To trim cannabis leaves properly, it requires skill and patience. Professional trimmers spend hours getting their flowers to look just right. Here’s how Cannabis Cup winners and pot production pros manicure their marijuana.
Why Trim Cannabis?
Manicuring your cannabis flowers not only makes them look better, but it also makes them taste less harsh when it comes time to smoke or vape them.
Leaves contain chlorophyll, and the more leaves left on your buds, the more they’ll taste like grass or hay instead of showcasing the true flavors they contain.
Always hand trim your flowers instead of using a trimming machine. Machines are only for those who have way too much weight to trim cannabis by hand.
Tools Of The Trim
- Sharp scissors or clipping trimmers (We love the Chikamasa line of pruning shears from Japan.),
- Rubbing alcohol for cleaning sticky blades,
- Good lighting,
- A clean table and comfortable seating with some nice music playing.
Trim Wet Or Dry?
Trimming wet means taking off all the fan leaves and sugar leaves before drying, and trimming dry means hanging your plants up with the leaves intact and then removing them after the branches have dried out. Basically, it comes down to personal preference of how you wish to accomplish this, but both methods have their advantages and drawbacks.
Trimming wet is easier because the leaves are still turgid and their rigor makes them stick out from the flowers more. After drying, leaves will droop and curl closer to the buds, and it makes it a bit more difficult to clip them off.
So the wet trim can be more convenient.
On the other hand, if you wait to trim dry, the plants will take a bit longer to dry out due to the water in the leaves. Slower drying can make for a smoother, cleaner smoking experience—because the longer it takes to dry your crop, the more it will lose the “green” chlorophyll smell and taste.
My advice is to use the best of both worlds.
Trim off any large fan leaves and big sugar leaves that protrude out from the buds but leave behind some of the sugar leaves to keep the drying slow and to protect your flowers and their essential oil-filled trichome glands. Then, after the branches have dried and snap instead of bending, do your second more thorough trim, just before starting the curing process in glass jars.
The Final Cut
Take off the large fan leaves first.
Be sure to remove them at their base (where they meet the branches) to avoid leaving thick stalks within your flowers. Trimming entire plants can be quite cumbersome depending on their size, so remove individual branches to make them easier to trim.
I like to do this from the top down as this creates “hooks” out of the branches, which makes them easy to hang up to dry.
Holding the individual branches at their base, keep your scissors angled upwards and clip off any plant material that protrudes from the buds. This includes the tiny “crows feet” leaves that start at the base of each flower.
Rotate the branches with one hand, while you snip with the other. Use the tips of the pruning shears or trimmers to get in deep between the nuggets for a proper manicure. Remove everything that isn’t covered in glandular trichomes.
If you’re trimming wet, now is the time to hang up your trimmed branches to dry.
If you’re trimming dry, you can now remove the trimmed buds from their branches and put them into glass jars to cure.
Just remember to clip as close to the buds as you can. Soon you’ll be enjoying the ultimate aficionado experience—consuming properly trimmed cannabis!