How to Trim Cannabis (Like a Master)

Trimming Your Cannabis

Getting your buds to look like master nugs takes precision, consistency, and knowing what not to put in the bag. I’m going to go through what you’ll need and a basic step-by-step guide on how to trim a master nug. If you follow this outline every time, It will show in the bag appeal of your cannabis. Bag appeal is the immediate visual and aromatic impression your cannabis has. When every nug looks fairly consistent (nothing too SMALL or too BIG) the bag looks just right, and the observer can focus on the more important details, like trichomes, bud density, and potency. In this guide, I will also show you some poorly trimmed nugs that will stand out in your bag and decrease the bag appeal if seen, which is highly likely because these oddball nugs stand out like sore thumbs!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s what you’ll need to get started!

What You’ll Need

  • Trimming Scissors (Fiskars)
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Tray to trim over
  • Jars or Turkey Bags
  • Paper Bags
  • Permanent Marker
  • Comfortable Chair
  • Small Bowl
  • Trash Bin
  • Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Small Cloth or Rag
  • Lighter or Candle
  • Bandana or Face Mask
  • Music (Recommended)

Before You Start

You’ll want to consider a few things, for example: is your cannabis finished drying? If your cannabis is not finished drying it could begin molding in the bag after you’ve trimmed it up. Make sure you keep the cannabis in a sealed container or bag after working with it. Do not leave your cannabis in open air overnight or you could over dry your cannabis, decrease the smell, and potency.

Who is this cannabis intended for? If you’re trimming for your own personal use, consistency may not be as important to you. If you want bigger buds on big stems, go for it! This guide is meant to improve the chance that your cannabis catches the eye of a potential buyer. However, you may find some of these tips helpful to build your trimming skills.

How much time do you have? It takes a while to trim a pound of cannabis. Usually 6-10 Hours depending on your level of skill and the quality or strain of the cannabis. Under-developed cannabis that is larfy, airy, fluffy, and otherwise, NOT dense is more difficult to trim. As you trim away the fan leaves, more and more of the bud disappears and it may disappear in your hands all-together! If you’ve got a few pounds of cannabis, you might need some help! Consider contacting a friend or other growers who may not skilled trimmers that can assist you. Typically, trimmers are paid by the pound of product trimmed.

Do you have a space to trim? You’ll need a chair and if you prefer, a desk of some type to place your equipment. Many trimmers prefer a fold-out camping chair, which allows you to lean back and lay your tray over your lap. Whatever chair you choose, make sure it’s comfortable. It’s going to get messy and you will get cannabis trim, stems, leaves everywhere. Trimming over concrete or outside is ideal. You can trim indoors, but I would highly recommend laying plastic down over the floor. The trichomes falling from the cannabis leaves will stick to any surface, including the floor and be difficult to remove without rubbing alcohol. A table cloth is also recommended if you’ve got a trim table or desk you’re working on.

5 Easy Steps to Trim Your Cannabis


  1. Buck it down
    1. With your cannabis in workable branches like shown below, cut each bud where it meets the main stem from the bottom to the top. You’ll want to leave a nice golf ball sized nug at the top and halt any more bucking. By bucking your buds down, you are collecting the best of the buds for individual trimming. It is difficult to trim your buds while they are still on your stem.
    2. During this time if you notice airy, larfy, or very small buds that are either too small to trim or not the quality you are looking for, you have the opportunity to strip these unwanted budlets off and throw them in your trim pile. You may also notice you have mold in your cannabis when you start getting to the top of your colas while bucking.
    3. A side-note, nugs in that are kept too big will stand out in the final bag and carry much more unwanted stem than a properly bucked down nug. It is likely someone may ask you to “buck it down”.
  2. Break it down
    1. Once your buds are all bucked down, grab one and break it down if necessary into consistently shaped buds. This is very much like bucking, but on a smaller scale. The point here is to break down your buds to remove visible stems and get everything the same shape. Having several individual nugs on a stem or nugs that show a lot of stem will stand out from the rest.
    2. Although this is not possible every time, try to have the stem be noticeable only on the very bottom of your nug.
  3. Trim Down
    1. Once you have your individual buds ready for their final trim, grab one and flip it over to reveal the stem facing toward the sky. Cut the stem as close as possible to the bud while still keeping it intact.
    2. Cut all 3 large fan leaves where their stems meet the main stem of the bud.
    3. Continue to trim around the main stem to clean up all loose leaves and fan leaves. You’ll want to trim as tight as you can to the bud without cutting into the resin glands.
  4. Trim Up
    1. Flip your nug over so that it is facing right-side up and continue to trim from the bottom to the top of the bud while rotating it in your fingers.
    2. Do this as fast as possible and in one efficient rotation of the bud. With practice you’ll be more confident with having your fingers so close to the trimming scissors!
  5. Final Touch-Up
    1. This is massively important for getting your buds to look like master nugs. If you encounter a large fan leaf with a visible stem, cut the leaf at the stem with your scissors. This will remove the leaf entirely and you will only be left with beautiful resin glands.
    2. Cut anything else that may be loose on the bud, non-resin coated leaves, dark green, yellow or dead leaves. Remove any hair, dirt, or other debris.

And that’s it! It’s all about precision, consistency, and knowledge. Knowing what to put in your bag is the most important criteria for trimming a master nug and its something anyone can learn. Precision will come with patience and time, so keep it up! Check out some examples below of poorly trimmed nugs and see if you can make a recommendation for turning that eyesore into a master nug!

Poor Nug


Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

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