As cannabis becomes increasingly accepted by the masses, a new generation of stoners is starting to learn more and more about this versatile plant. And as more people become familiar with cannabis, they will also naturally become curious about the vast array of cannabis products that exist outside of traditional buds and oils. For example, cannabis flowers can be used to create a huge number of products, from wax to shatter – and that’s before we even get into byproducts like kief. So, what is kief and how do you use it?
The term ‘kief’ – sometimes spelled ‘keef’ and sometimes called “pollen” – refers to the dried trichomes of the cannabis plant that have dried and broken off from the plant. Trichomes are the resinous glands that form on the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. They look like tiny crystals covering the surface of your cannabis buds which, as they become oxidised, begin to turn a darker colour which can vary from mid-gold to brown. Kief is also sometimes called “pollen”.
These tiny crystals are naturally high in desirable cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. For this reason, kief is widely considered to fall under the umbrella of cannabis concentrates. Kief is very similar to hash in that each product is made from the trichomes of the cannabis plant. However, the main difference between these two products is that hash is slightly more refined. But the most appealing thing about kief, in particular, is the ease of making and using it.
How do I collect kief?
If you’ve got any cannabis buds lying around, then you also have a ready supply of kief. All you have to do is learn how to collect it – and with the right grinder in your collection, it couldn’t be easier. Most four- and five-piece grinders feature a second collection chamber, often complete with a sieve designed to filter out kief. So, all you have to do is grind up your cannabis as usual.
As the plates in a traditional tooth grinder break down the leaves and flowers, the trichomes will fall off the buds and be filtered through into the bottom chamber of the grinder. It may take a while, but after a few sessions, you should have a pretty good haul of kief. Some grinders also come with a scraper so you can be sure to scrape up all you’ve collected and more get to using it more easily.
You can also collect and refine kief using a more extensive selection of filtration screens. It is possible to purchase wooden boxes with these screens built in – these are usually known as ‘kief’ boxes. With this method, you can manually rub your cannabis buds onto the silk screens to encourage the trichomes to separate from the leaves and flowers. You may choose to put your kief through a number of these screens, starting with the largest mesh to the smallest, to filter out any remaining plant matter.
How do I use kief?
The high cannabinoid concentration of kief means that is significantly more potent than the cannabis buds that it is collected from. However, kief lacks the selection of compounds like terpenes and flavonoids that help to give cannabis its versatility. For this reason, many stoners like to add a sprinkle of kief, in addition to bud, to their joints and vaporisers or even to the bowls of their pipes and bongs (often called “crowning a bowl”), rather than using it on its own.
As we alluded to earlier, it is also possible to make hash with kief. This is done by pressing the pollen into “bricks” and applying a small amount of heat to help set the hash. Once completed, hash can be added to joints or smoked on its own. You can also use kief for pressing rosin – a type of cannabis extract made by pressing plant matter between two heated plates. Finally, if edibles are more your thing, you can add your saved-up kief to cannabutter for a quick potency boost to whatever you choose to cook up.
Like cannabis in general, kief is a versatile product that can help to diversify your usual weed routine. So, next time you’re grinding some bud, be sure to check in the bottom chamber for kief – it’s such a shame to waste it!
Popular grinders with kief catchers
Want to start saving your kief? We stock a number of quality 3 and 4 part grinders on the leafie store that have a kief catcher.