What is Cannabis Kief?
Kief is the term for the crystal-like formations on the bulbous tip of the resinous trichomes which give a cannabis plant its frosted appearance. The tip of the trichome is where the highest concentration of the psychoactive phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is stored.
Trichomes serve as a vital defense mechanism against herbivores. The disorienting psychoactive effect experienced by a herbivore which has eaten any part of the plant coated in this resinous substance acts as a powerful deterrent and saves the entire plant from being eaten.
How to Extract Kief from the Cannabis Plant
The simplest way to extract the THC-rich kief from the rest of the plant is by using a three-chamber herb grinder to sift and collect it. If you use a two-chamber herb grinder, you risk losing coveted kief crystals as they fall off and stick to the inside of the grinder.
If you are extracting larger amounts of kief, then it is a good idea to use simple screening materials. Many people create their own makeshift sifters to save money. Layered screens placed on top of one another are an excellent and cost-effective way of sifting and extracting kief from the rest of the cannabis plant material.
It is important to bear in mind that kief tends to range in size between 75-125 microns (one-millionth of a meter, yes, that is minuscule!), so the number of wires or lines per inch (LPI) on your sifter is crucial in achieving the best results. A general rule of thumb is the larger the screen, the smaller the LPI number. It is recommended that you opt for a sifter with a mesh between 80 and 270 LPI.
If you don’t want to sift your kief and would prefer to purchase it at a dispensary, then the color of the kief will give you an indication of its quality. The purer the kief, the lighter the color will be. If the kief has a greenish color, then it also contains a considerable amount of plant material and therefore is less pure. Kief with an off-white color will be much purer and be by far the better choice.
How to Consume Kief
Now that all this kief of yours is separated from your cannabis bud, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it. There are quite a few options to choose from when deciding what the best method of consumption will be: Smoke it, add it into edibles and cannabis loaded dishes, make moonrocks, make hash; the possibilities are practically endless. Keep reading below to discover each method.
“Crowning Your Bowl”
Pack your bowl as usual into your pipe, chillum, bong or other smoking device. Grab a pinch of your fresh kief and sprinkle it over the packed bowl. This greatly increases the potency of each hit. It is a good idea to “corner your hits,” which means burning a quadrant of the kief-crowned bowl at a time so that you get multiple hits from it.
Sprinkle it in a Joint or Roll a Twax Joint
You can enhance your joint’s potency by sprinkling some kief into it. The amount of kief you add will obviously determine its potency so opt for an amount that you can handle. Less is more if it is your first time adding kief to your joint.
More experienced cannabis smokers often dampen the outside of the joint by licking it or using cannabis wax, before adding kief to the top third of the joint. A joint which has been coated in kief is often referred to as a “twaxed” joint.
If You Want to Cook With Kief
Probably the simplest method of cooking Kief into your food is by mixing it into hot oil in a saucepan on the stovetop on low to medium heat. This method is ideal when making THC-packed sauces. Add in the desired amount of kief directly to a batch of your preferred oil. Use a spoon to slowly stir the Kief in as the oil becomes hotter and hotter. Once the Kief has soaked in the hot oil for 20-40 minutes, add in your final sauce ingredients and continue cooking. Pour the sauce over whatever dish you are enjoying (this is amazing when making cannabis Kief pasta!).
Add Kief to your Cannabutter
Why not try adding some kief to your cannabutter to give a potency boost? Whether you decarboxylate your cannabis in an oven or crockpot, be sure to mix your kief with flower to achieve the best possible results.
Coffee and Tea From Kief:
Producing tea and coffee drinks that include the powerful morning or afternoon punch of THC-potent kief is a simple task, requiring very little additional effort with plenty of added medicinal and recreational benefits.
When desiring a little extra something in your morning cup o’ Joe, simply add a pinch of this pollen into your cup and stir thoroughly using a teaspoon or stirring stick. Yes, it really is this simple, primarily because the heat from your coffee will activate the components of kief that get you high, allowing you to enjoy the benefits quickly, with very little work to be done by you. A pinch is plenty for a single cup of coffee or one cappuccino/latte.
Brewing tea with kief is not too difficult either. If you are steeping a loose-leaf tea, simply add a pinch of kief into your sifter or disposable tea bag. 1 pinch is the perfect amount for a 6-8 fluid ounce cup of tea, but be sure to increase the amount if you plan on brewing an entire pot.
Another method, which is even more simple – just throw the pinch directly into your cup of already steeped tea, stir thoroughly, sip and enjoy. Just as with the coffee, the hot water of the tea activates the components (THC, etc.) within the Kief.
Make Moonrocks from Kief
Moonrocks are fairly self-explanatory once you learn what they consist of. A moonrock is classified as a high-quality/top shelf nugget of herb (cannabis), which is then dipped in oil and coated in a layer of powdery Kief, similar to a vanilla ice cream popsicle dipped in chocolate and coated with a topping of your choosing.
The purpose of going through this DIY process is to create a super potent, highly medicinal bud that can be broken up with your fingers and used in a bowl for smoking. Avoid using a grinder on your moonrock as it will break it up too finely and all of your efforts will have been in vain.
Best of all, make these moonrocks from the comfort of your very own home and create what the 420 world is calling “a quick DIY concentrate”. Just follow these simple steps:
- Select your favorite cannabis bud from the batch of ganja you have available.
- In a small saucepan on low heat, heat up an oil of your choosing (using Cannabis Oil or CannaButter adds for an extra potent layer of ganja, but sunflower, coconut or canola oil work just fine too).
- Hold your bud by a corner and dip it into the hot oil, liberally coating the nugget in this sticky substance.
- While the oil has not cooled yet, sprinkle Kief over your bud and watch as it attaches itself effortlessly to the nug. An additional possibility if you have a bountiful amount of pollen on hand, is to roll your oily buds in a dusty bath of Kief powder, getting each tiny section of nug coated in this therapeutic and healing substance. Allow the coating to cool and harden.
- Break up the (now) moonrock using your fingers, throw it into your favorite bowl, light up and enjoy!
With these 5 simple steps, you can really get the most out of your delicious, green herb.
How to Store Kief
Although opinions vary about the best way to properly store Kief so that you lose as little as possible and also keep the freshness, it seems that the overall general consensus is that pollen is best stored in an airtight glass container. These containers can be purchased in a variety of sizes and styles, but just focus on choosing an option that best suits your needs. Think about these two factors: How much Kief will you be storing? For how long?
Placing a small metal, wooden or plastic spatula into the jar to extract the kief with will help to scrape any excess powder left on the walls of the jar and keep the contents within fresh and clean. If it appears that a large quantity of kief is sticking to the walls, throw your glass storage jar into the freezer for a few hours. This should help to loosen up the kief from the walls of the jar, allowing you to reach in with your small spatula and access any of the powder you previously thought would go to waste.
Make Hash from Your Kief
In simple terms, hash is formed when kief has been heated and pressurized. The combination of heat and pressure causes the resin glands to rupture. Not only does this affect the composition of kief, but its appearance and taste, too. Hash resembles a soft, green ball in structure. The more pressure you apply, the darker in color the hash will become. Hash has a slightly different taste and effect than kief.
Press Rosin with Your Kief
Rosin is becoming an increasingly popular form of cannabis concentrate among the cannabis-loving community. With rosin, you have all of the benefits associated with preserving those wonderful cannabinoids, but you also avoid the potentially harmful effects of consuming a cannabis concentrate with a residual amount of a toxic solvent in it.
While rosin is more typically derived using the flowers of a cannabis plant, you can achieve an even better and more potent concentrate by pressing kief. Professional methods of creating rosin utilize high-pressure presses, but the good news is that you can make your own rosin at home using basic household devices. Check out the link below (after you have finished reading the rest of this article, of course) to find out how to make rosin at home:
Related Article: What is Rosin? Here’s Our Complete Marijuana Guide
Which Strains are good choices for extracting Kief?
The clue is in the name. This strain is heavily coated with milky-white trichomes, which gives an indication of its potency. This hybrid is a cross between a Brazilian sativa landrace and the resinous South Indian indica. The White Widow strain is known for its high THC content, which ranges between 20-25%, making it an excellent choice for kief lovers.
The Hash Plant strain is a cross between two indica strains, namely Northern Lights and the Afghani strain. Like the White Widow strain, the Hash Plant strain is heavily frosted with resinous trichomes.
This potent and pungent strain is held in high regard among the cannabis community for many reasons. It has spawned some legendary strains such as Sour Diesel and OG Kush and has virtually secured a place for itself in the cannabis hall of fame. Chemdog boasts a THC content that ranges between 15-20%.
Final Thoughts About Kief
As you can see from reading this article, extracting kief from your cannabis plant is pretty simple, and once you have done so, there are multiple ways to enjoy it. Hopefully, this article will have answered your questions about kief and given you some new ideas as to how you will use kief in the future.