How to Use Sugar Leaves?

29 March 2023
If you've ever wondered how to use your precious sugar leaves, find out how you can turn your trimmings into edibles and more!
29 March 2023
35 min read
How to Use Sugar Leaves?

Contents:
Read more
  • 1. What are sugar leaves?
  • 2. How to collect sugar leaves?
  • 3. Can you smoke sugar leaves?
  • 4. How to use sugar leaves
  • 4. a. Edibles
  • 4. b. Brownies
  • 4. c. Cannabutter
  • 4. d. Teas
  • 4. e. Kief
  • 4. f. Vaporizer
  • 4. g. Hash and other products
  • 5. Conclusion

For many growers, obtaining sugar leaves is the best part of harvesting cannabis buds. Partly, it’s because while you can always purchase buds in dispensaries, one cannot lay his hands on sugar leaves unless he personally grows cannabis plants. However, there are many growers that throw away sugar leaves because they don’t know what to do with them.

If you’re one of them, here’s the ultimate guide to educate you on how to use sugar leaves.

1. What are sugar leaves?

It’s possible you’ve never heard of sugar leaves; however, if you’re a grower, you’d have handled them. Once you grow cannabis seeds, you’ll notice that it develops leaves. These leaves get bigger as the plant grows, and are known as fan leaves. Sugar leaves develop slowly along with the buds. While fan leaves are visible from the branches, sugar leaves peek through buds where only their juicy tips sprinkled with a generous amount of trichomes are seen.

 

How to use sugar leaves: What are sugar leaves?

Sugar leaves are the small frosty leaves found on cannabis flowers.
 

Sugar leaves are small and dainty. They aren’t really visible in some plants where there’s a heavy amount of resin. Once you remove the fan leaves, you’ll see small sugar leaves clearly. Even fan leaves have trichomes, but in negligible quantities. Named aptly due to the resin that resembles sugar, growers collect even small leaves to make different products.

2. How to collect sugar leaves?

Collecting sugar leaves is as simple as harvesting the buds themselves. However, since sugar leaves are small, you’ll have to spend some extra time trimming them one by one. For this reason, many people let the sugar leaves stay on the buds and smoke or vaporize them along with the buds. Another point to note is that the amount of sugar leaves obtained per plant will be small.

Thus, you can save the sugar leaves by storing them in a ziplock bag or an airtight container and placing them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. This will also ensure that the leaves are brittle and it makes it easier for the trichomes to fall off when you’ve finally decided what you want to do with them.

3. Can you smoke sugar leaves?

This is a question many people ask. And, rightly so. If you’ve grown those plants with so much effort, it’s natural to wonder if you can smoke them too. Yes, it is possible to smoke sugar leaves, but remember that it can be harsh on your throat. It doesn’t make sense to trim the sugar leaves and then smoke them because you can simply leave them on the buds. You’ll also need more sugar leaves compared to normal buds because the leaves don’t contain as much resin present in the buds. Therefore, if you decide to trim the leaves, make sure you create something else with them or you can just leave them on the buds.

4. How to use sugar leaves

If you want to use sugar leaves to make different cannabis products, keep in mind that the trichomes differ from one strain to another. For instance, a strain like Green Crack Auto may not produce as many trichomes as, say, Gorilla Glue that’s famous for its resin. Just like the strains differ when it comes to the effects they produce, the amount of trichomes also differs. Sometimes, plants with super huge buds don’t produce too many sugar leaves while those with smaller buds will have a lot more sugar leaves.

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Last but not the least, no matter what edibles you make, remember to decarboxylate the sugar leaves before using them so you get to use active THC or CBD. Here’s how you can use these amazing leaves studded with resin.

Edibles

People generally use cannabis buds to make edibles. If you’re short of buds, though, you can easily replace them with sugar leaves. However, note that you’ll need to use a lot more sugar leaves compared to the buds because although sugar leaves do contain resin, they don’t have as much resin as the buds themselves.

 

How to use sugar leaves: edibles

Edibles are a great way to use leftover sugar leaves.
 

What you’ll probably end up with is an edible that doesn’t make you as high as the buds but they are amazing nonetheless.

Brownies

Making brownies with cannabis flowers is super easy. You can replace the blossoms with sugar leaves and the effect will almost be the same. But, if you want super potent brownies, use more flowers. For instance, if your recipe calls for 50 grams of flowers, use 50 grams of sugar leaves instead to produce a milder effect. For a stronger high, use 50 grams of buds plus 25 grams of sugar leaves.

Our Favorite Weed Brownie Recipe

A quick web search will produce a ridiculously long list of recipes for the classic pot brownie, but after years of trial and error, we have landed on this absolute banger. We love it for a few reasons - It doesn't use a ridiculously long list of ingredients, it's almost impossible to stuff up, and isn't too high in sugar.

Ingredients

  • 20g /sugar leaves,
  • 500 ml coconut oil
  • 1-liter water
  • 2 cups of white sugar,
  • 1 cup of cocoa powder,
  • 4 eggs, 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder,
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Method

First, let's make our canna coco-oil/ In a large pot, add the coconut oil, water, and sugar leaves. Make sure you decarb the sugar leaves before cooking with them. This ensures all of the cannabinoids are available. Bring this all to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boil, turn the heat down to very low, and let it bubble away softly for at least 1 hour, but up to 8 hours if you have the time. Once the cooking process has finished, strain the whole thing through some cheesecloth (or a clean pillowcase) into another pot. Make sure you give the whole thing a really good squeeze to extract all of the oil from the plant matter. Place this pot in the fridge, and 3 hours later the oil will have separated and solidified on top of the water. Remove, throw the water down the sink, and reheat the oil to use in the recipe.

 

How to use sugar leaves: brownies

Delicious cannabis-infused brownies.
 

Then, preheat your oven to 370F/180C. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add in the cooled cannabis oil mixture before folding in any extra ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts, coconut shavings, or whatever takes you fancy really. Gently pour your mixture into a greased baking tray, and place it in the oven for 25 minutes. Check after this time to see if a knife comes out clean of batter when inserted - If not, give them another 5 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into 20 (or more) brownie squares.

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Tinctures

Tinctures are a great way of easily extracting the cannabinoids from sugar leaves, and having them readily available for years without having to worry about any fungal issues wrecking the crop. For a basic tincture, all you really need is some sugar leaves, a clear high-percentage alcohol that's safe for human consumption (like Everclear or vodka), and a mason jar.

First off, decarboxylate the sugar leaves (you can find more information on that process here). Once done packing your mason jar with your decarbed weed and enough ethanol to cover it - filling it up to around 75% is perfect. Tighten the lid, and then give it a good shake before leaving it in a cool dark place for a minimum of 2 weeks. Every few days or so, give the jar another shake. When you're ready to use your tincture, strain out all the plant matter before transferring the liquid into a dropper bottle.

 

How to use sugar leaves: tinctures

Tinctures are one of the most popular consumption methods for medicinal consumers.
 

This will make it easier to measure how much you're using and store it long-term if needed. Tinctures are an awesome way of taking advantage of sugar leaves, as they can last you for years (as long as they stay sealed) and provide you with an easy-to-dose, discreet product that tastes fantastic.

Topicals

Cannabis-infused topicals are becoming more popular by the day, and are a great alternative for people looking for an easy way to get the benefits of cannabinoids without having to smoke or eat them. To make a cannabis-infused topical, you'll need your decarbed sugar leaves (or other cannabis product), some warm oils such as coconut oil or shea butter, and a little beeswax. This process is very simple - just melt the beeswax and oil together until combined, remove them from the heat, and add your cannabis. Let it cool to room temperature before transferring it into a jar (mason jars are great for this).

Once you've made your cream or salve, you can apply as needed directly to any area of skin that needs relief. Just remember, cannabis topicals will not be ingested by your body so will not provide a psychoactive effect, but the cannabinoids can still help with pain relief, inflammation, and other issues.

Capsules

Making cannabis capsules is another great way of using sugar leaves, as they are easy to dose and take with you on the go without creating a mess or drawing too much attention to yourself. Again, you'll need some decarbed sugar leaves for this one - 2-3 grams should be enough for around 10 capsules (depending on size). Start by grinding your sugar leaves into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.

 

How to use sugar leaves: capsules

Capsules are easy to dose and take with you on the go without creating a mess or drawing too much attention to yourself.
 

Next, scoop the powder into the capsules, making sure to keep them as full as possible. Place the filled capsules into an airtight container or jar and store out of direct sunlight in a cool place - They should stay fresh for months before needing replacement.

Cannabutter

Cannabutter is one of the best ways of using cannabis. Not only is the effect far stronger than smoking cannabis (because edibles are ingested by the stomach lining) but it also lasts longer. To make some butter that’s mild, simply replace the buds with sugar leaves, but if you want a stronger effect, add at least half of the amount of the buds in the form of sugar leaves.

Teas

Many people use even fan leaves to make cannabis tea, but using sugar leaves will no doubt produce tea with a strong buzz. Don’t overdo it, though – and this applies to all edibles – because edibles are much stronger than smoking cannabis. To brew some tea, weigh and strain at least a gram of sugar leaves through a filter. Pour boiling water over the leaves and let it sit until the tea absorbs the elements of the sugar leaves. Some people add cannabutter or regular butter to their tea so that the cannabinoids bind well with the fat, but it’s not mandatory.

Kief

Kief is the powdery substance you usually find at the bottom of your grinder. It’s usually much more potent than your regular buds because it’s nothing but a collection of concentrated trichomes. Cannabis users love kief simply because it’s potent and requires a very small amount to produce the desired high. To make kief using sugar leaves, make sure that the leaves are dry before using them. It’s also going to work better if the leaves are brittle so that you can crush it better. Thus, you can store the leaves in the freezer as mentioned earlier.

 

How to use sugar leaves: kief

Kief or dry sift is probably the most common way growers use sugar leaves.
 

Once you have some frozen and dried sugar leaves, grind the leaves in your grinder just like you’d grind cannabis buds. Of course, you’ll not get as much kief as you’d get with the buds, but it’s far better than throwing away the leaves shimmering with resin.

Vaporizer

Some growers don’t bother to trim the sugar leaves. Although it’s okay to do that, smoking sugar leaves will produce a harsher effect on your throat. And, that’s due to an excess of plant matter like chlorophyll. To avoid the harsh taste, you can trim the leaves and vaporize them using a vaporizer of your choice.

Since a vaporizer doesn’t combust the buds or leaves, you’ll never feel a harsh effect. At the same time, you’ll gain the benefits of the cannabinoids present in the leaves without having to worry about your lungs. A win-win situation for sure!

Hash and other products

Simply put, you can use sugar leaves to pretty much produce anything. All you have to do is replace the buds with the leaves, and you’re done! You can use sugar leaves to create some mind-blowing Dry Ice Hash where the buds are sieved through filters. Replace the buds with your trims and although the yield will not be as significant as using traditional buds, you’ll be using the sugar leaves instead of throwing them away!

DRY ICE OR ICE WATER BUBBLE HASH FROM SUGAR LEAVES

Our favorite extraction method for sugar leaves is to use either the dry ice or ice water bubble hash technique. Not only is it straightforward and simple, but it also allows you to strip off close to all of the trichomes so nothing goes to waste. We find the dry ice method to be easier with better results and yield, but dry ice can be a pian to source depending on your location. If you cant get your hands on any, the ice water method works fine also. Both methods require a set of bubble bags, so make sure you grab a set before you buy the dry ice or chuck your weed into the ice water. These usually come in a set of 3 to 5 bags, but 3 is all you really need. Make sure the bags have a micron mesh filter inside, with a 73, 160, and 220 micro range. 

The 73-micron filter bags allow nothing but the trichomes to pass through, meaning you get the very best quality hash from this bag. The 160 bag allows some small amounts of plant material through, so this is classed as a mid-grade hash. The 220 bag lets a fair bit of the smaller particles of plant material through along with any remaining trichomes, so this will be classed as the lowest grade of hash produced from this method. Let’s quickly run through the two options. 

DRY ICE BUBBLE HASH

The first thing to do is chuck your ground-up weed into a large bucket with the dry ice. If the bucket has a lid, replace it. If there is no lid available simply cover it in any way possible. Give the bucket a good old shake. Pour the contents into your 73-micron bubble bag and shake the whole thing over a clean surface (a large mirror works perfectly, as does a glass table).

 

How to use sugar leaves: hash

Sugar leaves can be used to make hash but remember, quality goes in, quality comes out!
 

Anything that is easily scrapped essentially). Keep shaking until you stop seeing kief falling from the bag. Use a credit card to scrap the fallen contents into a pile and collect it! Now you have a nice little pile of high-grade dry ice hash. Repeat the process two more times first with the 160-micron bag, and finally with the 220-micron bag. The result should be three neat piles of differing grades of totally solvent-free hash. 

ICE WATER BUBBLE HASH

Ice water hash is similar in process to dry ice bubble hash, with just a few extra steps. First up, freeze your weed overnight. Once this is done, add your weed into a large bucket (or specialized ice water hash-making machine) with enough ice water to cover all of the plant matter and then some. If using a bucket, be sure to give the concoction a good, regular stir lover a 20 to 30-minute period. This refreezing process with agitation is water allows the trichomes to detach from the plant. 

Then just pour the liquid over and over again until all of the hash has been extracted. Scrap up with remaining hash sludge and spread it out on a baking paper-lined oven tray. If you have a freeze dryer handy then chuck it in there, otherwise just leave it in a spot with zero direct sunlight until the moisture has totally disappeared and you are left with that dusty, trichome goodness! Once this has been done you should be left with some beautiful, unpressed kief that can be used in pretty much any way you please. You can sprinkle it directly onto your bowl or spliff, you can use a press to make blocks of hash, you can use it to make cannabutter or canna coco-oil, you can add it to topicals or ointments, and you can even make pure rosin out of it!

Rosin? What’s that?

Rosin is an extract that has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to how easy it is to make at home. You can make it with regular old bud, but kief (the powder-like substance that bubble hash methods produce) works like an absolute treat. To make rosin you just need a decent hair straighter and some baking or parchment paper. Make a small envelope out of the paper, add the kief or bud inside, place the whole thing into a hot hair straighter, and press! Hey, presto you have yourself some delicious, ready-to-smoke rosin!

5. CONCLUSION

As you can understand by now, there are many ways to use sugar leaves. If you’ve thrown away your precious leaves in the past because you didn’t know what to do with them, this article will hopefully help you use it in a better way! Sugar leaves once tossed away and discarded, are now seen as one of the most useful parts of a cannabis plant - sitting only behind the buds themselves. So, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and use those bad boys in any way you choose! Experiment, have fun and try new methods. What is the point of going to all the effort of growing top-shelf cannabis if you don’t make the absolute most out of the full experience.