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What To Do With Weed Trimmings

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as growing your own weed and smoking your own stash. 

Trimming your buds at harvest is all part of the process, but what are you supposed to do with the leftover trim? 

As it turns out there’s quite a bit you can do with your cannabis trim.  

Seriously, you won’t believe all you can do with weed trimmings. You can make many different things that will help you get even more benefits from your growing endeavors.

So before you throw those weed leaves and stems in the trash, check out some of the following things you can create including cannabutter, cannamilk, salves, rosin and more!

hand trimming a large cannabis flower

Key Takeaways: Using Leftover Trim

  • Leftover trim is the sugar and fan leaves that grow on cannabis and are removed when harvesting.
  • Sugar leaves are more potent than fan leaves, and you can get a significant amount of dry sift from your harvest using a variety of methods.
  • You can make a wide range of products with the leftover trim, from marijuana milk and butter to use for baking to salves and other topicals.

What Are Weed Trimmings?

Aside from actually consuming your own cannabis, harvest time is one of the most exciting parts of growing weed. 

With harvesting, it’s necessary to do your trimming in a way that allows you to make the most of your buds and trim material. 

Trimming can be done when buds are wet or dry, but what exactly are you supposed to trim? 

There are two types of leaves that can be snipped: sugar leaves and fan leaves. Let’s take a look at both.

leaf in hand from marijuana

Sugar Leaves VS Fan Leaves

Sugar Leaves

Sugar leaves are tiny, trichrome-rich leaves that cover cannabis flowers or are very close to them. Like buds, these small leaves are covered in trichomes, the resinous, crystal-like glands that contain THC and other cannabinoids.  

These crystals give “sugar” leaves their name, as they often appear as if they had been dipped in sugar. 

Although trichomes aren’t as abundant in these leaves as in cannabis flowers, sugar leaves are still responsible for producing and storing a good amount of the plant’s essential oils, terpenes and flavonoids that lend to the bud’s flavor and aromatic profile. 

Benefits of Sugar Leaves

While sugar leaves aren’t exactly cannabis buds, they still contain a lot of benefits when it comes to what you can do with sugar leaf trim. 

They’re great for making topicals or salves. Simply grinding these tiny leaves and mixing them with a carrier oil and other essential oils will create high-quality, homemade topicals.

You can also make kief from sugar leaves. Or turn sugar leaves into hash, then use it to extract rosin or create edibles.

A lot of growers will invest in equipment like a heated press, mesh screens for collecting kief and other materials needed to make salves, lotions and cannabutter for making edibles.  

Fan Leaves

Along with sugar leaves, fan leaves are also found on cannabis. These large, broad fan leaves contain 5-7 fingered leaves and grow further away from cannabis flowers. 

This is the characteristic leaf that people associate with marijuana. 

These leaves are primarily responsible for photosynthesis and blocking light, and also play an important role in plant and bud development. 

When plants are ready to harvest, fan leaves are typically removed and discarded by many growers. They’re also used for compost, as they contain significantly lower levels of cannabinoids and fewer trichomes than sugar leaves. 

That said, they’re still useful if you want to produce products with a lower THC potency. 

Benefits of Fan Leaves

Despite having low THC and fewer trichomes, fan leaves are extremely healthy and are considered a superfood. You can do a lot with fan leaves if you so choose.

Some people wash fresh fan leaves and juice them. Others might grind them up and add them to a blender with other ingredients they love, like a mix of fruits and vegetables.

Creative culinary consumers might use  fan leaves as herbs to add to pasta, pizzas, salads and other dishes as a seasoning.

fan leaves on bud

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis Trimmings

In order to activate the THC in cannabis trim, first it needs to be decarbed. Decarboxylation involves heating up your trim (usually in the oven) to activate THCa molecules into THC. 

If you don’t decarb your trim before it’s used, it won’t contain the intoxicating effects weed is famous for.

Following is everything you need to know about decarbing your trim. 

The Materials for Decarbing Your Cannabis Trim

  • Marijuana trimmings
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven
  • Kitchen timer

Step-By-Step Process for Decarbing Trim 

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°F (115°C).
  2. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread the ground cannabis evenly on the parchment paper.
  4. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer for 30-40 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, check on the trim and gently stir it to ensure even heat distribution.
  6. Continue heating until the cannabis trim is lightly browned but not burnt.
  7. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cannabis trimmings cool.

Important Note: Timing may vary depending on the moisture in the trim. The above is more of a general guide. Always keep an eye on the oven to ensure trim isn’t overcooked and burnt.

What Can You Do with Marijuana Trimmings?

With a bit of time and creativity, you can make the most out of your weed trimmings and create some fun and interesting things.

Extract Cannabinoids from Your Trim

As mentioned, your sugar leaves are coated with cannabinoids and terpenes that can be great for making kief

There are several different methods of gathering kief from your buds and sugar leaves.

For starters, you can use a bud trimmer with a kief catcher, collecting kief from the trim in the trimmer as you go. 

You can also use a silkscreen and shake and sift the trim to separate the trichomes from the plant material.

Lastly, you can agitate cannabis trimming and collect trichomes in a collection chamber of a dry sift tumbler.

Make Hash from Your Kief

Once you have your kief, you can turn it into hash. You can use a rosin press to turn the kief you gathered into the more potent hash.

Although you can make kief using your hands, the trichomes will stick to you, and your oils and skin cells will also be included, so we do not recommend making hash from kief like this.

trimming marijuana bud by hand

Other Things You Can Do with Your Kief

One of the best ways to collect kief is by making bubble hash from your marijuana trimmings.

It is one of the purest ways to enjoy cannabis trim. All you need are sieves, cannabis trim like your sugar leaves, agitation, and ice water.

If you shake the ice and water with different size micron bags, you will sift it into the sieve. After it dries, it will turn into a paste that can be dried and consumed.

You can also extract rosin or make cannabis oil.

Kief is also commonly used to create kief butter for making super potent edibles. It just needs to be decarbed first. 

Another way to quickly consume your kief for instant effects (aside from smoking it sprinkled on a bowl or in a joint) is to dab it. Yes, dabbing kief is totally a thing. 

How to Make Rosin Out of Kief

To press kief into rosin, you’ll need the following: 

  •  Your Collected Dry Sift
  • Rosin press, 
  • Rosin bags
  • Food-grade parchment paper (do not use wax paper)


  1. Cover your heated plates with parchment paper. This makes the collection and extraction process much easier.
  2. Heat your plates to the desired temperature. There’s no perfect temperature, but if you’re working with a lower-quality separation like sift you collected from trimmings, then using a hotter temperature is better. Aim for a temperature between 180°F and 200°F. But whatever you do, make sure it is no hotter than 220°F.
  3. Insert your sifted kief into the rosin bags and place them between the hot plates. Some rosin makers like to double-bag, but that is optional.
  4. Press your kief into rosin. Your pressing intervals should be short, ranging between 45 seconds to 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the parchment paper from the plates and collect your rosin using a collection tool. Make sure you are wearing heat-resistant gloves, as the plates will be very hot.

Infuse Food and Drink with Cannabis Sugar Leaves and Fan Leaves

When it comes to cannabis trim, you can add cannabis trimmings into anything you like, and you can experiment with your own infusions.

Many growers turn fresh leaves into edibles and drinks, but the sky’s the limit. Sprinkle a few leaves that are full of nutritional benefits on pretty much anything.

Though, keep in mind that doing so may cause whatever you make to taste like cannabis plant matter.

weed milk

Make Cannabis Milk

A relatively unheard-of way to enjoy cannabis trim is by making cannabis milk..


  • 7 grams of cannabis trim (a quarter ounce)
  • Saucepan
  • Milk
  • Cheesecloth
  • Heat-resistant container

Steps for Making Marijuana Milk

  1. Decarb around 7 grams of cannabis (a quarter ounce).
  2. In a saucepan, combine milk and cannabis trim and bring to a simmer over low temperature, stirring frequently.
  3. Simmer until the mixture begins to smell like weed and has thickened. It should take on a green hue. This takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Ensure milk doesn’t come to a boil as it can scorch. 
  4. Remove milk from heat, strain through a cheesecloth into the container of your choosing, and set aside to cool.

Make Weed Trim Cannabutter

One of the best uses of cannabis trim is making cannabutter. It is one of the best ways to capture the cannabinoid content and make use of the fat-soluble THC in cannabis for making edibles.


  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of weed plant matter (dried)
  • 1 cup of water


  • Wooden spoon
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Airtight container

Steps for Creating Cannabutter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°F.
  2. Spread the weed trim on a baking sheet and let bake for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Melt unsalted butter; add cannabis trim and water to saucepan.
  4. Simmer mixture over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a bowl.
  6. Refrigerate strained liquid for at least an hour until solid.
  7. Remove from the container and discard remaining liquid.
  8. Use it immediately in recipes, or label and store safely for later use.

Turn Your Cannabis Trim into Salves

To turn cannabis trim into a topical product like a salve or another type of topical cannabis oil, you will need to infuse it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Cannabis trim
  • Carrier oil of your choice, like coconut oil
  • Double boiler
  • Cheesecloth
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Beeswax
  • Essential oils (optional)


  1. Decarboxylate your cannabis trim.
  2. Infuse the carrier oil: In a double boiler, heat the carrier oil at a low temperature until it’s just warm.
  3. Add decarboxylated cannabis trim to the oil and stir to combine.
  4. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the oil is infused, strain it through a cheesecloth into a clean glass jar.
  6. Add beeswax to the infused oil in the double boiler and stir until it’s melted. The beeswax will help to solidify the salve. Use about 1-2 ounces of beeswax for every cup of infused oil.
  7. If you want to add a scent to your salve, you can add a few drops of essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus.
  8. Once the beeswax has melted, pour the mixture into clean glass jars with lids. Let it cool and solidify before use.
  9. When you want to use the salve, simply rub it into the affected areas and let it do its marijuana magic.

Disposing Of Unusable Weed Trim

The disposal of weed trimmings depends on where you live and the laws regarding the disposal of cannabis waste in your area. 

Generally speaking, you can compost fan leaves, which most professional cultivators do.

If it is legal in your region, you can put them in your wet garbage containers. If it’s illegal in your area, you might have to get a little creative. 

You can recycle them if this is available where you live. Check with your local trash collection company to determine whether this is possible.

Final Thoughts

Other plants are great, but few are as versatile as cannabis. 

You can create so much with leftover trim for a very low cost, and you usually have all the materials you need at home.

Be sure to try out these suggestions to make the most of your harvest. There’s so much more you can do with weed than smoke its beautiful buds.