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Popcorn Buds: How To Prevent Them Or Find The Good In Little Nuggets In Case They Happen

Last updated: 28 September 2023

For cannabis growers and consumers alike, you may at one time or another have come across cannabis buds that seem to be a little smaller or underdeveloped compared to the typical girthy flowers you’re used to. These are what growers and sellers refer to as “popcorn buds”. Popcorn buds may be small, but it turns out they can cause quite a controversy among cannabis enthusiasts. Is there any use to them? Are popcorn buds necessarily worse than their larger counterparts? Continue reading to find the answers to these questions and more!

What Are Popcorn Buds?

a-grade buds and b-grade buds

Essentially, popcorn buds are exactly what they sound like – tiny, fluffy cannabis bud nuggets that only grow to reach the size of a piece of popcorn. Popcorn buds are usually referred to as B-grade buds, as they never reach the full density or maturity of top A-grade buds since they’re not fully grown. These smaller B-grade buds are detested by growers and sellers of quality cannabis, but are like a treasure trove for consumers on a budget.

Are Popcorn Buds The Same As Other Buds?

Popcorn buds are just smaller versions of higher quality buds that are part of the same yield from the same plant. Because of this, popcorn weed is just as strong as A-grade nugs: the only real difference is in their appearance. Many commercial sellers of cannabis will sell popcorn nugs at a discounted price, as they lack the aesthetic appeal of full-sized nugs.

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How To Use Popcorn Buds

how to use popcorn buds

Popcorn weed is great to use in making edibles, as they contain all the same terpenes and cannabinoids as regular-sized buds of the same strain – and after all, when used in cooking, the appearance of the bud is of little to no importance. Popcorn weed is also recommended for vaping, as it tends to have more surface area available that makes it easier to vape than a condensed bud of cannabis. You can also use popcorn weed to make concentrates such as hash or wax, as popcorn buds are usually still highly potent and therefore suitable for making strong concentrates.

The Main Causes Of Popcorn Buds

Even though popcorn weed is a great option for consumers of cannabis, it’s not always the best for those who cultivate cannabis due to the lowering of the overall yield. There are some ways to help prevent popcorn buds on your plants to ensure you have the biggest outcome of the highest quality cannabis.

High Temperatures Can Lower Yields

Popcorn-sized buds are typically a sign that your plant is undergoing some type of stress. The biggest stressor toward plants that causes popcorn cannabis is excessive heat. When your plants are overheated, they will be too stressed to provide proper nutrients for the whole plant to produce girthy cannabis buds all over. Controlling your temperatures and keeping them under 30C (86F) is therefore very important to preventing the growth of popcorn buds, which is much easier for indoor than outdoor growers.

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Overcrowding Plants Can Also Cause Popcorn Buds

Overcrowding of plants is also a common culprit of causing popcorned cannabis buds. Many strains of cannabis plants can oftentimes develop high, large canopies of leaves that obscure lower branches from getting enough light. Light is essential for successful cannabis growth and healthy buds, and if the plants in your grow space are overcrowded, this could be a detriment to harvesting a large yield.

Simple Methods To Preventing Popcorn Buds

Once you’ve identified the cause of your popcorn cannabis buds, you can now utilize different methods to help prevent the development of cannabis popcorn in the future. Controlling your plants to prevent popcorn nuggets will ensure a higher yield and healthier plant.

how to prevent popcorn buds

Trim Your Plants Regularly

Keeping your plants trimmed is another way to help prevent popcorn buds from growing on your cannabis plants. Getting into a defoliation routine with your plants will help direct plant energy toward the development of healthy, large buds instead of focusing energy toward the development of a large canopy. It’s also important to trim leaves from lower branches to direct nutrients toward lower buds, where popcorn buds are most likely to form.

Using the Lollipop Method

If you want to make sure that your plants don’t develop popcorn nugs, you can use a special method of pruning called “lollipopping”. Lollipopping refers to the method of cutting the bottom branches of cannabis plants that typically don’t have a high chance of developing larger cannabis buds, leaving the bottom of your stalk bare with a fruitful top (like the shape of a lollipop). This forces the plant to direct its energy toward blossoming a fruitful, lush upper canopy of fully developed buds while also ensuring the temperature won’t get too high. You can begin lollipopping your plants as early as 2-3 weeks into the flowering phase. For more information on this method and its benefits, check out our complete guide on the topic.

Try ScrOG Nets

For indoor growers, using a screen of green net, otherwise known as ScrOG, is one of the best methods to prevent growing popcorn buds. ScrOG nets help plants maximize their intake of light, which in turn help plants maximize bud growth. The branches of plants are interwoven through the screen until all the gaps are filled. Now your plant can focus entirely on developing bud growth above the net canopy, and combining this with lollipopping will guarantee A-grade buds.

Keep Your Temperatures In Check

control your temperatures

Higher temperatures can be a definite stressor for your plants. Temperatures can be more tricky to control for outdoor growth, and it’s therefore more likely to see popcorn buds growing on outdoor plants. Indoor temperatures, when your growth is kept on a 12-12 on/off schedule, should stay at around 25°C (77°F) when the lights are on and above 15°C (59°F) when the lights are off. This will keep temperatures perfectly regulated to prevent stunted growth of your plants.

Don’t Hate, Appreciate Popcorn Nugs

Although the idea of a popcorn nug can be frightening to cannabis growers, there are many ways to prevent growing popcorn buds to ensure top-quality cannabis. However, even if plants do develop the occasional popcorn bud, you now know it’s not the end of the world – despite its small size, you’ll definitely find a way to enjoy it!

Herbies Head Shop expressly refuses to support the use, production, or supply of illegal substances. For more details read our Legal Disclaimer.

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