Technically speaking, yes, you can smoke sugar leaves. As evident in the coating of crystal-like trichomes that give these leaves their name, there is certainly a substantial amount of cannabinoids and terpenes in this plant matter. And that means that you can smoke them just like you can smoke flower.
Small leaves that, together with other sugar leaves, hold cannabis buds together. They are called sugar leaves within the cannabis industry because of the high concentration of trichomes that cover the leaf with a sugarlike appearance. Because of their high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, sugar leaves are typically trimmed off of the plant after harvest and are then used for the production of concentrates.
I’m not sure what to do with all of my sugar leaf trimmings.
You’ve probably noticed that some buds contain small leaves while others are completely leafless. Some cultivators may leave sugar leaves on the bud if they have a particularly attractive trichome sheen that may add to the bud’s aesthetic value. Others may prefer to leave them on to add weight to their yield. Whether sugar leaves are left on a cultivated bud depends entirely on the cultivator who did the trimming and manicuring.
If you trim the sugar leaves from your bud, you can still use them to make concentrates.
Sugar leaves, frequently covered in cannabinoid and terpene-rich trichomes, are often used to make cannabis concentrates. The goal with a concentrate is to isolate and accumulate the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes for maximum potency. Sugar trim may not be as potent as cannabis flowers, but the relatively high amounts of trichomes found in sugar trim makes it a great source for isolating and concentrating the most desirable compounds of the cannabis plant, so much so that the end result is guaranteed to be more potent than dry flower.
Buds that have been completely trimmed of all visible sugar leaves offer a tidier presentation that most cannabis users are accustomed to. And while sugar leaves are rich in trichomes, their concentration still isn’t as high as that of a cola, which means sugar leaves decrease overall cannabinoid and terpene concentration by volume when left on the bud. In other words, a gram of bud with sugar leaves intact will have a lower cannabinoid and terpene concentration than a gram of completely trimmed bud. Colas with sugar leaves still intact also produce a harsher smoke for the consumer.
Sugar leaves develop and grow out of cannabis colas, or buds, during the plant’s flowering stage. Colas typically begin forming slowly on the cannabis plant during the first 14 days of flowering. From day 14 to 28, bud development accelerates and sugar leaves begin to form. Both colas and sugar leaves are typically rich in trichomes, the tiny glandular hairs found all over the surface of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are responsible for producing cannabinoids and terpenes. High concentrations of trichomes add a sticky feel and crystal-like sheen to a cannabis plant surface, which is typically most apparent on colas and sugar leaves. While fan leaves found on the cannabis plant also have trichomes, they are far less concentrated in comparison.
The most effective way to dry sugar leaves is to leave them on the colas of the plant. Instead of trimming them off as part of the drying and curing process, simply leave them on and let the entire thing — cola and sugar leaves — dry and cure together. That way, you don’t have to introduce additional steps to your harvesting process and ensure that all plant matter dries and cures evenly and at the same time. Keep in mind, on a gram-for-gram basis, cured cannabis flowers with sugar leaves intact will be less potent than cannabis flowers that have them removed.
The small leaves that hold cannabis buds together. They are called sugar leaves due to the high concentration of trichomes (that have a sugar-like appearance), and contain the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes.
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.
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.
Although sugar leaves aren’t too strong on their own, they offer a potent high when their trichomes are extracted and condensed.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Wondering if you should smoke your sugar leaves? We'll help you decide, and give you some other great uses for sugar leaves.