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How to Trim Your Marijuana Bud? How to Build a Small Grow Room

January 09, 2018 1 Comment

By Ayad Maher

After months of attention, patience and effort to grow your beloved plant, to trim or not to trim; that is the question. 

Many people fear the process of trimming cannabis buds (also known as “manicuring” your cannabis). If you trim, how close do you trim? Do you leave a little leaf like a fringe on a skirt? Or do you trim only for the full bud experience? My friend's hubby has no use for trimming. He's a 'trim before ya grind kinda guy' and I say, why not? No need for mix!

#HowToTrimYourWeed #HowToTrimYourBud

Why Trim Your Cannabis Buds?

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First, better look; trimmed cannabis buds has a more uniform appearance, presentable and indeed visually pleasing and attractive. Recently and especially after legalization, this is what we associate "good bud" with, and "un-manicured" buds tend to be less appealing to many consumers.There are multiple reasons for your to trimming your marijuana plant before enjoy it; Aesthetically speaking, everything looks better when well manicured, especially marijuana buds.

If you were living in a state where marijuana is legal, trimmed buds are much like what you find in your local dispensary. Also what you see in magazines and online photos.

Secondly, smoking experience; some parts of the plant, leaves for example, are harsher to smoke, it tends to be jarring on your lungs/throat than the bud itself. So trimming those parts will indeed improve your smoking experience and provide smoother sesh. 

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Finally, THC Concentration: the cannabis buds have more THC concentratin than the rest of the plant (such as the sugar leaves and even trichome-encrusted ones). that means that you will get less THC gram-for-gram than with bud.

Note that you can save the rest of the plant parts, which has lower THC and cause harshness while smoking for edibles or tincture.

Related Article: 1 Gram Cannabutter Recipe - How to Make Quality Marijuana Butter?

Trimming your plant when it's ready is a must, and there are few different methods you can use to get the job done; 

Trimming Techniques

1. Machine-Trimmed vs. Hand-Trimmed Bud

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If you were growing weed as a hobby, hand trimming would be just fine, however, if you have a large-scale grow, you may want to consider investing in trimming machines.

HOWEVER, keep in mind that there are multiple problems with trimming machine, they're not only expensive, but also have list of maintenance issues, and due to that, they haven't YET completely replaced hand trimming method in most markets.

Based on my experience, trimming your bud need personal care, each strain is different than the other in terms density, shape, size; and a machine may result damaging the trichomes and shaved buds.

Related article: Top 10 Best Bud Trimming Machines: Which Is Right for You?

So, in conclusion, Hand Trimming is the best. If you have a small grow, don't be lazy and wasteful, handle the trimming yourself. It's part of the experience of growing your own weed. As for those who are running a large operation, hiring people to trim your harvest can be expensive, and a machine trimming method might be feasible, but if you were the type of person who cares about producing high quality bud, it’s totally worth it

2. Wet Trimming vs. Dry Trimming (Before or After Drying)

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There are two school of thoughts, two main time windows in the cannabis growing process when trimming should take place:

  • On a harvest day; when the marijuana plant is alive and before drying. This method referred to as a "Wet Trimming." 
  • Dry trimming, however, takes place after the plant had time to get rid of its moisture and dry. In this case, plant should be left in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment for up to two weeks in some cases (depends on the climate) which cause for un-trimmed buds to lose their moisture. This can be a great option for growers who live dry climates. In such climates, and without going through this process, buds dry faster, which procreate unevenly buds where the surface is parched, but leaving the inside unaired and clammy. 

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Wet trimming is possibly the most chosen method and it's widely used among growers, it's easier to process and brings about a tighter and more beautiful final product. On the top of that, it's easier to trim since the sugar leaves can extend outwards due to uninterrupted excess to moisture. Wet Trimming Method may bring about a quicker drying process as well, due to the extra leafage will keep moisture within the buds for longer.

Related article: Top 7 Online Stores for Marijuana Growing Supplies and Equipment

One of the cons with the Wet Trimming Method, it can be a bit messy. The process can turn clean scissors into a sticky hell (with all the extracts that come out of the plants especially when it's fresh), which can result in multiple cleaning breaks.

On the other hand, dry trimming is preferable by many mainly because the process is less sticky, less messy and trouble-free on your scissor and your other tools.

Also, dry trimming can be helpful in lower humidity environments. You want your buds to dry slowly after harvest, and untrimmed leaves will indeed slow down the drying process.

Recommended Trimming Tools

You won't be able to trim your buds properly without the right supplies here is what you need:

1. Marijuana Trimming Scissors

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Here are some tips you'd like to consider when you get your trimming scissors:

  • Small, but sharp and sterilized pruning shears (scissors) with pointy end, check the Top 10 Best Precision Trimmers Pruning Shears here.
  • As you will be holding those scissors frequent, try them out first before you buy them. They should fit comfortably in your grip.
  • Keep in mind, as we said earlier, those scissors will get sticky due to the residue from the marijuana plant, so make sure to buy pair of scissors that will be cleaned easily. Or you can try what I did; I bought two pairs and start switching them out once they became sticky with resin.
  • Once resin start building up, your trimming scissors start slowing down, and then you know it's time to switch them up with the other pair, and clean the used one simultaneously. I usually dip them in rubbing alcohol for up to 15 minutes (which will weaken and oust the resin), take them out, wipe them with a rag, and leave them to dry.
  • It can be a good idea to invest in two pair of scissors and a larger pair of pruning shears. The larger pruning shears will help for branch cutting and the smaller ones for more precise trimming.

2. A Comfortable Place

You will need to find a comfortable, opportune, cool and well-lit space to lay out your trimming tools when settling in for a long trim. Important to stay away from dusty places with excess hair, or any type of particulates to avoid contamination.

You will be sitting for quite some time trimming and taking care of your bud, very important to find a comfortable chair, I suggest a zero gravity chair. Such type of chair can provide phenomenal and healthy support to your back, further more, the ability to recline up to your preference. For your the well-being, it's highly recommended to avoid hunching over and squashing your lower back during your trimming session (such as using camping chairs, couches, etc.).

3. Smooth Tray and a Clean Desk

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Trimmers prefer using trimming trays, they're easy to move around and can be a fantastic lap partner in crime. Check out Top 5 Best Trim Trays for Weed. We recommend any simple designed tray that provide a screen to collect kief. But if you were on budget, sprouting trays can be sufficient. 

One last thing you should look into before buying a tray, your tray surface should be easy to clean, we recommend either stainless steel or pyrex glass.

5. Proper Outfit

  • Any apron would work, or, event better, a silk apron (Resin won't stick to silk)
  • Gloves will keep your hands resin-free. My to go gloves is BudGloves. Gloves are useful to protect your hands from the rasin's stickiness, which can be a very annoying problem down the line.

6. Entertainment

A trimming session may take a long time, try to keep yourself entertained. Any audio based material is recommended over visual; music, stand-up comedy, podcasts, audio-books, or even a good conversation with your follow trimmers.

I actually sometimes "watch" TV - Usually the type of TV shows I'm familiar which I don't need to actually watch, such as Family Guy, Seinfeld, and sometimes CNN.

Trimming Steps - Dry Method

Step 1: Remove the Fan Leaves: When initially harvested, the branches will be covered in fan leaves. Before starting the drying process, remove all the large leaves that do not have trichomes on them.

Step 2: Cut Buds From the Branch: A.K.A. “bucking down" - Once your marijuana plant is dry, you can go ahead and start trimming. Without trimming the buds, cut them from the branches into the desired size. 

Step 3: Fill Your Tray and Trim Away: Next, collect the prepared buds in a paper bag, and put the bag next to your "workstation", sit down, and compile a handful of your buds in your tray. Don't over load the tray - it may get too messy and eventually will slow down your work. (Trim the stem closely at the bottom. Don't break down the bud).

Step 4: Manicure the bud: Cut off the extra plant. Angle your scissors towards the nug and keep the scissors moving while making detailed slits.

Most trimmers consume while work, I don't recommend it. Keep work time for work and play time for play. Or you can try it out and see gauge your productivity level. 

Marijuana Bud Trimming Tips

  • Trim with the scissors' tips, not the sides. This will keep your tools resin-free for longer time.
  • Save the trim. It can be used for edibles and/or tinctures. Those trims still have some cannabinoid, and if you were frugal person, as I am, you will do amazing stuff with it.
  • Make sure to store your manicured buds in a proper container, preferably airtight containers
  • Save finger hash (scissor hash).

Finally; Stop Visually Profiling Your Cannabis!

Cannabis users all over the world have been judging their ganja by looks for years. I've even heard some people tell me they can decipher the strain just by looks. I giggle to myself each and every time I hear that. Truth is, a good trimmer can take four buds from the same plant and trim them so differently, you'd swear they were different strains.

As it stands today, there are likely 1000's of different strains of Cannabis and more being bred as I type. And of course there are similarities. I mean, they don't call it purple for no good reason. The problem however, is that we do indeed ingest with our eyes first.

The culinary industry uses this fact every single day. Presentation is everything! Chefs believe very strongly that when you make a judgment on a dish based on looks, it definitely affects how you will perceive the taste. The same thing is happening with our Cannabis. Magazines and books only show the cream of the crop and we have new users believing that anything less than sparkly white coated nugs is inferior. This could not be further from the truth. I've ingested some pretty shabby lookin' buds and made friends with them quickly. Looks mean nothing and the idea that you can visually profile a strain before you even touch, taste, or smell it is a fallacy in my opinion.

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Much of our legal Cannabis is getting visually profiled. Patients open up the bottle--a new experience for many who are used to the Ziploc entry method--and immediately make a judgment. Those poor little buds have had a long trip! Let them freshen' up a bit! They were jostling around in their plastic jars for hours trying to get to you, the least you can do is try them! But no, some judge by looks and deem them of lesser value. Even after ingesting, those bad looks remain in their memory effecting their opinion of the strain and the hand that grew it.

The term "hand-trimmed" is a seal of quality not all offer anymore. I've had buds that were each carefully manicured by a human, and I've had buds that looked like hard green moon rocks. Hand-trimmed vs. machine-trimmed. The truth comes out in the grind every time. We have to remember that these are flowers and flowers differ vastly sometimes. If you open your order of Cannabis and don't recognize the flower inside, don't panic! It may never look like the one in the magazine but that is no reason to shun it. Grind it, vape it, smoke it! Experience your receptors' reaction to it. Feel the aroma-therapeutic action of the terpenes opening you up and motivating your thoughts. You may find that the ugliest duckling fits your system best. And you'll never know, unless you try.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

All GIF photos credited to giphy.com



1 Response

Brian Ritchie
Brian Ritchie

October 09, 2018

Great article, very thorough, thank you. With regard to trimming scissors, there is a new pair that just came out, with a very unique bow, called Comfort Trim, made by ERGROW. Designed by a grower, the ergonomic handle is made of elastic material, and allows you to open and relax your hand at any time. Makes for a more comfortable trimming experience, Check it out at www.ergrow.com

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