What is Kief and How to Use It?

06/26/2024
LOOKAH

a man smoking a vape

Small, sticky, and packing a powerful punch of cannabinoids and terpenes, kief is a widely popular part of the cannabis plant – especially for consumers searching for a uniquely rich experience. 

To the untrained eye, the tiny resin glands might not look like much. 

But once you learn more about what kief is and what it has to offer, it’s easy to see precisely why it’s got so much attention in the cannabis community.

What is kief?

trichomes-cannabis-weed

Marijuana and cannabis flowers are visually striking when you see the orange fuzz, the color of the buds, and the small crystals all over the exterior. 

Individually, we call these mushroom-shaped formations “trichomes.”

Tons of plants produce trichomes, but they are quite special in hemp plants. 

In hemp and cannabis plants, trichomes create and store the flower’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals. 

When these trichomes dry and break off the plant, they become kief. 

Like some other cannabis concentrates, kief contains a much higher concentration of THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids than that of the cannabis flower from which it is derived. 

Since it contains a higher level of THC, many consumers choose to add collected kief to their cannabis for a more intense "high".

Kief, because it has oxidized and loses its freshness when separated from the plant buds, is usually darker than trichomes, ranging from light gold to brown. 

It has a powdery appearance and a somewhat sticky texture, though less so than trichomes on a bud.

How to collect kief?

Grinder method

Kief is often collected from cannabis flowers using a grinder with a kief catcher or by sifting the plant material through a fine mesh screen using a kief box.

Grinder method: 

Many grinders come with a kief catcher, the bottom chamber below the screen. 

As you grind bud, trichomes fall through the screen and collect in the catcher. 

Once accumulated, you can use a small scraper to remove the kief.

Kief box method:

A kief box is a specialized container with multiple chambers that allow you to separate kief from the plant material. 

By gently shaking the box, the trichomes (kief) fall through a mesh screen into a separate compartment, leaving you with a concentrated product.

How to use kief?

Whether you’re more into bowls or joints, cannabis kief is easy to add for some extra spice. 

With just a sprinkle of kief, your entire smoke circle will be treated to that extra ‘lift’ kief can deliver. 

Not to mention, uber is jealous of your special stash.

Now, let’s dive into some of our favorite ways to incorporate kief into your smoking routines.

1. Add kief to bowl or joint

joint kief

Arguably the easiest way to consume kief is to add it to your smokable flower, be it a bowl, bong, or joint.

To add kief to your bowl or bong, start by adding flower into the bowl, filling it about 1/4 or 1/2 of the way. 

Add your desired dose of kief (we like using a dab tool to easily scoop and spread), then top with a flower. 

By adding kief in layers, you ensure that the precious concentrate is not prematurely burned without your consuming its benefits.

To add kief to your joint, grind up your flower as usual and pour it onto your favorite rolling tray. 

Add kief to your flower pile and incorporate it into the flower - then stuff your cone or roll, and you're ready to go!

Note, if rolling by hand, you can add a line of kief along your flower, but that line will likely burn more quickly than the flower, resulting in the ever-dreaded canoe or banana boat.

2. Add kief to the dry herb vaporizer

While kief isn't recommended to be consumed solely on its own in a dry herb vaporizer, due to the treasured crystals slipping through the mesh screens of the vape, adding it with flower is a great option. 

Adding with flower gives your vaped bud a potency and flavor boost, especially when using the same strain of bud and kief.

3. Make a cannabis snow cone

Snow cones are one of the messiest, but most rewarding, ventures. 

Simply put, they are joints coated in distillate and rolled in kief. 

Snow cones are a potent option to consume cannabis via smoking.

Start by rolling your joint or stuffing your cone with your favorite marijuana strain. 

Lightly heat the distillate by either rolling it between your hands or holding it in the crook of your elbow. 

Add a line of distillate along the length of your joint, using the dab tool to paint the entirety of the joint to about 1/4 inch above the filter (this space is key). 

After your distillate has coated the joint, pour kief onto your rolling tray and roll the distillate-covered joint in it, using your dab tool to ensure kief has fully coated the distillate, and you're ready to dose!

Be sure to keep an eye on the distillate - as you consume your snow cone, the distillate will begin to drip as the joint burns. 

The 1/4 inch of solely paper and flower will come in handy to catch the excess distillate!

4. Make cannabis moon rocks

Yes, you read that correctly - weed moon rocks. 

We aren't talking moon cheese, or even silvery nugs - moon rocks are flower nugs coated in distillate and rolled in kief.

Start by picking a dense nug of your favorite strain. 

Lightly heat your distillate by rubbing it between your hands or holding it in the crook of your elbow so it's easier to dispense.

Holding your nug, start applying distillate, and spinning the nug to ensure it's fully coated. 

If needed, use your dab tool to spread the distillate around. 

Roll the sticky bud in kief using tweezers, if possible, and then sit aside to dry. 

After it's dried, you're good to dose!

Be sure to use your fingers, not a grinder, to break up this sticky nug! 

Moon rocks are best smoked in glass to fully experience the flavor profile of your creation.

5. Make kief-infused edibles

Kief, like flower or distillate, can be used to create homemade cannabis edibles. 

Unlike flowers, because of its fine consistency, no straining is required!

Start by decarboxylating, or activating THCA to its more potent THC, your kief. 

Preheat your oven to 300°F and spread kief in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Place your kief in the oven for about 15 minutes per gram.

After your kief is decarboxylated, you can melt butter on the stovetop (without boiling!) and thoroughly mix in to craft cannabutter; thoroughly combine with your favorite cooking oil, or even mix in with peanut butter. 

If you cook with it, be sure to keep the internal temperature of your edible below 300°F to keep the desired cannabinoids intact!

How to store kief?

Just like the cannabis plant, kief is a natural substance that oxidizes, dries out, and goes bad after some time.

Correctly storing kief helps maintain its potency, flavor, and quality over time.

Here are some tips for storing kief to keep it stable and potent for as long as possible:

1. Use an airtight container. 

Airtight containers, such as a glass jar with a screw-top lid or a specialized weed storage container, help prevent exposure to air and humidity — factors that can degrade the quality of the kief.

2. Store in a cool, dark place. 

Store the container in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. 

Exposure to light and heat can cause the cannabinoids and terpenes to break down, reducing the potency and flavor of the kief.

3. Avoid moisture. 

Moisture can promote mold growth and spoil the product. 

Ensure the container is completely dry before adding the kief, and avoid opening the container in a humid environment.

4. Limit handling. 

The oils on your skin can degrade the quality and potency of the kief. 

Use a small scoop, spoon, or brush to handle your kief.

5. Label and date the container. 

Label your container with the strain name, if known, and the collection date. 

When stored properly, kief can maintain potency, flavor, and quality for up to a year.

Pros And Cons of Kief

Kief, which is extracted from the resinous trichomes of the cannabis plant, offers several advantages and disadvantages compared to other cannabis concentrates. 

Here is a detailed overview of its benefits and potential drawbacks:

Benefits of kief:

1. Potency

Kief contains a high concentration of THC and other cannabinoids, resulting in a strong and intense effect. 

Although the THC content varies compared to other concentrates, Kief is still considerably stronger than regular cannabis.

2. Versatility:

Kief can be consumed in various ways. 

It can be smoked directly, used as an additive to joints and blunts, smoked in pipes and bongs, or pressed into hashish. 

It is also ideal for the production of edibles, as it can be easily decarboxylated and infused in butter or oil.

3. Easy production

Kief can be collected with simple means. 

Many cannabis users use grinders with a special kief compartment to collect the trichomes when crushing the flowers. 

Sifting through a fine mesh or pollen sieve is also a common method of extracting kief.

Disadvantages of kief:

1. Purity compared to other concentrates

While kief has a high concentration of cannabinoids, it often contains more plant material and impurities compared to more concentrated products such as oils and waxes. 

This can lead to a less pure experience that is not as targeted as other concentrates.

2. Inconsistency of THC content

As the THC content of kief varies depending on purity levels and growing conditions, it can be difficult to achieve consistent potency. 

This makes it more challenging to plan exact dosages for edibles or other products.

3. Prone to errors during production

Although kief production can be simple, collection and storage can be challenging. 

Poor handling can cause trichomes to break or be lost, which affects potency.

Kief is a versatile, potent form of cannabis concentrate that offers ease of production and a wide range of applications. 

Despite the drawbacks, such as less targeted potency compared to oils and waxes, kief remains a great option for users looking for a natural and easy way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis.

Conclusion

However, despite the many benefits, kief should be used with caution. 

As it is more potent than conventional cannabis, careful dosing, and responsible use is important to avoid unwanted side effects. 

When using kief, especially in edibles, you should always start small and be patient before increasing the dose.

In summary, kief is a versatile and potent product that can be adapted to suit the needs of a wide range of cannabis users. 

Its natural purity, ease of production and powerful effects make it a favorite for many enthusiasts looking for an intense and rewarding cannabis experience.