Larf and the cannabis plant, explained
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- What is a larf?
- Can you de-larf a cannabis plant?
- What can you do with your extra larf?
- Bottom line
Growing a healthy, potent, and healing cannabis plant is not as simple as those beautifully packaged dispensary buds would lead you to believe. Regardless of the strain or whether that crop is grown indoors or outside, cannabis needs to be grown in ideal conditions and demands the right combination of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrient-rich soil.
In addition to optimal conditions, the growth of healthy and hearty cannabis plants should always be guided by knowledgeable growers; those who understand complicated plant anatomy, can coax out delicate cannabinoids and terpenes, and who can navigate the inside-baseball vocabulary particular to cannabis growers and breeders.
Bract, calyx, cotyledon, pistle, stigma, cola — ever heard of these? They are neither a mark of disgrace (stigma) or soft drink (cola), but a tiny sampling of words specific to the cannabis plant’s anatomy. And they are also only some of the terms related to plant anatomy that the large majority of cannabis consumers have most likely never heard of. Nonetheless, all of them play an outsized role in the growth, development, and eventual cultivation of the products that land in one form or another on legal dispensary shelves.
Now, let’s add one more word to the glorious motley cannabis plant vocabulary: larf.
What is a larf?
Whether you find it fun or unappealing to say, larf is slang for the small or immature buds on the lower stems of the cannabis plant that have a feathery or fluffy appearance. They are found where less light is able to penetrate the plant. Usually, this is because the available light is reduced from the emergence of colas — a stem that grows cannabis flower — in the plant’s canopy above them, though other environmental factors may contribute, too.
Larf is slang for the small or immature buds on the lower stems of the cannabis plant that have a feathery or fluffy appearance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When provided with proper light, larfs have all the potential to become the commercially viable and potent cannabis flower like the colas above them. But because of this lack of light, their growth is hindered, reducing their size, maturity, and desirability.
Though larfs are completely viable as a cannabis product since they are smaller and immature, they have lower market and aesthetic value. They also contain fewer aromatic and medicinal compounds like terpenes, as well as cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which makes them less attractive to consumers.
Can you de-larf a cannabis plant?
Though larfs won’t harm a cannabis plant’s growth or affect the overall efficacy of the cannabinoids and terpenes in them, many cultivators prefer to remove them early on in a plant’s growth in a process called “de-larfing.”
Because larfs will not reach maturity and potency, growers typically trim them away to direct nutrients and energy to the more valuable, money-generating colas above and to increase the plant’s overall productivity.
What can you do with your extra larf?
Just because larfs don’t reach maturity doesn’t mean they’re useless. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you’ve ever seen “popcorn bud” on a dispensary menu, that’s larf — so named for the size (about the size of a popped kernel of corn). Popcorn bud contains cannabinoids and terpenes, though much less than regular flower.
Popcorn bud, also known as larf, contains cannabinoids and terpenes, though much less than regular flower. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The lack of cannabinoids and terpenes make larf a more affordable, though probably not better, option. Fewer cannabinoids and terpenes add up to a less potent and potentially healing product. If you consume cannabis for a serious medical condition, or even as a sleep or pain aid, larf is probably not an effective way to meet your needs.
Some growers may extract larf to make cannabis oils or offer larf at a discount to get it off their hands. Others may mix it in with mature buds to stretch the batch and increase their profit margins.
If you like to craft your own cannabis-infused edibles, try your hand at making your own cannabutter with larf instead of buying a more expensive treat from your local dispensary. As you would with cannabis flower, decarboxylate the larf to unlock the cannabinoids, then add it to your favorite homemade treats. The same principle applies to carrier oils like coconut or olive oil, offering up both savory and sweet options.
Using larf in joints or blunts is an excellent way to affordably prolong the life of your stash. You could also use a whole popcorn bud in a bowl that is just big enough for one person to consume — so long as you don’t mind the lessened potency.
Using larf can be an excellent way to prolong your stash, fatten up a slim joint, or infuse into your favorite foods.
Larf, aka popcorn buds, don't always get the appreciation they deserve. Learn about what they are and how you can use them.
What is larf and what it has to do with cannabis?
Larf is a term that you have probably never heard. It is fine — this slang word refers to smaller, immature buds that didn’t reach their full potential. They look like fluffy little chunks of flower found on the lower branches of the plant. Larf’s immaturity is due to lack of light and living in the shadows of the bigger flowers. Some growers also noted that other environmental factors could be at fault.
Image: Huffington Post
Many growers tend to minimize larf and focus on the producing bigger flowers. Delarfing is a process of pruning, training, and removing any additional vegetation — or larfs — that is not receiving adequate nutrition and light. Preemptive removal of larf early in the plant’s flowering cycle will make the final harvest much better.
What’s larf good for?
You may find budlets or popcorn buds (because they looked like a popped kernel of popcorn) on dispensary menus. Due to the lack of light and overall development, these buds can have a lower concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, but it does not make them any worse for people who just don’t like uber strong strains. Here’s what you can do with them:
- Make cannabis oil and use it for cooking edibles;
- Roll into joints;
- Load a “snap” — a bowl that is perfectly enough for one person to smoke it on their own.
Oh, and these smaller buds goes with a big discount. Just give them a try, especially if you’re on a budget. You won’t be disappointed. Yay, larf!
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)
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