by Nebula Haze
What are sugar leaves?
Sugar leaves are the small single-finger leaves that grow out of your cannabis buds during the flowering stage. They are called "sugar leaves" because these leaves are often covered in sparkly trichomes which look like a dusting of sugar.
The "sugar" on sugar leaves is actually THC-filled trichomes!
The amount of trichomes on the sugar leaves is related to strain. Some strains don't produce a lot of trichomes even on buds, while others produce so many they spill onto all of the nearby leaves.
Although trichomes are a good thing because they carry cannabinoids like THC, some strains without many trichomes are still very potent because cannabinoids are also contained in the buds themselves. Sativa and Haze strains in particular often don't have as many trichomes on the outside as indica-leaning strains, but are still incredibly potent!
Although this Lambsbread bud doesn't have a whole lot of trichomes, it still has extremely powerful effects!
Besides strain, what affects the amount of trichomes on the sugar leaves?
Over the years I've noticed that you tend to get more trichomes on the sugar leaves when the buds are smaller. It's like the plant has a certain number of trichomes it can make per bud, and if the buds stay small the trichomes spill out onto the leaves. But if you have a very thick cola, often the sugar leaves are not as sparkly as on the buds themselves.
Should Growers Smoke Sugar Leaves?
Unfortunately there is no consensus. If you ever spend a lot of time interacting with other cannabis growing enthusiasts, you'll come to learn there are as many opinions as there are ways to do things! So I made the following list to help guide you on figuring out what's best for you 🙂
Pros of Smoking Sugar Leaves
If you don't trim off your sugar leaves after harvest, it will increase the total weight of your cannabis yield significantly
If you've got a lot of sparkly leaves, buds may look prettier if you leave the sugar leaves on
Cons of Smoking Sugar Leaves
The plant matter from leaves is more "harsh" than the plant matter in buds, and may irritate the back of your throat while smoking if you don't trim them off
There is a lot less potency in leaves compared to bud (which is full of THC and other cannabinoids all the way through).That means you need to smoke far more leaves than buds to get the same effects.
So there are definitely pros and cons to each method!
I believe that it's often something to consider on a bud-by-bud basis. Some sugar leaves seem like they should be saved, while others don't. As you harvest more plants over time, you'll start to get a feel for what you like best!