Marijuana Kief: How Weed Leftovers Can Deliver a Better Buzz Than the Regular Product

Marijuana Trichomes

Every pot smoker can tell you that the cannabis flower contains a small, sticky pollen-like substance that covers the entire plant. This substance is called kief. Essentially, it is the resin glands that hold the terpenes and the cannabinoid that gives the flower its potency. Cannabis without kief still possesses cannabinoids, but it is the resin glands that get you high.

Kief is made up of the bulb-like crystals that form at the tip of the gland, but the substance is merely a single component referred to as trichome (also called a hair). Trichomes can be found in many plants and algae, and they serve as an aid in the evolutionary process. Some plants reportedly rely on the trichome to catch their prey. Others use it to ward off plant-eating animals. The trichome helps to produce a psychoactive effect that discourages the animal from consuming the plant altogether. The strong, pungent scent attracts insects for pollination as well as predators like herbivores.

Table of Contents

Waste Not

Marijuana KiefKeif is usually what is left over when you use a grinder for your marijuana. Often times it is wasted because it tends to stick to the grinder and is typically discarded without the consumer realizing that it can be used in multiple ways. Sifted kief can be an excellent substitute for concentrates, and it alleviates the need to purchase expensive waxes and equipment for extraction.

As a result of the large concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids in the resin glands, breaking up the kief from the plant itself can be a nice way to use marijuana and also reduce the levels of toxins ingested into your system.

How to Extract Kief

It’s a pretty simple process. You can extract kief by using a three-chamber grinder so it will be finely ground. You’ll need some kind of screen to sift it through and collect it. If you are interested in extracting a larger amount of kief you can utilize silk screening materials to separate it from the plant.

It can be difficult to get all the resin from the plant, because kief is usually 75 to 125 microns. In order to collect it all, some use a layered, makeshift sifter with multiple screens. It is best to stack the screens from largest to smallest. When looking to purchase equipment, you should look for mesh which measures between 80 to 270 LPI (lines per inch).

What Do We Do with It?

So once you have collected the kief, what do you do with it? You can sprinkle it onto a packed bowl to increase the strength of your pot pretty radically. The idea is to burn sections of your bowl at a time, this way you’ll get several hits. You can also sprinkle your kief into a joint or blunt. Because the substance is so sticky, it makes rolling up a bit more simple. If you’re an advanced pothead, you can wet your joint either by licking it or covering it with your favorite wax. Experiment with how much kief you use until you get a handle on the potency.

Marijuana TrichomesYou can also produce hash from kief since it’s nothing but hash that has been pressurized and heated in order to form the soft, green ball. In addition, hash is one the oldest kinds of processed cannabis. The pressure and heat alter the make-up of the shattered resin glands. Once shattered, the overall effects and even the taste changes. The pressure can also modify the color, so the more pressure, the darker the color of your product will be.

Fly Me to the Moon

If you have talent, you can also make yourself some “moonrocks.” These are high-quality little nuggets that are covered with oil and then rolled in kief. Moonrocks are extremely potent and can serve as a make-it-yourself concentrate. They are pretty simple to make if you have the supplies. First, heat your preferred oil and lightly cover the buds. Next, sprinkle the kief all over you buds while they are still warm. Let it solidify and break them into smaller pieces by hand and shake it over your bowl. If you don’t need a grinder for this, don’t use one, you do not want it to be too finely ground.


Kief is also perfect for producing rosin. Rosin is quickly gaining a name in the cannabis community as a concentrate that does not require a solvent to extract and preserve the cannabinoids. It is accomplished by using the flower and produces a more intense potency than you can obtain by just pressing kief. If you are trying to do it at home, you’ll need a hair straightener and some form of a vice.

Who Needs DIY?

If you want to do it the old-school way and buy it at a dispensary, just remember that the untainted kief will be lighter in color. It’ll still have its green color and there will still be a good deal of the plant matter infused. If the kief has been cleaned or processed, it transforms into a very light green, almost off-white color.

Give Your Lungs a Breather

Kief is simply a form of concentrated pot and will usually go much farther than your typical supply.

Just like everyday cannabis, you can roll it up or smoke it in a pipe or bong. As with any chemical, be careful to not overdo it. Kief is more potent, so you should use less in your bowl than typical marijuana.