Can You Smoke Sugar Leaves?

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!

Example of cannabis buds with tons of sugar leaves like a sweet dusting all around the bud

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!

Lambsbread cannabis bud has few trichomes but very 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.

Learn how to increase the amount of trichomes on your buds!


Should Growers Smoke Sugar Leaves?

If you have sugar leaves that are covered in trichomes, what can you do with them? Do you trim them off after harvest and make hash or cannabutter? Or do you leave them on and smoke them?

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.
  • Leaving sugar leaves on after harvest slows down the drying process, which may increase smell/flavor if you’re drying in a hot or dry environment.

Some strains produce so many trichomes that it’s hard to tell where the leaves stop and buds begin!

The buds from that plant were only lightly trimmed. The sugar leaves were as good to smoke as the buds


Cons of Smoking Sugar Leaves

  • The leaves may be more “harsh” to smoke than the buds themselves. Some people find their throat is easily irritated from smoking untrimmed buds
  • There is typically much less potency in leaves compared to buds (which are 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!

This trichome-covered bud was grown under LED grow lights


What else can you do with sugar leaves?

Here are other things you can do with your sugar leaves besides smoking:

Edibles – Eat the Cannabinoids

Extracts (No Solvents) – Turn sugar leaves into concentrates

Extracts (Using a Solvent)

The results of making dry ice hash

An animation showing dry-ice hash being collected in a first person view

A closeup of the Bubble Hash we made

Close-up on some 73 bubble hash

A closeup of Dry-Ice Hash from the same starting cannabis matter. You can actually see the individual trichomes!

A closeup of some 73 dry-ice hash

Pure Cannabis Hash Oil can be eaten or smoked

Edible cannabis oil in a blunt-tipped syringe. Ready to be stored in the fridge (must be warmed up to dispense)


I believe that smoking sugar leaves is something to consider on a bud-by-bud basis. Some sugar leaves probably should be left on buds to smoke, while others should be turned into something else. As you harvest more plants over time, you’ll start to get a feel for what you like best!



Jump to…

Get Higher Potency With Your Buds

Make Buds More Sparkly Overall

Get Bigger Marijuana Yields

How to Increase Overall Bud Appeal



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