Nov 21 , 2018
If you’re still kind of new to the weed wide world, then you might be wondering ‘just what is kief’? What’s the big deal anyway about some weed dust in the kief catcher at the bottom of your weed grinder? What to do with kief, other than toss it in the trash bin, might be another mystery to you. You should know that the kief, made up of those wonderful weed trichomes that fell off your nug of ganja when you were grinding, has massive amounts of cannabinoids like THC saturating it – more concentrated cannabinoids than the pot plant itself! So, you definitely do want to keep the kief! We’re gonna show and tell you exactly what to do with kief; we’re gonna explain how to smoke kief, how to make hash from kief; we will compare hash vs kief, as well as kief compared to wax, hash and dabs, we’ll discuss cooking with kief, and we’ll show you all kinds of kief uses! Get your scrolling finger ready and prepare to be educated about kief, that powerful cannabis pollen renowned by those in the know!
(A jar of kief weed trichomes, image from Ponch Hemece on Instagram)
Cannabis kief, also known as keef or kif, is the fluffy stuff that gathers in the bottom of your weed grinder’s cannabis kief catcher, resiny trichomes of pot potency that are filtered from the ground plant leaf via kief screens separating the middle ground bud chamber and the bottom kief chamber, or kief catcher. Kief, also known as weed dust or weed crystals, contains a far more formidable concentration of psychoactive cannabinoids, especially THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), than even the nugs or buds that are coated in sparkling cannabis pollen. If you know how to use a weed grinder then you know that normally, kief separates from ganja plant matter when you shred some pot flower in your grass grinder; the kief catcher tray in the bottom of your grinder slowly fills with green powder over time as you mulch more and more marijuana. For centuries, starting in the Middle East and India, then spreading to Europe and throughout the world, kief has been heated and pressed with some kind of keef press into hashish cakes, or hash bricks, stacked for storage, then vaped or smoked in pipes or hookahs as one of the original weed concentrates.
When kief is pressed, whether into loose kief pucks or heated and pressed into hash cakes, the trichomes and cannabinoid-rich resin, or terpenes, are crushed together and blended. Bubble hash is made when cannabis leaves and weed flowers are soaked in ice water until the trichomes become frozen and brittle; the trichomes detach and fall from the plant matter and are gathered via a fine kief screen at the bottom of the water reservoir. Hash, wax and dabs result from collecting and processing the resin of pot plants to produce potent pot concentrated solids and oils with hefty percentages of coveted cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
How strong is kief? Generally, your ganja may be from 15 – 25% THC; usually, kief is infused with around 40% to 60% THC, but more refined kief extractions using the ice water extract method, bubble hash -where frozen trichomes separate from the plant material and are harvested - have been found to have concentrations of up to 80% THC!
Here is a vid where this guy uses dry ice to extract kief, or cannabis pollen, from marijuana nugs:
(Grinder kief catcher full of cannabis pollen, image from Wiill Esquire on Instagram)
Some Good Kief Weed:
We have learned that those wondrous weed crystals, the trichomes, are the major source of terpenes and cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and that the weed dust that is sifted from your nugs and buds in the process of grinding up your ganja is called kief. Because the greatest concentration of potent cannabinoids - like THC - infuse the trichomes, or cannabis pollen, cannabis cultivators and pot farmers are continuously selectively crossbreeding phenotypes and new hybrid weed strains with more and more trichomes per pot flower. Some strains certainly produce more trichomes than others, and the potency of the kief is related to the overall potency of the marijuana strain itself – but at 40% to 60% THC, or even higher for more refined kief extractions, your kief THC is going to give you some powerful effects!
Here are some kief weed strains known for having lots and lots of cannabis pollen:
The Best Kief Weed Strains By Type
Sativa Kief Weed Strains
Hybrid Kief Weed Strains
Dreamcatcher (or Dream Catcher strain)
Indica Kief Weed Strains
(A brick of heated and pressed kief known as hash or hashish, image from Weeds Finder on Instagram)
How to Smoke Kief:
Can you smoke kief? Oh, yes, but it’s a hard and powerful hit because of the intense concentration of kief THC! First and foremost, the easiest way to smoke a little kief is to sprinkle some grinder kief catcher goodness, powdery weed trichomes, over a weed bowl – this is also known as ‘crowning your bowl’; or you could roll up some weed dust in with some shredded weed leaf in a joint or blunt. Kief can also be pressed into a kief puck, or disk, and you can then crumble some into a pipe from there; or if it’s heated and pressed into hashish or hash oil then you can smoke the hash in a pipe, smoke it rolled up in a hash blunt (or joint), or dab rig. That is also one way to smoke bubble hash or dabs. Moon rocks (or moonrocks), or moonrocks stix, are more great ways to smoke kief; moonrocks and moonrocks stix are buds or spliffs that are dipped in hash oil and rolled in kief. You can also smoke dabs or wax dipped in kief.
Kief can be collected from your weed grinder’s kief catcher, from the bottom of marijuana dispensary nug jars, by dry-sifting frozen marijuana flower on a silkscreen, by using a blender, by straining cannabis submerged in ice water through mesh bubble bags, or whirled in a mechanical drum - then the kief can be sifted through a silkscreen into airtight containers for storage in a cool, dark place.
Making Hash from Kief:
We talked a little bit about how to make hash above, and there’s a whole other blog about ‘How to make Hash Oil’ but let’s go over the basics of how to turn kief into hash.
- Balling Kief into Hash – When you handle lots of cannabis buds and trim while harvesting, the resiny weed trichomes will stick to your hands and fingers as dark brown sticky goop. You can rub your hands together to form small balls of hash, instant pressed kief, that you can now pop into a hash pipe to dab away! You can also make scissor hash similarly, by scraping off the shears or scissors that you use to trim pot plants and rolling the sticky resin into balls. So, can you dab kief? Yeah, just roll it up into a little sticky ball with your fingers, drop it into a hash pipe and have yourself a dab bowl!
Two other methods of making hash from kief include:
- Using brute force. Simply load your cannabis kief into a premanufactured Rosin press and press it into a nice, firm block. If you don’t own a hash press and only want to process a minor amount of marijuana kief, you can also wrap the weed dust in baking parchment paper and press it together firmly with your fingers or between two books.
- The second method of pressing kief into hash uses both force and heat.
(Pressed kief pucks or disks, image from Rosinsmith710 on Instagram)
By the way, if you were wondering about the difference between hash, wax and dabs; dabs are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using a butane solvent or CO2 which results in resiny oils also commonly referred to as wax, shatter, budder, and butane hash oil (BHO). Hash is pressed and heated kief. Because they are all basically cannabis concentrates, there is no real difference in how to smoke hash, how to smoke wax or how to smoke dabs. Most vaping and dabbing rigs can accommodate hash, wax and dabs. If you want to know how to smoke dabs without a rig, there are hash pipes, bongs, hot knives (heat up a knife, place the concentrate on the hot knife and breathe the vapor in through a straw), vapes - and you can even eat dabs like you would a weed medible.
If you’ve ever wondered can you snort kief, the answer is no. Kief is heat-activated, and snorting it wouldn’t trigger the cannabinoids like THC in the trichomes, that’s why you can touch it and you don’t get high from weed crystals on your skin.
Other Kief Uses:
Okay, so you’ve smoked it, or you’ve dabbed it, but we’re not done yet showing you what to do with kief!
1) Kief in Coffee – Ganjava! We have melted cannabutter in our own morning coffee cups; for even more potency, we could use hash butter, or kief butter (more on that below)! This is similar. Hot coffee decarboxylates and thus activates the cannabinoids infusing your kief. Just add about a half gram or so to your steaming morning cup of caffeine! Caffeine seems to enhance the high, though it can add to jitteriness if you’re using a sativa-heavy strain. Both caffeine and cannabis increase dopamine secretion in your brain, stimulating your mental pleasure centers. Just remember that kief is STRONG and so a little goes a long way!
2) Cooking with kief makes a great addition to any meal. But you have to do a bit more than just sprinkling weed dust on your omelet or oatmeal.
- The easiest way method of cooking with kief is to add a teaspoon or two to some hot oil in a saucepan on your stovetop, with the burner on low to medium heat. As the veggie or olive oil becomes hotter and hotter, stir in your kief, and let it saturate the oil for 20-40 minutes, depending on the potency that you are going for. Then you add in the other ingredients of your meal, stirring the kief oil and ingredients together to mix them thoroughly.
- You can use kief to make yourself some kief butter, which - like hash butter - is a more potent form of cannabutter. Melt some butter in a crockpot or saucepan on low heat, and pour your kief into the butter once it’s completely melted. Stir the kief oil mixture every 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the kief simmering in butter for 4-5 hours to ensure proper potency as the weed pollen binds with the fat molecules in the butter. In an airtight container, your kief butter should keep for several weeks to a month; if you freeze it, then kief butter will be good for about six months.
(Making kief butter, image from Shrug This Life on Instagram)
3) Kief Tea (or kief chai, which is kind of tea):
- Spoon a quarter, half or full teaspoon of kief into a metal tea ball or pack it into an empty tea bag or folded coffee filter.
- Place the container kief filter into a coffee mug.
- Then boil some water in a kettle or saucepan.
- Once the water is at a low boil, pour the hot water into the coffee mug with the ground kief and steep for five minutes - adding steeping time to increase the potency of your kief tea.
- Enhance your kief tea with a blend of your favorite regular tea and sweeteners for flavor; add milk or creamer to boost the psychoactivity of your kief tea (because cannabinoids like THC bind with fats in foods like dairy products)!
(Cannabis kief coconut oil, image from Cannacoco 420 on Instagram)
4) Kief Coconut Oil – Why is kief coconut oil a big deal? Because, pot learners, coconut oil has a very high concentration of saturated fats and is thus a most excellent binding agent for THC and other cannabinoids. Veggie oil and olive oil both have saturated fat contents of less than 20%, however coconut oil contains over 80% saturated fats - so using coconut oil to bind the cannabinoids from your kief will yield some phenomenally potent and psychoactive oil.
Making kief coconut oil requires only a couple of ingredients:
1 – 2 tbs of kief (more if you’re adventurous, but this kief coconut oil will have high potency, so be aware)
1 cup of coconut oil
You’ll also need:
A strainer or piece of cheesecloth
A double-boiler, crockpot, or saucepan
- Combine coconut oil and your kief in the double-boiler, pan or crockpot and heat the two together on low or warm heat for 2-4 hours, allowing for decarboxylation – the activation of kief THC.
- If using a crockpot then set it on low and stew your kief coconut oil mix for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally; in a double-boiler simmer your kief coconut oil mixture on low for at least 6 -8 hours, stirring occasionally; or in a saucepan on the stove put the burner on low for at least 3-4 hours, stirring frequently. In each of these you should add a small amount of water to help avoid burning. For each of these methods, if you have a confection thermometer, check to make sure the temperature of the oil does not exceed 245°F/118°C.
- After you’re done cooking, strain the kief coconut oil through the cheesecloth, drain it into a resealable canning jar or other airtight container, and store the oil in the refrigerator. The kief coconut oil should be good for up to two months, up to six months if you freeze it. You can use it in anything that you would use regular cooking oil for – load yourself up on lots of potent medible treats!
Here is a variation where a dude makes infused coconut oil with both dry sift weed kief and bubblehash:
5) Kief Gummy Recipe – Yes, you read that correctly, one of the things that you could make with your infused kief coconut oil is ganja gummies!
1 large pkg. orange Jell-O
1 1/2 cup orange juice divided
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup kief coconut oil
4 packets of gelatin
¼ tsp cornstarch
- First, combine the Jell-O and 1 cup of oj in a medium saucepan, then you add your 1/2 cup of honey and your ¼ cup kief coconut oil and heat your mixture slowly, stirring frequently.
- In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the remaining orange juice and allow the gelatin mixture to sit for five minutes.
- Next add the gelatin mixture to the Jell-O and cook it all over low heat for about 5-7 minutes. Whisk the ganja gummies mixture continually, scraping the sides of the pan.
- Pour the ganja gummies mixture into silicon candy molds and let it cool down to room temperature, then put the filled molds in the refrigerator to set.
- Remove the ganja gummies from the molds, dust with some cornstarch to prevent sticking.
- Enjoy some infused kief gummies as a treat!
(Weed shaped kief gummy, image from Dank Doll on Instagram)
There you have it, the answer to what to do with kief is definitely do not throw cannabis pollen away! Can you smoke kief? Yes, it is great sprinkled over a weed bowl – or just as a kief bowl by itself, though it’d be much more potent than a plain pot bowl burning some leaf. Can you dab kief? Yes, you can dab kief as kief oil or as hash oil, or even as solid hash. Can you vape kief? Sure, pretty much any way that you can smoke dry herbal weed or any way that you can vape any other oil or solid cannabis concentrate, you can smoke kief or dab kief, or smoke or dab hash made from heated and pressed kief . If you know how to use a grinder and know what a kief catcher is for, then you can get ahold of your own kief weed dust. You can smoke the kief loose or compress it into hash, if you know how to make hash from kief. A homemade or commercial keef press and some heat will turn kief or even pressed kief into hash. If you know how to smoke hash in a pipe, if you know the different between hash vs kief, then you can knowledgably decide whether to smoke or dab kief or even smoke a hash blunt! Eating kief is a matter of making some kief butter or maybe some kief coconut oil, that you can then use to make nummy treats like kief gummies and other kief edibles - we have even given you a number of kief recipes. Thirsty? You can brew up some kief coffee or kief tea. How strong is kief? Much stronger than weed, because most of the cannabinoids in kief weed are found in the weed trichomes – and more glittery weed crystals fall through grinder keef screens into the kief catcher; pot farmers are growing more plants with lots of weed dust because they are a much more potent smoke. Whenever you are grinding you are making kief; and there are many kief uses from smoking kief, to eating kief, to drinking kief and other amazing ways to enjoy that potent cannabis pollen known as kief!
And finally, here is a video review on how to use and smoke kief (just in case the article was TLDR, too long didn’t read):
Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.
|David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.|