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Why So Many Growers Are Returning to Rough-Trim Cannabis

For some, the aesthetic of cannabis is almost as important as its smell, taste, and effects, which is why so many growers make it a point to finely manicure their flower. While tightly groomed buds make for attractive product glamour shots, you might be sacrificing quality in the quest for cuteness. 

This is why a growing number of cultivators are making a return to the old and familiar: roughly trimmed bud that may look like it’s badly in need of a haircut.

While it may not be conventionally eye-pleasing, rough trim is more likely to retain potency, avoid contamination, and enjoy a longer shelf life than its finely-trimmed counterpart. So if you’re looking for a simple and natural way to enhance how your bud is preserved and enjoyed, it’s time to start taking notes from the OG way of doing things.

What does “rough trimming” mean in the cannabis world?

Rough trimmed flower is a trimming method that leaves the bud, and majority of sugar leaves intact. Rather than removing the trichome-drenched sugar leaves to expose a bud’s profile, a rough trim keeps that sugar leaf sweetness on the plant, resulting in a much more potent, natural product that might not be as impeccably groomed.

trimming cannabis buds

Most of us have come across advertisements from subscription services like Imperfect Foods or Misfit Market—grocery delivery platforms that work to reimagine what produce “should” look like by only offering items that are…well, ugly. At least by the standards we’ve been subtly trained to expect. 

And sure, misshapen eggplants and three-legged carrots aren’t necessarily photogenic, but the appearance of imperfect produce alone has no negative effect on its taste or nutritional benefits. In fact, “ugly” fruits and vegetables are more likely to be fresh, flavorful, and grown with less pesticides and chemicals.

The same goes for cannabis, but the industry has strayed away from OG practices that were effective for decades of underground consumption. With legalization has come a higher demand for “pretty” cannabis, especially when it comes to advertisements, and that makes a certain amount of sense.

The industry has fought long and hard for destigmatization, and presenting flower to the public in the most eye-catching way possible feels like the right move for continued acceptance. However, finely manicuring your flower comes with a host of potential drawbacks, and growers are slowly awakening to the fact that the OG community might have opted for a rougher trim for good reason.

The potential cons of finely manicured cannabis

Loss of potency

Trimming cannabis can be a finicky undertaking. If taken too far, your plant might be more susceptible to trichome loss, which means your final product will have fewer trichomes and less aroma. And unfortunately, it’s a little too easy to disturb or remove trichomes during the trimming process, which is a big reason many growers opt to trim super roughly—a.k.a., barely at all. 

Increased oxidation 

When cannabis is finely trimmed, more of the plant’s surface area is exposed to your environment’s air. That increased exposure to oxygen can accelerate the oxidation process, which means your plant’s cannabinoids are likely to degrade at a much faster pace. This can lead to cannabinoid degradation with less freshness and an overall decrease in your product’s quality. 

Reduced shelf life

Finely manicured cannabis tends to dry out more quickly due to that increased exposure to air, which will result in loss of aroma, flavor, potency, and a shorter shelf life in the long run.

how to trim bud

Harsher smoking experience

Finely trimmed cannabis might also make for a less-than-pleasant smoking experience for consumers, especially if the flower hasn’t been properly dried and cured. Smaller plant particles are more likely to burn hotter and irritate the throat and lungs, which can be off-putting, especially for consumers who are already sensitive to smoking.

Increased risk of contamination

Groomed cannabis might be nice to look at, but it can also be more susceptible to contaminants like dust, dirt, and other foreign particles. The smaller the buds, the easier said contaminants can stick to the plant material, which can have a severely negative impact on the product’s quality and safety.

The potential benefits of rough-trim cannabis

While a finely manicured flower comes with a variety of potential sales and consumption cons, roughly trimmed flower’s biggest drawback is its physical appearance. Other than that, OG “shaggy” bud offers quite a few potential benefits to growers and consumers alike.

Retained potency

Finely manicured cannabis might compromise the product’s potency, but for rough trim, it’s the opposite. A conservative trim helps preserve your buds’ trichomes, which means the cannabinoids and terpenes are more likely to flourish, resulting in potent, aromatic, and flavorful flower. 

Longer shelf life

The less you trim your cannabis, the more likely it is to retain moisture. Also, the additional plant material can act as a protective layer that slows down the drying process, which means your buds will stay fresh for a longer period of time. 

Improved smoking experience

A coarser trim might result in a smoother smoking experience for consumers, as the added plant material can soften the harshness of each hit.

Reduced risk of contamination

With less trimming, cannabis is less likely to fall victim to contaminants like dust, dirt, or other foreign particles that try and adhere themselves to the plant. The large plant material acts as a natural barrier, keeping your sweet buds protected from the woes of contamination.

trimming flower

Rough trim takeaways

Trimmers’ eyes are slowly opening to the wonders of rough trimming, and it definitely comes with a lot of benefits and pays homage to the old guard of the cannabis community. However, trimming levels vary depending on personal preference and intention. 

While finer trim might be optimal for making concentrates, edibles, or modeling for a billboard, rough trim is a great choice for high-quality flower product. Both avenues have their own perks, but the industry return to rough trim will definitely give way to some exciting new products and consumption experiences.

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