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The CULTA Blog

What are Smalls? Everything You Need to Know About Mini Buds

a small bud of cannabis

What are smalls? 

For years, cannabis users have flocked towards larger nugs: they photograph better, can be easier to handle, and are more flavorful and potent. Right? Wrong! Did you know that small buds actually have the exact same quality, taste, and potency as the larger buds on the same plant? Also called smalls, popcorn buds, or mini buds, smalls shouldn’t be confused with trim or shake. The former is high-quality flower, while the latter is often of lesser quality. 

Curious about smalls and wondering if you should pick up some mini nugs the next time you’re visiting a dispensary? Learn more about why mini buds are smaller and how you can use their small (but mighty) size to your advantage. 

Why are some buds smaller?  

Just like chicken eggs come in different shapes and sizes, so do marijuana buds. And, like eggs, small buds can be traced to genetic influences and environmental factors. Genetically speaking, some strains grow taller and lankier than others. These plants just don’t produce large buds naturally, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, a white egg and a brown egg both have the same nutritional value, right? The same goes for smalls and “bigs.”

Environmental factors also have an impact on bud size. For example, it’s impossible to get the same amount of light on all sides of the plant, even in the most controlled environments. As a result, smaller buds grow near the base where there just isn’t enough light for them to grow larger. Since they’re from the same plant, they have the same terpene and cannabinoid content, flavors and aromas, and appearance -- they’re just baby sized. 

Finally, sometimes smalls are just the byproduct of the trimming, processing, and packaging process. It’s not uncommon for larger buds to break into smaller buds as they’re being prepared to be sold in the dispensary. Rather than wasting them, some manufacturers gather the smaller intact pieces and market them as smalls. 

Benefits of popcorn buds 

One of the primary benefits of smalls is their price, which makes them a great choice if you’re a marijuana user on a budget. Curious about how much of a discount to expect? While every dispensary is different with their pricing, they’re usually around half the price of whole flower. (Ex: if an 8th of flower is $50, it’ll be priced as $25 for an 8th of minis.) You can always call ahead to inquire about the price. 

Here are a few other benefits of smalls: 

  • Since they’re more affordable, many dispensaries go through smalls quicker than larger nugs. As such, they’re stocked more often and may be fresher than larger flower buds. Additionally, if there’s a strain you want to try, but it’s always sold out in the larger size, you may be able to find it in “smalls” size. 
  • Smaller buds have a lower moisture content and are less likely to dry out or become moldy. If you only consume marijuana occasionally and are frustrated with how dry your cannabis gets, smalls may be the way to go. 
  • If you want to experiment with different ways of consuming cannabis (i.e., you’ve never rolled a joint or baked an edible before), smalls are a great “point of entry”. Since they’re more affordable, you won’t be wasting a ton of money if you make mistakes.  
  • Smalls have fewer stems and are smaller in size, meaning they’re easier to grind and pack into vapes or joints. Not only will they save you money, but depending on how you prefer to consume cannabis, they can save you time and frustration, too. 
  • By purchasing smalls, you’re allowing the producer to sell their entire lot of flower vs. wasting the smaller buds. You’re also sending signals to other manufacturers who may not sell smalls that this is, in fact, a part of the flower you’re interested in. Generally speaking, this is less wasteful and more environmentally friendly. 

As you can see, mini nugs have plenty of benefits other than their price. The next time you’re visiting a dispensary, ask about their selection of smalls. You may be surprised to learn that you can purchase a jar of smalls in your favorite strain for a fraction of what you’re used to paying. 

Smalls FAQs: Common questions about mini buds 

We get a lot of questions about smalls (and cannabis in general!), and here are a few of the questions we receive most often. Have questions about visiting a dispensary for the first time? We can help you there, too. Check out our guide. 

Are smalls a good deal?

Yes! Smalls are usually sold at a deeply discounted rate -- sometimes up to 50% or more. Since they have the exact same terpene and cannabinoid profile as larger nugs from the same plant, this makes them a great deal for all customers, but especially those on a budget. 

Are small nugs less potent? 

Smalls are no less potent or effective than larger nugs. Since smalls are harvested from the same plant as larger nugs, they will have the same taste, smell, and effect. 

What are good uses for smalls?

Smalls can be used for all of the same things as “regular” sized nugs, including smoking, vaping, and cooking. Some customers use smalls to press rosin, make their own edibles, or roll into a joint. Basically, anything that doesn’t require a huge nug is the perfect use for a small. 

What is the difference between smalls and whole flower nugs? 

Absolutely nothing! Smalls are whole flower nugs; they’re just small ones. They have the same potency, consistency, smell, and taste. 

Is the THC/CBD content different? 

Nope! There is no THC/CBD difference between smalls and larger nugs, as long as they’re harvested from the same plant.

Purchase smalls @ CULTA 

As one of the first medical dispensaries in the state, CULTA has a rich history of growing, cultivating, and processing marijuana in Maryland. Now that cannabis is legal for recreational use in the state, we’re ready to help users of all skill levels find the right strain and product for their needs. We have a wide selection of smalls, including our most popular strains, like Hot Mint Sundae, Amnesia OG, Dosidos 22-22, and Sugar Biscuits #9.

Visit our flagship dispensary in Baltimore, Kannavis in Frederick, or Greenhouse Wellness in Ellicott City to learn more about smalls and our cultivation process.