With marijuana reform spanning the nation, more states are now allowing the legal cultivation of cannabis than ever before. The benefits of being able to grow your own marijuana are plentiful, not the least of which include the influx of trim you will surely have post-harvest. And though trim is certainly not as potent (or pretty) as the bud you might purchase from a dispensary, its value should not be overlooked.
What is Trim?
Trim is any part of the cannabis plant that is removed during the manicure process. Trim is typically collected just after harvest (though many fan leaves may be removed prior to this) as you work to shape your buds into attractive little nuggets of joy. Any part of the plant containing trichomes should be kept for later use including larger leaves (even the ones with only a few trichomes) as these still contain terpenes and cannabinoids which affect both flavor and therapeutic value.
Aside from making buds more attractive to consumers, trimming cannabis plants helps reduce the amount of needless plant matter to be consumed. For those who want to get high without the risk of headache, it’s wise to avoid smoking the parts of the plant with a low potency like trim, seeds and stems. Besides, there are better things to do with trim than just smoke it!
How to Get the Most from Your Cannabis Trim
The most exciting part of the cannabis plant is not necessarily the buds – it’s the trichomes they’re covered in. That’s because the trichomes hold the magic of marijuana and all of its cannabinoids and terpenes.
Rather than let any of those precious trichomes go to waste, we suggest removing them from the plant matter for use elsewhere. You can do this a few ways, keeping in mind that cannabinoids need either alcohol or fat to bind to so if your choice for trichome removal is infusion, it’ll have to be one or the other.
Cannabinoids bind to fats which makes cooking with cannabis super easy. Though we recommend toasting your weed before cooking with it to convert as much THC-A into THC as possible (a process known as decarboxylation), some suggest omitting this process if the cannabis will be heated in baked goods – much of the THC-A will be converted during this heating process, after all, and will keep more of the other valuable cannabinoids intact, too. Of course, if your main objective is to get high, decarb away!
Now for the infusion process. To begin, add your ground cannabis to your fat at a 1:1 ratio and cook over low heat for at least 2-8 hours always ensuring the cannabis is fully-submerged. We recommend using the Magical Butter or a crock pot for this as it eliminates the need to tend to the oil, but if this is not possible, either a double boiler (especially when infusing dairy products) or a saucepan on very low temperature can be used provided that it’s stirred often.
After the product has simmered for a few hours, it should begin turning green. The longer it’s heated, the deeper the green and the more potent the final product will be so gauge your time accordingly. Once the simmer process is complete, strain all plant matter out of the product (make sure to squeeze out every drop – that stuff is like gold!) and label the container. Store in a cool, dark location and away from minors or use immediately in your favorite recipe.
Alcohol infusion is a great way to consume cannabis quickly and discretely. You can use cannabis-infused alcohol as a mixer for drinks, an addition to your favorite foods or as a tincture to be applied directly under the tongue.
As with lipids, you’ll want to decarboxylate your cannabis prior to infusion by toasting your cannabis at a low temperature in the oven for at least 30 minutes to an hour. After decarbing, add your cannabis to a high-proof alcohol like Everclear or vanilla vodka then shake gently. Let the cannabis mixture sit in a cool location for 1-2 weeks, shaking at least three times per day. After the mixture has set, strain the cannabis using a coffee filter or cheese cloth and add to a dropper bottle.
The potency of your final product will depend on many factors including the potency of the cannabis, the potency of the alcohol and the duration of time spent both decarbing and soaking in alcohol. Before consuming large amounts of the tincture, test its potency by adding a few drops directly under the tongue. The tincture will absorb sublingually and within 15 minutes to an hour you should begin to feel its effect. If you haven’t noticed any effects after a couple hours, try another drop or two and repeat until you’ve learned your ideal dose.
Infusing your cannabis trim into lipids or alcohol isn’t the only way to make use of your trichome-covered trim. Non-solvent extraction is a great DIY way to make cannabis concentrates. You can do this by dry-sifting your trim through a fine screen to catch trichomes or, more efficiently, you can try your hand at bubble hash which is made by agitating the trichomes off of plant material using ice water.
To make bubble hash you’ll need special bags to strain your hash through. You can find these bubble bags online or make your own using screens and fabric you buy from a craft store, 250 micron being the smallest you’ll need. You’ll also need a five-gallon bucket, a drill with compatible paint mixer attachment (or large wooden paddle for hand-washing), water, ice and, of course your trim.
Begin with frozen trim as this makes the trichomes stiff, brittle and easily removed from the plant. Next, line your bucket with your bags, loading the largest screen first and ending with the smallest one. Make sure the bags fit nicely against each other with minimal wrinkles to help reduce the amount of trichomes lost in the process.
After the bags are set up and the trim is well frozen, add your cold water to the bucket. Make sure the water level is above the seam to keep the trim from getting stuck during the stirring process then add your cannabis. Next, add a layer of ice then more water and begin stirring the mixture on a low speed using your drill’s paint mixer attachment. Continue for about 15 minutes being careful not to mix too vigorously as this can cause further break-down of the plant and a less pure final product.
After the agitation process, allow the mixture to settle for 20-30 minutes then begin straining. Beginning with the top bag, pull out all plant material, drain well and set to the side. The next bag will contain a low-grade hash that may also include impurities like dirt or hair, but the next bags will have what you’re after. Continue to strain the bags and set the contents on parchment paper to dry. Each bag will produce a different quality of hash. Depending on the quality of your trim and personal preference, the purest of hash is generally found within the 73-140 micron range.
There are so many awesome things you can do with trim. What’s your favorite?