3 ways to use cannabis trim to make a profit
By Savannah McClelland
Considering all the effort and financial risk that goes into producing cannabis, it should come as no surprise that many growers look for ways to make the most profit possible from what they harvest. While flower may command higher prices, trim can help producers steady their income and extend the proceeds of their harvest; it just takes a little knowledge and forethought.
1. ADD IT TO JOINTS
One of the easiest methods of creating profit from trim is to mix quality trim into processed flower that is used for pre-rolled joints. Adding some trim into the ground bud can actually improve the final product; when grinding up flower alone and filling the cones, the end result can be a joint that starts to clog with resin about halfway through and becomes unsmokable as a joint. A lower potency trim joint can be good as well, as long as the quality of the trim is premium, without fan leaf or twigs mixed in.
Jhavid Mohseni, CEO of Tamerlane Trading, agrees that joints are a good use for trim as long as its quality. “If it’s good quality hand trim and sugar leaf, it could just be a full trim joint; other times people like to use trim as a filler or cutting agent, where it might be 50% trim, 50% bud. The important thing to consider is only using quality material for a smokable.”
2. USE IT FOR EXTRACTS
Tamerlane’s marketplace data shows that extracts and distillates are a major revenue source for many producers, due to their steady rise in popularity over the years. Mohseni points out, “Higher quality trim will be used to make things like dabs. Lower quality product typically goes into creating crude or directly to distillate.”
He adds, “Keep in mind that when trim is turned into isolate or distillate, those end up in edibles, drinks, topicals and tinctures.”
3. EXTEND YOUR PROFITS
Given proper drying and storage, trim can be kept for a long time. This is true of flower as well, of course, but the prime cannabis product tends to sell more quickly, and it would be silly to hang onto it longer than necessary. As Mohseni points out, this is another way for trim to fill in some gaps.
“The high quality trim is roughly 25-30% of the value of the finished flower,” says Mohseni. He goes on to add, “The value ultimately comes down to yields and the final quality of the extract, which can easily be confirmed with sample batches.”
“Cultivators can easily sell high quality trim to extractors/processors who will happily enter into forward commitments and create a healthy cash-flow for the grower in between harvests.” By consistently providing high quality trim to companies that make extracts, producers can continue gaining income throughout the year -- not just at harvest. This does require a very good storage process, but Mohseni points out that it’s well worth the investment for a more stable, consistent income.
The degree to which trim is profitable for producers depends a great deal on the quality of the trim, which starts in the initial harvesting process.
“The difference in quality starts in the field. It starts with de-leafing the plant, getting rid of the fan leaf; either in the field, or after you’ve chopped the product and you’ve taken it into the room to dry,” Mohseni explains. Bits of fan leaf and stem mixed into the ‘sugar leaf’ contaminate the product and make for a lower smoking quality, or lower yields and lower quality extract from a color, flavor and smell point of view.
Mohseni explains that dry trimming tends to produce better results than wet trimming, and that hand-scissored trim tends to be of highest quality as well. “When a grower creates an efficient process that creates quality trim, they can improve their overall profitability,” he says.
Tamerlane’s transaction data over the last four years supports that hand trim from dried products, void of stems and fan leaf, receive the highest price and sell the fastest. This has proven to be the highest value trim seen in the wholesale world. The amount of sugar leaf and small bits of flower is pretty high and is useful for quality extracts and joints. The trim that comes out of the trimming machines can be less valuable; this is due to the fact that a lot of these machines grind up the trim, including pieces of stem.
When it comes to making the maximum profit off of cannabis production, it would be short-sighted for producers to avoid dealing in trim. The bits that get left behind when turning the plant into sellable flower can represent a valuable income stream for growers, whether the material is used to bulk out joints, turned into extracts, or simply stored to sell on its own. Ignoring the “leftovers” means leaving money on the table.
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