If you’ve ever closely examined your bud or used a grinder, you’ve seen and stored kief, whether intentionally or not.  The fine, white crystals that coat cannabis flower are called trichomes and their highly potent bulbous tips form kief. In addition to serving a protective evolutionary purpose for the cannabis plant, kief has an array of recreational uses too.

What’s a Trichome?

Trichomes are present on the buds and leaves of mature cannabis plants, and their potency comes from the high concentration of cannabinoids they house.

The hairy white coat covering your bud is the accumulation of these resin glands

Trichomes serve a protective purpose for the cannabis plant.  The mushroom-shaped appendages create a physical barrier between insects and the plant’s flower and leaves, and they also produce a powerful psychoactive effect that leaves predatory animals too dazed to finish their meal.

How to Collect Kief

If you want high-quality kief, you need high-quality cannabis. You also need to make sure that as little plant matter as possible is mixed in with the kief. Kief with a green hue has a lot of plant matter, but blonde or light tan kief is a purer variety. Because the resin glands contain so many cannabinoids, kief is more potent than flower, but less potent than concentrates.

If you’re looking for something a little stronger than bud, kief is a great place to start

If you use a grinder, you already collect kief. If your grinder only has two chambers, that kief is wasted. However, a three-piece grinder has a specific chamber that collects the kief through a mesh screen filter.  You can also create your own kief collector with a series of layered screens with even finer filters the closer the screens get to the bottom collection chamber.

8 Ways to Use Kief

Kief can be used much like flower or concentrate. It’s more potent than flower, but not quite as strong as concentrates, so it provides a great balance for a variety of uses.

Add it to your bowl

Though you can smoke your kief straight up, this can be a bit messy and intense because of kief’s powdery texture and potency.  Give your bowl an extra punch by coating the sides with a layer of kief and sprinkling some on the top of your bud.  Kief burns quickly and until it’s all gone, so lining the sides will help you stretch your supply. Remember, kief is powerful stuff, so you don’t need a lot of it to get a big effect.

Roll it in a joint

This is the same concept as adding it to a bowl. Since kief is so powdery, trying to smoke it by itself isn’t as efficient as interspersing it with flower.  The bud will hold the kief, and the kief will give the smoke an extra kick.

Mocha kief latte

Adding kief to your hot coffee is one of the most popular ways of kief consumption. The coffee’s heat will decarboxylate, or activate, the cannabinoids present in the kief. Since kief is loaded with cannabinoids, it doesn’t take muchCannabis Crystals: 8 Uses For Your Kief Stash to get a buzz. Just add about half a gram to a full gram of kief to a 6 oz drink.  There isn’t much research on the effect of mixing cannabis with caffeine, but a 2011 study on squirrels concluded that the caffeine actually enhanced the high. Also, both caffeine and cannabis stimulate dopamine secretion, causing users to feel pleasure.

Cooking with kief

Kief has a much subtler taste than cannabis flower, but all and more of the cannabinoids. This makes it an excellent addition to a meal.  Make some kief butter to add to any meal or just add kief directly into your cooking. Remember to decarboxylate the kief before cooking with it to ensure that the cannabinoids are activated.

Chai Kief

This is the same concept as infusing your coffee with kief. Much like an edible, you will experience a long-lasting body high that begins 15 to 30 minutes after consumption.  Infusing the kief with milk may increase the potency since fat helps to extract the THC, but you can also decarboxylate the flower and mix it with other tea leaves.

Hash it up

Hash, or hashish, refers to the separation of the trichomes, or resin glands, from the cannabis plant material. Sound familiar?  It should.  While kief is dust-like in texture, hash is kief pressed into a dense mass for easier consumption. You can make hash from kief following this very simple recipe.

Ingredients:

Kief

Wax paper

Glass jar and lid

Instructions:

Place kief in the center of a square of wax paper

Fold the wax paper over the kief into a tight rectangle or square package. You may need to tape it closed.

Fill the jar with boiling water and tightly screw on the lid. You will be rolling the jar, so make sure that the lid is shut and that you have cloth or mittens to handle the hot glass.

For 8-10 minutes, continuously roll the jar over the packaged kief.

Place the packaged kief in the refrigerator and let it cool for 30-60 minutes. The cool temperature makes it easier to remove the hash from the wax paper.

Vaporize it

You can vape kief by pouring it into a vaporizer the same way that you would flower. You can also sprinkle it in along with your flower. If you want the convenience of vaporizing oil over bud (easier to clean, more potent because of THC’s fat solubility), you can follow this recipe to make kief oil.

Store it

The more flower you smoke, the more kief your bound to naturally collect. Since kief is so potent, you probably don’t want to use all of it at once, but throwing such a versatile and powerful part of the cannabis plant away would be a waste.

To store kief, make sure that you keep it in a dark, cool place

You can store kief in a container as it is, or you can compress it with pollen presser to form tightly packed kief disks.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.