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The 411 on Kief and Why You Should Keep It

Posted by Canna Randa on Jun 29, 2021

If you have picked up your flower bud from a marijuana dispensary and ever looked at it and wondered what all the minuscule, sticky crystals are -- keep reading because we are about to dive into the wonderful world of kief.

What is Kief?

Also known as cannabis pollen or dry sift, kief is found on the terpene and cannabinoid-covered resin glands produced by the cannabis plant. Kief will usually start to appear on the plant during the cannabis flowering stage. Technically, kief results from the formation of crystals on the tip of the resin gland, and it’s one of the most essential parts of the marijuana trichome. 

Trichomes are commonly known as plant hairs and are found on about 30% of all marijuana plants. You can actually see cannabis trichomes on the flower of the plant quite well if you look closely. The job of trichomes is to secrete metabolites for the cannabis plant to help with growth and development, stress response, UV light protection, and more.

The easiest way to explain trichomes is to think of a Venus Flytrap -- the carnivorous plant that “eats” flies. Sensory trichomes located in the plant’s hinged lobe are responsible for the Flytrap’s ability to snap shut on an intruding fly. 

While the trichomes located on marijuana are vastly different from those on a Flytrap, that example gives you an idea of what we are dealing with when we talk about kief. Cannabis trichomes are defensive and protect the marijuana plant from hungry plant-eating critters by producing a psychoactive effect meant to deter the animal from munching. The robust and intoxicating aroma of the resin is also responsible for attracting pollinators to the cannabis plant. 

But what does this all mean for your average cannabis user?

Let’s go back to the dispensary flower you picked up that was covered in sticky crystal-y kief. When you get that marijuana flower home, put it in your three-chamber grinder (if you aren’t using a three-chamber grinder with a kief catcher, you should be), and grind it up; you will see the crystals drop through the screen into the bottom chamber. Keep grinding your bud like this, and these crystals will accumulate into a deliciously potent powder.

Does Kief Get You Higher Than Bud?

Yes. Kief has a higher concentration of cannabinoids than regular cannabis buds. Therefore, consuming kief can result in a more potent and intense high compared to consuming the buds alone. When consuming kief from a grinder, it's important to start with a smaller amount than you would typically use with buds, as its potency can be significantly stronger. The intensity of the high will also depend on the strain of cannabis that produced the kief and your own tolerance level.

How to Store Kief

Storing kief from weed properly will help maintain its potency and prevent it from degrading over time. Kief should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Try storing the kief in a ziplock bag or a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and placing the container in a drawer or cupboard. Kief can last for several months if it is stored properly. However, it is best to use it sooner rather than later for the best results.

What to Do With Kief

Now that you have this kief in the bottom of your grinder, you need to decide what to do with it. Here are a few of my favorite options for your delicious marijuana kief:

  1. Crown: The most common option is to crown your bowl with it by sprinkling it on top of your herb before you spark up. If you prefer joints to pipes, you can also add kief to your joints for a sticky-icky rolled treat. A dusting of kief can really crank up the volume on already loud (potent) strains, so be careful that you don’t over-toke on your crowned piece.
  2. Hash: If you have collected a relatively large amount of kief and want to get creative, you can make your own hash. Created by applying pressure and heat to kief, hash is one of the oldest forms of marijuana concentrates available. Technically you could make finger hash by simply rolling kief around in your fingertips, but then your fingers would be sticky and smell like weed. A less gluey (yes, that is a word -- I checked) option to create hash is to put the kief in the corner of a plastic (or reusable silicone) baggie and squish it with your fingers. Ten minutes of finger squishing, and you will have hash. 
  3. Moonrocks: In my opinion, the most whimsical and fun way to use kief is to create moonrocks. Even the word moonrock conjures up fantasy images of lunar scenes, right? Moonrocks are essentially marijuana buds dipped in or drizzled with heated weed concentrate and rolled in kief. This way of consuming cannabis will get you wicked high -- hence the name Moonrock. Be very careful with moonrocks if you are new to the 420 party, they can blast off and send you to space.

While these three uses for weed kief aren’t the only things you can do with this magical crystal powder that falls off of cannabis nugs in your grinder, they are the easiest and most common. Now that you know exactly what kief is -- make sure to keep your kief, use it wisely, and think of a Venus Flytrap every time you smoke it.

How do you use your keif? Hit me up on social media, and let's spark up a conversation and trade tips!

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