Popcorn buds sound like a delicious treat, but are these miniature weed nugs any good? The short answer is: yes. The long answer delves into the difference in potency, aroma, and “bag appeal” between popcorn nugs and denser flower buds. Growers will market these diminutive flower nugs at lower prices, but are they worth your hard-earned money? First, let’s take a closer look at what exactly are popcorn buds and how they form.
What are Popcorn Buds?
Cannabis cultivators utilize various growing techniques to maximize the density of their flower buds. That means that every part of the cannabis plant must be tended to with the right amount of water, light, and nutrients. Popcorn buds are airy and tend to form on the lower branches of the plant close to the soil, but sometimes elsewhere. Popcorn buds form in areas that don’t receive much light or where there is overheating and overcrowding.
Flower buds in the highest branches are called colas. Buds in the middle are mid-size and lower branch buds are popcorn buds, also referred to as larf cannabis or other names. This part of the plant doesn’t receive as much light due to a canopy-like effect by higher branches. Anything smaller than a popcorn bud can be used as trim to make edibles and concentrates.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Essentially, popcorn buds are the buds that have more environmental stressors like receiving less light than other parts of the plant. For indoor gardens, popcorn buds tend to form at the bottom of the plant. High-intensity light distance affects the size of the nugs and trichome production. The canopy (top and middle part of the plant) receives the most light leaving smaller buds on the bottom, which some growers choose to trim before the final harvest.
Outdoor popcorn buds tend to form closer to the stem. The abundance of outdoor sunlight from all angles gives outdoor cannabis plants large colas on the top and sides of the plants. Some growers may prune the tiny nugs in the middle of the plant. The excessive heat can be reduced with a shade screen.
Should You Buy Popcorn Buds?
Because popcorn buds developed from plant stress and lack of light, they have lower levels of trichomes, and, therefore, less potency and aroma than larger-sized colas. Many cultivators and consumers will choose the denser and more trichome-filled nugs available.
It’s hard to say how much of a difference in THC and other cannabinoids there is between popcorn buds and large flower nugs, but I’ve taken a few tokes of smaller nugs and they are a great option for budget smokers or those seeking a less-intoxicating experience.
Popcorn buds can be used in a variety of ways. You can either grind it and roll it up into a joint, pack a bowl, take a puff from your dry herb vape pen, or make a variety of cannabis-infused products from them. You can make homemade rosin, infuse it into butter, or make edibles.
Large vs. Small Flower Nugs
Larger flower buds may have the “bag appeal” on their side, but these also can have some, but not many, disadvantages. They often boast a high THC level, but they may also hide any underlying mold within the bud. Some growers and retailers will break up larger colas into smaller sizes to reduce the number of stems.
Small flower buds will typically run you less than the photoshoot-worthy nugs and contain a potent dose of THC for the price. There’s nothing inherently wrong with buying popcorn nugs, unless you’re looking for the most trichome content possible, regardless of the price. Get your hands on some popcorn nugs, if you’re smoking with large groups or want to stock up for the long haul.