What Is Kief – A Guide To Cannabis Crystals

what is kief

What is kief? No matter if it’s an indica vs sativa strain, all varieties of cannabis have these crystals on the surface of their buds. 

It’s a concentrated form of cannabis that is produced naturally as the plant matures. Kief is rich in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD as well as a variety of terpenes, the chief compounds responsible for the plant’s aroma, flavour and effects.

Wondering what is kief and how to best use it yourself? 

Let’s find out together!

What is Kief? How do you get it?

what is kief tips

If you own your own grinder, you might have noticed that the bottom chamber is dusted with a fine, powdery substance. While cannabis plants and buds themselves hold the majority of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, the plant’s trichomes, commonly referred to as “kief,” feature almost nothing else except for kief. 

These crystals are, as you might imagine, incredibly potent and can be used in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, you’ll use up a bit of kief every single time you roll a joint or pack a bowl no matter if it’s a sativa vs indica strain or a CBD dominant strain. They tend to stick to the surface of the plant and will stay on ground bud even while you’re preparing it to be smoked.

However, if you have a grinder that has 3 chambers, kief will fall through the mesh screen and collect on the bottom. Over a period of a few weeks or months, depending on how often you grind up cannabis, you should be able to build up a sizable collection.

But the question remains – how do you use it? 

Here’s 5 of our favourite ways. 

How To Use Kief? 5 Simple Ways

Like the cannabis bud itself, kief is a part of the cannabis plant. It’s safe to be used in any way you might use regular bud, but there are a few things that you can only do with kief that you can’t do with ground up cannabis. 

Smoke Kief by Itself

Depending on the kind of kief you have, this could be either a super relaxing experience or a potent blast off into outer space. 

We’ve mentioned earlier that kief is not all that different from bud. While it does tend to be smaller, more fine and slightly more difficult to handle, it’s entirely possible to smoke it on its own. 

If you have a bong, pipe or even a joint, you could easily pack a bowl or roll a doob using nothing else but kief. Those who use CBD dominant strains will have no problems mediating the potency (and the therapeutic effects) of their CBD kief treat but for those who primarily grind up THC-dominant strains, well, you might be in for a bit of trouble! 

When smoking a kief joint, regardless if it’s an indica vs sativa or a CBD variety, it’s imperative that you make an effort to take it slow. This is not only due to the fact that kief is incredibly potent, it’s also because the kief might very well end up in your mouth if you take too big of a hit! Kief is incredibly fine and small and could make its way through the filter of a joint or through the mouthpiece of a pipe if care is not taken.

Infused in a joint or bowl

what is kief guide

While smoking kief on its own is a completely valid and safe way to consume it, it’s far more simpler to sprinkle some on top of a bowl or in a joint.

What is kief? Many users like to think of it as a garnish for a meal instead of an entree in and of itself. 

For those who enjoy joints, all you have to do is roll a joint like you normally would and sprinkle a fine line of kief down the length of your joint before rolling it up. An alternative method is to mix in your kief with your ground flower before packing it up.

For bongs and pipes, the same principle applies. You’ll want to start by laying a foundation of bud down onto the bowl before putting kief on top. This way, the kief won’t slip past through the mouthpiece/downstem and end up in your mouth. Since kief is much smaller and finer than ground cannabis, it might be prudent to mix in the kief with your ground bud instead of putting it on top. 

The high temperatures of a torch and/or lighter could just burn up your kief without you even being able to enjoy it! 

Kief drinks and beverages

what is kief drinks

Adverse to the idea of smoking? No problem. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you can simply scoop a teaspoon or few of these potent little crystals into your water as you’re preparing your favourite morning beverage to enjoy a medicated start to your day.

Worried about decarboxylation? Fortunately, the heat from the hot water used in the brewing process of your favourite hot morning beverages will be more than enough to activate the cannabis for you to feel the effects.

What is kief? It might just end up replacing your morning cream and sugar! 

Kief Edibles

kief cbd edibles

Making edibles with ground flower is obvious, but not many people have attempted the same with kief. There are a few problems that you might run into if you’re trying to use kief to make edibles but with the proper precautions in place, the process might actually end up taking a shorter amount of time than ground cannabis.

To start, you’ll need the following

  • Parchment Paper
  • Sauce pan
  • Jar
  • Cheese cloth or other strainer 
  • Kief
  • Butter or Coconut oil

In order to decarboxylate the kief and make it available for our bodies, we’ll have to bake it in the oven over low heat. With traditionally ground cannabis, you’ll need a large amount and a lot of time since the buds tend to be larger. With kief, the crystals are a lot smaller and have increased surface area which lowers the amount of time it takes to decarboxylate.

Spread out your kief on to your parchment paper and place it into the oven at 150°C for seven minutes. Monitor the temperature and your kief closely as only a few minutes can make or break the final product. Once 10 minutes have passed or when your kief is golden brown, you can remove it from the oven and leave it to cool. 

Over a medium-low heat, warm up your butter or coconut oil until dissolved and slowly stir in your kief. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and stir every few minutes over the course of an hour and a half or 2 hours to incorporate the kief into your butter or oil mixture. 

Once the surface of your butter or oil mixture starts looking glossy, you can remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, strain it through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to filter out the plant fiber from your oil. 

Voila! Depending on the type of kief you’ve used (CBD or THC), you will have now finished making your own medicated cannabutter or canna oil! Substitute oil or butter in any recipe with your homemade cannaoil/cannabutter for a tasty and medicated meal. 

If it’s your first time cooking with medicated oil, it’s best to take it slow and use half of the recommended amount. Find out what works best for you and slowly go up from there! 

Make Hash Oil

Hash is perhaps the most popular way to utilize kief. Hash is literally compressed blocks of kief that are pressed together using heat and/or pressure. Hash is typically sold in bricks and/or blocks and you’ll only need to break off a bit at a time in order to use it. You can use them in a bong, pipe or even a joint if you so prefer. 

The simplest and fastest way to make hash is to use a kief press but if you’re strapped for equipment, all you’ll need is some parchment paper and a hair straightener to make your own hash at home!

To start, cut your parchment paper until it can comfortably cover the 2 heated plates of your hair straightener.  Once covered, turn your hair straightener on to a low to medium setting and allow it to warm up. After it’s warmed, take and compress a bit of kief in your hands into a size that will fit between the 2 plates. 

Once you have your kief between the 2 plates, squeeze firmly and ensure that the plates are covering the entire mass of kief that you compressed. After 10 seconds, release your grip and you should have a flat piece of hash ready to be enjoyed! 

Are kief and hash the same thing?

kief hash

While kief and hash may look similar, they’re slightly different. Hash is a finished product while kief is the starting material that’s used to make it. 

Since hash is a pressed product using kief, hash tends to be more potent than its non-pressed counterpart. While you can easily source hash when you buy weed online, it’s slightly more difficult to find stores selling pure kief on its own. The only reliable way to get kief would be unfortunately to grind and collect it yourself! 

Final Thoughts on What Is Kief

By now, we hope you’ve come to recognize the potency, versatility and enjoyability of working with kief. A chief component of cannabis plants, this crystallized powder can be used entirely by itself, in a joint or even cooked with! 

Before you dive too deep into kief, just remember that the cannabis plant’s trichomes are magnitudes more potent than pure flower by itself. This isn’t a problem when you’re using CBD-dominant strains but might present an issue if you’re using strains that are heavy on the THC.

If you’re just starting out with this powdery substance, remember to start slow and work yourself up. Include a little bit in your joints or on your bowl before scooping it on – you’ll thank yourself later for taking it slow! 

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