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.

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.


Sugar leaves are small leaves that grow out of your buds. They aren’t the large fan leaves you see protruding from branches on the plant. These can be easily distinguished. For starters, you’ll most likely be able to locate the stems of your fans leaves. Sugar leaves, however, are more hidden, with only their tips peaking through. The title “sugar leaves” comes from the white coating of delicious trichomes they have at the end of the flowering phase. While fan leaves also have trichomes, they are far less concentrated and therefore, less potent. However, fan leaves can still be used when making edibles.

What Are De Sugar Leaves Of A Cannabis Plant?

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.

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.

Sugar Leaf vs Fan Leaf


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.

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.

Sugar Leaf Cannabis Plant


The decision of smoking sugar leaves will depend on the amount you have. If after curing, you feel they aren't that present in your buds, you might as well leave them. They won't be worth the trouble of trimming further. But in case you've decided the cons of smoking the sugar leaves outweigh the pros, here's what you can do with them.

Sugar leaves make excellent cannabutter and concentrate. You can mix these in with fan leaves and stems, then add some oil or butter to extract and activate the cannabinoids. With this, you'll be able to make anything from weed brownies to infused steaks. Even though the leaves don't have as high of a natural THC content as buds, by concentrating them, they can become extremely potent. With enough trim, you'll make a decent edible batch for you and the squad. Just strain all plant matter out of the finished product. With this, you'll be sure to end up with the same results as if you had used flower.

Sugar Leaves And Fan Leaves

Another great use of the trim and sugar leaves will be in hash-making. There are tons of methods out there for this, and we have a great article that covers every part of it. If done properly, you will get some great stuff out of the trim some growers discard. Research well, and you might start doing this with every single one of your crops. In the same way you make hash, you can also make oil for a wider array of uses.


If you plan to use the sugar leaves for more healthful purposes, you can also turn them into a superfood of sorts. We suggest doing this by making a sugar leaf tincture, then infusing it into smoothies with healthy fruits and vegetables. Experiment with different dosages to optimise your intake of cannabinoids.

Making a tincture is easy enough. The first step is to decarboxylate your cannabis, then let your leaves soak in 90% alcohol for at least a month. Then, open the jar for a week or so. This will allow alcohol to evaporate and the tincture to concentrate further. And that's pretty much it. If you want to learn more about the process, we also have a great article on that to help you. It will provide you with a more in-depth explanation on how to go about making your own tincture.

And there you go. We hope that you now have sufficient information to decide on what to do with sugar leaves after your next harvest. Best of luck with it!

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