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How to Trim Cannabis Plants

How to Trim Cannabis Plants

Trimming is one of the most crucial post-harvest processes for cannabis growers. Properly trimmed buds are not only aesthetically pleasing but also enhance the smoking experience by removing the harsh-tasting and non-psychoactive foliage. In this guide, we’ll explore the art and science of trimming cannabis plants.

Why Trim Cannabis Plants?

Aesthetics: Neatly trimmed buds are more marketable and visually appealing.

Flavor and Smoothness: Leaves can give a harsher taste when smoked. Trimming ensures you’re primarily smoking the resin-rich buds.

Potency: Leaves contain lower levels of cannabinoids compared to the buds.

Curing Process: Properly trimmed buds cure better and more evenly.

Types of Trimming:

1. Wet Trimming:

This is done immediately after harvest when the plant is still fresh.


  • Easier to trim as leaves are still turgid and stick out from the buds.
  • Faster drying process.


  • Can lead to over-drying if not monitored properly.
  • Some believe it results in a less smooth smoke.

2. Dry Trimming:

This is done after the plants have been dried.


  • Can enhance the flavor as the drying process is slower, retaining more terpenes.
  • Easier to handle and less sticky than fresh buds.


  • Leaves can become brittle, making the process a bit more challenging.

Tools You’ll Need:

Trimming Scissors: Opt for a pair with a fine tip for precision.

Rubbing Alcohol: For cleaning scissors, as they can get sticky.

Gloves: Cannabis resin is sticky and can irritate the skin.

Trays or Containers: To collect trimmed buds and leaves.

How to Trim Cannabis Plants:

1. Prepare Your Workspace:

  • Ensure good lighting so you can see what you’re doing.
  • Lay down parchment paper or trays to collect trimmed leaves. These can be used for making extracts.

2. Remove Large Fan Leaves:

  • These are the big leaves that don’t have trichomes on them. They’re usually easy to pull off with your hands.

3. Start with the Outer Leaves:

  • Using your scissors, start trimming the sugar leaves that stick out of the buds. Sugar leaves are the smaller leaves that are covered in trichomes.

4. Work Your Way In:

  • Move from the outside of the bud and work your way in, trimming any unwanted leaves or foliage.

5. Shape the Bud:

  • Give the bud a rounded shape by snipping away any irregularities. However, be careful not to over-trim and waste valuable bud material.

6. Handle with Care:

  • Always handle the buds gently. Being too rough can knock off the trichomes, reducing the bud’s potency.

7. Clean Your Scissors:

  • As you trim, resin will build up on your scissors. Periodically clean them with rubbing alcohol to keep them sharp and efficient.

Post-Trimming Tips:

Save the Trimmings: The trimmed leaves, especially sugar leaves, can be used to make cannabis-infused products like butter, oil, or hash.

Cure Your Buds: After trimming, it’s essential to properly cure your buds. Curing helps improve flavor and ensures a longer shelf life.

Regular Maintenance: If you grow cannabis regularly, keep your tools in top condition. Sharp, clean scissors make the process faster and more efficient.


Trimming cannabis might seem tedious, but it’s an essential step to ensure high-quality buds. Whether you prefer wet or dry trimming, the goal is to preserve the bud’s potency while providing a smooth smoking experience. With practice, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you and be rewarded with beautifully manicured buds ready for enjoyment!

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