What is Kief and How do You Use it?

Those occupying the cannabis market, be they consumer or producer, have likely heard the term ‘kief’ mentioned in conversation. However, many may not actually know what it is. 

In Health Canada’s second round of cannabis legislation, cannabis edibles, topicals, and concentrates were approved for sale and consumption. Edibles and topicals are obvious product formats, but concentrates remain more of a mystery. 

Concentrates are a wide category, and they include both“cannabis extracts” and “ingestible extracts.” Ingestible extracts include edibles, tinctures, oils, and beverages. However, Health Canada’s concentrates category also includes chemically concentrated extracts such as oil, shatter, budder, and wax and physically concentrated extracts such as hash and kief.

What is Kief?


Upon observing dry cannabis flower, you’ll likely notice that the surface is coated in tiny crystals possessing a sticky consistency. These powdery crystals are what is known as kief, or keef. 

The term ‘kief’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘kayf,’ meaning “well-being,” “intoxication,” or “pleasure.” 

Kief is a cannabis concentrate, meaning that the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inside kief reaches levels far higher than standard dried cannabis flower, making it much more potent. 

Kief typically has a dull green hue but may also present with yellow and brown shades. The more white the powder appears, the higher the potency of the cannabis product. 

Kief is found and produced on the tip of the bulbous resin glands found all over the surface of the cannabis plant known as trichomes. Trichomes are glands that appear as white crystals with a mushroom-like shape where the resin is stored and released. 

This resin is filled primarily by cannabinoids and terpenes. Compared to the rest of the plant, the vast majority of terpenes and cannabinoids are found inside the trichomes.

Examples of products created using kief include hash or rosin. Furthermore, kief is also sometimes referred to as pollen or dry-sift.

How is Kief Made?

cannabis trichomes

Kief is made by physically separating the heads of the trichome glands away from the dried cannabis flower. Since these trichome heads are essentially filled with cannabinoids and terpenes, kief is a potent cannabis concentrate.

Many consumers have likely created kief themselves without even realizing it whenever they grind their cannabis flower. Many grinders come with a screen and extra bottom chamber where it collects.

In terms of a technique of collecting kief, many users opt for purchasing a four-piece grinder.

However, there are more efficient methods.

Large-scale production requires a series of filtered bags or drums, dedicated physical labour, and dried cannabis flower. The cannabis plant matter is physically shaken in a container with a mesh screen bottom.

This agitation extrapolates the heads of the trichomes, which fall through the screen filter. From there, producers use a series of increasingly smaller screens to sift the product further.

The Origins of Kief

As we stated previously, the word kief has Arabic origins. The exact date of the origin of kief remains unknown. 

However, as long as there have been cannabis plants, there has been cannabis plant pollen. 

While we may not know the exact origins for kief itself, there is far more evidence surrounding one of the most common products it is made into – hash. 

Hash is perhaps the oldest traditional cannabis concentrate created by applying heat and pressure and then shaping it into blocks or balls.

Initially invented in the Middle East, one of the first mentions of hash dates back to as early as 1155 AD

How do is it Sourced From Trichomes?

It is fair to assume that without modern science’s assistance, the first inventors of hash did not understand that trichomes were glands containing cannabinoids and terpenes. 

However, they were likely to realize that the product they had created was far more potent than what they had customarily used before in various rituals and traditions.

Thanks to the evolution and advancement of technology and scientific innovation, researchers could ultimately determine that the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis plant matter is in the heads of these trichomes. 

Through inventions such as modern-day microscopes, scientists could view the glands on the surface of cannabis flowers. 

Due to this biological storage system’s vulnerable nature, trichomes are easily accessible and can easily be mechanically removed and collected. 

How to Consume Kief

collecting kief

What many users appreciate about kief as a cannabis concentrate is its versatility. There are numerous consumption methods where it is applicable. 

Whether smoked, vaped, or incorporated into cannabis edibles, the ideal consumption method ultimately comes down to personal preference. Most commonly, kief is not consumed independently but rather as a potent supplement to dry cannabis flower.

It can also be added to joints, bowls and bongs to increase the THC and terpene concentration.

While smoking or vaping, it’s often combined with dried cannabis flower to reduce accidentally inhaling the powder.

Kief can also create other cannabis concentrates, including hash, which we mentioned previously, and rosin. 

A Multifaceted Marijuana Concentrate

Because it is a byproduct of standard marijuana flower, kief is a frequently overlooked cannabis concentrate that is viewed as nothing more than disposable and useless excess plant matter. 

However, this is simply not the case. Cannabis consumers who take the time to collect their kief will quickly realize its potency potential and ability to enhance other cannabis products’ effects. 

In this way, it also serves as one of the most cost-effective and resourceful methods for getting the most out of your cannabis purchase. 

While kief origins remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, it has been used for generations to create the oldest known cannabis concentrate, hash. With the evolution of modern-day cannabis products and the introduction of more innovative products, you might think that kief has had its last day in the sun. 

However, it remains a widely popular cannabis concentrate to this day due to its versatility and accessibility. 

Sirona Pharma

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