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What Is Kief and How Can I Use It?

By Danyal Swan June 6, 2022
What is Kief

If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your regular cannabis consumption, kief is a popular choice. Kief delivers a higher potency than regular flower and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Learn more about what kief truly is, what to do with it, and where to find it in our guide to cannabis kief.

What Is Cannabis Kief?

Also referred to as dust, frost, or chief, cannabis kief is the original cannabis concentrate and its popularity has only grown over the years. So, what is kief made of? The answer is quite simple—kief is a natural product of the cannabis plant. If you were to closely examine a high-quality marijuana bud, you would notice a frosty appearance across the bud’s surface. This is created by trichomes. Trichomes are small, sticky, mushroom-shaped resin glands that resemble hairs, and both produce and hold the most desirable compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, and terpenes, like linalool and limonene, give cannabis its unique scent and most desirable effects, and are produced in these small, nearly imperceptible hair-like structures.

When trichomes break or fall off the bud, they become a resinous, brown, dusty substance known as kief. It is natural for trichomes to fall, creating a concentrate that is more potent than flower and free of any additives or solvents. Dispensaries and other marijuana production sites collect kief manually by shifting cannabis buds through screens to isolate the trichome heads and remove other plant matter, such as leaves.

As kief is a natural part of the cannabis plant, collected kief is already as full spectrum as it gets. To say that kief is full spectrum means kief includes all the desirable compounds found in cannabis flower. This includes both THC and CBD cannabinoids, provided the bud in question was cultivated to produce them.

Can I Make Kief Myself?

Kief from Grinder

Whether it makes sense to create kief yourself largely depends on your personal use of cannabis flower. As mentioned, trichomes are a natural part of the cannabis plant and are heavily concentrated on the buds, providing cannabinoids such as THC. If you utilize flower at home, a three-piece grinder will provide you with quality kief over time. Here’s how.

A quality grinder consists of a top lid, a grinder, and a section that has a mesh screen on the bottom. A three-piece grinder also comes with a bottom piece, often known as a kief collector or catcher. When you grind your flower, the bud stays in the middle grinding chamber, while the trichomes are isolated in the bottom layer. Kief can take time to collect, and the flavor profile will change depending on the different flower types you grind over time. If you are someone who prefers a specific type or flavor profile, or if you want to try kief without painstakingly collecting it, buying directly from your local dispensary could be your best option. Remember that quality kief from a dispensary will be strain specific!

Can Kief Get You Higher, Legally?

So, since kief comes from the most potent portions of the cannabis bud, does kief get you higher than flower? Again, the simple answer is, yes. Kief does have a higher potency than flower and should be experienced with caution for new cannabis consumers. As with all cannabis products new to your routine it is best to start with a small amount of kief.

Kief’s concentrated nature often raises the question: is kief illegal? Fortunately, kief is just as legal as any other component of cannabis. Simply put—if you live in a location where THC is legal, kief is a natural component of the legal flower and is legal as well, just be sure to check your local and state regulations. As cannabis continues to become more accepted, both medically and recreationally, you’ll find kief legally available in more and more locations across the United States.

How Do I Use Kief?

In general, kief is best enjoyed when incorporated with flower since kief burns quickly. Flower helps to slow the burn and ensure that you get to experience all the benefits of adding this popular, natural concentrate. Here are some simple ways you can enjoy kief.

Add Kief To Your Bowl Or Joint

Add Kief To Your Bowl Or Joint

One of the easiest ways to enjoy kief is to simply add it to smokable flower in your favorite setup, whether

pipe, bong, or joint. Grind your flower first, especially if you have a three-piece grinder with a kief catcher. Then, start with a good base of the flower. Add your kief in layers using a dab tool or surface that makes it easy to scrape up the kief and spread it across your bowl’s surface. Layers help to ensure the concentrate isn’t prematurely burned before you can enjoy the full benefits of consumption.

Cannabis consumers often ask, are kief joints a waste? To put it simply, a joint completely consisting of kief could be a waste, but when added to flower, kief creates a perfect joint for responsible, potent, cannabis consumption this is because kief burns quickly due to its delicate nature. To create a joint consisting solely of kief would require a lot of product and would either burn too quickly to enjoy or give you your desired effect too soon to truly enjoy it. When mixed with flower, kief is a great addition to any joint. The right mixture slows down burn rate and modifies kief use for maximum effect.

Add Kief To Your Dry Herb Vaporizer

Vaping continues to grow as a popular method of recreational cannabis use due to its ease of use and discrete nature. In addition, medical cannabis vaping continues to become a more popular option among consumers. If you’re using a dry herb vape, you can enjoy kief along with the flower. Simply add to the flower in your vaporizer, and the kief crystals will slip through the mesh screens of the vaporizer. In this way, kief can provide an additional potency and flavor boost.

Try Kief Rosin

Kief can also be turned into rosin. This is a solventless extract that requires an experienced hand and a special machine that applies both heat and pressure, so look for kief rosin at your local dispensary. When finished, kief rosin can look like wax or shatter. It can be added to a joint, but it is recommended to be enjoyed in a dab rig due to its consistency.

Getting Creative

When it comes to cannabis consumption, the possibilities are endless. Some people prefer flower, while many others prefer vaporizers, edibles, or liquid distillates. Kief is a great concentrate in that it can be used in multiple types of cannabis consumption. Here are a few creative ways to use kief.

Kief-Infused Edibles

Edibles continue to be a great option for cannabis consumers who prefer a smoke-free method. Edibles come in many different forms, including baked goods, soft chews, and add-ins for salads, pasta, and more. In fact, there are very few food options that don’t benefit from the addition of a cannabis infusion, and kief has such a fine consistency that you don’t have to worry about straining.

The only thing you do have to consider is decarboxylating your kief. This can be done by spreading your kief in a thin layer on a sheet pan and baking it in the oven at a low temperature (below 300°). Timing varies, but it is recommended that you add 15 minutes per gram. When that process is complete, you can add your kief to melted butter to create cannabutter, which can be used for a wide range of recipes. You can also use cooking oil or peanut butter to create fun, tasty edibles that deliver.

Cannabis Moon Rocks

Cannabis Moon Rocks with Kief

Moon rocks are another unique choice that is best for those who can tolerate a high-potency indulgence. This creative concoction requires flower, distillate, kief, and a dab tool. Unlike the cannabis snow cone, instead of coating the paper of a joint wrapper, the creator will coat the bud itself. Often, moon rock creators will use a dab tool to carefully spread distillate around the bud, letting it dry in layers over time.

If you choose to make or purchase a moon rock, be sure to break up the bud with your fingers before enjoying. With a grinder, the distillate could harden, impacting your grinding capabilities in the future. It is suggested that cannabis moon rocks are best enjoyed in a glass pipe or bong to experience the flavor profile.

Cannabis Snow Cones

This recipe is ideal for those who are familiar with cannabis and its effects. This creative way of enjoying kief can be messy, but it is worth it. To put it simply, a cannabis snow cone is a joint that is coated in distillate and then rolled in kief. A distillate is an oil that has been systematically distilled to remove all unwanted compounds from an original plant. This process takes a variety of elements of the cannabis plant and strips them down to an isolated component, most often THC.

Cannabis snow cones are created using a pre-roll joint found at a dispensary, a good amount of kief, and a dab tool. The process begins by carefully spreading heated distillate around the joint, leaving space before the filter. This space is helpful in collecting excess distillate that can start to drip as the joint burns and heating it up further. Once the distillate is spread around the joint, the joint is rolled in kief and allowed to dry. As mentioned, this may not be the best option for that who are newly encountering cannabis. This is best for experienced users who understand their level of tolerance.

Where Can I Buy Kief?

Dispensaries are a great option for those that want to experience strain-specific kief. Depending on the strain of cannabis the kief was collected from, it will vary in scent and color, as well as potency. For example, if you want specific flavor profiles heavy in certain terpenes, a certain potency, or even specific effects, buying kief from a trusted dispensary can provide you with the exact experience you are looking for.

The Conclusion On Kief

Cannabis kief is a resinous form that holds the plant’s most potent active ingredients. It is best enjoyed in addition to other forms of cannabis (particularly flower) so you can control the rate of burn and get the best experience and effects. Kief is more potent than flower alone, so it is important to be mindful of your dosage. It is best to take it slow, increasing your amount by small increments until you find the perfect dosage for you.

Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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