They say that dynamite comes in small packages; the same is true about kief. These tiny particles of cannabis pack a heavy punch. What is kief? If you’ve never heard of it, then you’ve come to the right place.
As you continue reading, you’ll discover what kief is and a variety of ways of how to use kief.
What is kief?
To better understand what kief is, we need to look at trichomes. You can find these hair-like tufts on various plants, including cannabis.
On marijuana crops, their function is to discourage pests from devouring the herb. Once an animal or insect consumes it, the bitter taste prevents them from ingesting the rest of the plant.
These trichomes are also the place where the production of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids occurs. They’re dust-like in appearance and sticky to the touch, and also known as kief.
If you’ve got marijuana buds, then you have kief. Now you understand why it ‘packs a punch.’ It’s where all the action lies, like a cannabinoid factory.
In Arabic, the meaning of kief is “intoxication” or “pleasure.” It’s because the THC content is very high. Marijuana kief is the most sought-after extract.
The more potent kief is, the lighter the color. If it’s green, then the punch isn’t as powerful. Not all kief is the same. They’re similar in structure but chemically different.
How to make kief
Now that you know what it is, you may wonder how to make kief. To get kief from weed, you need to separate the two.
There are a few ways of obtaining the magic powder. You can usually find it at the bottom of your grinder after you grind cannabis buds. Some may discard it without knowing its true value.
If you have a grinder with three chambers, the kief will filter into the third one. After gathering the product, sift it to remove any other tiny bits and pieces of the marijuana plant.
The purest kief is the finest powder you can get. You need a sifter box with multiple sifts to get the pure material. After lightly shaking it for less than a minute, you’ll find kief in the bottom chamber.
Add a finer mesh to your sifter box if you need to filter it more. Let’s take a look at some of the methods a little closer.
How to get kief out of a grinder
When using a grinder, it’s tough to remove the kief from the bottom. The resin found in the trichomes makes these particles sticky and difficult to retrieve.
Follow one of these methods:
- Scraper: Certain grinders have kief scrapers included on purchase. You can use this to scrape the inside and lift it out or use a card to scoop it up.
- Use a coin: Another method is to insert a coin into the grinder. Once the coin can freely move around, you need to give it a few shakes. The movement causes a vibration that loosens the kief from the inside walls and teeth.
- Freeze it: Exposing kief to colder temperatures makes it slightly harder and crumbly. If you place the grinder in the freezer overnight, the kief will detach from the surface of the grinder.
How to decarb kief
Decarboxylation (decarbing) is an important process in preparing cannabis for use. Before you can start consuming the crystals, you need to heat it.
How to decarb kief? When you apply heat to the material, you activate the cannabinoids. Decarbing kief allows you to experience the full benefits of THC, CBD, and the other compounds found in cannabis.
If you don’t have access to a decarb appliance, your oven works just fine. The following steps are part of the process:
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread the kief on an oven tray.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
You’ve now decarbed your kief. You might have to adjust the heat or the baking time based on your oven. It’s something you’ll need to experiment with to find optimal results.
Kief vs. hash: the difference between hash and kief
Hash—an abbreviated word for hashish—is synonymously used with kief. However, they’re two different substances.
They often get mistaken as hash is a product of kief. Applying heat and pressure to kief with a pollen press or your hands creates hash.
The heat application melts the trichomes, and they merge, forming a brick with a shiny dark appearance. More about this later.
Let’s have a look at the kief vs. hash:
|Potent but less than hash.||THC concentration is much higher than kief.|
|Kief is purer than the rest of the cannabis plant.||Hash is purer than kief.|
|The trichomes are loose.||The trichomes get compacted into a brick form.|
|Very sticky to work with.||Not as sticky.|
|You get a lot more for your money.||Need kief to make hash.|
|Easy to do. You don’t need much to make it.||Takes more effort to make than kief.|
Both have a variety of uses. You need to choose which one suits you best. If you’re fairly new to cannabis, it’s best to start with kief for a less potent experience and build up to hashish.
What to do with kief
If you’re wondering how to use kief, it doesn’t differ much from how you use cannabis buds. Below is a list of what to do with yours once it’s decarbed:
- Infuse in a beverage: Adding kief in your coffee or tea gives your brew an extra kick. The heat of your morning beverage can help trigger the cannabinoids and compliments the caffeine in getting your day off to a good start.
- Use it in edibles: Kief also makes a great addition to canna food. The process is similar to infusing marijuana in your cooking.
- Hash: The more popular form of kief is hash, which many people smoke and use in edibles. Besides using a kief press to make hash, you can squash kief between two pieces of wax paper with your hands. Then, apply heat with an iron or a hair straightener to form your hash.
How to smoke kief
There are many views on how to smoke kief. Some believe that you shouldn’t smoke it on its own. It provides a powerful high, and not all users have a high tolerance for THC.
Another reason why smoking pure crystals isn’t so popular is once you’ve lit it, it keeps burning until you finish—what a waste of good kief.
Here are a few suggestions on how to smoke kief:
“Twax” or “churro” joint
You can make this joint by dipping it in marijuana oil and then rolling it in kief. You can also melt a cannabis concentrate, spread it down the length of the joint, and then sprinkle kief over it.
The kief joint resembles a churro—also called “twax” because of the melted concentrate that acts as wax. Another kief joint that you can make is by layering kief with marijuana bud before rolling your joint.
Not all vaporizers can accommodate kief due to its fine and sticky consistency. It burns easily, and once lit, the flame rapidly consumes the cannabinoids and terpenes. Putting them between ground cannabis is a safer idea.
Moon rocks are cannabis buds covered with warm marijuana oil and then sprinkled with kief. Once cooled, the kief hardens, forming mini rocks, which you can break apart and mix with cannabis flowers to smoke in a joint.
Another way of how to use kief is making THC-infused juice for your e-cigarette. The process used is time-consuming, but if you’re patient, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
If the cannabis has an unpleasant odor, you can camouflage it with an e-cig flavor.
Topping a bowl
After filling your bowl with your chosen cannabis, you can also sprinkle some kief on top. This topping is also known as “crowning a bowl.” Nothing stops you from mixing it with your marijuana in the bowl, too.
Regardless of which method you choose to smoke your kief, it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
Can you dab kief?
Can you dab kief? Yes, you can. Dabs have a very high concentration of THC. The high you experience when dabbing is pretty potent.
When making a dab, you cover weed kief with butane, which extracts the THC, resulting in a THC-infused gas. The substance becomes viscous with elevated levels of THC.
You then use a glass bong to dab by applying intense heat and inhaling the vapor. Dabbing allows you to experience the effects immediately. A novice consumer should tread lightly and perhaps start with a lower dosage of cannabis before exploring dabbing.
If you’re looking for something to lift your mood swiftly, then using kief this way is well worth a try. You must, however, do so with caution as butane is a flammable substance.
Does kief get you higher than bud?
Since kief is where we find most of the cannabinoids of marijuana, it’s not surprising that it has a high concentration of THC.
So, does kief get you higher than bud? Yes, it does because the THC content is 50% or more in kief compared to 12 to 25% in buds.
Of course, the potency depends on which strain of marijuana you use—but when comparing the bud and kief of the same cultivar, kief does get you higher than bud.
For this reason, users consume smaller quantities of kief or combine it with other parts of the cannabis plants to reduce the feeling of euphoria.
How to store kief
Kief loses its potency when exposed to light, oxygen, and heat. Knowing how to store kief is important for future enjoyment.
The good news is that you can store it for quite a long time if done properly. Marijuana can last between six months to a year in ideal conditions.
You should store kief in an airtight glass container (a mason jar) in a cool dark area where the temperature doesn’t exceed 77°F. Avoid exposure to unnecessary oxygen as it can destroy kief.
Once your kief loses its aroma and has an unpleasant taste, it may be losing its potency and going bad. You also need to ensure that no mold forms while you’re storing your kief. This issue shows itself as powdery spots, and together with bacteria, it can make you ill and lead to serious health issues.
How to make edibles with kief
If you’ve cooked with cannabis before, then using kief won’t be much different. It’s important to decarb your marijuana before cooking with it.
The weight of kief used for edibles differs from that of cannabis in food because of the increased THC level in kief. The strain you use also greatly affects the amount of kief you add to your recipe.
One golden rule when dosing edibles with kief is to start low and go slow. You should begin with a small amount, assess the dose’s effects, and increase or decrease depending on your requirements.
Have a look at a few examples that shows you how to make edibles with kief:
When it comes to infusing your tea with kief, it’s believed that you can sprinkle some into a very hot cup. The temperature of your beverage is supposed to activate the cannabinoids.
The problem with this is your tea would need to be extremely hot, and you need to brew it for an extended period for the cannabinoids to activate. If you use a substance with high-fat content to steep your kief in, these compounds will react better.
For this reason, it’s recommended to rather infuse your milk or cream with kief and then add it to your tea. You can also add kief to honey and use it as a sweetener in your brew.
Continue reading to discover how to steep your milk with kief.
As with kief tea, making coffee and maintaining a high temperature while waiting for the cannabinoids to infuse isn’t practical. While adding decarb kief to your coffee can result in a high, it means you have to consume undissolved granules, which isn’t enjoyable.
Try adding some kief milk or concentrate to get a kief-infused coffee.
How to make kief milk/cream
- Half a gram of kief
- One gallon of milk or cream (your choice)
- Double boiler
- Glass bottles for the milk
- Heat the double boiler over low heat.
- Combine the milk/cream and kief, stirring regularly.
- Continue for an hour, ensuring that the milk doesn’t scald.
- After an hour, strain the milk through the cheesecloth.
- Your kief milk/cream is ready.
Use the milk/cream in your tea or coffee, or as desired. Store in the refrigerator and stir before using.
How to make kief butter
- A cup of butter
- One gram of kief
- A saucepan
- Container for the butter
- Heat the butter in the saucepan on medium heat.
- Add the kief and stir every 15 minutes while it cooks for an hour.
- Remove from the heat and strain through the cheesecloth into the butter container.
- Store in the fridge until needed.
Not only is kief butter wonderful on a slice of toast—but it’s also great to cook and bake with.
Where would you be without some flavor in your cooking? What better way than having kief blended into your spices, adding a new dimension to your everyday seasoning.
A tablespoon of each of the following spices:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder
- One teaspoon lemon pepper
- One teaspoon black pepper
- One gram of red pepper flakes
- Half a gram of kief
- Mason jar
- Mixing bowl
- Combine all the spices well and transfer them to the jar.
- Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dry area away from sunlight to use when you need to.
Enjoy the little things
Now that you’ve discovered how valuable leftover dust is at the bottom of your cannabis grinder, you won’t take the little things for granted.
Kief isn’t just another product of the marijuana plant but a true “diamond in the rough” and not to be underestimated. Those who seek immediate relief for a medical condition or much-needed relaxation appreciate its rapid and potent effects.
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About the author: Derek LaRose
Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.