter or oil or make different tinctures as outlined below.

What Can I Make?

When it comes to what kind of edibles you can make with trim, the options are endless cannabis cookie dough, anyone?

Just remember, your cannabis edibles may not be as strong when using trim.

Make trim cannabutter or cannabis oil:

Use trim to make a tincture:

Use trim to make another staple recipe:

Use trim as a spice additive:

Use trim for topical products:

Trim can absolutely be used to harness the topical benefits of cannabis!

Use your trim to make:

Collect The Kief

If you prefer to leave the nutrition and chlorophyll behind, you extract the kief, or trichomes, from the plant.

You can get kief from the trim in a couple of simple ways. 

For professional cultivators, the best way to go about it is using a dry sift tumbler. It’s convenient and easy for large operations. 

As a home cultivator, consider using a silkscreen or a bud trimmer. The latter automatically collects your kief as you harvest your yield.

From there, you can decide to make concentrates with it and use it as you see fit.

This is also a great opportunity to make bubble hash or fresh rosin if you have a rosin press.

Cannabis Fan Leaves on Table

How to Calculate the Potency

Calculating the potency of trim is nearly impossible without lab testing. 

However, many people want at least a rough guesstimate of the mg of THC in their end product. 

If you know the percentage of cannabinoids (THC%) of your particular strain, you can start from there.

If we assume that trim is 50% less potent than flower, you would halve the amount.

For example, if your strain contains 22% THC, you could cut that in half and use 11% THC as the base measurement.

You can then input that variable into my edibles dosage calculator to get a rough idea of the potency you could be working with.

Determine The Dose

Want to get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions? Try my popular edibles dosage calculator. Not sure what your perfect dose is? Learn more here.

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A picture of Emily Kyle holding a cannabis plant.

How To Use Trim To Make Edibles, Cannabutter, and More

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Use this guide to learn how to use cannabis trim to make edibles and topicals at home.

Watch The Video

Equipment

What You Need  

  • 1 ounce cannabis trim

Instructions 

  • If you have fresh, wet trim, the first step is to dry it out. While this is not 100% necessary, it will help to remove excess water from the plant and help produce a better-tasting end product. The most simple way to dry trim is to place it in a brown paper bag and let it sit in a hot, dry area for 24-48 hours.
  • Once your trim has been dried, it is time to decide if you want to decarboxylate. If you want to reap the benefits of activated CBD and THC, it is important to decarb first. If you want the benefits of CBDA or THCA, you can skip this process.
  • Resist the urge to grind any of your material. Although this is tempting, it is not necessary and will only introduce more chlorophyll and unwanted taste into your end product.
  • Choose a recipe you want to make with your trim. This can be cannabutter or cannabis oil made in the crockpot, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. You can also make a cannabis tincture like the Green Dragon or Golden Dragon.
  • Follow the recipe you have chosen accordingly, but know you must use more trim because it is less potent than traditional flowers. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to double up on the amount of trim used for best results.

Notes

Note: Remember, there are two kinds of trim leaves: fan leaves and sugar leaves. This tutorial is for using sugar leaves. Follow this guide if you are working with fan leaves.
Do you have a question or need help?Join hundreds of members inside private Well With Cannabis Community for help, support, and to share your edible creations!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to decarb trim?

Yes, if you want to reap the benefits of activated cannabinoids like THC and CBD, you will need to decarb the marijuana trimmings first. This can be as simple as placing your desired grams of cannabis on a baking sheet or parchment paper and baking for a specific amount of time. 

Can I use the leftover leaves from the infusion process?

Yes! While it may be lower potency, there are many ways to use up your leftover plant material after making your infusion.

How do you make trim cannabutter?

The cooking process is exactly the same for making marijuana butter any other way, except you may need to use more cannabis leaves. There are several different methods to make a water bath, add a few cups of water to a double boiler or crockpot. Then combine a few sticks of butter and cannabis in a mason jar. Let cook for 4 hours before straining. 

Are large fan leaves worth keeping?

Large fan leaves have a lot of nutritional value but negligible THC content, so it is important to keep this in mind. Fewer cannabinoids mean fewer benefits from your end cannabis products. 

Where can I get trim?

Most home growers have easy access to large amounts of trim from tending to their own plants. The easiest way to get trim material is to grow your own or ask a friend who grows – cannabis users tend to be very generous!

Final Thoughts

Trim is more useful than most people assume, and you can use it on almost anything!

Looking for more ideas and inspiration for using your trim?

The Edibles Made Easy Course will show you how you can use, make, and infuse trim into your favorite edibles.

Edibles made easy course mockup

Take your edibles to the next level…

My Edibles Made Easy Online Cooking Course will teach you how to easily make cannabis edibles and topical recipes at home. This step-by-step video course will teach you how to infuse, extract, and create edibles with many different product types – all from the comfort of your own home.

About Emily

Hi, I’m Emily Kyle and I teach people just like you how to use cannabis to find joy, enhance productivity, improve relationships, and naturally support your overall health and wellness.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Leslie. We are actually in the process of testing out proper methods, but it is thought that 30 seconds of boiling helps remove chlorophyll.