Shake and Trim: The Difference Between These Types of Weed

For the relatively inexperienced cannabis user, it is all about finding THC-rich buds and trichomes and getting high off them. However, limiting yourself to just this part of the plant means you miss out on so much. One misconception is that you can only get intoxicated from the buds of the marijuana plant.

This notion fails to take into account the THC that comes from other parts of cannabis.

In recent times, a growing number of people have realized that marijuana has some medical potential. Serious users start to learn more about the anatomy of cannabis. They soon conclude that there’s a lot more to weed than the buds.

Soon, they will learn more about marijuana types, such as shake and trim. In this article, we outline what both are and the differences between them. First, let’s take a quick look at the cannabis plant.

Marijuana Plant Anatomy – Knowledge Is Power

Cannabis’ primary buds, the ones that most people smoke, are at the plant’s top. The entire structure is called the ‘cola,’ and it is where you’ll see the female marijuana flowers blossom. Apart from the buds, there are calyxes and pistils.

You will find calyxes in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. It is necessary to look closely because they hide beneath ‘sugar leaves.’ As the name suggests, these are leaves coated in white resin that resemble sugar.

The plant’s calyxes have high trichome concentrations. These trichomes are highly coveted because they produce cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. They also secrete the compounds and oils that give cannabis strains their different tastes, smells, and potential beneficial effects.

The pistils are usually white, red, or orange hairs that protrude from the buds. They don’t provide much potency or flavor, but they look fantastic. Some growers also use the pistil method to determine when their plants are ready for harvest.

This quick lesson is necessary because the parts of the cannabis plant help define the differences between shake and trim.

What Is Shake?

This term describes leftovers from a marijuana batch. When you put buds in a jar or bag and use them regularly, tiny bits of flower fall to the bottom of the container. Once you remove the full-sized buds from the bag, the remainder is shake. Typically, shake consists of broken calyxes, sugar leaves, and crushed flowers that broke off the buds.

Dispensaries sometimes offer these ground-up buds at a severely discounted price. However, the quality of shake can vary significantly. Good shake is easy to smoke and tastes great. Low-grade shake tastes awful and may induce coughing fits. It depends entirely on the quality of the cannabis and how it was treated.


In some dispensaries, shake is a combination of several strains. As a result, it is tough to predict its effects. If you’re lucky, some kief will fall off the buds into the shake. This will drastically increase the potency.

However, you may find that much of the shake consists of stems and leaves with minimal flowers. This mixture will likely cause a burning sensation in your throat. It is also ineffective if you’re seeking medicinal effects due to the low THC or CBD level.

If you want high-quality shake, look for a mixture that still smells like the flower it came from. Try to analyze it to see if there are lots of leaves and sticks, which would mean it is worth avoiding. Finally, make sure you use the shake quickly, as its quality diminishes faster than bud.

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What Is Trim?

In general, it is only people who cultivate cannabis who are familiar with trim. It describes the excess parts a grower removes from plants post-harvest to maximize yield. A good trim also leads to more desirable crystals and potentially greater potency.


In general, trim is collected after harvesting. It usually consists of sugar leaves with some trichomes on them. A significant number of people dump it without a moment’s hesitation. However, some growers hold on to it. Although it doesn’t contain nearly as much THC as dried and cured buds, it does have some use.

What Is the Difference Between Shake and Trim?

Shake sometimes contains crushed calyxes and buds worth smoking. If you try to smoke trim, not only will you not get high, but you will also experience a sore throat and a potential coughing fit.

Unfortunately, not every dispensary respects the difference between the two. Many of them also fail to educate their customers. As a result, some of the shake specials and pre-rolls you see on special offers could contain shredded sugar leaves. You will need to smoke a lot of it to get high. This process will also mess up your lungs and burn your throat.

When buying pre-rolls, ask to see how much leaf there is first.

What Can I Use Shake for?

If you purchase high-quality shake, it probably has enough THC to help you enjoy a mild intoxicating high. However, a lot of shake is dry. This often happens because its containers are left out too long, or else the shake itself is old. It has more surface area than buds, which is why it oxidizes faster. In any case, here are a few uses for shake:


Dispensaries often put shake in pre-rolls as a means of using every single piece of marijuana they have. If you see discounted pre-rolls, they almost certainly contain at least a proportion of shake. Since pre-rolls are already wrapped up, it is challenging to know what is inside.

Unfortunately, some businesses use low-grade weed in their pre-rolls because they feel they can get away with it. If you experience a particularly harsh smoke, you probably received low-quality shake.

You can also cut open the pre-roll after you buy it to save yourself a harsh experience. Take some high-quality ground up bud and place it side by side with the contents of the pre-roll. It should look very similar.

Edibles & Tinctures

One of the most popular ways to use shake is to place it in tinctures and edibles. This is a sensible option because the quality of marijuana isn’t necessarily the most crucial factor. When making edibles, the quality of ingredients such as honey, butter, and oil is arguably more crucial.


These are large joints that are generally wrapped in flavored tobacco paper. As a result, the taste of the shake is somewhat masked. It also takes a lot of marijuana to fill up a blunt. Therefore, you can use regular buds and add shake to fill in any gaps.

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What Can I Use Trim for?

There are a surprisingly large number of uses for trim once you are prepared to get creative:


As long as the trim has some trichomes, you can use its cannabinoids and terpenes to your advantage. It is a relatively quick and easy process. The first step involves decarboxylating the trim to ‘activate’ the cannabinoids. Then you need:

  • Fat of your choice, such as coconut oil
  • A strainer, like a cheesecloth
  • A container

Please read our guide to making cannabutter to learn more.

Cannabis Tea or Milk

Some users like to place trim in their tea. It won’t cause an intoxicating high, but it may help reduce your level of anxiety or stress.

Cannabis milk is also growing in popularity. It involves heating milk until it simmers, then adding the trimmings. You will need to stir the mixture for at least half an hour until it turns yellowish-green. Strain the trimmings and place the milk in the fridge. Make sure you drink it within a few days.


This is a tricky process because it involves separating the trichomes from the trim. Here is one method of doing so:

  1. Place the trim on a silk screen on top of wax paper.
  2. Rub the trim so that the trichomes fall off the leaves.
  3. Use a scraping tool to gather the trichomes.
  4. Use a pollen press to compress it into hash.

Which Should You Use: Shake or Trim?

Despite their fundamental differences, people have been arguing about whether shake or trim is the superior form of cannabis for centuries.

Proponents of shake argue that it offers up the best flavor and similarities to its parent buds. Lovers of trim, meanwhile, say that it is the best way to get high, as the kief crystals hold a larger quantity of cannabinoids once they are processed.

Ultimately, the decision is entirely up to you. The main thing you should keep in mind is that shake and trim are not the same thing, despite what some stores will try and tell you.

They are fundamentally different products with varying effects and flavors. Shake is all about the taste and aroma profile of its parent strain, whereas trim is all about getting as high as possible as cheaply as possible. Plus, no one should be selling you trim without explicitly telling you that it is not shake—it can burn your throat pretty badly!

So, the next time you spot some shake or trim at your local dispensary, make sure you know what you are getting.

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