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What is Kief?

by Christy Coy 4 min read

What is kief

The History and Uses of Kief

Cannabis is the plant of the century, with decriminalization and legalization (for recreational or medicinal use) sweeping the US as well as nations abroad. This has led many to explore everything this favored herb has to offer, and in the process often brings up questions about new terminology.

One such example is “Kief”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, perhaps not. Either way, the chances are high (pun intended) that you’ll come across it sooner rather than later.

Generally, kief is brought up when discussing what kind of grinder to get for your weed. Someone may have told you a specific grinder is excellent for extracting kief, to which you may have nodded your head and moved on, wondering what the heck they were talking about.

If so, then you’re in luck. This guide will explore everything you need to know about kief, including what it is, where it comes from, and how it's used.

Let’s dive in..

What Is Kief?

The term kief is used when referring to the resin glands of a cannabis plant. The crystals that can be found on the plants’ flowers and leaves are known as kief. Also known as dry sift or pollen, these crystals contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that cause a psychoactive effect when ingested. The little hairs that cover the cannabis flower are called trichomes (resin glands). 

There are actually many plants that use external trichomes as protection. The secretion from the little hair acts as a deterrent to herbivores. This discharge creates a psychoactive response when ingested that causes animals to avoid eating them. This assures that the plant will stay intact and be able to reproduce. 

How to make kief  

How to Make Kief: Separate Kief from the Plant

Extracting kief from a marijuana plant isn’t overly complicated, so long as you have the right tools to get the job done. A three-chamber herb grinder is necessary to finely grind the cannabis, allowing the kief to fall through a screen and collect at the very bottom of the mill.

There are some very well made two-chamber grinders out there, but it’s often found that the kief gets stuck to them. If you are grinding a lot at one time, using a silk-screening material would be useful. 

If you are making a sifter at home, use three or four layers of fine meshing to ensure you are getting the cleanest kief possible. When it comes to buying a fine screen, you will want to keep in mind that the smaller the LPI (lines per inch), the larger the screen will be. That means you will want to pick up meshing that is sized between 80-270 LPI for extracting the kief.

If you don’t want to bother with extracting kief at home, it can be purchased at a dispensary. If this is the route you choose to take, you want to find the purest kief you can. The more refined the kief, the lighter in color it will be. If the product looks green, that means there is still a lot of plant matter present in the mixture. Clean kief tends to have an off-white color.

What to Do With Kief

So, you now know what kief is and how you go about acquiring it. The main question is, what are some things you can do with it? There are many different uses for kief depending on what you’re interested in. 

Sprinkle it over your cannabis

One of the more popular uses. This is known as “crowning a bowl” and it adds potency to your hits. Kief can be pressurized and made into a hash as well.

what to do with kief

How to Smoke Kief

You can smoke it by itself, but kief is a fine powder and may fall into the bowl when inhaled. It also tends to hold a flame. That means that once you light it, odds are it is going to stay lit. 

How to use Kief

Kief has other uses as well. Some people put the powder into their food and beverages, making it a useful ingredient when creating edibles. It’s a good idea to use it in small doses until you understand how much your body needs to feel the effects. Kief is potent, and there are no charts to instruct on dosing just yet. 

A Brief History Of Kief

Kief is a substance that has been around for thousands of years. No one knows exactly when it was discovered. There are stories of the ancient Chinese people “sifting” hashish by using fine silk. It is also reported that Moroccans collected kief and used it to make cakes, taking care not to burst the trichomes in the process. History tells us that kief was used by early people, but doesn’t get really specific as to when and how it was used.

With a better knowledge of what kief is and where it came from, feel free to join in on those conversations you used to avoid. We may not know exactly what the ancient people did with their kief, but uses for this versatile powder are worth exploring. 

Got a THC test coming up? Check out: Passing a Drug Test