- Dr. Ajay Rajesh, MD
- Knowledge Base
Kief — Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Kief
If you are in any way familiar with smoking weed, you probably know that the active ingredient of the marijuana plant is a chemical called THC. THC is what makes you high. Now, this begs the question, which actual part of the typical marijuana plant contains THC? There’s actually a specific part of the pot plant that contains the bulk of THC and, interestingly enough, it can actually be filtered so you can enjoy a very potent experience. This portion of the weed plant is called pollen or Kief, among many other terms (keef, kif, cannabis kief, weed kief).
Weed Kief/Marijuana Kief
People have been asking what Kief is. It really is a fairly cheap and natural byproduct of marijuana. It comes from the resin of the cannabis plant. People also call its source “bud resin.” If you are smoking weed for medical purposes or you just want to enjoy the strongest high you could ever get from marijuana, it’s a good idea to pay attention to Kief.
There is a lot of misconceptions regarding it. There are also many different ways to optimize your enjoyment of pollen or Kief. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything you need to know about Kief.
What Is Kief?
Cannabis Kief refers to the specific part of the marijuana plant which stores THC. THC is the psychoactive compound of marijuana. This is the chemical that gets you high. Kief forms a part of the marijuana plant’s trichomes. Trichomes are minuscule, whitish plant hairs. When you hold up a bud against the light, you will see small crystals clustering around what looks like hairs.
These crystals that seem to glow against the light is the marijuana resin. This is the good stuff. This is where the THC is concentrated. If you were to shake your marijuana buds so that these crystals fall off, a lot of your pot’s THC will fall out. You can still get a tremendous amount of medicinal cannabinoids, but very little THC.
These cannabinoids can be used for a wide range of medicinal purposes from treating epilepsy to depression to nausea and others (learn more here), but you’re not going to get high. If you’re looking for the most optimal way to figure out what Kief is, to recognize it, to sift and store it, it’s actually fairly straightforward.
When you look at your marijuana bud, try rubbing your fingertips on the surface. Do you notice that there’s a lot of powdery stuff sticking to the surface of your fingers’ skin? That stuff is the bud’s trichomes. That’s the Kief. If Kief is sticking to your finger, then THC is sticking to your finger.
This is where things get a little messy. Unless you’re using specialized grinding or sifting equipment, it’s going to very hard to separate Kief from your typical run of the mill marijuana bud. You have to use a Kief collector or Kief sifter. Without these devices, you’re still going to enjoy your marijuana bud, but the Kief will end up wasted. A lot of the time, this material just sticks to the wall of your bowl, pipe or vaping device.
You will still get high. That’s not the problem. The problem is, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to maximize the THC power of your Kief.
You have to use a grinder that is specialized for Kief extraction or separation. You can also use a specialized sifting system or a trim tray. The objective here is to collect Kief so you can enjoy it later. The simplest solution for Kief separation is a herb grinder that has three chambers (called a chamber grinder). This is the simplest and the most effective way.
You get a lot of dust particles in the bottom of your grinder. This is your Kief. Don’t let its dusty or crystalline look fool you. Each of those tiny nuggets contains a tremendous amount of THC. The tragedy is, if you were to just load your bid into the typical bowl or vaper, most of this stuff will end up sticking to your device’s walls.
You really can’t use that stuff unless you scrape it. When you use a Kief screen along with a trim bin, you end up grinding your bud and at the same time, the pollen is sifted and separated from the bud that you are grinding. You end up with two products. You get green bud for smoking and the nice tray at the bottom has this rich thin layer of crystalline THC for your later enjoyment.
There are many devices that have been specifically produced for catching Kief. Whether you’re just out to smoke weed or you’re looking to trim your pot, there is no shortage of Kief catchers or Kief screen products out there to help you achieve your goals. Make sure that whatever you’re looking at is specifically designed to capture as much pollen as possible.
In fact, when you look at the typical Kief catcher or Kief screen product, they don’t really cost all that much. They don’t really pack that much of an additional cost compared to typical bud grinders. However, if you don’t have that much cash, you can just get a couple of sifting screens that have a very fine grade. Layer these together to create a Kief capture chamber.
When you are grinding up weed at the top, the Kief will settle at the bottom. The secret here is to make sure that the screens are the right size. You don’t want the screen to be so small that it actually blocks the Kief. What size are we talking about? Well, Kief usually has a size ranging from 75-125 microns.
Based on this information, your screens should at least be 100 to around 270 lines for every inch of surface. Use the options described above so you can start collecting your own marijuana pollen for a wide range of uses.
Ways to use kief
Now that you have gone through the process of collecting marijuana pollen, what exactly do you do with it? There is actually quite a range of things experienced marijuana connoisseurs do with Kief. Remember, you’re not doing something that the average marijuana smoker does. You’re not just getting some buds, packing it in a bowl and lighting up.
You’re doing something that optimizes and enhances your marijuana enjoyment experience. In this regard, there is really a wide range of options you can take. First, you can smoke these crystals as is. You can also mix them into marijuana cookies and fudge brownies and other edibles. You can even make what many marijuana enthusiasts call “moon rocks.”
You can also come up with your own personal stash of hash. And the list goes on.
If you think about it, the only limits to what you could do with Kief are your imagination and creativity.
If you just want to get down and smoke some of those THC-packed crystals, there are two ways to do it.
“Garnish” Your Bowl
By sprinkling your typical marijuana bowl with Kief, you get a nice little kick. Basically, this is the most straightforward way to smoke Kief. As usual, pack up your bowl. Normally, you grind up some buds or you crush your herb and put it in your bowl. Maybe you’re using a bong, a water pipe, a hookah, a Chillum or a pipe, it doesn’t matter. Just pack it up.
Then before you light up, take a pinch of freshly collected Kief and sprinkle this over your prepared bowl. Believe me, every hit you draw, you get lifted so much higher. This is due to the fact that you are actually ingesting way more THC than usual. It’s not being wasted because it ends up sticking to the side of your bowl.
Pack Some Kief Into A Joint
Anybody who has had any kind of experience smoking weed is at least exposed to the process of rolling a marijuana joint. I’m sure you don’t need me to walk you through it. It’s pretty clear-cut if you have in any way, shape or form enjoyed this herbal gift from the gods. To add a little Kief into the action, you just have to prepare your rolling paper as you normally would and then grind up your weed.
Now, before you roll up the ground bud that is already placed into the rolling tray, pinch a small amount of Kief and slowly sprinkle it over the mixture. Please understand that when you handle Kief with your fingertips, it’s going to get sticky. Again, this is almost pure THC, so you’re probably going to have a lot of sticky resin.
You’re going to have to roll it and then drop little portions all through the length of the joint. It’s very important to make sure that this is evenly mixed. You also don’t want to overdo it. Start with a small amount and then try to evenly space the rolled up Kief that you sprinkled into the body of the joint. Roll up the joint as usual, lick both ends and let it dry for a little bit.
Once the joint has properly dried, it’s ready to get lit up and your next stop is probably the moon. It’s a great way to get high very quickly and cheaply with fewer materials. Your friends will especially like the extra touch of Kief once you start passing that joint around. Keep in mind that this is a great idea if you are smoking weed for recreational purposes.
It’s an even better idea if you are smoking it for medical purposes. The extra amount of THC in the stuff that you’re smoking can greatly increase whatever medical benefits you’d like from pot.
Making Kief Edibles
Since Kief is essentially crystallized THC, a lot of people who prefer to consume marijuana in the form of cookies, fudge brownies, cakes, and muffins, have naturally been curious about incorporating Kief into their cooking. After all, whether you’re looking to make marijuana sauces, a cannabis-based pasta sauce or pot-infused hot sauce, you’re basically taking things to a much higher level (pun intended) when you add Kief into the picture.
The most basic way you can incorporate Kief into your cooking is to create Kief oil. It’s that basic. How do you do this? Just put some oil in your saucepan and put it on your stove, set at low or medium heat. Once the oil has heated up enough, sprinkle whatever amount of Kief you desire. Slowly stir the oil and Kief together using a spoon.
You have to do this as the oil’s temperature increases slowly. After around 20-40 minutes have passed, add whatever sauce ingredients you would like. Maybe if you’re making Pomodoro sauce, you add tomatoes. If you’re creating a hot sauce, then you put in your pureed boiled peppers. If you’re making a white sauce, you put in butter and flour. It’s pretty straightforward.
The key here is to make the Kief oil first. Another way to use Kief for cooking is to make it your base for cannabutter – butter infused with cannabis. Again, just like making marijuana-infused oil, you just add butter to some sort of crockpot or something similar. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle the amount of Kief you desire.
It’s important to stir the butter and Kief mixture. Usually, stirring between 10-15 minutes is good. This allows the Kief to thoroughly soak. This is a very slow process. It takes about 4-5 hours of crockpot cooking for your cannabis-infused butter to achieve a high enough potency. If you do this right, the THC in the Kief pollen will actually end up binding with the fat of the butter.
Once you have your Kief butter ready, just mix it in with whatever recipes that call for that herb-infused ingredient. Maybe you’re going to be making cookies, brownies, German chocolate cake, you name it. All of these require a nice base of cannabutter. Now you know how to add a little Kief into the mix to spice things up.
Making kief moon rocks
I love the term “moon rocks.” It’s basically a nugget of high-quality marijuana herb which has been oil-dipped and then coated with powdered Kief. Sounds yummy? It’s kind of like those popsicles that you had as a kid that was first dipped in some chewy thick chocolate. After the dipping, it’s quickly sprinkled with all sorts of topping like peanuts or candy sprinkles.
Think of moon rocks as popsicles or ice cream from marijuana. You end up getting an extremely powerful bud that packs quite a bit of medicinal power. The best part is it’s very easy to pick apart with your fingers and smoke in a bowl. The key here is to avoid using some kind of grinder. A lot of people make this mistake and they end up not getting that extra powerful hit that they desire.
How can they? Whatever extra potency the weed could have given you was lost because you ground the bud and the crystals stuck to the walls of your grinder. To make moon rocks, follow the steps below.
- Step #1
Pick out the very best bid from your marijuana batch.
- Step #2
Using a saucepan on a stove set on low heat, heat some oil. Preferably, you should use cannabis-infused butter or oil. This gives you an extra kick of THC. If you don’t have access to those specialty ingredients, canola or coconut or sunflower oil will do.
- Step #3
Hold the bud with tweezers by its corner and slowly dip it into your hot oil. Coat your nugget liberally with this oily, sticky substance.
- Step #4
Before the oil fully cools, start sprinkling Kief all over the bud. Watch carefully as the pollen sticks to your nugget like a magnet. If you have enough Kief available, you might want to roll the oil-infused buds over a nice thin layer of crystal Kief. This way, every part of the marijuana nugget will be thickly coated by the THC-laden Kief.
If you want to max as much healing, therapeutic and mind-expanding power into your marijuana bad, you might want to make sure that every square millimeter of your bud is covered in Kief. Once you are satisfied with the coating of your bud, let it air cool. You will notice that an external shell of essentially pure THC crystallizes or hardens around your bud. Neat stuff.
- Step #5
Now that you have created your batch of moon rocks, here comes the fun stuff. Using your fingers, crush the moon rocks and put it in your favorite smoking device and light it up for a nice, awesome trip.
Using the five easy steps above, you can definitely turbocharge the enjoyment you get out of your favorite green herb.
There is a number of schools of thought regarding the proper storage of Kief. The bottom line is to store this amazing ingredient and preserve its life, freshness and potency without any waste. Although there’s quite a bit of a discussion regarding different storage mechanisms and practices, there is one area of consensus: Kief is best preserved using glass containers that are airtight.
There is no shortage of online stores where you can buy glass containers that have strong sealing capabilities. These are available in a wide range of styles and sizes. Everybody is different. Everybody has different tastes. Look for the right size of glass container and make sure that it keeps air out.
Once you’ve got your container, store your Kief in it. Again, this is pretty straightforward. The big issue is getting your Kief out of it. This usually requires some sort of plastic or wooden spatula or even a metal utensil. Whatever you choose, stick it into the glass jar and extract the crystal Kief. Also, scrape whatever powder sticks onto your jar’s walls.
Pay attention to how the Kief settles in your jar!
If you notice that a lot of your Kief ends up on the walls of your jar, don’t worry. There is a simple fix. Take the jar and put it in a freezer for at least a couple of hours. This should be enough to loosen up pollen from your jar’s walls. This way, you would be able to access most of the THC powder. It really goes a long way in cutting down on waste.
Kief: The Medical Benefits
Just like with any freshly trimmed marijuana buds, people use pot to treat all sorts of medical conditions. Generally speaking, they can be broken down into broad headings like chronic nausea, mental illness or mood conditions and chronic pain. The list is actually quite long. Still, you can rest assured that Kief packs the same amount of medical benefits that people associate with marijuana.
The big difference is since Kief packs a lot more THC potency per gram, you can bet that if you are looking for additional or enhanced healing power, Kief can definitely take care of you.
Kief’s Medical Potency
This is actually quite hard to do because it all depends on the strain of weed you got your Kief from. There are many kinds of weed varieties currently on the market. Some are extremely strong and are widely recognized as medical grade. Others are fairly light and are intended primarily for party or social purposes.
The potency of the Kief really depends on what kind of strain you collect it from. This is why it’s a good idea to buy marijuana based on the benefits that you want. If you have a tough time sleeping at night, you have some mood disorders or personality issues, so you need to just relax quickly, you might want to look for certain strains that specialize in these effects.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for just a social experience, then there are bud varieties specifically bred for that. Whatever the case may be, when you get your weed, follow the steps I’ve given you earlier in this article to filter the pollen that you get from your stash.
With that said, here are some common medical symptoms that people self-medicate with cannabis. By looking at the information below, you can make an informed decision on strain selection. Again, try to match the symptom with the right strain.
Chronic pain marijuana strains
The following strains have historically been used by pot smokers to treat chronic pain conditions.
- Jane Doe
- Cali Mist
- Lemon G
- 5th Element
- White Siberian
- Night Nurse
Nausea marijuana strains
- Allen Wrench
- Three Kings
- Black Widow
- Jack the Ripper
- Thin Mint
- Girl Scout Cookies
Stress, anxiety, and depression marijuana strains
The following strains have historically been used by pot smokers to treat all sorts of mood and psychological disorders like depression and generalized anxiety.
- 9 Pound Hammer
- Casey Jones
- Lamb’s Bread
- Mango Kush
- LA Confidential
- God’s Gift
- Strawberry Cough
- Green Crack
- Blue Dream
Bulimia or anorexia marijuana strains
If you are suffering from any kind of eating disorder or you have a tough time improving your appetite, you might want to use the following marijuana strains. These have been tried and traditionally recommended for all sorts of eating disorders, as well as for people who lack appetite.
- Full Moon
- Iced Widow
- Asian Fantasy
- Marionberry Kush – this hybrid is named after an infamous Washington DC mayor
- Hash Plant
- Sweet Tooth
The Best Kief Weed Varieties
If you’ve been wondering which cannabis varieties pack the highest amount of Kief, wonder no more. The following list takes all the guesswork out of your search. If you’ve been experimenting on your own and smoking lots of weed and trying out different varieties, the search may be fun, but it can also be very frustrating.
To cut your experimentation short, so you can go straight to the good stuff as far as your Kief odyssey goes, here are the top marijuana strains you should definitely look at if you seek to maximize your Kief collection.
Girl Scout Cookies
One of the best marijuana strains you could ever use to strain for Kief is the crowd favorite, Girl Scout Cookies. This hybrid pot variety is world-renowned for its consistently high THC content. In fact, few other marijuana varieties can even come close when it comes to consistency.
Now, don’t get me wrong, many varieties can produce a lot more THC. We’re talking up to north of 30%. The problem is, they produce it in a range. If you’re lucky enough to get a batch that really knocks your socks off, chances are quite good that your next batch is not going to do that good of a job.
A little bit of consistency goes a long way. When it comes to this quality, Girl Scout Cookies is extremely reliable. This explains why it’s so popular. It doesn’t matter whether you get it from a local medical marijuana dispensary or from a recreational pot source, it delivers THC like clockwork.
We’re talking about a consistent 28%, approximately. Another factor going for it is it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other pot strains with the same potency. Generally speaking, people use or smoke Girl Scout Cookies to deal with mood, personality or mental issues like stress, generalized anxiety or depression.
It has been proven to lift people’s moods. Also, if you suffer from extremely painful headaches like migraine headaches, this is the ultimate Kief source for you.
White Fire OG
White Fire is a Sativa variety that has been praised for its very uplifting effects. As you can tell by the name of this variety, it’s actually a hybrid combination of Fire OG and The White Sativa variety. Clocking in with a THC potency of around 22-30%, White Fire OG is sure to deliver a tremendous Kief batch.
It is packed with marijuana pollen. If you’re looking for pollen that is just heavily loaded with TCH resin, you can’t go wrong with White Fire OG. People who have used it consistently report that it is a great pot variety for boosting creativity. It’s great for the mood. If you are feeling in any way down or uncertain, this is sure to light up your mood.
A lot of people who are in the creative arts and I’m talking about dancers, painters, singers, you name it, vouch for the potency and creativity-boosting powers of this variety.
Gorilla Glue #4
Pot lovers from all over the world sign off on Gorilla Glue #4. In fact, this variety is not exactly a newcomer. It has been a popular strain for several decades now. It would be safe to say that this is one marijuana strain that is a true-blue classic. You can’t say that for the typical pot buds you find in your average recreational weed shop or medical marijuana dispensary.
This pot variety is named after one of the strongest adhesives in the US market for a good reason. When you run your fingers through the buds, it gets really sticky. You end up with a nice, sticky mess on your fingertips. If you scrape that and put it in the bowl, you’re in for a good time.
This is why if you’re looking for a nice 25-28% THC concentration, Gorilla Glue #4 has you covered. How solid is this weed variety? Well, let’s put it this way. It did not win several cannabis cups for no reason. This is the real deal.
This marijuana variety is not exactly well-known. Compared to Gorilla Glue #4 or Girl Scout Cookies, King Tut is a relative unknown. It is a hybrid, but its Sativa parentage predominates. We’re talking about an 80-20% mix between Sativa and Indica. Given its genetic composition, it’s no surprise that a lot of people who smoke King Tut report a nice burst of clean energy with massive spiritual or mood uplifting effects.
This is a big deal if you are a student looking to get a nice boost for your imagination or problem-solving abilities. Also, if you are an artist and you’re looking for a nice push to get you out of a writer’s block or if you’ve reached some sort of artistic impasse, this might be the weed for you.
What makes King Tut turn a lot of heads is that it sometimes peaks at 30% potency. You read that right. This humble variety can pack as much THC as 30%. It is no surprise that a lot of people say that this is extremely powerful stuff.
The downside to King Tut is that it’s not as consistent. You might get one batch where you get a 30% hit and then another batch that pretty much lets you down because your expectation got set to 30%. The biggest group of people who use this strain are medical marijuana smokers. These are people who deal with stress, insomnia, depression, nausea, inflammation or chronic pain.
King Tut has a slightly fruity scent to it. In terms of taste, it’s got an earthy and dark note to it. People actually look forward to its taste because it’s distinctive, kind of like people who prefer dark chocolate.
Kief vs Hash – The Differences
Believe it or not, there’s really not much difference between hash and Kief. Kief has primarily collected pollen so you get this nice, powdery dust, which is very loosely packed. In fact, it’s not packed at all. It just settles naturally through the sifting process. Hash is the precise opposite of this.
Hash is made out of the same stuff. We’re talking about the THC-packed crystals that are found on the outside of the buds of a marijuana plant. The big difference is, Hash is compressed and is a product of a high-pressure process. If you are looking for a quick and easy hash alternative, you don’t have to look any further than Kief.
You just filter your weed and you have yourself some Kief. The big difference between the two, however, is when you compare on a gram per gram basis, Kief is not going to get you as intoxicated as hash, not even close. If we’re just going on a purely weight-based system, hash always comes out on top. Why? It is densely packed.
If you’re looking at the amount of THC packed into each unit of weight, hash wins all day, every day. With that said, a lot of people simply have different preferences. Some like that nice, powdery quality of Kief. They like the fact that they can sprinkle it over their coffee or use it to crown their next bowl.
Others prefer the tried and proven traditional solid hit of hash. The good news is, there’s really no right or wrong answer here. Everybody is entitled to their preference. But if you are looking for a massive hit in as lightweight of a form as possible, you can’t go wrong with hash.
Making Tea/Coffee With Kief
Making coffee and tea drinks with Kief is a great way to start off your morning or add a much-welcomed kick to your afternoon. The great part about this is that it’s actually quite simple. You just need to know what to do and you will add quite a bit of recreational fun, as well as medicinal benefits to your typical coffee and tea drink.
If you’re looking to add a little something-something to your daily cup of Java, just punch some of this magical Kief pollen and add it into the coffee cup, then treat it like you would any other cup of coffee. This means that you use a stirring stick or teaspoon. It’s that simple. It’s not rocket science. It’s pretty straightforward.
Before you know it, the active ingredient of Kief kicks in and you have this beautiful, radiant smile on your face and you’ll be able to put up with whatever nonsense your boss throws your way (haha!). Make no mistake, a pinch of Kief goes a long way when it comes to your latte, cappuccino or coffee.
Making tea using Kief is not rocket science either. You just take the loose leaf teabag, cut a little hole in it, add some Kief and dip it into the hot water. That’s all there is to it. As a rule of thumb, I would use one pinch of Kief to make around 6-8 ounces of tea. If you are brewing whole pot, you obviously have to pinch more Kief and add it into your mix.
If you’ve already steeped some tea, you can just pinch some Kief, sprinkle it into your tea and let it settle in, stir it, maybe add a few drops of lemon and honey and you are good to go.
Medical grade high potency Kief is truly a massive blessing for people looking to use weed for a variety of medical or recreational purposes. It isn’t hard to collect this substance by yourself. It’s fairly easy. It’s fairly straightforward. You don’t really need a lot of equipment. It doesn’t feel like an inconvenient process.
It is our hope that you use the Kief guide above to help you fully unlock the tremendous value that marijuana pollen or resin brings to the table. Like always, make sure you check the research presented above for informational purposes. This is purely for entertainment and information processes. You have to remember to use your personal discretion when using any kind of cannabis product.