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Cannabis 101

What is kief? A go-to guide

01.25.22 - 4 min read

Summary:

  1. Kief is a collection of the resinous crystals found on the trichome head. 
  2. Kief is more potent than marijuana flower. 
  3. It is a versatile product that you can use in multiple ways. 

Whether you’re new to the world of cannabis or are more experienced and looking for a refresher, our kief guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the subject. 

From the basics to detailed tips on how to collect, store and use kief, we’ve got all the info you’re looking for. Read on to learn more, and pretty soon you’ll be an expert when it comes to kief knowledge. 

Kief basics 

If you have cannabis flower, you probably already have some kief! Next time you’re around quality flower, use a magnifying glass to take a close look at it.   

See those tiny hairs covered in sticky crystals? They’re called trichomes and they’re the largest producers of cannabinoids. The crystal at the tip of the hair-like trichome stalks is a tiny resin pocket with a huge concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids, including THC. When the trichomes dry and fall off, they become what is widely known as kief. 

shop-kief-flower

What are the benefits of kief? 

Since kief powder has far more cannabinoids than the rest of the cannabis flower, it’s an excellent option for those of you who want to increase their cannabinoid intake. It’s also great for anyone looking for a versatile product that they can use in multiple ways. 

Thanks to the high concentration of cannabinoids, kief creates a more powerful effect than many other cannabis products. Since the plant matter is removed, it can also create a smoother experience compared to regular marijuana bud. 

What are Cannabinoids

What is kief made of? 

Kief is simply a collection of the resinous crystals found on the trichome head. Pure kief is generally a light blonde or tan color and looks like a collection of shimmery, powder-like crystals. If you come across “kief” that has a greenish color, this is caused by the kief crystals being mixed with other plant material. This won’t be as potent as when it’s in its purest form. It may also have an “off” flavor and create a harsher experience when burned. 

Fun fact: the term “kief” comes from the Arabic word for “pleasure.” Cannabis kief is also sometimes referred to as “dry sift” or “pollen.” 

What is kief’s potency? 

Just as different cannabis strains vary in potency, so does kief. While their can be strong weed strains, the average marijuana flower typically ranges between 12% and 25% THC, kief tends to fall in the 50% to 80% range. Some experts can even collect what’s known as “99% sift,” which is almost completely made from the heads of trichomes. This is the strongest and purest form of kief. 

How is kief collected? 

Now that you know the answer to the question, “what is kief?” you may be excited to try it. If so, you’ll be even more excited to learn that it’s easy and inexpensive to collect. Unlike the process of making other types of cannabis concentrate, extracting kief doesn’t require any complicated equipment and can be done by yourself at home. The two primary home-collection methods are using a three-chamber grinder or pressing it through a series of screens.  

benefits-of-kief

Three-chamber grinder 

The easiest method of kief collection is to simply use a three-chamber grinder. As you grind your cannabis, the kief powder will break off and accumulate in the bottom kief chamber. When you’ve accumulated enough kief, simply dump it out of the bottom and use it in whichever way you prefer. 

When using a grinder, make sure to go slow, allowing time for the kief to fall through the screen into the kief catcher. It’s also important to note that when using a single or double-chamber grinder, the trichomes are likely to stick to the sides of the chamber instead of falling into a lower chamber where you can easily collect them. This is why it’s important to make sure you choose the right type of grinder.  

what-are-terpenes

Screen method 

If you want to collect a lot of high-quality kief, consider dry sifting with multiple layered screens. This method is more effective and creates higher potency results. 

When looking for screens for this purpose, it’s important to pay attention to the LPI (lines per inch). To collect kief, you need screens that range between 80 and 270 LPI. 

Layer the screens so the one with the largest holes is on top and the holes get progressively smaller. This will help eliminate the “green” material. For the purest kief possible, you can also buy a flat-screen sifter or “kief box” online or at well-stocked cannabis accessory stores. 

To sift out kief using the screen method, place finely ground bud on top of the screen, then use light force and a credit card or gift card to spread it around the screen. Make sure you do this over some type of container so you can catch the kief. Note that while the leftover cannabis flower will still be usable, it will be far less potent since you will have removed the trichomes, which contain the bulk of the plant’s cannabinoids.  

Purchasing and storing kief 

While collecting kief at home yourself isn’t difficult, it’s helpful to know many marijuana dispensaries also sell it. That means obtaining kief is faster, easier and more convenient than ever. 

Whether you buy or collect your kief, you’ll want to store it in a cool, dark and dry location. Keep it in an airtight container, stirring it with a comb every few days to keep it from sticking together. (Note: Always keep your kief labelled and out of the reach of minors.) 

how-to-use-kief

How to use kief 

There are many options for consuming kief, making it a very versatile product. You can burn it on its own, add it to your favorite edible, sprinkle it on top of a bowl of cannabis bud and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common methods. 

1. Add kief to a roll-up 

Many people choose to simply sprinkle kief on top of their favorite marijuana strain. This is also called “crowning”. Doing so will boost the bud’s potency so you can consume less with the same results or enjoy a more intense, longer-lasting effect.   

You can also sprinkle kief inside a roll-up. Adding kief to your bud will cause it to burn slower, which is great if you enjoy longer sessions. 

2. Burning kief on its own 

Enjoying kief on its own is a unique experience. The easiest way to do this is to add it to a glass pipe with a special titanium screen. If you can’t find one, you can also use a standard stainless steel pipe screen. 

Hold the flame an inch or two above your kief instead of lighting it directly. This will release the essential oils without burning the kief. If you’re dealing with high-quality kief, it should bubble and melt, giving you a full-flavored hit while leaving behind very little residue. 

what-is-decarb

3. Make cannabutter 

If you enjoy edibles, you’ll love making them with kief butter. First, you’ll want to decarboxylate the kief to activate the THC. Then, melt butter in a crockpot or saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the kief and stir it until it’s fully dissolved (about 15 minutes). 

Use your cannabutter to make cupcakes, brownies or many other types of edibles. You can store it in the freezer in an airtight container for up to six months. 

4. Make hash 

It’s easy to make kief hash. Simply place your kief in a piece of parchment paper, then apply heat and pressure using a clothes iron or a flat iron used to style hair. This releases the hash oil, resulting in a ready-to-smoke substance that is both darker and stickier than the original kief. 

5. Make kief discs 

If you have a pollen press, you can use it to make kief discs, also known as kief pucks. Once you’ve made them, you can break them up into small pieces and burn them or. Those with more cannabis experience may even try putting the whole disc in the bowl at once. 

kief

What is CBD kief? 

Up until now, we’ve been talking about THC-heavy kief, but if you’re a CBD user, you may be wondering whether CBD kief also exists. The answer is yes… sort of.  

CBD kief is made from hemp flower, which also has trichomes that are rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. Sifting hemp will give you some amazingly CBD-rich kief. However, extracting CBD kief isn’t as simple as collecting THC kief from a marijuana plant. 

While you could use the same collection methods, the resulting kief would also contain small amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. To create a kief with little to no THC, you would need to separate the cannabinoid from the concentrate during molecular distillation. This is nearly impossible to do at home and results in a substance that is more like a wax than kief. 

Kief questions? 

If you have more questions, simply use our dispensary search feature to find a RISE dispensary near you. When you visit a dispensary, our staff members will be happy to talk through anything you want to know about kief and help you find the perfect cannabis product for you. 

shop-kief-concentrates

Sources:

  1. Leafly.com | What are trichomes and why do they exist on cannabis?  
  2. Leafly.com | What is kief & what can you do with it?  
  3. Thrillist.com | What Is Kief? What to Do With It, and How to Smoke It 
  4. Weedmaps.com | What is Kief? Kief Definition 
  5. Wayofleaf.com | Is Kief Stronger Than Regular Weed? 
  6.  Green-flower.com | 6 Things You Never Knew About Kief 
  7. Hightimes.com | What is Kief? 
  8. Honestmarijuana.com | What Is Kief And How To Use It  
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