What is Kief? And How Do You Use It?
Kief can completely change your smoke sessions when used correctly but not everyone knows how useful and worth saving this magical weed pollen is. This article explores what kief is and its many uses in enhancing your joints, bowls, and even edibles. We’ll talk about collecting and storing kief and its more advanced benefits like making hash and weed butter.
Kief is part of the cannabis plant that you can harvest. It’s used to achieve a different type of high as it is a concentrated form of THC. It’s as versatile as the plant itself and can be smoked or consumed.
How do you know what to do with kief? Here are all the details on this more potent part of cannabis, how to collect and use marijuana kief.
What is Kief?
Kief is the bulbous crystal formation on the tip of a resin gland. It contains terpenes, which are the oils that give cannabis varieties distinct flavors. It also contains cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds (THC, CBD, etc.) that cannabis flowers secrete.
Kief is one part of the plant’s trichome or “hair.” Trichomes are sticky and smelly, which makes them great for attracting pollinating insects. Many plants have external trichomes. Carnivorous plants use these sticky trichomes to trap their prey. Plants like cannabis use trichomes to deter herbivores from eating them. The idea is that, if an animal eats part of a cannabis plant, it will get high and won’t want to eat any more. It’s also unlikely to return. Trichomes also can protect plants from extreme weather conditions.
Marijuana without kief still contains cannabinoids. But the resin glands that develop on the flower buds are more potent, resulting in a more intense high. The more intense experience is what attracts people, especially those who have smoked for a while and built up a tolerance, to kief. Separating kief crystals from plant matter is a unique way to consume cannabis. Kief’s strength makes it a great alternative to concentrates like wax.
We know there are a lot of long, scientific terms here, so let us sum it up. What is kief? It’s the crystal-looking stuff on the plant that you can collect. You can use kief in different ways that result in unique smoking experiences.
How to Collect Kief
Collecting kief is relatively simple. People typically use a grinder or a kief collecting box to gather it.
The most common and simplest method of collection is using a three-chamber (or more) grinder. Grinders, which usually are aluminum or stainless steel, come with a kief catcher as the bottom chamber below the screen. The grinder finely grinds your cannabis while letting kief crystals fall through the screen and collect in the bottom compartment. Once you’ve collected enough, you can use a scraper to remove the kief.
Waste is the only problem with using a grinder. The kief crystals fall off of the dried herb and stick inside the grinder. That’s where the scraper comes in. Despite this little setback, a grinder still is the easiest and most popular way to collect kief.
You can use kief collecting boxes to gather larger quantities of kief. A kief box has two chambers — one for sifting cannabis flowers and the other for catching kief. You put the cannabis into the chamber, close the box, and shake it. As you shake the box, the trichomes fall off of the flower. They then sift through the mesh screen and end up in the kief side of the box. It’s almost like sifting flour.
What Can You Do with Kief?
You collected the kief, now how do you use it? There are various ways to consume kief, from adding it to things you’re already smoking to creating completely new products. We outlined six of our favorites.
Keep Kief as Your Emergency Weed
Many people stockpile keif and don’t smoke it often. They want to know that if they ever run out of weed or can’t somehow end up without a bowl to smoke, they can rely on their collection of potent and tasty kief to fill up a bowl or one-hitter. What’s excellent about kief as a backup to your regular stash is its potency. Just a chillum full of kief is as strong as a bong rip, so it can save the day if it’s all you have
2. Use Kief to “Crown a Bowl”
The most common way to smoke kief is to sprinkle it on top of a packed bowl. Doing so dramatically increases the weed’s potency, creating a more intense and longer-lasting high. Adding kief also causes the cannabis to burn slower, which extends the time it takes to smoke. Slower burn time makes for a great smoke session with friends. Be sure to corner your hits to get the most out of a kief-crowned bowl. Just in case you don’t know, cornering your hits means burning a quadrant of the bowl at a time. It lets you get more hits.
3. Roll Kief into Your Next Joint
You also can sprinkle kief into a joint before you roll it. You just mix the kief with the ground flower, making sure it mixes well. Then roll the joint as normal. The extra trichomes will stick to the ground leaves, adding potency to the joint.
4. Get Creative with a “Twax Joint”
You can get creative when adding kief to the inside, outside, or tip of your joint. This is called a “twax joint.” A twax joint is a good alternative to dabbing.
To make a twax joint, you need:
- Marijuana Concentrate. It doesn’t matter what kind, but something waxy works best.
- Cannabis Buds. Choose whichever strain you like best.
- Lighter. For obvious reasons
- Dabbing Tool. A dabbing tool will make it easier to work with the concentrate.
Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you have a couple of choices about how you want to make the twax joint.
To put the kief on the inside of the joint:
- Use a lighter and the dabbing tool to melt the concentrate so it’s easy to spread.
- Spread the melted concentrate on the rolling paper, from top to bottom.
- Spread the ground buds, mixed with kief, throughout the rolling paper like normal.
- Seal it up and enjoy!
To roll kief on the outside of the joint:
- Roll a joint, making sure it’s tightly rolled and a bit longer than usual.
- Use a lighter and the dabbing tool to melt the concentrate.
- Roll the top third of the outside of the joint in the concentrate.
- Then roll the same area in kief.
- Let it dry, then light and enjoy!
Twax joints are super potent and give you a strong fuzzy feeling. Because of the potency, people who’ve built up a tolerance tend to smoke twax joints.
5. Kick Up Your Next Batch of Cannabutter
You can use kief in cannabutter, which is weed-infused butter. You can use it in any recipe that requires butter, including cakes, brownies, and candy.
The most important thing to remember when making cannabutter is that you have to decarboxylate the flower you’re working with first. If you don’t, you’ll get weak or inactive butter. This is because cannabis buds produce a non-intoxicating substance called THCA. Heat converts the THCA to THC, which delivers the high. That means you still have to heat the cannabis to an appropriate temperature before you use it to make butter. It’s like activating it.
Once you have your cannabutter, creativity is your only limit. Here are some of our favorite edible recipes.
Just remember, kief is concentrated trichomes, so just a pinch will do.
6. Make Discs Using a Pollen Press
Another way to consume kief is by making kief discs. Kief discs are small, circular pieces made of compressed cannabis crystals. You use a pollen press to make the disks. A pollen press is a tube with twist off caps at each end. To use the press, you remove one end and fill the tube with kief. You then apply pressure by reattaching the end, pushing the kief together and creating a little disc. Some people like to wait a few hours or a day to let the kief consolidate before removing it. Either way, remove the ends and the disc when you’re ready. Then you break up the disc and smoke it in small pieces or smoke the whole disk at once.
Have problems getting the disk out of the press? Next time, put a small piece of parchment paper between the kief and the ends before you press to avoid sticking. The paper should make it easier to remove the pressed disc.
7. Create Your Own Moon Rocks
More advanced smokers may want to use kief to make Moon Rocks. Moon Rocks are cannabis flowers covered in hot oil and sprinkled with kief. Advanced smokers use Moon Rocks because they’re super high potency. Think 50% THC when most flowers average about 20% THC. Moon Rocks aren’t for amateurs.
Moon Rocks are expensive at dispensaries (about $25-$35 a gram), but you can make them at home.
To make Moon Rocks:
- Select a nug or two of your favorite bud/flower.
- Grab your favorite concentrate. If it’s thick, heat it until it’s liquid.
- Use a dropper to cover the bud in the liquid. Don’t just dip the bud in the liquid. If you oversaturate it, it will take longer to dry or be difficult to light.
- Use tongs to roll the bud in kief until it is covered.
- Dry the newly-made Moon Rock until it’s ready to smoke.
Remember not to smoke a Moon Rock on a whim. You need to prepare for this experience. A lot of times people smoke weed, then go on with the activities they planned for the day. You cannot smoke a Moon Rock and expect to be productive.
Shop Our Favorite Products for Collecting and Smoking Kief
What is kief? It may be something you’ve just been throwing away. Stop that! Because it’s really an alternative for people who want to change their smoking game. Whether you just want a different experience or you’re looking to get a stronger high, kief is the answer. Ready to see what the big deal about kief really is? Visit 420 Science, the most trusted online headshop, to order supplies like a grinder, pollen press, kief boxes, and whatever else you need for the full kief experience.