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Post Harvest


Leaves and trim, the natural byproduct of growing buds present an interesting paradox. The bud is the plant’s crown jewel with 5-20% THC. However, cannabis produces THC throughout the plant. Sticky resin glands coat the leaves and bracts, creating a natural protective barrier against insects, disease, herbivores and the sun’s UV rays.

Glands on the leaf and trim contain one-fifth to one-half the THC found in the buds. The fan leaves have a THC content of only 1-3%, and they are a harsh smoke. Trim, with 2-6% THC content, commands only a little more respect than the leaves.

Buds typically weigh four times as much as the leaf on a mature female marijuana plant, although this varies tremendously by variety and gardening technique. Still, when trim and leaves are tossed, 10-20% of the plant’s total THC production may be thrown away.

Collecting and using the trash does not add greatly to the complexity of harvest. Leaves and trim are already being trimmed and bagged. Preparing to dry and store this material in advance makes the collection almost as simple as bagging it for the trash can. Once the trash is saved and stored properly, transforming the leaves and trim into stash can wait until the rush of the harvest is complete.


When tossing it out, trash is everything that isn’t bud. If you are going to use it, it should be sorted. Stems and woody parts of the plant are not salvageable. The sticks and stems have little THC, so they really are trash.


All leaves from mature female plants contain retrievable THC. Male plants contain THC as well, and are most potent at the budding, pre-flowering stage. In both cases, the small leaves near the flowers are the most potent, followed by the younger and then older fan leaves.

It may be useful to get a magnifying glass or photographer’s loupe and take a close-up look at the plant material. The glands on the fan leaves are often small and hug the surface of the leaf, while the glands on the flowers are stalked and look like mushrooms with bulbous caps. Material with visible glands is worth keeping.

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