What is kief? Kief is the name for the sticky and powdery crystalline substance that coats all of your cannabis buds and is often left as a residue on the surface of grinders or scissors when you use them to bust them up! Many grinders include what is known as a “kief catcher” – an extra chamber in the bottom of the device separated from the chamber where the ground bud is collected by a very fine screen. The fine particles of kief that collect and accumulate in the bottom of the grinder have saved many a cannabis smoker from an unexpected drought and can also be used to enhance the effects of your already potent freshly packed bowl or rolled joint.
Collection of weed kief is not a new phenomenon and has occurred for likely as long as human beings have used cannabis both recreationally and medicinally. That is to say that people have been using marijuana kief for many thousands of years indeed! Some cultures and cannabis communities actually come to prefer it for its purity and high potency and then sought to cultivate it above all other forms of the cannabis flower.
What is Kief?
When the luminous resin trichomes on cannabis flowers that cover the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant are collected together into a separate sticky powder substance this powder is most often referred to as kief or keef. Marijuana trichomes are very small and bulbous glands that protrude out from the surface of the leaves and buds of late stage cannabis plants that are ready for cultivation. It is possible to intentionally remove these trichomes from the plant material and gather it together in a fine and sticky powder and this powder is most commonly what is referred to as kief.
The word “kief” has its roots in the Arabic language and comes from a term meaning “pleasure” or “intoxication” and it is easy to see why! Because kief contains such a high concentration of cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids it is far more potent than smoking ordinary cannabis buds and flowers. In fact when you use kief for yourself you will discover that one of the first rules of the game is that a little goes a very long way!
It is important to note however that even though marijuana kief is much more potent than ordinary cannabis buds and flowers it is still less potent than a isolate or extraction such as shatter weed, oils or waxes.
Other names for kief are “dry sift” or “pollen” however it is fairly uncommon for anyone to use these terms and most often the name kief is the preferred nomenclature. It should look shimmery and powderlike and have the shape of very fine crystals. Exceptionally high quality weed kief will also likely appear generally light tan in colour or sometimes even blonde and should provide a highly potent and pleasing cannabis aroma. If your kief is green then it likely still contains some trace plant matter and is less pure.
How To Use Kief
Many cannabis connoisseurs enjoy using kief because of its powerful and potent effects due to the high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes found within it. Using kief can often provide a more consistently powerful high compared to some other forms of cannabis that are available. The potency of kief is of course determined by the type of flower used to produce it and it will only be as potent as the original bud can potentially be. But using any strain in the form of kief allows you to use smaller amounts to achieve the same effects you might experience if you had a much larger quantity of the raw ground bud.
While the potency is a matter of the source material most samples of kief test at a purity level of upwards of 50% THC content which is staggeringly high compared to most strains of cannabis in their ordinary form. Most typical strains of cannabis available nowadays have a THC content level of between 10-15% with the more potent craft and quad cannabis flowers clocking in between 15-30% total THC content.
While all of this sounds great it can be easy for someone to go a long time as a cannabis user without ever learning about kief or discovering the kief catcher on the bottom of the grinder. Many are the tale of the newbie stoner who used the same grinder for years before learning about the kief catcher and then upon opening their grinder they discover a bounty of compressed crystal overflowing from the chamber.
But how do you know what to do with kief and what is the best way to use kief? And why would someone choose smoking kief instead of regular cannabis flowers? One reason a person may desire to start smoking kief instead of whole cannabis buds would be to increase the amount of terpenes and cannabinoids they ingest while also increasing the potency level and maximizing the desired effects. Another reason someone might enjoy smoking kief instead of ordinary cannabis flowers would be because without all the extra green plant matter the smoking experience is a more pure and less harsh and harmful one.
Weed kief is both easy to extract and simple to use so you should have no difficulty getting into this method of cannabis use yourself no matter your level of experience. Not only can you simply smoke it the same way you would any other form of ground cannabis product you could also put kief in a vape pen or into some edibles to avoid the experience of inhaling any kind of harsh smoke at all while still maximizing the effects of your cannabis.
Best Way to Use Kief
Patience is a virtue and that is certainly true when it comes to collecting kief in most cases. Unless you have access to a lot of high quality cannabis and the time to process it you may be waiting for a spell like the rest of us ordinary folk for the kief catcher in your grinder to fill. There are some things you can do to help speed this process along of course.
First and foremost make sure you are actually using a three chamber grinder with a kief catching bottom chamber. Most grinders are designed this way by default these days but not every single one will have the third chamber with the screen and catcher. Never checked your own grinder at home? Grab it firmly by the midsection and twist the bottom piece off and you may be in for a happy surprise!
Some things to watch out for while you are trying to collect your kief over the course of grinding up your cannabis and using it as you normally would would be the clogging of the screen and the overfilling of the chamber. Keep an eye on both of these things and clean the screen with a fine brush semi-routinely to make sure all of those beautiful kief crystals can find their way to the bottom of the grinder.
Some people also like to place a small heavy coin in the upper collection chamber of the grinder such as a nickle if your grinder is large enough for it. When grinding up the bud shaking up the grinder with the coin inside helps to knock free some extra kief and send it down to the screen and kief catching chamber below!
Another way to collect some marijuana kief if you do happen to have access to large quantities of cannabis and an oversized very fine sifter or screen would be to skip all of the waiting and process your buds into kief. One ideal kind of screen you could use is a silk screen which is the same time of screen often used for t-shirt printing and can be found at most art supply stores. In order to sift cannabis make sure you get a silk screen with an LPI (lines per inch) rating of between 80 and 270 LPI.
Depending on how serious you want to get about sifting your bud you may want to select a series of screens with a various range of LPI ratings from larger to small while still falling between the 80 and 270 LPI range. This will allow you to sift your material over and over using finer and finer screen sizes making sure that you remove absolutely all of the green plant matter that you possibly can. If you’d rather not do this extra work you can simply get the finest screen size possible and sift your material using only the single size.
If you’re ready to get really serious about how to use kief and collect it in the most efficient manner you could also invest in a kief box or a flat screened sifter box which are both available online from specialty cannabis retailers.
The best method for collecting your kief using any of these aforementioned screens is to add a large amount of ground cannabis to the screen and push it around and back and forth across the screen over and over with an old gift card or credit card or another suitable piece of solid plastic.Make sure you use a container under the screen of course to collect your kief!
You can also save yourself a whole lot of trouble and work by just buying kief that has been processed for you available at your favourite online dispensary!
How to Smoke Kief
Now that you know what to do with kief and how to collect it it’s time to learn about how to actually smoke it! You can of course also use it to make edibles like cannabutter or infused oils or put it into your favourite vape for a smoke free option but if you want to know how to smoke it let’s look at some of the best options.
Smoking kief is generally very easy and fun and you can do so using devices you likely already have on hand if you are already smoking cannabis regularly. Collect a small pinch and put it in your favourite pipe or bong and take a small toke. Alternatively you can also “dust” a bowl or a joint you are rolling with a bit of extra kief to increase the potency and power of your smoke.
If you are feeling daring you can collect a large amount of kief and try rolling an entire joint or blunt with it. This is a great treat for a party situation where a little puff on the joint will go a long way for everyone who gets handed it. We don’t advise attempting to smoke one of these on your own unless your personal tolerance is very high.
Another fun method how to smoke kief and a blast from the past is to use the hot knife method which you may remember from your highschool days. Simply heat up a knife on the stove and use the red hot tip to press into another knife blade with a little bit of kief on the tip. Inhale the resulting smoke with a straw and enjoy!
If you’d like to buy some buds to get started on your own kief collection at home we have some great options in store for you at Haute Health. Pick up some great Skywalker OG, some highly potent Banana OG or if you’re feeling presidential grab yourself a sack of some top notch Presidential OG which should make some very fine kief indeed. If you’d rather just grab a high quality concentrate and just enjoy some highly potent shatter weed we also have wonderful Death Star OG shatter available in store.
Does kief get you higher than bud?
Kief is more potent than bud because it is made up of only the crystallized trichomes and cannabinoids which coat cannabis buds and give them the majority of their THC content.
Is kief dangerous?
What is the point of kief?
Kief is concentrated crystalized cannabis and is extremely potent meaning you can use much less to much greater effect.
Is kief indica or sativa?
The kief strain will be identical to the source bud. That is to say there is both indica and sativa kief.
Can you roll a blunt with just kief?
You can! Whether or not you can finish smoking it without help is another question.
How can you tell if mold is kief?
Mold and kief look almost nothing alike. Kief is crystalline and powdery and It can be slighly sticky if the source bud was very high in resin. Mold is furry and looks obviously like spoilage. Do not smoke moldy weed.
How do you store kief properly?
Most people just keep theirs in the bottom kief catching chamber of their grinder! You can get a larger grinder for this purpose and try to collect a lot of it over time. Alternatively if you are collecting a lot you can store it in a cool dry place in a sealed container.
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