What is Cannabis Shake and How Do You Know If It’s Good?

pile of marijuana showing what is marijuana shake

When purchasing cannabis flower, dispensary consumers usually have to decide between low, mid, or top-shelf cannabis flower, but sometimes there's another option: cannabis shake. For many wondering "what is cannabis shake," the answer may be different depending on who you ask. While not as potent as the top-shelf flower, cannabis shake can be a cost-efficient alternative for those looking to consume large quantities of cannabis.

Cannabis shake is used to describe the tiny remnants left at the bottom of a container (bag, jar, etc). These leftovers come from cannabis flower nugs, also known as colas. Colas are the clusters of marijuana buds that grow on the stems. When handling, excess bud scraps collect in its container over time. If they come from a high-quality cannabis strain, cannabis shake can be a great budget option for smoking, vaping, cooking, and more

Where To Find Cannabis Shake

rack of cannabis bud in a dispensary, where you can also buy cannabis shake

Dispensaries may sell their cannabis shake to not waste any part of the cannabis plant. With time and handling, specks of cannabis can accumulate at the bottom of a nug jar. Some dispensaries sell these leftovers at a lower price than the flower it came from since their potency and effects are often inconsistent. Cannabis shake may also pile up over time when stored in a jar, but tend to be dry since it takes a while for enough usable shake to accumulate.

Cannabis shake can be found in pre-roll options at some dispensaries, which may contain questionable material in the form of marijuana stems and leaves. Pre-rolls made with low-quality cannabis shake are often less potent, harsher on the throat, and not very aromatic or flavorful. The only way to ensure users are getting high-quality cannabis shake is to open the pre-roll, but that would ruin the purpose of a pre-roll.

How To Find High-Quality Cannabis Shake

close up shot of marijuana bud with visible terpenes, which you should look for when buying cannabis shake

Shake is often looked down upon as being inferior to carefully selected cannabis flower buds. There can definitely be some bad shake out there, but shake that comes from a cannabis strain with a high concentration of trichomes can be just as good as the original bud. However, trichomes are sensitive and may fall off. The even smaller hair-like resin glands that fall of flower and shake are known as kief. Look for cannabis shake that still has a decent amount of trichome concentration.

Leafbuyer Blog Flower Deals Banner

Some dispensaries may carry cannabis shake that is weeks or months-old in a tightly packed jar. Before purchasing cannabis shake, ensure that it's not too dry or too moist, which can be a perfect breeding ground for mold. Other times, dispensaries may improperly sift for leaves and stems. Leaves and stems contain very few trichomes and, therefore, cannabinoids and terpenes. Leaves and stems can also be hard to work with and are harsh to smoke.

Is Cannabis Shake Right For You?

gloved hands trimming cannabis with weed trimming scissors

Not everyone will love using cannabis shake. Medical patients that depend on certain marijuana strains may not benefit from some shake variants. Much of the weed shake that's sold at dispensaries is a mixture of multiple sativa, indica, and hybrid strains. Make sure to ask a budtender for the source of the shake before purchasing.

Cannabis consumers that don't mind the "salad" of cannabis strains will enjoy the surprising blend of terpenes and cannabinoids. Lucky users may find premium cannabis shake that comes from the same flower strain. Avoid "trim" that passes off as shake. Trim is typically the excess snippings of cannabis sugar leaves.

Cannabis leaves don't contain as many trichomes compared to flower buds. Trim can be used to make cannabis edibles and topicals, just don't expect it to be as effective as using cannabis flower or shake. Many budtenders will unknowingly refer to shake as trim or vice versa, so make sure that you're getting the right stuff.

Practical and Economical

coins in a jar showing how buying cannabis shake can save money

Dispensaries often sell their shake for less per ounce than even their bottom-shelf cannabis flower. For cannabis consumers that prefer rolling their own spliffs, joints, or blunts, shake can provide users with a large quantity of pre-ground weed ready to be packed. Cannabis shake can be perfect for large gatherings, so everyone gets properly medicated.

Marijuana shake can also make a great starting ingredient for edibles or other cannabis products. Keep in mind, shake tends to come on the dry side, so users may want to use it as soon as possible to reap the most out of their shake. Since cannabis edibles and drink infusions require a large amount of cannabis, cannabis shake can be an economical way to try making edibles and drinks at home.

Smoking Shake

rolling a joint with cannabis shake

The easiest way to consume cannabis shake is to roll it up into a joint, spliff, or blunt. Since weed shake already comes in tiny fragments, users can simply sprinkle the shake over a rolling paper or blunt wrap. If rolled correctly, shake can burn evenly, so users won't have to keep lighting it.

Vaping Shake

vape pen with cannabis next to it

Depending on the quality of the shake, vaping can be a great way to consume shake. Users may need to grind up the material further and ensure there are no leaves or stems in the mix. While vaping multi-sourced shake may not be as flavorful as single strain shake, users can use marijuana shake as a budget way to medicate.

Cooking with Shake

rice krispie cannabis edible can be made with shake

Cannabis shake and material that has been vaped can be used to infuse into oils and butter for cooking or baking. Before adding it directly to your favorite oil or butter, users need to decarboxylate shake. This means that cannabis shake needs to be heated to activate chemical compounds that turn into the sedating THC or anxiety-reducing CBD. High-quality cannabis shake can make effective edibles or cannabis-infused meals.


cannabis topical creams that can be made with cannabis shake

Making cannabis topicals is very similar to cannabis-infused butter and oil. Using varying amounts of oil can create differences in textures and consistencies when making lotions, creams, salves, and more. Cannabis shake is ready to be decarboxylated.


cannabis alcohol that can be made with shake, for people wondering what is cannabis shake

Cannabis shake can be used to infuse distilled spirits with potent marijuana flower. Beginners may want to use a budget liquor that has a clean taste to bring out the flavors of the cannabis shake, herbs, fruits, and spices used.

After users decarboxylate their cannabis shake, they add cannabis shake to a jar, fill it with liquor, and store in a cool, dry, and dark place. Shake the mixture a few times a day for anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the desired potency of the infusion.


pot of hot cannabis tea

Using decarboxylated shake, cannabis consumers can infuse their morning cups of tea with some potent weed. Cannabis tea recipes will usually combine cannabis with some sort of milk to make a cream to pair with a tea. Making tea with cannabis shake can seem like an intimidating process, but step-by-step instructions can take out the guesswork.

There you have it. If you were wondering "what is cannabis shake," it really depends on who you ask. Generally, shake will just look like ground weed ready to be vaporized or rolled into a joint. Not all shake is of the same quality, so make sure that you check for shake with a lot of trichomes and very little stems, seeds, and leaves. The best way to preserve your cannabis shake for later use is in an airtight jar in a cool, dry, and dark place.

For the best weed deals, head to the Leafbuyer deals page!