Can You Smoke Sugar Leaves?
What are sugar leaves?
Sugar leaves are the small single-finger leaves that grow out of your cannabis buds during the flowering stage. They are called “sugar leaves” because these leaves are often covered in sparkly trichomes which look like a dusting of sugar.
The “sugar” on sugar leaves is actually THC-filled trichomes!
The amount of trichomes on the sugar leaves is related to strain. Some strains don’t produce a lot of trichomes even on buds, while others produce so many they spill onto all of the nearby leaves.
Although trichomes are a good thing because they carry cannabinoids like THC, some strains without many trichomes are still very potent because cannabinoids are also contained in the buds themselves. Sativa and Haze strains in particular often don’t have as many trichomes on the outside as indica-leaning strains, but are still incredibly potent!
Although this Lambsbread bud doesn’t have a whole lot of trichomes, it still has extremely powerful effects!
Besides strain, what affects the amount of trichomes on the sugar leaves?
Over the years I’ve noticed that you tend to get more trichomes on the sugar leaves when the buds are smaller. It’s like the plant has a certain number of trichomes it can make per bud, and if the buds stay small the trichomes spill out onto the leaves. But if you have a very thick cola, often the sugar leaves are not as sparkly as on the buds themselves.
Should Growers Smoke Sugar Leaves?
If you have sugar leaves that are covered in trichomes, what can you do with them? Do you trim them off after harvest and make hash or cannabutter? Or do you leave them on and smoke them?
Unfortunately there is no consensus. If you ever spend a lot of time interacting with other cannabis growing enthusiasts, you’ll come to learn there are as many opinions as there are ways to do things! So I made the following list to help guide you on figuring out what’s best for you 🙂
Pros of Smoking Sugar Leaves
- If you don’t trim off your sugar leaves after harvest, it will increase the total weight of your cannabis yield significantly
- If you’ve got a lot of sparkly leaves, buds may look prettier if you leave the sugar leaves on.
- Leaving sugar leaves on after harvest slows down the drying process, which may increase smell/flavor if you’re drying in a hot or dry environment.
Some strains produce so many trichomes that it’s hard to tell where the leaves stop and buds begin!
The buds from that plant were only lightly trimmed. The sugar leaves were as good to smoke as the buds
Cons of Smoking Sugar Leaves
- The leaves may be more “harsh” to smoke than the buds themselves. Some people find their throat is easily irritated from smoking untrimmed buds
- There is typically much less potency in leaves compared to buds (which are full of THC and other cannabinoids all the way through). That means you need to smoke far more leaves than buds to get the same effects.
So there are definitely pros and cons to each method!
What else can you do with sugar leaves?
Here are other things you can do with your sugar leaves besides smoking:
Edibles – Eat the Cannabinoids
Extracts (No Solvents) – Turn sugar leaves into concentrates
Extracts (Using a Solvent)
- Pure Cannabis Hash Oil (alcohol is used as a solvent)
The results of making dry ice hash
A closeup of the Bubble Hash we made
A closeup of Dry-Ice Hash from the same starting cannabis matter. You can actually see the individual trichomes!
Pure Cannabis Hash Oil can be eaten or smoked
I believe that smoking sugar leaves is something to consider on a bud-by-bud basis. Some sugar leaves probably should be left on buds to smoke, while others should be turned into something else. As you harvest more plants over time, you’ll start to get a feel for what you like best!
Should you smoke the leaves or trim them off? It depends partly on strain, environment, and the size of your buds. It also depends on personal preference!
PSA: Don’t Smoke Those Stems
These are crazy times, so it’s not that weird that you’re looking at your bowl of weed stems and contemplating smoking them. Waste not, want not, right?
As nice as it is to reduce waste and be resourceful, smoking stems isn’t the way to go.
If stems are all you have left, then you’ve already smoked the good stuff.
Stems contain almost no THC. What little may be in there doesn’t even come close to being enough to produce a high.
The negligible amount of THC in stems isn’t worth the unpleasant effects and risk to your lungs that come with smoking.
Inhaling smoke harms your lungs. It doesn’t matter if it’s bud, seed, tobacco, or burning wood. Toxins and carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) are released from the combustion of materials, even stems. This damages your lungs and increases your risk for cancer and heart and lung diseases.
Smoke effects aside, smoking stems can cause:
- a raging headache
- a sore throat
It’ll also taste like you’re smoking wood chips.
Some people on Reddit and other forums who admit to having smoked weed stems also reported uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea and abdominal pain.
Nope. You shouldn’t smoke those either.
Marijuana seeds aren’t going to get you high no matter how many you crush and smoke. There’s just not enough THC in the seeds to produce any effects.
Lighting them up will create a lot of snap, crackle, and pop. The acrid smoke will irritate your throat and damage your lungs like other smoke. But that’s about it.
Stems and seeds aren’t worth smoking, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely useless. You may be able to use lingering stems and seeds. Exactly what you can do with them depends on how many you have.
If you just have a few seeds kicking around, you could plant them and try growing your own stash (if you live in an area where this is permitted, of course).
Have an abundance of stems and seeds to play with? Consider eating it.
Here are some ways to make it appetizing.
Brew some stem tea
Before getting your brew on, you’ll want to bake the stems on a baking sheet in the oven for around 45 minutes at 225°F (107°C). When done, let the stems cool, and then grind them up.
Put your ground stems in a tea diffuser and let them steep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can steep your ground stems in a pot of boiling water and then place a coffee filter over your mug and pour so it strains your brew.
Make stem butter
Who doesn’t like butter?
Just like when making tea from weed stems, you’ll want to bake your stems in the oven at 225°F (107°C) for 45 minutes and let them cool before grinding.
Place some butter in a pan and melt over low heat. Once the butter’s completely melted, add the ground stems and let simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring often.
To strain it, cheesecloth works best. Just secure the cheesecloth over a glass jar with a rubber band, and slowly pour the butter over the cloth. Let the butter cool and — voilà — stem butter!
It might be tempting to smoke all those stems that are gathering dust in your jar, but you may want to think twice before lighting up.