An accumulation of the trichomes, or resin glands, sifted from cannabis flowers with a mesh screen or sieve. Kief is the most potent part of the cannabis plant in terms of cannabinoids with a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). It can be pressed into hash, used as an ingredient to infuse food, or to top off joints and blunts.
Kief is made by separating the trichomes, which contain the marijuana plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, from the rest of the cannabis flower. Because it is more potent than cannabis flower, less is needed in order to feel the desired effects.
Weed kief and its uses
This powder is actually made up of tiny crystals that form the exterior of marijuana buds. It is surprisingly potent, and is therefore often used as a top sprinkling of sorts, dusted onto marijuana in bongs, blunts, joints, and bowls to amp up the THC content. You might be wondering why people don’t always use kief then. The fact is, kief can only be collected when you are using a grinder. So, if you never use a grinder, then you’ll never get kief.
What is a Kief Catcher?
Many grinders, typically those made of aluminum or stainless steel, come with a kief catcher, which is the bottom chamber of the grinder that uses a screen to catch the trichomes as you grind your cannabis flower. As you grind your flower, the trichomes will sift through the screen and collect kief in the catcher. Once you’ve accumulated a decent amount, you can remove it with a scraper.
If you’re looking to process large quantities at home, you can purchase a kief box, which typically has two chambers — one for sifting cannabis flower and the other for catching kief. Put your cannabis into the chamber, close the box and shake. As you shake the flower, the trichomes fall off, get sifted through the mesh screen, and end up in the chamber.
Because some grinders have a bottom section where the kief is able to build up over time, it will collect nicely and come out more easily when you are ready to collect the kief. Often this part of the grinder (given the fact that it is a marijuana grinder and is therefore built specifically to collect kief as part of its essential functions) is removable. In fact, there are two storage sections of the grinder: the first one that collects the ground marijuana, and the second one that collects the resulting kief.
When you break up marijuana into little pieces just by using your hands, you won’t end up with this valuable kief. Any possible kief will be stuck to your finger and will be useless. The grinder allows for this kief to be collected and stored, and removed when you want it.
Kief also can be acquired from the marijuana plant itself. If you simply take the leaves and buds and rub them over a mesh screen of some sort, the kief will come right off, and you can use it. However, collecting kief from the bottom of a grinder is far easier than using a mesh screen every time you want some more.
What is Dry Sift?
On a commercial level, cannabis is sieved in a vibratory sifter over a series of screens to create dry sift. The term “dry sift” is essentially another term to describe kief, only it typically denotes the process of collecting large amounts of kief. Though collecting dry sift is typically a commercial endeavor, there are a couple of options for making dry sift at home, namely through a set of sifting screens or a tumbler — a mesh cylinder or drum that rotates and sifts kief into a catch surface or container.
How to use kief
Now that you know what kief is and how to collect it, what should you do with it? There are many ways to make good use of your stockpile of unrefined cannabis concentrate from smoking kief to making hash. Here are a few suggestions that can amplify potency and refine consistency.
Sprinkle it onto your packed bowl of cannabis
Also known as “crowning a bowl,” this is the first and most obvious use for kief. Overall potency can increase dramatically with a generous dusting of kief on top of your bowl. Corner your hits to get the most out of a kief-crowned bowl, corner your hits, which entails burning a quadrant of the bowl at a time so that you can enjoy multiple hits.
Sprinkle kief into a joint or roll a twax koint
Freshly ground cannabis is just sticky enough to make rolling a joint fairly easy. Pepper your ground cannabis with a healthy pinch of kief and mix well. The extra trichomes should more or less stick to the ground leaves, adding potency to the interior of your joint.
For those of you who want a more advanced experience, dampen the outside of your joint with a lick or your preferred wax and then roll the top 1/3 of the joint in kief. This kief-coated joint is often call a “twaxed” joint.
Make hash from kief
Hash is one of the oldest forms of refined cannabis. One of the first steps of making hash is extracting kief, as hash is basically just kief that has been heated and pressurized to form a soft, green ball. Applying heat and pressure to kief changes its composition by rupturing the resin glands. Once the kief ruptured, the overall taste and effects of the product are slightly different. Pressurizing kief also darkens its color; the more pressure you apply, the darker the hash becomes.
Sprinkle it on top of a Bowl, Joint, Blunt, or into a Hookah
Sprinkling a generous dusting of kief to the top of a packed bowl, joint, or blunt can dramatically increase the potency, making for a more intense and longer-lasting high. When smoking kief, it will also burn slowly, extending the time it takes to smoke — perfect if you enjoy long smoke sessions with friends. If you’re a fan of smoking shisha out of a hookah, you can sprinkle it on top of the tobacco before adding the hot coals.
Kief can also be used to make what are known as “moonrocks.” To create moonrocks, high-quality cannabis flowers are covered in hot oil and sprinkled with kief. Once the rocks harden, they can be broken up and smoked, delivering a potent high. Moonrocks typically average at more than 50% THC.
Add it to Tea or Coffee
Heat can activate cannabinoids, so if you add kief to hot beverages such as coffee or tea, it can produce similar effects to edible weed products. If added to your favorite hot morning beverage, expect the effects to kick in 15 to 45 minutes after you consume.
Are Hash and Kief the Same Thing?
No, but you can press kief into hash and dab it. The most common way to consume hash is to smoke it, either by itself or with flower, as dab rigs have become a popular mode of consuming concentrates, dabbing hash has become a more common alternative. Hash is made by removing the trichome glands from a cannabis plant and compressing the resin into a hardened, solid piece.
Kief is easily used to make hash. All it needs is heat and pressure. Add it to the center of a piece of parchment paper. Fold the paper tightly around the kief, and then apply heat and pressure.
Typically the heat from your hand should be enough, but you can also use a hair straightener or a temperature-controlled press.
Add kief into your morning coffee or tea
The heat of your coffee or tea can activate the kief’s cannabinoids. To make kief coffee or tea, simply sprinkle kief powder into your mug and stir. Since the cannabinoids will be digested before reaching your bloodstream, taking kief this way offers delayed, yet longer lasting and stronger effects.
Blend kief into butter
Kief butter can be used in baking recipes to make highly-potent marijuana edibles, such as kief cupcakes, kief brownies, and more.
Here’s how to do it:
- Melt the butter into a crockpot set to medium heat
- Add kief
- Stir the melted kief butter mix every 15 minutes for 5 hours
- Transfer the kief butter into a bowl
- Let it cool fully
- Cover the bowl and place it into the refrigerator to harden
Once you have infused your kief into your butter, you can use this kief butter to create a wide range of edibles, or you can simply spread it on toast and enjoy.
The potency of your butter will depend on how much kief you add. To avoid an unpleasant experience, start small. You can always take more of an edible if necessary and adjust up with your next batch of kief butter for greater potency.
You can also make cannabutter using ground marijuana flower.
You can also use kief to make homemade hash. This is done by applying heat and pressure in order to fuse powdery kief into a more solid block. To make hash at home using kief, you will want to carefully place your kief in a folded piece of parchment paper. Try to get all your kief together in a pile so that it fuses together completely. Then press the parchment paper with a hair flat iron or clothes iron, being careful not to overheat the hash or parchment paper. Because the process to make kief hash bursts the oil-filled glands, hash is usually darker and stickier than kief. Whether you prefer to smoke kief vs hash will likely be a personal decision.
How to Make Kief-Infused Edibles
The best way to cook or bake with kief is to first make cannabutter or canna-oil.
You can use cannabutter recipe and simply substitute dried flower with kief (for super-potent edibles), or add a small amount of kief to the dried flower (for edibles with a little extra potency).
From there, the possibilities are endless – just swap out the regular butter in any recipe for your kief-infused butter. Some popular DIY edibles are cannabis-infused cookies and brownies.