Not all cannabis flowers are made equal, and each marijuana plant carries a range of different-looking buds. Whether you are a cannabis expert or just approaching the world of medical marijuana (MMJ), it is important to know the difference between full nugs, the highest-quality product you can opt for, and the smaller nugs aka popcorn buds. 

While their reputation is not as pristine as the one of full nugs, popcorn buds come with a whole range of benefits worth knowing. 

Discover all you need to know about those smaller, fluffier flowers dubbed “popcorn buds.”

What Are Popcorn Buds?

Most growers train their plants to maximize their yield and produce a wide range of premium flowers. These are commonly known as “full nugs” and are considered A-grade flowers due to their aesthetic appeal, potency, flavor, and purity. 

However, not all parts of a cannabis plant receive the same nutrients and exposure to light as the top cluster of flowers (the “cola”). Because of this, the bud located at the bottom of the plant, farther from light and closer to the soil, tend to develop differently than the top ones. 

Those lower buds are popcorn buds, so named for their airy structure and smaller size, which give them their “popcorn”-like appearance.

Pros and Cons of Popcorn Buds

Popcorn buds differ from full nugs in more than just their look. Since the part of the plant where popcorn buds grow might not receive the same levels of heat, sunlight, and airflow, they might not have as many trichomes as their premium counterparts. 

Because of this, they might not yield the same levels of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids as full nugs. 

Also, they are often considered less potent, pure, or flavorful. Nonetheless, some unique benefits of popcorn buds might make them more appealing to some users.

  • They offer similar effects to full nugs. Some batches will have similar potency and aroma to full nugs. Even those that don’t still contain acceptable levels of THC or CBD, making them ideal for users looking for a milder experience. 
  • They come at a fraction of the price. Popcorn buds are useful, but still often unwanted by growers. That is why smaller flowers are often trimmed off the plant and sold to dispensaries at a more affordable price. 

If you have found a cultivator, you can trust and you know what strain works for you, opting for popcorn buds can help you save money on your treatment. 

Buds vs Shake

Marijuana products are categorized by their size and quality. Mid-size and full nugs are considered the highest-quality products available. Popcorn nugs are large enough for dispensaries to sell them but they don’t quite make it into the A-grade class.

Popcorn buds can’t be considered a premium cannabis product. However, they are also not on the lowest end of the scale. The last classification is “shake.” 

Shake refers to the flower fragments (flower material with THC compounds) that have fallen or broken off the plant as a result of handling. It is often collected by and sold at a lower price.

Shake can come from higher-quality flowers as well as popcorn buds. So, while perfect for some users, it might produce inconsistent experiences.

  • Pro Tip: Baker’s Batch and Shake are often used as synonyms, but there are some considerable differences between the two. While shake refers to “leftover” fragments, a Baker’s Batch is purposely collected to process into concentrates, edibles, or extracts.

How to Consume

If you are a budget-conscious cannabis user, you will find that these cannabis buds will fit both your budget and expectations. You can consume them in a range of forms to fit your needs. 

Smoking Popcorn Buds

Smoking is the most common way of consuming these smaller flowers. They might not be as potent as premium colas, but they can be smoked similarly. 

Since they are often given a lower trichome or THC grade, find the right strain for your tolerance.

Using Popcorn Buds for Edibles

A great way to make the most of popcorn buds is to use them in your homemade edibles. 

While you might not want to waste a premium cannabis flower in cooking experiments, the lower price of popcorn buds makes them the perfect addition to oils, butter, and baked goods. Make sure to add the necessary amount to adjust for the low THC content.

Lastly, if you love tinctures, oils, and hash, you can process your smaller buds into alternative cannabis products. 

Try thESE Buds at Your Local Dispensary

Popcorn buds might not be as potent as full nugs, but they are still highly versatile and of good quality. They can fit the needs of even the most budget-conscious cannabis user.