Kief (or Keef, or Trichome Heads, or Sugar, Cannabis Crystals, Dry Sift, Pollen, Dry Hash, Resin Glands, Weed Caviar, Pixie Dust, Kief Richards, Kiefer Sutherland, etc, etc...) is the name that refers to the typically white, powdery, almost sugary substance that coats the surface of cannabis leaves and buds in abundance.
This substance is very potent, and contains both terpenes and cannabinoids in very high concentrations. 30-60% levels of THC are not uncommon. In comparison, dried flower will typically range between 10-30% THC.
If you're unfamiliar with the term, you've probably noticed the actual kief itself before. Either as that sugary, crystal-like coating on your cannabis or perhaps more noticeably, building up in the bottom of your three-level grinder.
What Are Trichomes?
Trichomes are the mushroom-shaped resinous formations growing from cannabis which measure just 50-100 micrometers across. When sifted, grinded, or otherwise removed from the cannabis we refer to this as kief, though more specifically it's the rounded tips or heads of the trichomes that become separated and end up as the dusty, yet sticky, kief.
These chemical-rich trichomes have evolved in nature to help keep away predators, while also at the same time enticing pollinators to further growth and help the plant to reproduce. These trichomes can appear milky, clear, or amber coloured depending on the stage of growth.
The History Of Kief
Since kief is so easy to obtain, it was almost certainly the very first cannabis concentrate that humans will have used. The name dates from at least hundreds, and possibly thousands of years ago, originating from the Arabic كَيْف (kayf): meaning pleasure or well-being.
It's unknown exactly how far back this usage goes, but ancient legends and stories come from such varied places as China, India, & Morocco about the techniques used to harvest this special crop and the different methods that were then used to consume the psychoactive powder.
Indians used to roll off the kief in their hands and make hash-like substances such as Charas, Ancient Chinese silk was used to help sift and separate the kief from the flower, while Moroccans tended to compress their kief in to small cakes or pucks which they would then consume along with local tobaccos in a concoction known as Sebsi, which still exists to this day.
"So How Do I Use It?"
One thing that's certain is that kief is versatile. Likely due to its long history and potent nature, kief has a multitude of uses, just some of which we will take a closer look at here:
Bowl Crown - Starting off simple here, crowning your bowl means to sprinkle some kief on top of your flower-packed bowl for an extra kick.
Joint Sprinkle - Similar to a Bowl Crown, sprinkle a bit of the ol' Kief Richards in your joint next time you need to get Jumpin' Jack Flash'd.
Twaxed Joint - This next-level invention involves rolling a joint, as per usual, but also adding cannabis oil to the outside of the joint and then rolling it in kief. Twaxed Joints are not for the uninitiated.
Hash - Probably the most common usage, especially traditionally for kief, this method involves compressing, or heating and compressing the kief in to dense bricks which are then smoked.
Hash provides a high which is more body-focused and giddy than flower, and has been popular for thousands of years.
Moonrocks - Another from the 'Not for Beginners' collection, Moonrocks are whole buds that have been covered in cannabis oil, and then rolled in kief until covered. These super flavourful & super potent nugs can then be broken up and used like regular dried flower, but with the effects dialed up to 11!
Butter - Kief can easily be added to butter or oils, which can then be stored and used to create all sorts of dishes and baked goods. Yum!
Honey - Numerous recipes exist for this tasty treat which has a long shelf life, allowing you to sneak a quick spoonful every now and then. Just be sure to decarb your kief first to ensure maximum potency.
Tea/Coffee - Another quick and easy method is mixing in some kief with your morning brew. With the resident heat, the kief gets activated and soon can be steaming down to warm your insides along with the caffeine boost resulting in a lovely, relaxing experience to start your day.
One last thing to keep in mind, the whiter your kief, the higher the quality. Lower quality kief is more of a green colour due to the higher leaf/bud content within.
Kief tubs are available (most times) at Good Roots Cannabis here in Sherwood Park.
Check out more on our series here:
The Good Roots Gang