As any experienced cannabis grower knows, harvest does not mark the end of a grow cycle. No matter how diligent the cultivation process, the best buds will always be the most attractive ones, too. For this to happen, buds should be carefully trimmed – either directly after harvest or after a few weeks of drying out – to remove excess foliage and “sugar leaves” from the buds.
Though some growers may leave these trichrome-rich leaves to add weight and potency to a product, the smoothest, most flavorful buds should be trimmed creating a tear-drop shape out of the cannabis flowers. Though potent, these leaves contain higher levels of chlorophyll and may therefore result in a harsher smoke and, in some cases, a bit of a headache, too (plus, scraggly weed reduces bag appeal making it harder to charge a premium for the buds themselves).
So, we know trimming is important, and we also know how much trim large harvests can produce, but what may not be as clear is how valuable that trim still is. Sure, it may not be as attractive as finely some manicured green, but it’s still packed with cannabinoids and terpenes – and those are what your customers are after in the first place. So rather than dump your trim into the compost to feed your next crop of ladies, consider some of the best ways to use your cannabis trim.
Rosin is a form of solventless cannabis concentrate made simply by heating the plant matter enough to melt and extract the waxes and resin therein. Using a rosin press, cultivators can extract a dabbable concentrate that is free from additional substances like butane, alcohol, or CO2.
Many consumers prefer rosin to other forms of cannabis concentrate because it is a pure way to consume concentrated cannabinoids quickly and easily for immediate relief. Manufacturers prefer rosin because of the efficient extraction method, low risk of danger, and superb end product. Though some small-scale growers successfully use hair straighteners to extract rosin, large cultivators or those with limited help may benefit from commercial rosin presses that can handle large amounts and offer variable temperature and pressure settings.
Cannabis infusions are simple as long as they have either an alcohol or lipid to absorb into. To make tincture, just grab some high-proof alcohol and let your trim soak for a few weeks in a dark location. Shake the mixture often to help the cannabinoids absorb, then filter the plant matter out once the mixture has turned a deep green (be sure to squeeze all liquid out of the trim for optimum potency).
For a more concentrated tincture, allow the filtered liquid to sit in an opened container for a few weeks. Though you can speed the process by cooking off the alcohol in a double boiler, the flammable nature of the alcohol makes this process much riskier than simply letting it evaporate naturally.
Tinctures can be added to food and beverages, or absorbed sublingually for a potent “edible” high without the need to metabolize it first.
Edibles are a great way to remain medicated for an extended period. They taste great, offer long-term relief, and make discrete medicating as easy as pie (pardon the pun). Whether you’re in the baked goods business or not, you can use your leftover trim to make infused butter and oils that can be used in just about any ol’ oil-containing recipe. From brownies to pasta sauce, ice cream to cream cheese dip, there isn’t much you can’t make with cannabis-infused oils.
The first step to infusing oil with cannabis is to decarboxylate the trim. This will turn the non-psychoactive THCa into the psychoactive THC we’ve all come to love. This happens naturally over time or with the application of heat (over 200 degrees Fahrenheit), though excessive heat and time can result in the degradation of cannabinoids. The best practice, therefore, for creating infused edibles is an initial decarboxylation process followed by a slow and low baking temperature, ideally less than 300 degrees Fahrenheit as this is the temperature both terpenes and cannabinoids become compromised at.
Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body including the skin and hair follicles. This means that cannabinoids applied topically can have therapeutic benefit directly at the source of complications without causing the user to feel “high” or inebriated in any way.
Topical cannabis can be used to treat inflammatory conditions like psoriasis, arthritis and even acne, and can be made using the same basic principles you’d use when making edible cannabis products (minus the need to decarb first).
Coconut oil is commonly used in the making of topicals because of its wide range of health benefits including antibacterial, antifungal, a deep cleanser, and a moisturizer. Cannabinoids provide additional therapeutic benefits such as localized pain relief and boosted immune functioning which may help repair damaged tissue.
To make topical cannabis products, simply infuse cannabis into coconut oil then mix the infused oil with beeswax or shea butter and whatever essential oils you see fit. Many essential oils have additionaltherapeutic benefits so choose the best ones for your intended use.
Harvest season is both exciting and daunting, especially when the yield is abundant. And though a good trim is an important step in developing high-quality cannabis, there will no doubt be tons of trim left over after your marijuana harvest. Don’t let any precious trichomes go to waste by using your cannabis trim in creative ways. Now, thanks to advances in cannabis technology, you can now do so efficiently and affordably, and you can stretch your harvest much farther when you do.
Do you have a favorite way to use your trim? Tell us about it in the comment section below or let us know on Facebook.