If you have ever gotten hold of a premium cannabis bud in your life, you couldn’t have missed the crystal-like coating on its outer layer. In everyday life, it’s the stuff that makes you need a grinder because it makes your fingers sticky when manually breaking the bud. However, these fragile, tiny white crystals (also called “kief,” “pollen,” or “dry sift” pack way more punch that you could ever imagine. Let’s dive into this microscopic world and learn all about kief and its uses.
What is kief
Simply put, kief is the dried up collection of the trichomes developing on top of the cannabis flower. The trichomes are tiny bulbous resin glands that secrete cannabinoids like THC to protect the plant from predators.
These mushroom-like offshoots create a sticky defense line between the sensitive flower and insects. Any unfortunate animal that will try to dine on cannabis flower will get knocked out instantaneously. Also, the strong scent of the resin attracts pollinating insects that keep predators at bay.
As you might have suspected by now, the kief is where most of the THC is! What’s even better, you can collect it and use it to enhance your cannabis experience by making your own potent THC concentrates by using the kief of your cannabis buds.
How to collect kief from your buds
Extracting kief from your cannabis buds is a straightforward process. To do it, you will need a robust three-chamber herb grinder that will filter the crystals through a mesh and into a small compartment. Having great quality weed certainly helps, because you will extract more usable product from less plant matter. Top-shelf kief is golden brown in color, while green-ish resin probably contains too much chlorophyll.
DIY geeks will be happy to know they can make their own sifters by using several layers of mesh screens one on top of the other. Besides, a standard-issue herb grinder might not be enough for separating the resin from the plant matter (a trichome is about 0.0075 cm large). For best results, use mesh screens of varying sizes and stack them from largest to smallest. The measure of thin-ness in this industry is the LPI, or lines per inch. The smaller the screen, the larger the LPI number. Meshes with a measure from 100 to 300 LPI are ideal for kief collection.
After you have collected your kief, proper handling is key. Dry resin is very light and can easily vanish at the slightest air current. Our very own kief scraper tool the “Keefer Scraper” will help you …well, scrape your kief from the compartment with minimal waste. See how you can use Keefer Scraper to store and handle your dry resin.
Getting the Most out of Your Marijuana Trim
Before we dive into how to use cannabis trim, we have a couple of tips on how to get the most out of it. After all, trim is not that different from buds in many ways.
On the one hand, fan leaves contain little in the way of trichomes, meaning a low cannabinoid content. Therefore, it is possible to use them raw, directly off the plant. Although they won’t get you high, fan leaves do have some benefits, which we will discuss in tip number one.
However, the sugar leaves that you trim off after harvesting are another matter. Of course, they are not as rich in cannabinoids and terpenes as buds, but they do have a smattering of trichomes.
This means that you need to prepare them in the same way as you would with cannabis flower; by first drying and curing them carefully and then decarboxylating them to activate their cannabinoids.
How to Dry and Cure Cannabis Trim
Drying and curing cannabis properly is an essential part of the growing process. Failure to do so can result in weed that lacks flavor and potency. It may also increase the risk of developing mold.
Fortunately, drying cannabis trim couldn’t be easier. Simply spread it out on sheets of newspaper and leave it in a dry, shaded area until crisp.
Trim dries much quicker than flower and should be ready in a matter of days. You can then transfer your trim into storage jars and cure it in the same way you would treat buds.
Check out our in-depth article on drying and curing cannabis to find out more.
Don’t Forget to Decarb
If you want to experience a high from your trim, you will need to decarboxylate it first. The process involves heating the weed to convert inactive THCA and CBDA to active THC and CBD.
Decarboxylation is not necessary if you want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without intoxication. You can also skip this step if you plan on smoking your trim. When you combust cannabis in a joint or bowl, this activates the cannabinoids automatically.
The simplest way to decarb trim is by spreading it on a baking sheet and placing it in a low oven. You can find all the details on timings and temperature in our easy-to-follow decarboxylation guide.
How to Use Cannabis Trim
1. Use Fan Leaves as a Green Vegetable
The fan leaves that you trim from cannabis plants in the vegetative stage won’t get you high. However, they do have a myriad of benefits.
Like all leafy greens, cannabis leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals. Some of the fantastic nutrients that you will find in cannabis trim include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Cannabis leaves are also full of beneficial antioxidants, making them a great addition to any healthy meal.
One of our favorite ways to use fan leaves is blended into a raw cannabis smoothie. However, you can use them as you would any other green vegetable; steaming, stir-frying, and mixing into salads all work well.
2. Make Cannabis Trim Infused Butter or Oil
You can also use cannabis trim to make delicious edibles by infusing it into cannabutter or your oil of choice. Of course, it won’t be as strong as if you use buds, but it will save you a whole lot of cash!
The process is the same as making regular cannabutter or oil. Just don’t forget to dry, cure, and decarboxylate your trim first.
3. Season Your Cooking with Marijuana Trim
If the process of preparing cannabutter seems like too much effort, you can also use marijuana trim as a seasoning. Keep a jar of prepared trim in your kitchen cabinet and add a pinch or two to your meals.
The savory, herbal flavor of cannabis gives a unique twist to curries, sauces, and soups. You could even sprinkle some into your scrambled eggs.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means you should eat them with a small amount of fat or oil to allow your digestive system to absorb them. Otherwise, you’ll get all of the flavor but none of the effects!
4. Make Cannabis Trim Tea
You can also consume your cannabis trim by making it into an herbal tea. Again, you’ll need some fat to help your body absorb those cannabinoids for maximum effect.
Here is one of our favorite cannabis tea recipes:
- 1–2 teaspoons cannabis trim
- A few slices of fresh ginger
- One small cinnamon stick
- 3–5 cloves or cardamom pods
- One black tea bag
- Sugar or honey to sweeten
- Full-fat milk or coconut oil to serve
- Place two cups of water in a pan and bring to a simmer
- Add the cannabis trim and spices
- Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add the teabag
- Leave to brew for 2–3 minutes
- Strain the tea into a cup and sweeten to taste
- Stir in full-fat milk or a dab of coconut oil
5. Make Cannabis Trim Dry Sift
If your sugar leaves are particularly laden with trichomes, you could try your hand at some simple, homemade concentrates. One of the most popular methods is a process known as dry sift.
It involves rubbing your cannabis trim over a series of mesh screens to separate the trichomes. The result is a fine powder (kief) that you can add to joints or bowls, or press into rosin.
To make dry sift, you just need a few pieces of equipment and some patience. We outline the steps in our complete dry sift guide.
These are just a few of many diverse ways you can put your cannabis trim to good use. However, there are plenty more. We have even heard of people smoking their trim, although it can be quite harsh on the throat.
Therefore, we prefer the methods we have outlined above. They are simple, effective, and help to reduce waste. After all, when you’ve put so much effort into growing cannabis, you’ll want to get as much out of it as you can.