You can thin that generously. The first few weeks are optimal to thin out suckers, as the plant begins to stretch and take form, you can observe what lower branches are going to be thin and non-productive, and rob the tops of resources, while reducing airflow.
The whole trimming defoliation thing is a debate, some guys never do it, some guys strip bare, and some guys in between. I feel that the best thing to do is to strip exactly enough for the situation. In humid climates airflow to the interior of the plant is 100% crucial, otherwise you will eventually get mold. Further, any budsite not receiving direct light will typically yield subpar product. It’s difficult to make 100% hard and fast rules when it comes to Cannabis, but if I had to, it would be:
Make sure leaves aren’t touching one another, if you move leaves and there is condensation between them, you need to thin it out, and make sure every top is getting full direct light. You will get better results from removing a leaf shading a budsite, than you will leaving the leaf where it is.
This is applicable since you, like me, grow bushes. Untopped plants allowed to form single colas don’t have these problems as much, they have other issues.