Sugar Sheets: What are they and how to use them? - Cannactive

Cannabis sugar leaves: What are they and how to use them?

If you grow your own cannabis, you probably know what sugar leaves are. But there are many users who are not fortunate enough to be able to grow their own and may be looking for quality herbal material at a better price than “normal” flowers or buds.

In this case, sugar leaves may be exactly what you’re looking for, but how can you tell from this culinary-sounding term? Let’s explain where the term “sugar leaves” comes from and what it means.

What exactly are sugar leaves?

Sugar leaves are a specific type of leaves of the cannabis plant that grow between the flowers and around the buds. They are small, even tiny at times, and their main purpose is to provide protection for the fragile flowers, which are, biologically speaking, important for plant reproduction. In addition, these leaves contribute to the structure and stability of the flowers as they ripen.

Botanically, they are known as bracts.

At Cannactiva we use the sugar leaves and small pieces of buds resulting from the manicuring of the flowers. CBD flowers to elaborate the product we call “trim” of hemp:

Why are they called sugar leaves?

They are colloquially called sugar leaves because their surface is covered with tiny whitish trichomes, which resemble sugar. Actually, it is a term coined from the literal translation of cannabis sugar leaves.

Cannabis flowers where you can appreciate the sugar leaves, full of white trichomes, with the appearance of sugar.
Cannabis flowers where you can appreciate the sugar leaves, full of white trichomes, with the appearance of sugar.

What is the composition of sugar leaves?

The cannabis plant contains trichomes full of resin and aromatic and potentially medicinal substances all over its surface, but these are especially concentrated in the flowers, which is why the buds are the used part of the plant.

These resinous structures contain cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds that give cannabis its characteristic aroma and flavor.

The sugar leaves, those found on the buds, also have a good density of trichomes. Therefore, they have a notable resin content, although lower than the flowers.

This means that not only cannabis flowers contain cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) and other active compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids: We can also find these compounds in relevant amounts in sugar leaves.

How are sugar leaves formed on the cannabis plant?

When the cannabis flowers are sufficiently mature and the optimal time for harvesting is approaching, you will notice – if you look closely enough – that the small leaves between and around the mature buds become covered with tiny white dots.

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How are sugar leaves obtained?

Sugar leaves are pruned during manicuring of cannabis buds

During the bud manicuring process, many growers often cut off the small leaves that grow on the buds, the sugar leaves. This gives the bud a more compact, attractive and appetizing appearance.

SweetSpot CBD
Sweet Spot Flower (Watermelon Zkittlez CBD)

At the commercial level, the leaves of the buds have less aroma than the flowers (lower bud density) and are removed to improve the quality of the final product, achieving a more concentrated bud in aromas, which in turn can increase its value in the market.

The sting or trim of cannabis: Take advantage of it!

The result of bud manicuring is, on the one hand, perfectly defined buds, ready for use. And on the other hand, pruning, pruning, chopping or trimming of cannabis . It is a product highly concentrated in sugar leaves, the closest to the flower, with a significant amount of trichomes and still retains the unmistakable aroma of cannabis.

Cannabis Trim. Chopped CBD flower
Cannabis Trim. Chopped CBD flower.

The white coating on sugar leaves is indicative of active substances present, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, and there may be ways to extract these substances and use them for aromatic, recreational or therapeutic purposes. Therefore, many growers use it for different purposes.

How to use sugar leaves?

The best ways to use sugar leaves

As we have said, sugar leaves can contain non-negligible amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids, provided the plant has been sufficiently potent (in terms of resin production) and the buds have matured and been harvested at the optimum time.

So don’t be afraid to take your time and do a little extra work to transform the “waste” material into a delicious product rich in cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Here are some methods to take advantage of sugar leaves:

Make your own kief

Kief is the powdered mixture that you will normally find at the bottom of a grinder after grinding flowers for smoking or vaporizing. It is usually much more potent than normal buds because it is a mixture of concentrated trichomes. After drying and curing the sugar leaves, you can grind them in your mesh grinder (or sieve) to make your own kief.

Prepare your own tea with cannabinoid acids

Sugar leaves are also ideal for preparing infusions. These preparations are already described in the traditional medicine of India, the cradle of the cannabis culture. To do this, simply pour a handful of leaves (alone or combined with other herbs) in a saucepan with hot water and let them infuse, covered, for a few minutes. Then, remove the leaves and drink the tea.

Some people also add butter to the tea, to help extract the cannabinoids (which do not dissolve too well in water). Another possibility is to use a liquid with some fat, such as milk, for the infusion.

What does this mean? Most cannabinoids are found in the plant – and also in sugar leaves – in acid form. During the drying of the herb, and as time passes, the acids CBDA, THCA, etc. are partially converted into neutral cannabinoids(THC, CBD and others). With sufficient heat, this conversion is complete.

The effects of cannabinoids in their acid form differ from those of the neutral forms, e.g. THCA is not psychoactive but has antibacterial effects at least as strong as THC. In general, the bioactivity of these substances is much less studied, but preclinical research points to some potentially interesting medicinal properties.

These acid forms are more soluble in water than neutral cannabinoids, so when you brew tea with only water and sugar leaves and no fat, you are extracting mainly acid forms in the water, not neutral cannabinoids (this also explains why cannabis dissolved in water has no psychoactive effects).

A tip for connoisseurs: it is said that the best tea is made with freshly cut sugar leaves, as they should have a richer terpene profile, so the flavor and aroma of the beverage is stronger.

Sugar leaves: A market to explore

Quality – price ratio of sugar leaves

Some users whose financial situation is not very good combine first quality CBD flowers with pruning sugar leaves of premium quality cannabis flowers, which are usually much cheaper than buds, priced 5 to 10 times less than average cannabis flowers.

Of course, the trim mix (or hemp sting) that you prepare at home can be used in the same way as the buds: smoked, vaporized or in food, but also as a great material from which to extract cannabis preparations for creams, tinctures, oils and the aforementioned tea. The possibilities are endless!

We remind you that this is informative content about general cannabis culture. The cannabis flowers that you will find in Cannactiva’s CBD store are intended for decorative and collectible use.

Information on sugar leaves

Do marijuana leaves contain resin?

Marijuana leaves, in general, have very few trichomes and their resin content is low. However, the leaves of the inflorescences, which are found surrounding the buds and between the flowers, have an appreciable and usable quantity of trichomes, full of resin and aromas. However, the flower or bud is still the part of the plant richest in trichomes, and therefore the one with the most aromas.

Remember that if you want more information about Cannabis and CBD, our newsletter brings you new insights and exclusive offers in the CBD shop

Lukas Hurt
Cannabis activist : Journalist focusing on cannabis-related issues in Central Europe

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