What is Popcorn Flower & Is It Worth It?

December 17, 2023

While top-shelf flower gets the most attention for its giant nugs and rich terpene profiles, it’s also much more expensive. You can get the same terpene and cannabinoid profile for a lot less money, without downgrading to marijuana shake, if you opt for popcorn flower. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of popcorn flower, understanding its characteristics, origins, potential uses, and the factors that make it a unique choice for any cannabis enthusiast.

What is Popcorn Flower?

Popcorn flower, also known as popcorn buds, refers to smaller, compact cannabis buds that grow lower on the plant than those A-grade nugs. Popcorn is typically about an inch in size—like a popcorn kernel. When the marijuana plant is harvested, these buds are separated from the larger, top-tier buds and often sold at a discount. While they may be diminutive in size, popcorn buds share the same trichomes and can have the same potency as their larger counterparts.

Where Does Popcorn Flower Come From?

When a marijuana plant grows, no matter if it's in a greenhouse or outdoors, some parts of the plant get more sun than others. Those that get the most sun at the top of the plant produce those big, beautiful buds you see on the top shelf at your dispensary. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t flower buds elsewhere on the plant and that is where we find popcorn flower. 

Popcorn flower comes from the bottom of the marijuana plant, and they only grow to that small size because of the lack of light. While some growers trim popcorn off early so that the plant puts those nutrients into the premium nugs, there are bound to be some nugs left at the bottom of the plant. When harvested, these nugs are snipped and sold at a discount as popcorn. 

What Can You Do With Popcorn Flower?

Popcorn flower, despite its smaller size, is versatile and can be used in various ways for significantly less money than the more flashy bud. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your popcorn flower:

  • Smoking: Popcorn buds can be smoked just like larger buds. They provide a convenient option for those looking to enjoy cannabis without committing to a larger quantity.

  • Edibles: Due to their smaller size and affordability, popcorn buds are a great option for infusing into homemade edibles. They can be decarboxylated and incorporated into recipes for a DIY culinary experience.

  • Concentrates: Popcorn buds can also be used to make cannabis concentrates like rosin, providing an option for users who prefer a more potent form of consumption.

How Strong is Popcorn Flower?

There are two schools of thought. The first is that the potency of popcorn flower is comparable to that of larger buds from the same strain. The concentration of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, remains consistent. The second school of thought is that because the growth of popcorn buds is naturally stunted, they must be less potent. Like most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, so enjoy your popcorn the same way you would premium bud until you know whether its potency matches those higher-priced purchases.

Pros & Cons of Popcorn Flower

Popcorn flower often gets overlooked, and it shouldn’t be. If you hear cannabis enthusiasts talking about popcorn, they’re likely citing one of these three reasons for buying—or not buying—popcorn. 

  • Cheaper: Because popcorn flower grows at the bottom of the plant, it’s not as visually appealing as the top-of-the-plant flower. This means growers sell it at a lower cost, and those savings are passed on to budget-conscious cannabis consumers.

  • Versatile: Just about everything you can do with top-quality marijuana flower can be done with popcorn bud, making it both effective and budget-friendly. You can roll them, press them, make edibles, or just pop them in your favorite pipe. 

  • Lower Potency: Because popcorn grows at the bottom of the plant, away from the sunlight that graces the top-tier bud, its growth may be a little bit different. This process may lead to a slightly less potent product. That said, the potency may be the same, so we suggest dosing popcorn the same way you would any other nug and then adjusting once you know its effects on you.

Answering FAQs About Popcorn Flower

Popcorn is often overlooked because of the lack of knowledge about this form of flower. Here are a few things to know that might help you make a future popcorn purchase:

How much does popcorn cost?
The cost of popcorn flower in your dispensary is going to depend on your state and local taxes, along with any deals your dispensary is running. Generally speaking, the cost of popcorn is going to be lower than that of larger buds, offering an accessible option for consumers looking for a budget-friendly choice. 

Why is it called popcorn bud?
The name "popcorn bud" stems from the physical characteristics of the flower. The buds are petite, round, and can be likened to popped popcorn in appearance.

What are smalls?
"Smalls" is another term for popcorn buds, emphasizing their smaller size compared to the top-tier bud.

Is Popcorn Bud Worth It?

Absolutely. Not only is it often sold at an affordable price—and sometimes as a deal—it can give you just about the same experience as the larger, more expensive bud. Cannabis popcorn is a great option if you’re interested in trying a strain but don’t want to fork over big bucks to get the nugs on the top shelf. Talk to your budtender to see what popcorn strains they have available.

Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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