What Is Kief: The Best Ways to Get It (& Smoke It)

marijuana kief

Kief is more than just a playful nickname for “24” actor and gruff voice-haver Kiefer Sutherland.

Kief refers to the little, sticky crystals you see at the end of many potent strains. These crystals are resin glands loaded with terpenes and cannabinoids.

You don’t need kief in your kush to get high—flower with few visible crystals will still contain plenty of cannabinoids. But kief-heavy strains tend to carry much higher concentrations of THC.

That’s made kief and kief-heavy marijuana strains some of the most sought after cannabis products in the world. You might think this would all make kief expensive or difficult to obtain.

Thankfully, you can “make” your own kief (and hash) right at home. All you need is the right marijuana and grinder.

Master Kief: Marijuana’s Biochemically-Enhanced Supersoldier

Kief crystals are part of what’s known as a trichome—a natural “hair” many plants develop to catch food, attract pollinators, and ward off herbivores.

In the case of cannabis, the sticky kief and strong odor of the resin deters hungry plant-eaters in two ways. First, it gets the herbivore super-stoned (if I can use a technical term), to the point that it’s too disoriented to keep eating. The smell can also attract predators, and it’s hard to eat a cannabis plant if you are, in fact, being eaten.

Where Can You Get Kief?

Kief can be a little hard to find. Many dispensaries sell flower and hash oil, but not kief.

Others sell shake, which you might think would be a good source of kief. After all, both break away from larger buds and collect at the bottom of the bag or grinder. While it’s possible you could get a kief-heavy bag of shake, you’ll have to know what you’re looking for.

In the end, the simplest method is to collect your own.

Collect Your Own Kief

Collecting kief is easy if you have the right gear.

3-chamber grinders (like the ones available in our shop), are designed with a mesh screen and separate chamber to filter out and catch the kief.

If you don’t use your grinder often, the process can feel painfully slow. You can speed things up by selecting kief-heavy cannabis flower. Many of our most popular strains—including Chemdawg, OG Kush, and Sour Diesel—are known for producing large amounts of quality kief.

If you aren’t sure what strain to buy, ask your budtender. And the next time you head to the dispensary, keep your eyes open for crystal-covered cannabis.

cannabis trichomes kief

What Are the Best Ways to Smoke Kief?

Smoking kief can be as simple as sprinkling a little on top of a packed bowl or mixing it with into a joint. You won’t need much—“just a bit, now get lit.”

On the other hand, if you want smoking kief to feel like more of a special occasion, there are a number of easy and inexpensive options.

Make Hashish

Hash, or hashish, is kief that has been refined into a sticky wax or oil. You might hear cannabis oil (THC oil) referred to as hash oil.

Like kief, the potency of hash can be much higher than standard marijuana flower, and it will vary depending on extraction method.

The simplest way to create hashish at home is to gather your supply of kief and use a press like the one Funky Skunk uses in this Leafly video:

Make Moonrocks

Moonrocks are the turducken of weed: top-shelf marijuana flower coated in hash oil and rolled in kief.

Just warm the oil over low heat, coat your chosen nugs in the oil, then sprinkle kief liberally. Wait for the moonrocks to harden before breaking them up for use. If you use a grinder, stop after just 1-2 twists or you’ll destroy your masterpiece and end up with moon dust.

See our walkthrough for how to make your own moonrocks.

Cooking with Kief

Kief, like THC oil, can be used alongside or in place of marijuana flower when making your own cannabis butter or cooking oil.

From there, you can go as simple or robust as you’d like. Spread a bit of kief butter on a piece of toast or drop a sliver in your morning coffee or afternoon tea for a strong, lasting effect.

If you like trying new recipes, look no further than the legendary mahjoun (majoun, majoon)—Moroccon hash jam. This 1,000 year old dish is savory and sweet and loaded with THC.

In an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, the host explores a famed chocolate-honey take on the dish, as well as the role of hashish in Morocco.

Kief: it’s what’s for dinner.

Turning Over a New Kief

Now that you know what kief is and how incredibly easy it is to collect at home, you may wonder why you haven’t been saving your own from the start. Just smoke the strains you normally would (or choose kief-heavy strains), and use a kief-catching grinder.

Where’s the kief? If you need help finding the right strains, stop by Karing Kind in North Boulder or give us a call and speak with one of our award-winning budtenders.


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Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open MON-SUN from 9am to 10pm.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to- date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.