Kief is the term for the accumulated trichomes, or resin glands, sifted from cannabis flowers through a mesh screen or sieve. Trichomes secrete a sticky resin containing the terpenes and cannabinoids that give cannabis its unique qualities. As concentrated resin glands, kief is a potent form of cannabis. It can be sprinkled on top of joints and blunts, infused into food, or pressed into hash.

what is kief?
Kief is the term for the accumulated trichomes, or resin glands, sifted from cannabis flowers through a mesh screen or sieve.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

How to collect kief

Many grinders, typically those made of aluminum or stainless steel, come with a kief catcher, which is the bottom chamber of the grinder below the screen. As you grind your bud, trichomes fall through the screen and collect in the catcher. Once you've accumulated a decent amount, use a scraper to remove the kief.

If you're looking to process large quantities of kief at home, you can purchase a kief box, which typically has two chambers — one for sifting cannabis flower and the other for catching kief. Put your cannabis into the chamber, close the box and shake. As you shake the flower, the trichomes fall off, get sifted through the mesh screen, and end up in the kief side of the box. 

How to use kief

Sprinkle it on top of a bowl, joint, blunt, or into a hookah

Sprinkling a generous dusting of kief on the top of a packed bowl, joint, or blunt can dramatically increase the potency, making for a more intense and longer-lasting high. Adding kief will also cause the cannabis to burn slower, extending the time it takes to smoke — perfect if you enjoy long smoke sessions with friends. If you're a fan of smoking shisha out of a hookah, you can sprinkle it on top of the tobacco before adding the hot coals. 

kief bowl Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Create cannabutter

You can use kief to whip up a homemade batch of cannabutter and turn that into cakes, brownies, salad dressings, etc. When using kief in your favorite edibles, remember that it's not decarboxylated yet so make sure to expose it to enough heat long enough to activate the THC or you may be disappointed. That being said, kief is concentrated trichomes so a little will go a long way. 

Make moon rocks

Kief can also be used to make what are known as moon rocks. To create moon rocks, high-quality cannabis flowers are covered in hot oil and sprinkled with kief. Once the rocks harden, they can be broken up (don't use a grinder) and smoked, delivering a very potent high. Moon rocks typically average more than 50% THC. Some people also use the term cannabis caviar but, technically, that's nugs dipped in concentrate, minus the final dusting of kief. 

what are cannabis moon rocks
Kief can also be used to make what are known as moon rocks.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Add it to tea or coffee

Heat activates cannabinoids, so if you add kief to hot beverages such as coffee or tea, it can produce similar effects as edibles. Expect the effects to kick in 30 minutes to two hours after you consume. 

Kief vs hash vs dry sift

You may be wondering what's the difference between kief and hash or what's dry sift. And you wouldn't be alone. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably but there are differences. 

Kief

As we've discussed, kief is a potent form of cannabis created by an accumulation of trichomes, or resin glands, sifted from cannabis flowers with a mesh screen or sieve. It has a loose, powdery appearance, leading some to call it trichome dust.

Hash

Hash is a hardened, solid piece of compressed kief. It's possible to make hash at home by collecting enough kief, folding it between two pieces of wax paper, and pressing with your hands, a hair straightener, or an iron. There's even a story online of people folding kief in small squares of wax paper and placing them in the heel of their shoe. Supposedly, the heat and compression from walking around for just an hour or two forms the kief into hash. 

what is hash?
Hash is a hardened, solid piece of compressed kief.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Hash

Hash is a hardened, solid piece of compressed kief. It's possible to make hash at home by collecting enough kief, folding it between two pieces of wax paper, and pressing with your hands, a hair straightener, or an iron. There's even a story online of people folding kief in small squares of wax paper and placing them in the heel of their shoe. Supposedly, the heat and compression from walking around for just an hour or two forms the kief into hash. 

Dry sift

Dry sift can be another term to describe kief because the dry trichomes sift to the bottom of a grinder. But it more typically denotes the process of collecting large amounts of kief in commercial cannabis operations. 

Frequently asked questions

Is kief dangerous?

Kief offers high concentrations of THC, but when consumed cautiously, it presents no more of a danger to the consumer than cannabis concentrates, extracts, or edibles. 

Does kief get you higher than bud?

Gram for gram, yes, though it depends on the strain and consumption method. Since kief is concentrated trichomes, it's inherently more potent than bud of the same strain. That's one reason some consumers prefer to use small amounts of kief to boost the potency of other forms of cannabis, rather than just consuming kief itself. 

What is the point of kief?

Kief is another form of cannabis concentrate but one that collects automatically at the bottom of a cannabis grinder. If you already grind flower to vape or smoke, you've got kief on hand. And because it's concentrated trichomes, it's more potent than the flower it fell off of. It only makes sense to harness the sticky resin and use it somehow. 

Is kief illegal?

If you live in an area where cannabis is illegal, yes. Otherwise, it depends on whether concentrates are legal where you live. Consult a local attorney for specifics. 

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on April 26, 2021.