As you get more into cannabis culture, you discover that there is a whole world of products outside of flowers and edibles. Dab, extracts, and shatter are all popular items at Michigan marijuana dispensaries. You’ll also find more old world and exotic byproducts like hash. Kief (which is sometimes spelt “keef”) is an unusual marijuana concentrate in that it can be made at home without any additional chemicals or heat for extraction.
Kief is a product that is collected off the cannabis flowers themselves. Kief is found in the tiny hairs on buds, known as trichomes, which are also where you will find the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes.
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How Strong Is Kief?
The main reason people seek out kief is its strength compared to the whole cannabis flower. Where flower has THC concentrations that range from 12 to 25%, very pure kief can be up to 70% THC. This means that puff for puff, you are getting a far stronger effect. Also, since only a bit of kief can be collected from each flower, most kief collections are made up of a wide variety of strains. This gives you a diverse mix of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids.
How Do You Make Kief?
The most basic way to make kief concentrate is to use a weed grinder with a built-in sifter. You may already own one with a screen without knowing what it was for.
This basic method, however, does not make the most refined product. You will wind up with bits of trichome stalks and leaf matter mixed in with the potent trichome heads.
If you are interested in collecting the purest kief, you will need to use a series of increasingly fine microscreens. These are available in wooden boxes that dispensaries sell as kief boxes. Most are very plain, but there are some that feature carvings or laser-etched designs on the lids.
These fine screens allow you to continuously refine until you have a product that is as close to pure kief as possible. This sort of very fine kief is often referred to as “99% sift.”
You can use a microscope or a magnifying glass to look closely at kief to determine how much plant matter is left behind. Pure kief will look powdery. Most are brownish or gold, but some varieties with colorful trichomes may even leave purple kief behind.
Why Collect Kief?
Kief is, as mentioned, much stronger than flower alone. Many people who are looking for a more intense experience will sprinkle some on a joint or a bowl before smoking.
Kief has the advantage of being a natural, no additive, no solvent product. People who are worried about harsh chemicals being used in their cannabis products often prefer kief because it is a product of mechanical separation, with no extra chemicals needed.
Additionally, it stores well. Even very pure products like water-extracted hash can become moldy over time. Since kief is a dry product, you can safely store it without the risk of it going bad.
How Do You Consume Kief?
The easiest and most common way to consume kief is to add it to a flower that you are smoking in a joint or a bowl. The kief will make the product more intense and flavorful.
Kief can also be consumed on its own to experience this product’s unique effects. The most effective way to consume it is to smoke kief using a screen on top of a glass pipe. Heat kief gently using an indirect flame that is an inch or so above it. You should see the kief begin to melt and bubble.
If you consume hash products often, you may wish to invest in a special clamshell bowl. These are glass pipes that come with hot wands that are designed specifically for melting hash.
Good quality kief will leave behind very little residue. When dealing with kief that is less refined, you may have some harsh, woody notes, and a bit of ash left behind.
Extremely pure kief that hits that 99% sift mark can be consumed as dabs. It is not recommended that you try to put kief in a vape pen, however. A vaporizer can get clogged by the residue left behind when attempting to screen kief at home.
Kief collection is a slow process, with only a little bit available on every portion of weed you pick up at the dispensary. If you are especially fussy about purity, it takes even longer. However, building a collection over time can allow you to create a simple, natural product that offers a different taste and experience that flower alone.
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