A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down and we can’t help to think this quote was written about those trichome-covered cannabis leaves you find on your weed plants… Though those beautiful aromatic buds seem to get all the recognition we are here to shine the spotlight on the underdog. So here it is: What are they and why are these leaves worth talking about? Cannabis sugar leaves are the small, protective leaves that grow alongside the buds of the cannabis plant. They are called sugar leaves because they are covered in trichomes, the resinous glands that produce cannabinoids and terpenes giving them that gorgeous sugary appearance.
What’s the Difference: Fan Leaves Vs Sugar Leaves
Cannabis plants have two types of leaves: sugar leaves and fan leaves. The marijuana plant’s sugar leaves are the small leaves that grow out of the buds, while fan leaves are the larger leaves that protrude from the branches. Sugar leaves are much more potent and flavorful than fan leaves because they contain more trichomes, especially towards the end of the flowering process. The fan leaves have fewer trichomes and therefore fewer cannabinoids and terpenes. This fact makes the big fan leaves virtually worthless when trying to turn them into a psychoactive product.
Not to say that fan leaves don’t hold monumental importance in the cannabis plant’s overall growth. They are the powerhouse of the photosynthesis process, where plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy for cellular growth. They are also very helpful in spotting nutrient deficiencies throughout the plant’s growth cycle.
What Are Sugar Leaves Used For?
The sugar leaf is often trimmed off the buds during the harvesting process and they are usually discarded, but not always. This is because they can be used in a variety of fun ways, such as making cannabis concentrates, edibles, and even smoking directly!
Making Cannabis Concentrates
That’s right! Sugar leaves are frequently used to make cannabis concentrates, such as hash, kief, and rosin. The trichomes on sugar leaves contain high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, making them ideal for extraction. A classic example and the most laborious way to use sugar leaves is to turn them into hash, by extracting the cannabinoids from the trim. Hash is a concentrated form of cannabis that is made by separating the trichomes from the plant material. There are several methods to make hash, including dry sifting, ice water extraction, and hand rolling.
Add a Little Magic to Your Meals
Sugar leaves can also be used to add flavor and a touch of psychoactive potency to your meals and drinks. Yum! For instance, you can place the leaves in your tea for a perfectly potent dose of THC and you can also use them to make cannabis-infused butter or oil using a cannabutter maker .
In just a few simple steps you can add the special ingredients found in sugar leaves to all your favorite foods. To use the sugar leaves to make edibles, you will need to decarb them first. Decarboxylation is the process of heating the cannabis to activate the cannabinoids. To decarboxylate your sugar leaves, preheat your oven to 240°F (115°C), spread the leaves out on a baking sheet, and bake them for 30-40 minutes. Once decarboxylated, you can use the leaves to make cannabis-infused butter or oil, which can be used in cooking and baking. Then get creative! From Rice Krispies to brownies and chocolates the sky’s the limit even your packaging for edibles can be fun!
Straight Up Smoke ‘Em
Can you smoke sugar leaves? While not as common, some people actually do smoke sugar leaves directly. Smoking sugar leaves can provide a milder high than smoking buds, making them a good option for those who want to microdose their cannabis or prefer the effects of CBD over THC.
To smoke sugar leaves directly, you will need to dry them first. Once dry, you can grind them up and smoke them like you would with the flower. Keep in mind that smoking sugar leaves may produce a harsher smoke than smoking buds, so it’s best to use a water pipe or vaporizer if possible.
Our Favorite Recipes Using Cannabutter from Sugar Leaves
Check out some of our all time favorite recipes starring you guessed it…. Sugar leaves!
1. Brownies, Cookies and Cakes: Cannabutter can be used to make them all! Simply replace the regular butter in your favorite recipe with cannabutter made from sugar leaves!
2. Tea: Pour boiling water over the sugar leaves and let it sit until the tea absorbs the elements of the sugar leaves. Some people add cannabutter to the tea.
3. Tinctures: Cannabutter can be used to make tinctures. Simply mix the cannabutter with alcohol and let it sit for a few weeks. Strain the mixture and use the tincture as desired.
4. Topicals: Cannabutter can even be used to make topicals! Simply mix the cannabutter with coconut oil or another carrier oil and apply it to your skin. You’re Welcome!
Friendly Reminder: Remember to start with a small amount of cannabutter and wait at least an hour before consuming more, as the effects of edibles can take longer to kick in than smoking or vaping cannabis.
The bottom line is the sugar leaf on weed is quite the versatile counterpart to marijuana’s MVP. Though they are small they are covered in juicy trichomes and can add quite a potent punch to your extracts, meals, and spliffs. With a little creativity, you can turn your sugar leaves into something useful and enjoyable, so why wouldn’t you!?