What is kief? For starters, it’s the most ancient cannabis extract.

Originating in the Middle East and North Africa from at least 900 AD, the tradition of kief collection and use has come a long long way since the days of old.

In the past, it was used primarily as a potent stash to smoke, along with being the main ingredient for getting your hashishmaking skills on.

But today, it’s a completely different story.

With the changing paradigm of cannabis unfolding right in front of our eyes, cannabis enthusiasts are discovering ever more ways for kief’s use – from making more refined concentrates like live resin, rosin and bubble hash, to being an ingredient for the endless menu of delicious and nutritious edibles.

So with this detailed guide to everything kief at your disposal – you’ll know the most effective ways of how to make and use it. 

Here’s what we’ll be breaking down.

Table of Contents


So lets begin.

 

What is Kief? Before There Were Many, There Was One

Figure 1: Kief has transitioned through many different names throughout the years. Click for a better view.

If cannabis plants were a Christmas tree, kief would be the dazzling array of ornaments and lightbulbs responsible for its glistening appeal.

Bright indeed.

But cannabis plants aren’t pine trees, so kief doesn’t shine as light bulbs and ornaments do. Instead, it plays its radiating role as the white microscopic crystals found on the surface of plants.

So essentially what kief is, is the collection of these tiny crystals.

How much THC does kief have?

And since these white crystals are produced on the tip of a cannabis plant’s resin glands, they’re cannabinoid and terpene rich, packing a much heavier punch than smoking dried flower.

Some range kief’s actual THC content in-between 20-60%, depending on factors like the cannabis strain’s potency profile, the purity of the kief and the methods used in extraction.

Clearly, kief is prized by enthusiasts all over – near, far, past and present.

But there’s more to kief then what it does for us humans. Well, in a direct sense anyway, because it also plays a survival role for cannabis plants.

Kief, the extract that gives and protects

Figure 2: The more pure kief is, the more off white in color it will be. If your kief is more green in color, you’re looking at lower grade kief with plant matter mixed in.

In fact, kief is also known as dry-sift or pollen, and you’ll find it in many other plants throughout nature, having an incredibly important evolutionary function.

For instance, it protects marijuana leaves from the sun’s rays. It acts as a repellent to herbivores by being a hallucinatory appetizer that discourages further munching. It helps guard against frost, protecting plants from the elements by reducing evaporation – and a whole lot more!

In other words, kief is a naturally producing, psychoactive-inducing protector for plants far and wide.

Yet ironically for the cannabis plant species, kief does the complete opposite for us humans, pulling us in for its many medical benefits, which warrants the question –

how can it be best collected?

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How to Make Kief? In the Comfort of Your Own Home

As the paradigm of cannabis slowly changes worldwide, there are more tools and technologies being used to collect kief from dried buds every day.  But not every method is created equal – especially for the do-it-yourself kief collector. We’ve detailed the most effective ways if you plan on doing some collecting at home.

Use Mesh Screens

The first way to get kief is by removing the resin glands by sieving them with extremely fine mesh screens of different sizes. This is a more manual method than some of the others on the list.

You can create your own screen at home by using 3 to 4 layers of these mesh screens, which should be stacked in order of screen size from largest to smallest.

If you’re going to create your own makeshift screen, then make sure you pick screens that measure 100 – 270 lines per inch. Kief is microscopic and measures between 75 -125 microns.

The great thing about using mesh screens is that you don’t need any kind of solvent or chemicals! So it’s a win for sustainability.

Use a Three-Chamber Grinder

An easier method for collecting your precious resin glands is by using a three-chamber grinder. This method takes place whether you intend to or not because as you’re grinding away, kief gets stored in a small compartment.

Convenient right?

Alternatively, with two-chamber grinders, no other compartment exists. Instead, kief sticks to the grinder and renders it as a shade of what it once was.

Using a Grinder Coin in Your Grinder

Figure 3: By using a grinder coin, you’ll hack your way into collecting more kief.

For the perfect grinder set-up, one hack for better kief collecting is to use a coin that fits all nice and snug in the center. Here’s how it works in a nutshell.

Start with grinding your cannabis as you normally do. Then, assuming you’re using a three-chamber grinder, place the coin in the second chamber where all the kief is being collected. Then, store the grinder in the freezer for 30 minutes. After doing so, take the grinder out, shake it for a few seconds, open up the third chamber – and VOILA!

More kief at your fingertips.

NOTE: For better results, remember to clean your coin and grinder beforehand!

Using a Kief Box/Sift Box

With a kief box, you’ll be collecting larger amounts of kief in shorter periods of time. What more can you ask for?

Okay, probably a lot more, but change those entitled pants just for a sec.

Figure 4: The screen in a kief box might just be the most effective in way in collecting for the do it yourself enthusiast.

Because kief boxes have meshed screens inside, and it’s designed to filter kief off of cannabis buds with just a few shakes of the hand.

And while you’re at it, why not up the ante and have a few kief boxes in each hand while your shaking. This ensures more kief within the same time frame.

Sure, there’s a little physical exertion involved, but if you work for the cannabis experience, we assure you the moments where your under its alluring ways will be so much more memorable.

Master Pollinator/ Pollen Master

Okay, this method isn’t meant for the ‘normal’ do-it-yourself kief collector, but it’s interesting to know what tactics the more committed players are using – like the master pollinator.

A master pollinator is a commercial pollen collector that’s build to tumble weed using an electric motor. You still would need to freeze the cannabis before doing so, but the machine sieves and removes trichomes using different screens – in 15 minutes!

Talk about grade-A kief in a hurry!

So now that you’re aware of the number of ways kief can be collected, here are some of the best ways you can start using it.

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What to do with Kief: The many ways to enjoy it

Kief can be used in so many ways – from smoking outright, to making edibles, to making a whole host of other more refined concentrate. First, let’s explore the most common ways of using kief, then we’ll finish with some of the more complicated application methods.

 

How to Smoke Kief:

Roll a Joint

Figure 5: One option for a more than memorable evening is rolling a kief blunt.

Using a joint to smoke kief is exactly how it sounds. You can create a kief only blunt. Or you can sprinkle it in the middle of a regular joint so it’ll burn more evenly. And that’s it!

Use a Vaporizer

If you’re not already familiar, vaping kief is a healthier option to smoking it. With its high THC content, remember to use a smaller amount than you would for regular flower. If you’re having trouble finding the right vaporizer, this article will help. 

Use a Bong or Pipe

Try dropping your kief on top of a bowl with some bud packed underneath for a spicier cannabis experience. Remember to only light a portion of the bowl, otherwise you’re not making the most of your cannabis.

 

Use Kief to Make Pot Edibles

Cannabis cooking with concentrates like kief opens up a whole new world of recipes, particularly when kief is used to make cannabutter or cooking oil, which are the foundational ingredients for most recipes.  

To begin, you need to decarboxylate (decarb) your weed in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Then, in a saucepan, simmer a mixture of butter and water in low heat. As you’re doing so, drop in your oven baked buds. Lastly, strain the leftovers and what you’re left with is a simple, cannabinoid rich base for cooking. See here for a cannabutter recipe.

If you prefer using cannabis-infused cooking oil instead, you can mix kief in with a preferred oil using a saucepan, then let it simmer under 118 degrees celsius for 4ish hours. The result will be a sauce ready to assist with any meal. Here’s a more detailed recipe for cannabis-infused cooking oil.

The options are endless with cannabis-infused butter and oil, and the dosage can be tailored to your personal tolerance as you experiment.

Use Kief to Make Weed Tea or Coffee

Once you’ve become an expert cooking with kief and sprinkling cannabis oil all over your pasta, you can try starting your morning by adding a small amount (¼ gram) of kief to a cup of hot tea or coffee. For more details check out this recipe that will have you making the finest morning brew.

Important to note, the effects normally take place within an hour of ingesting, but don’t be alarmed if it takes close to 2 hours. There are so many factors that contribute to this, where  a slow metabolism is one!

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Final Thoughts

Hopefully the next time you see these tiny resin glands accumulating in the bottom of your grinder, you’ll be able to put your kief to good use.

Sprinkle it into your joint with tobacco for an extra buzz. Make potent concentrates like bubble hash, live resin or moon rocks. Produce large-scale quantities with a Pollen Master. Create edibles with some yummy canna-oil or cannabutter.

However you choose to make kief and whatever way you choose to use it, you’ll be well on your way in not only being a cannabis creative, but an efficient one in that.

What is kief and what should we do with it? Oh we’re way beyond that!

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I'm a staff writer at Herb Approach News, dedicated to providing insight about everything in the new, emerging cannabis space. How exciting it is! But this wasn't always the case. Before focusing on cannabis, I spent several years writing in the B2B space, crafting consulting content for small businesses and startups. And if you're really interested, before that I spent a handful of years finishing my Bachelors and Masters in Creative Writing and Publishing. Outside of writing, I can be summed up as a coffee addict, voracious reader and life-time traveller!