What Is Kief and What To Do With It?


Did you know that kief is not just the name of a rapper – it’s also a byproduct of marijuana?

A close examination of a cannabis bud will reveal sticky, tiny, powder-like crystals. Inside each resides minuscule resin pockets holding the highest concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids – organic compounds that can alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. The terpenes and cannabinoids give cannabis its medicinal value.

These resinous pockets are also known as “kief.” They are in such high concentration that you might not need the rest of the plant. It can be easy to make from home, but it is far safer to purchase it from a dispensary.

However, before trying this particular substance, it’s recommended that you get some education on what it is, what it does, and how to use it. Read this article before embarking on your first kief experience.

What Is Kief?

Kief usage dates back thousands of years. It was traditionally mixed with spices, dates, and nuts to create majoun in Morocco. In the West, it was a prime concentrate before the rise of solvent-based concentrates.

On the market today, the drug is sometimes nicknamed “dry sift” or “pollen”. The concentrate itself is part of a “trichome.”

Trichomes are the bulbous glands on leaves, buds, and stalks of cannabis plants and are only about 50 to 100 micrometers in diameter. This sticky surface is quite common in nature. Carnivorous plants use trichomes to trap their prey. In the case of cannabis, it is the plant’s way of warding off herbivores.

Trichomes resemble little white hairs from a distance and stalk with heads when examined up close. Kief is supposed to be just the head without the stalk since the head holds the most terpenes and cannabinoids. When separated from the plant, this powder is considered a concentrate.

The Benefits

The high concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids within kief presents a few benefits. Here are some of the top ones:

  • Strength: Kief is about 40 to 70 percent THC. Compare this to the typical 12 to 25 percent of a traditional flower, and the potency becomes apparent. If extracted carefully, it is possible to obtain 99% concentrate.
  • Safe and easy collection: It takes minimal equipment and investment to collect kief. It is quite safe to collect, especially in comparison to solvent-based concentrates.
  • Efficiency: Since kief is so pure, there isn’t any unnecessary plant matter, allowing your lungs freedom from other harmful byproducts.
  • Versatile: You can add kief to a cannabis flower, bake it into an edible, or any number of other options.

How to Use and Make Kief

Close up image of a ball of kief on the table

Extracting kief from cannabis plants is quite simple and safe. It starts with a high-quality flower. If you are extracting at home, try these two tools:

  1. “Kief box” that filters various grades of flower to obtain the pure parts.
  2. Three chamber grinders with built-in filtration screen to separate the flower and kief.

Boxes and grinders allow you to separate kief from the rest of the plant. Once separated, you can add it to joints or pipes as desired.

Kief boxes utilize micro-screens to filter out the product and extract the tiny trichome heads. You need to filter down to the heads to avoid excess plant matter, trichome stalks, and other particulates.

Once you practice enough, your kief will become purer. Some can reach “99% sift,” which is almost entirely pure trichome heads.

Some companies also offer ready-made kief, so you can also skip this part altogether.

In terms of use, you can do a few things to use it. Try one of these:

  • Smoke it on its own as a joint. Remember it’s purer than the flower, so start small. Kief’s richness is released best without direct burning, but rather with gentle indirect heat and smoking through stainless steel or titanium.
  • Sprinkle it onto a flower by adding it to your bowl. This method creates a stronger “kick” and increases the effects.
  • Bake and eat it as an edible. With edibles, the general recommendation is to consume about a third or half of what you usually use when subbing in kief when cooking due to potency.

If you are making kief at home, avoid vaping or dabbing. It melts, so it will ultimately leave an unpleasant taste and clog the vaporizer with residue.

Other options for consumption include moon rocks or twax joints. The options outlined here are a great kick-start if you are new to this form of cannabis.

Always remember that it’s very potent. Kief has a stronger effect than regular cannabis. You won’t need a high dose, especially if you are new to the drug, to achieve the desired results.


You may be asking yourself, Is it that simple? Yes, it is! You simply need to understand what kief is, separate it from the plant, and use it in some of the ways outlined here.

Take the time to collect and refine before you smoke – and you are on your way to being a kief chief in your own right.

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