Trimming With Scissors 101

Trimming 101: The Bare Basics of Trimming Cannabis

Trimming by hand with scissors is one of the cleanest ways to trim, preserving the maximum trichomes and retaining the minimum of leaf. Though the leaf on most strains of cannabis can be frosty indeed, in the end it is still leaf and tastes like it.

Trimming cannabis is a progression from easy large lopping of non-frosty and semi-frosty leaves, down to the close in removal of the smaller frosty leaves. Each step gets closer to revealing just the bud on the branch.

Pace Yourself

Life has a way of interrupting and trimming limp vegetation takes a lot longer than crisp vegetation. Trimming is also a long task and humans tire. Cut a few branches at a time, about what you can finish trimming in 10 to 15 minutes. Much easier to go and grab a few more fresh cut branches than to re-hydrate what you had to leave out in an emergency.

We Start With an Un-Trimmed Branch

Branch of “Pink” to Trim

This is a branch of “Pink” that we’ll be trimming today. You can see the dead fan leaves and the crispy tips of the sugar leaves, even some dead leaf into the bud itself. Still just a touch too green, she’s a beautiful example of a nutrient faded cannabis branch, ready for harvest.

Behind the branch you can see the panda plastic that I’ve been trimming on. Easy to clean, folds up and out of the way easily, it turns nearly any surface into a clean trimming surface in minutes.

Clip the Dead and Non-Frosty Leaves

Clipping Non-Frosty Leaf
Frosty Base Leaf

Personally, I separate my trim in to two separate grades, Frosty and Non-Frosty. The first pile I create is from the non-frosty and very dead leaves. Essentially, any leaf that has both an elongated stem and is non-frosty goes into the first pile. The photo to the right shows a pair of scissors clipping a dead leaf at the main stem.

My usual process is to cut these leaves from a few branches at a time. Once I have a few branches that have been stripped of all the non-frosty leaf, it’s time to move to the frosty leaf pile.

Trimming the Frosty Leaf

Trimming the Outer Leaves
Trimming Between Buds

Once all of the non-frosty leaf is gone you start running into the frosty fan leaves closest to the bud. I cut the easy to see leaf first. To the right you can see the frosty leaf at the bottom of a bud. Though most of them are easy to get to, there are quite a few that will be in between the buds themselves. You will have to push the bud away from the stem to see and cut the leaf you find there.

The End Results of Trimming 101

Average ‘Decent’ Trim Job
Slightly Finer Trim Job
Slightly Finer Trim Job

Everyone has their own preferences, mine are for as little frosty leaf as possible due to the taste. On the left is a decent trim job you’ll find most growers hand trimming. On the right you’ll see a slightly finer trim job, more to my own personal tastes.

When you do a really close in trim job on some well grown cannabis you’ll end up with something like this.

Finely Trimmed Cannabis
“Pink” Trimmed and Dried
"Twista" Finely Trimmed
“Twista” Finely Trimmed and Dried

Scissor Hash?

Scissor Hash from Clean Cannabis
Scissor Hash from Clean Cannabis

Scissor hash is the term given to the cannabis resins that build up on your scissors as you trim. The great thing about trimming cleanly grown cannabis is the clean scissor hash you get. Normally scissor hash is contaminated with all the ‘stuff’ in the air that stuck to the trichomes of the plant while it was growing. I’ve had some pretty nasty scissor hash from other growers, believe you me.

Below is a closeup of what scissor hash looks like when you’re trimming clean cannabis.  I pinched and pulled a tiny bit of it away from the scissors so you can get a good look at how clean it is.

When you look closely at the full version you can see a hair that’s in there, I believe I pulled about four or five from that glob, there were very few.


The Scissor Hash Is STICKY!

Yes, as you trim you will get your hands sticky. Don’t like sticky? Wear non-powdered, lotion free, nitrile gloves. Hold the stem as much as possible while you trim instead of the buds (I know, it’s terribly difficult at times). The gloves will become coated with resin over time. Change to new gloves when they become too gummed up with resin.

To recover the hash for smoking or processing, throw the resin covered gloves in the freezer for an hour or so to freeze them. Pick the pieces of hash off the gloves or blow the gloves up inside a large mylar bag.  Either way the hash will pop off the gloves easily when it is frozen.

Question? Comments? Suggestions?

Like to add something to Trimming 101? Feel free to post it below, we’re always happy to hear new information.

Keep it Clean!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *