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Turning Waste into Gold: Making Good Use of Trim

By Karen Lloyd
Published: April 26, 2022
Key Takeaways

The old adage waste not, want not certainly applies to often-discarded cannabis trim, which can be used in a wide array of ways to create many kinds of consumable products including a pizza topping.

Savvy growers know that when it comes to harvesting cannabis, the plant’s trim can be just as valuable as its bud. Sugar leaves, those smaller trichome-drenched leaves that grow out of the bud, often contain a significant amount of THC and CBD and, while fan leaves may comprise only a very light dusting of trichomes, they’re extremely nutritious and shouldn’t be regarded as waste either.

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Here are a handful of brilliant ways to make use of every leaf on the cannabis plant you spent so much time growing.

4 Ways to Use Your Sugar Leaf

Often coated in sugary trichomes come harvest season, the cannabis plant’s sugar leaves are a significant source of THC but tend to produce a much harsher smoke. As such, many growers prefer to trim the sugar leaves from their cannabis plant and toss them, while crafty cultivators will transform their trichome-covered leaves into valuable products.

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Let’s have a closer look at four innovative ways to get the most out of your sugar leaves.

Transforming Leaf into Kief

Turning sugar leaf into kief is like turning water into wine. A trimming machine will help growers collect kief (trichomes and loose resin) from trimmings automatically or they can use a silkscreen. Simply rub your sugar leaf across the silkscreen and let the kief fall through to a tray below. Since kief contains high levels of THC, many consumers choose to roll it into their joints for a more intense buzz. They can also press it into hash or bake it into cookies.

Homemade Hash Cakes

Producing hash from sugar leaf can be time consuming depending on the quality you’re after.
Hand-making hash is a sticky, often messy job and not exactly sanitary, but other DIY methods do exist. A pollen press is the simplest and most affordable tool growers can use to compress their kief into hash cakes.

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Extract Rosin

Rosin is a semi-transparent cannabis concentrate that can boast levels of more than 80 percent THC content. Sugar leaf can be pressed into rosin with an industrial press or with a hair straightener and then reheated and vaporized. Either method promises intensely potent results.

Make Edibles with Trim

Whether you want to make marijuana muffins or wake-and-bake brownies, most edibles start with THC- or CBD-infused oil. Grind up your trim, bake (decarboxylate) it in the oven on low for 25 minutes and then toss it in a crockpot with coconut oil or butter for several hours. After running the mixture through a strainer, you can use the oil in an unlimited number of sweet and savory recipes.

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The remaining plant matter and oil will still contain trichomes, so be sure to save it and try to extract even more later on.


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Alternatives to Tossing Fan Leaves

Fan leaves may not offer the psychoactive experience that makes the cannabis plant so popular, but that’s not to say they’re entirely worthless.

Below are three inventive ways to keep fan leaves out of the trash.

Make a Soothing Salve or Lotion

Cannabinoids are easily absorbed through the skin, which makes them excellent for treating conditions like acne and localized pain such as arthritis.

A cannabis salve is reasonably easy to make at home and a terrific way to use all those fan leaves. Simply follow the steps above to make cannabis oil, and then slowly pour it into molten beeswax to make your salve. Stir well, and store in a cool, dark place.

Juiced Fan Leaves for Healthy Living

Juicing marijuana is the probably easiest way to consume all the nutrients found in raw cannabis, including iron, zinc, and calcium. Simply toss 15 or more large fan leaves into a juicer and then add the juice to your favorite smoothie. Raw cannabis contains nearly zero THC, so consumers don’t need to worry about catching a buzz from this beverage. Growers can also freeze fan leaves to preserve their nutrients for future juicing.

Use as an Herb for Pizza

Dry fan leaves make a wonderful topping for pizzas and pastas, just like salt and pepper.

Simply grind up your dried leaves and sprinkle them on any dish you would normally season. Likewise, you can place dried cannabis leaves into a tea infuser with hot water and any other ingredients you enjoy for a tea that may promote relaxation.

Trimming cannabis is a must for growers to ensure healthy plant growth and abundant yields, but there’s no need to throw away any part of the plant.

Even the roots and branches of a cannabis plant can have a useful afterlife. If you’ve dedicated months of your time and energy to growing and caring for a plant this year, why not make the most out of everything it has to offer?

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Written by Karen Lloyd | Freelance Writer, Digital Marketing Expert

Profile Picture of Karen Lloyd

Karen Lloyd is a freelance writer, digital marketing expert and hippy at heart in the city with a small studio, spacious deck and enormous passion for all things cannabis, urban gardening and food equity in Toronto.

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