Do THCA Smalls Help You Save Money?

Published January 31, 2024
Do THCA Smalls Help You Save Money? - Secret Nature

In your personal experience with cannabis, it’s normal if you’ve only heard “smalls” referred to in a negative light. To disparage small cannabis buds, though, is to overlook their unique benefits, which have come to light once again with the advent of THCA flower now being sold online.

If it’s not true that smalls are simply what’s left when all the other buds have been harvested, what unique benefits might the smaller buds on the cannabis plant have to offer? In this guide, take a closer look at what THCA smalls are and how they might be perfect for saving money on weed you buy online.

What are THCA smalls?

THCA smalls are small buds taken from the lower portions of the Cannabis sativa plant. They contain, on average, around 75% the cannabinoid content of top-tier “colas” (the technical term for cannabis buds). If the cannabis they were taken from is grown correctly and they are processed well, though, THCA smalls can offer nearly the same potency and quality as THCA top colas.

Before we go any further, it’s important to differentiate between THCA smalls and other types of small cannabis buds you may have heard of or used. Even normal weed mostly contains THCA instead of THC, so THCA smalls are simply small cannabis buds taken from plants that have been carefully bred to contain less than 0.3% THC until the point they’re used.

THCA smalls are not sprayed or augmented in any way. They offer the same high as conventional small cannabis buds when smoked.

Are small buds less potent?

Yes, there’s no denying that small buds are somewhat less potent than top colas. It all depends on where on the plant the small bud was located and its relative size, but you should expect that a bag of smalls will offer at least 60% normal potency and up to 90% in the case of smalls taken from higher on the plant.

Usually, the potency difference between smalls and other types of cannabis buds is not noticeable. For casual cannabis users with low tolerances, in fact, smalls may provide a welcome relief from THC or THCA experiences that commonly become too potent.

Are THCA smalls the same as popcorn buds?

The terms “THCA popcorn buds” and “THCA smalls” are often used interchangeably, and they refer to roughly the same thing. Popcorn buds are, specifically, undesirable buds taken from the bottom parts of the cannabis plant, however, while smalls can be taken from anywhere on the plant — they just have a small size.

Some smalls, for instance, might be taken from top branches of cannabis plants, but close to the main stalk where light doesn’t penetrate as well. These types of smalls have all the desirable properties of buds further out on their branches but were forced to maintain a small size due to being close to the stalk.

Popcorn buds, on the other hand, are quite specifically the low-trichome, tiny buds from the bottom of the plant that literally feel like popcorn when you squish them between your fingers. “Popcorn bud” is essentially an ignorant, derogatory term for smalls, which can occupy varying tiers of quality.

Small THCA buds vs. big THCA buds

There’s no denying that small THCA buds are different from larger nugs. Let’s take a look at the differences between small and large THCA buds in a bit more detail:

Location on the plant

The main factor separating large and small cannabis buds is where they grew on the plant. Nugs at the tips of branches and areas that are closer to light sources tend to swell into the enormous colas that cannabis growers like to brag about.

The further you go from both the light and the tips of the branches (the apices of cannabis bud growth), the smaller and less-robust the buds become. Small cannabis buds are usually taken from the areas closest to the stem or bottom of the plant. 


Cannabis buds can also be told apart by their level of potency. In a strain that is estimated to offer 20% THCA, for instance, small buds may only contain 15% THCA or less.

In some cases, this difference can be noted visually in the appearance of small and large buds. Bigger buds usually have more glittering, crystalline trichomes, the oil sacs in which cannabinoids develop and are stored during the maturation cycle of cannabis.

Trimming ease

One unfortunate reason smalls are often overlooked is the complications their smaller size naturally causes during the trimming process. Even large nugs can take a long time to trim, and the smaller the bud, the less return-on-investment for the labor of trimming.

Conversely, though, companies waste money by throwing away buds they could simply trim anyway and market as smalls. With modern trimming techniques, processing smalls into attractive buds isn’t as hard as it used to be, further making the case for keeping and trimming THCA smalls despite the added labor cost.

Benefits of THCA smalls

Now that you know the differences between small and large cannabis buds that primarily contain THCA, why might you want to try smalls over normal buds the next time you stock up? We can think of a few simple reasons:

Reduced price

Small buds, whether they contain THCA or any other cannabinoid, usually cost less — sometimes a lot less. In many cases, THCA smalls can be discounted nearly 50% off the price of larger buds. Considering the fact that most smalls contain at least 75% the cannabinoid content of larger buds, this price-to-cannabinoid ratio results in real savings while still getting you just as high.

Same effects

The simple truth is that most users will not notice any difference between the effects of smalls and normal cannabis. No studies have so-far been conducted on the subject, but we’re pretty confident that an average cannabis smoker wouldn’t think there’s any difference between smoking a bowl of small buds and smoking a bowl of large ones.

Massive variety

THCA smalls are usually not separated out by strain. Instead, they are mostly offered in packages that consist of a medley of different strains all combined together. If you’re the type of person who often gets bored smoking the same strain over and over again, THCA smalls could be the perfect way to spice things up.

What are the best THCA smalls you can buy?

All things considered, it’s clear that Secret Nature offers the best THCA smalls you can buy online. Secret Nature was the first company to offer artisan-tier hemp flower on a website, and with a lineup that continues to wow customers year after year, we’re truly the company to trust with any type of cannabis found on the internet.

Our THCA smalls are simply buds that didn’t meet the exacting standards we’ve put in place for our main bud bags, which always feature large nugs taken from top colas. Secret Nature products never contain “popcorn buds” of any kind — our smalls are simply smaller versions of our normal THCA buds, and they’re just as top-shelf.

The bottom line: Are small THCA buds worth it?

Everyone’s preferences are different, but small THCA buds are definitely worth it if they’re offered for a lower price and provide the same or similar quality compared to what you’re used to. THCA smalls won’t be worth it if they’re just tiny popcorn nugs a company is trying to sell instead of trashing like they should.

Every cannabis nug deserves a second chance, though. Packaged into a discounted bundle, even the tiniest THCA nugs can come together to do something great.

THCA smalls FAQ

Learn more about the benefits and detractors of THCA smalls in the FAQ section below:

Why are small buds cheaper?

Small buds are usually offered for lower prices because they are lower-tier and contain reduced concentrations of cannabinoids. By saving the small buds they would otherwise discard and offering them at a lower price, cannabis producers both recoup their losses and provide their customers with a more-accessible tier of pricing. All in all, small cannabis buds are a win-win that helps both cannabis producers and users thrive.

Do some strains of cannabis grow smaller buds?

Yes, bud size varies between strains of cannabis. Some strains naturally produce smaller buds while others end up with massive colas by the end of their flowering periods. All cannabis strains produce buds large enough to be considered “normal,” however, so buds referred to as “smalls” are instead taken from parts of the cannabis plant that produce small nugs regardless of the strain.

Do smaller buds dry faster?

Yes, the smaller a cannabis bud, the faster it will dry. This maxim is undeniably relevant to cannabis growers, but it also means something to cannabis users. Once you’ve opened a package of cannabis, it’s only a matter of time until your buds dry out — something to look out for all the more with small buds. Consider investing in humidity packs to make sure your small buds don’t dry out too quickly.

Is popcorn bud less potent?

Yes, popcorn bud is undeniably less potent than normal cannabis, and it’s even less potent than buds that are small overall. Popcorn bud is a specific type of cannabis bud found toward the bottom of the plant that squishes between your fingers like popcorn. On average, popcorn bud offers around 50% the potency of top-shelf colas. It’s best to avoid popcorn buds whenever possible.

Are small buds indica or sativa?

Small cannabis buds can be either indica or sativa. There is nothing about the size of cannabis buds that indicates which strain they were taken from or the indica-sativa leaning of that strain.

Further eliminating the sativa-indica divide is the fact that most cannabis smalls products contain nugs from both indica and sativa strains all mixed together. So, it’s often difficult to choose a specifically indica or sativa experience with small cannabis buds.

Do small buds come with lab tests?

Yes, all cannabis buds should come with lab tests, no matter how small. Reports provided by independent, reputable labs are the most important tools at your disposal as you determine whether or not a cannabis smalls product is safe to use. Some things you should look for on a THCA smalls lab test include:

1. The name of the lab
2. A unique product ID
3. Cannabinoid concentrations
4. Terpene concentrations
5. Heavy metal levels
6. Pesticide levels
7. Mycotoxin levels

Secret Nature makes it easy to find all our lab tests on one condensed page. Visit this page to find lab tests for THCA smalls or any other product you wish to inspect.

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