Guide to Using Kief

Dante Jordan
Dante Jordan

Dynamic freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant who specializes in the vibrant world of cannabis Dante Jordan. His expertise spans cannabis culture, strains, products, and education, encompassing all facets of the green flower. Dante's engaging content and insightful perspectives, showcased on his website, make him a go-to source in the cannabis community. Dante is accessible for inquiries and collaborations, connecting with his audience via email at [email protected].

Reviewed by Denys Svirepchuk



8 min
Guide to Using Kief

When it comes to cannabis concentrates, there’s a world of products that can help you enjoy the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids. You can take dabs of bubble hash to the face for a maximum flavor experience; you can vape hash oil for a healthier alternative to smoking joints; you can even drop tinctures under your tongue and rub medicated topical creams into your body if you simply want all the good feelings without any of the inhalation.

Though these tend to be the most commonly chosen forms of concentrated cannabis, there’s often a forgotten member of the family sitting right at the bottom of all of our grinders. That family member is kief.

What Is Kief?

Trichomes are the most important part of the cannabis plant. They’re the milky white crystals that grow on cannabis flowers, producing the plant resin that gives buds their sticky texture. Additionally, the oil inside these little diamonds holds all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are responsible for the effects we feel from weed. Quite simply, trichomes are the reason you get high.

When you grind your weed, those oily trichomes fall from the plant into a pile of goldish-brown powder known as kief, dry sift, or pollen. Kief is essentially a pile of unprocessed hashish oil, which you see most often as dabs and vape pen oils.

What is kief

Hashish, called hash for short, is a form of cannabis that is created by separating trichomes from the flowers through various processing styles. The different types of hash are categorized as solvent-based and solventless. Solvent-based hash like shatter, wax, and CO2 oils use solvents like butane, propane, ethanol, and carbon dioxide to extract the trichomes. Solventless hash like ice water hash, plant rosin, and kief only use water, heat, and pressure.

With no extraction necessary, just a sifting screen (like the one in your grinder), kief is as solventless as a solventless hash can possibly get.

How To Make Kief?

The collection of kief starts with the type of flower you have. The more resinous and crystallized the bud, the more kief that’s going to fall off of it. This is why we associate the best quality weed with the highest trichome density, because the more crystals on the plant, the higher you’ll get it. You can make kief of those strains that you like try Wedding Crasher or Lemon Cake cannabis strain.

Grinders and sifters are the best ways to collect kief.

Grinders for kief

There are multiple types of grinders you can use to break down your weed. However, the four-piece grinder is the only type that effectively collects kief. This is because as your cannabis grinds, the flower falls onto a mesh sifting screen that sends those trichomes to a bottom holding chamber. To get the highest yield of kief, you can toss a coin into the flower compartment and shake it around for a few seconds. It’ll do wonders for how much of that kief piles up in such a short amount of time.

Grinders for kief

Sifters for kief

For accumulating bigger quantities of kief at once, many individuals and companies alike use sifters, also called sieves. A sifter is a mechanism with a mesh screen that you pour large quantities of cannabis on top of, and then shake ferociously until you’ve collected all the kief possible. Picture a strainer you put vegetables in, but instead of that, it’s cannabis nugs, and instead of draining water into a sink, you’re shaking off oily trichomes into a bucket. Producers and processors often use big tumble machines to do this, while the everyday personal consumer uses devices like pollen boxes, or pollen sifters.

How To Smoke Kief?

There are many different ways to use kief. Choosing the best one depends on how you prefer to consume cannabis.

Smoke a bowl of kief

You’re probably wondering if you can straight up smoke kief like a bowl of flower. The truth is yes, but the smoke will probably be really harsh against your throat, sending you into a fit of coughs for the next few minutes. Still, if you’d like to smoke kief, the best way is with a pipe and a mesh screen inside of the bowl. Without the mesh screen, the powder will just shoot through the bottom of the pipe and coat your throat in weed dust.

Add kief to your flower

Most people just sprinkle kief on top of their bowls when they want to smoke it. This is a process known as crowning your bowls, and it’s essentially the cannabis version of pouring chocolate syrup over your ice cream. Yeah, a single scoop is cool, but is it a sundae? It is not. Adding kief to your flower increases the potency drastically, and might leave you stoned for hours on end. Crowning a bong bowl is the perfect nightcap.

Use kief to make moon rocks

If you’ve never smoked moon rocks, prepare to have your mind blown, both figuratively and quite literally. Moon rocks are cannabis flowers covered in a processed hash oil, then rolled around in kief to create the Megazord of all cannabis nugs. Often the result is so sticky that you can’t even use grinders to break moon rocks down; instead, you just have to pull them apart like a fruit snack. The THC concentrations in these things are usually so far through the roof that you truly only need one single hit of the moon rocks to be good off weed for the rest of the afternoon. It’s that potent. Like plain kief, moon rocks can be smoked alone, but are usually tossed on top of a bowl or mixed into blunts/joints.

Roll your joints in kief

Another common way people use kief is by infusing their joints with it. There are a couple of ways to do this, both of which will send you straight to the moon.

The first way is to pour kief into your joints the same way you crown a bowl. The second way is to coat a joint in hash oil and then roll it around in kief, effectively turning your joint into a paper moon rock. These are called twax joints, and can be found as infused pre-rolls in many cannabis dispensaries.

Turn your kief into hash

If you want to get the most out of your kief, you can turn it into two different forms of hash: charas and plant rosin.

How to smoke kief


Have you ever seen one of those oily balls of hash and wondered how they were made? They’re called charas (also temple balls), and the answer is kief. By applying heat and pressure to large quantities of kief, you cause the trichomes to explode, causing the consistency to change into a sticky solid that can be rolled up into a huge ball or brick, depending on how much oil is present. This process can be done by pouring a considerable amount of kief into your palm, and rolling it between both hands until the powdery turns into a solid little ball. While hand pressing is indeed functional, there are kief presses that can make your job much easier.

Cannabis plant rosin

Just like you can apply heat and pressure to kief to roll into charas, you can also use a hair straightener or dab press to turn it into flavorful plant rosin that makes for great solventless dabs. All you do is pour the kief on top of some parchment paper, fold it over, and then squeeze the paper between one of the two devices. The result will heat the trichomes until they burst, and leave you with a sticky oil that’s ready to be tossed into your dab rig or Puffco Peak. What makes plant rosin different from bubble hash is that there is still somewhat of a plant taste in the terps, but it’s delicious and will remind you of the classic smoking methods.

Why Do People Smoke Kief?

The biggest reason people smoke kief simply comes down to it having a much higher concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes than ordinary flower, thus getting you much higher than ordinary flower. As consumers become more experienced with cannabis, naturally our tolerances rise, and we look for ways to enhance the effects that suddenly become normal to our bodies. It’s why many flower consumers move onto dabs, because flower is simply the most inefficient way of getting high concentrations of THC/CBD and terpenes.

Why do people smoke kief

Flower jars usually say the product has between 10-20% THC and 0-3% terpenes, while dab packages say 60% THC/CBD and 10-20% terpenes. That’s because once the trichomes are separated from the plant, the matter you’re left with is only made up of the cannabis compounds that truly play a role in getting you stoned (or not stoned if you’re consuming CBD). Still, while oil might be the best way of getting the highest amount of THC and terpenes, some classic smokes will always prefer flower over dab rigs and vape pens (Hi, me). In that case, kief remains the perfect sidekick to maximize your flower’s potential, and get you high as can be.

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