In the world of cannabis, kief is not getting the attention it deserves. That’s a shame, because this is some pretty darn potent stiff! In this blog, we take a closer look at kief, a special type of harvested cannabis.
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What Is Kief Cannabis?
Kief is a potent residuel product that often stays behind after cannabis buds are dried, processed, or ground in a grinder. We tend to carelessly brush it off our fingertips or discard it while cleaning our grinder or stash box. That is a crying shame – you’ll find out why below!
Whenever dried cannabis is processed, it sheds some of its trichomes. These are the tiny white ‘crystals’ decorating mature buds, which contain most of the THC, CBD, and other active cannabinoid compounds of the plant. Trichomes also contain terpenes, which determine the flavour and scent of cannabis as well as some of its effects. In nature, they help protect the plant against predatory insects and other threats.
Since kief contains little plant materials compared to its trichome and terpene load, it is more potent than most dried colas or hash products. That make it all the more interesting for cannabis connoisseurs!
The Word Kief
You may think that Kief is Dutch slang for trichome powder, but that’s not why it looks so very un-English. Kief, or kaif ( كيف), to be more precise, is an Arabic word for ‘narcotic’ or ‘pleasure’ – and as soon as you get a taste, you’ll see why.
Collecting Kief Cannabis
When cannabis is harvested on larger scales, farmers often smoke the kief that sticks to their hands for themselves. Since harvesting whole fields is not something many of us will ever do, however, special grinders are available that are designed to ease collecting kief. These consist of three or four sections including a fine mesh sieve to separate kief from other plant material. At the bottom of these grinders, a fine layer of light coloured power builds up, without the usual green bits of plant material. This is a vert easy way of collecting your own kief.
Use the grinder as you normally would, but after grinding, tap it firmly against a hard surface to make the kief fall to the bottom section. It may take a while before you have enough kief in your grinder, bit it sure is worth the wait!
You can also collect kief with regular grinders, but you’ll have to watch out for other plant material mixing in with the kief powder. If you’re careful, however, you can still get kief even without a special grinder.
Cannabis Kief Applications
Obviously, you’ll want to make the best use of any kief you manage to collect. There are in fact many ways to do so, since kief is one of the most versatile of all cannabis products. Kief can be smoked, eaten, or turned it into concentrates such as hash or rosin. We’ve l;isted the favourite applications of kief below.
Roll With It
The easiest way to use kief is to just roll it into a joint along with crumbled flower or hash, as this will add depth to the experience. However, for the creative-minded, coating joints in kief presents a great challenge. You can either lick the rolled paper and dust it with kief, or you could use honey instead of your tongue. This makes for joints that look like works of art, with noticeably boosted effects.
Just like regular cannabis flower, kief can also be used to make edibles. Mixing it with ingredients such as butter, honey, or even wine can turn it into great baking and cooking material. Do make sure the kief is heated to decarboxylate it, or it will have little to no effect. Online, you’ll find loads of yummy recipes for anyone willing to get creative and treat their friends to a very special meal.
Making hash from any collected kief is very easy. Simply picking it up and rolling it between two fingers will result in a little ball of kief. This is actually the same technique that Moroccan cannabis farmers have been using for centuries. After collecting the harvest, the wind up with enough kief on their hands to roll it into a sizeable ball of ganja goodness.
Hash can also be produced using more advanced techniques, though. In fact, we have this full blog to explore making hash in more detail.
Another interesting way of using kief is by adding it to one’s coffee or tea, which is a simple matter of sprinkling it into a cup or pot. The liquid’s heat will help the kief dissolve and activate the cannabinoids. As with all edibles, it can take up to 90 minutes for the digestive system to absorb the cannabinoids. Likewise, the resulting high is bound to last much longer than the effects of smoking kief instead.
Cannabis connoisseurs with a penchant for following Instagram accounts will undoubtedly recognise the following shot. Picture a bud placed between two pieces of parchment paper being pressed with a hot (curling) iron. Now envision a gorgeous thick yellow treacle oozing out, gleaming in the light. This substance is called rosin, and it’s easy to make out of kief and cannabis flower, too!
You’ll only need a sheet of non-stick paper and a curling iron or regular iron. Place the kief between two layers of paper, heat it, and collect the resulting rosin – it’s that simple! Take care to keep the heating device at minimum temperature though, or the heat will ruin all the flavour by scorching the terpenes. Since rosin is separated from the other plant materials, it is more potent than regular flower. This has obvious consequences for the effects, both from a medicinal and a recreational perspective. There will be less of it than the flower originally placed in the press, however: that’s why rosin is called a concentrate.
Rosin is not the same as resin, by the way. Resin is another type of processed cannabis product, which occurs in several forms. In essence, resin is the sticky substance naturally found in resin glands or trichomes containing the cannabinoids. Resin is thought to shield these active components from UV rays in sunlight.
Processed resin is made by freezing harvested flower and then using chemical extraction to collect the active compounds. Rosin, by contrast, is the concentrated product that remains after compressing kief or entire buds under high pressure and moderate heat. This involves no solvents, which makes for a more natural product. Do keep in mind, however, that rosin can be made from all sorts of different plants: it is not always ft for consumption!
Kief, A Cannabis Grower’s Bounty
No matter what, all cannabis growers will have to work towards a harvest before they can get their hands on some kief – or some kief on their hands. As all cannabis plants produce kief, any strain can be used to obtain it. Kief is a very pure form of the active components found in cannabis. That means it can be very potent, but it can also bring across the flavour of a strain’s terpenes in a very clear way. Anyone growing their own weed can have access to kief as a (side) product of their harvest. Kief expresses the full bouquet of particularly tasty strains, since it does not contain the acrid flavours of plant material or chlorophyll. That makes growing special taste sensations such as Tangerine G13 or Spicebomb seeds even more interesting.
All in all, then, kief cannabis is a special grower’s bounty: a reward for the patience invested in the harvest. Of course, ordering the finest cannabis seeds is the first step on the road to that reward, so we suggest making a good start here…