Making Kief by Hand - Old-school

Making Kief Oldschool

What the heck is Kief?  


Kief is a concentrated form of cannabis, that is created by removing the resin glands, crystals and fuzzy coating from the trichomes which form on the buds.

These resin glands contain the highest concentration of cannabis in the entire plant.  This includes the stoning THC, non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD and  major quantities of terpenes.  


Most Kief in America is super high in THC with minor values for the other cannabinoids.  Terpene values vary wildly from 1 to 15 percent, dependent on the strain.  Different terpenes react, well differently.  THC response can be modulated by terpenes to dial up or dial down effects like relaxation and anxiety.  


"Kief contains the same ratio cannabinoids and terpenes as the buds, meaning if it's High in THC and Low in CBD, the Kief will be the same."


Recently, it's been shown that stains high in secondary cannabinoids, like THCV and CBD provide both a much, much better recreational and medicinal experience.  Sadly, the majority of strains on the market has been bred by THC tolerant individuals, and in their quest, THC values have gone through the roof, while the other medicinal ingredients test near zero.  Happily, the man on the street is beginning to learn about the different effects of the other medicinal ingredients of Cannabis.  It is a bit of an internal revolution, newcomers to medical marijuana want relief or their conditions and symptoms, and don't appreciate getting zonked out of their minds.  


"Kief is more concentrated than regular weed, expect everything to me ramped up, coughing, psychoactive effects, excessive saliva." - Longjack


With that said, peace and love to everybody.  If you love your THC, go for it.  The message here is to consider a more balanced cannabis based medicine rather than getting flat out stoned.  Kief's yellow crystals are separated from the marijuana leaves, stems and buds.  Kief can be pressed into hash form, which are reported to provide a more mellow body high.  Certain weed strains super high in terpenes might provide especially exotic psychoactive effects - because Kief is extra concentrated in everything psychoactive and medicinal.


"Trichomes of marijuana are speculated to have evolved to keep the herbivores away by producing an intense scary psychoactive experience.  The odor is speculated to attract insects to pollinate the plant and warn herbivores that its marijuana they're dealing with..." - Urban Myth



A three-chamber herb grinder to sift and collect Kief is recommended to collect larger volumes and  to avoid waste, Kief sticks on the grinding mechanism. Using the three-chamber herb grinder helps grind the cannabis into a fine powder while Kief crystals fall through a screen for collection in a handy compartment. Two chamber grinders tend to waste Kief because crystals fall off of the dried herb and stick in the grinder.


"Kief (pronounced [ke?f, ki(?)f]; from Arabic ??? (kayf), meaning " pleasure, intoxication"), sometimes transliterated as kief or kif, refers to the resinous trichomes of cannabis that may accumulate in containers or be sifted from loose, dry cannabis flower with a mesh screen or sieve." - Wiki Def


Makeshift layered screens have become popular in home Kief manufacture. Kief tends to measures from 75 to about 125 microns making it difficult to separate from the resin plant material. To deal with this annoying resin issue, simply place three to four layers of fine mesh screen (slightly larger than 125 microns) one on top of another.  Then select the screened material that meets your approval, as quality Kief.  Don't discard some of the larger fractions, as this is likely usable as well, just not as potent.

The screen mesh between sizes ranging between 80 and 280 is recommended. The finer and purer the Kief, the lighter it looks.  Greenish Kief implies that there is a lot of plant material (non trichrome) mixed in, and is therefore less concentrated in the good stuff, the cannabinoids and terpenes.  The finest Kief tents to be slightly off-white.
Kief can be compressed into a hash brick, as that is what hash pretty much is in the first place.  By applying heat and pressure, the trichomes rupture and out comes the resin.  Basically, you're doing formulation chemistry at this point.  In the process of heating and pressing Kief, it turns dark and at that point, it's morphed into hash.

MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes: If you want to buy lab tested Kief in California and Nevada, you're going to need a medical doctor's recommendation.  Fortunately the Medical Board of California has made it a simple process.  Online evaluations for medical cannabis are same day and cost a fraction of an average visit to a clinic or doctor's office.  Get started here.   MMJDOCTORONLINE recommendations, grower's permits and Cannabis ID cards are accepted by all licensed dispensaries, cannabis clinics, marijuana cooperatives, compassion clubs and other approved vendors of cannabis based medicines in the State of California and Nevada.

Here are a few examples of lab testing of a couple of kinds of Kief.  As far as medical marijuana goes, we'd like to see the lab test results on a CBD:THC balanced strain.

OG Kush Kief - Lab Test Results - Cannabinoid and Terpene Profile


Kief - "Pollen of Cannabis"


Chromatogram of Kief - Cannabinoid Provile

D9-THC-A 17.61%
D9-THC 4.49%  

THC-TOTAL 22.24%                                             
CBGA    0.44%
CBG    < 0.01%
D8-THC < 0.01%
CBN 0.14%
CBD-A 0.26%
CBD 0.47%
CBC 0.24%


D8THC is a non-psychoactive form of THC, heated or not.

What Are They, How to Make Them, and How to Use Them


Linalool 6.63%
Caryophyllene oxide 1.14%
Myrcene 0.23%

beta-Pinene < 0.01%
Limonene 3.14%
Terpinolene < 0.01%

Alpha-Pinene < 0.01%
Humulene 0.23%
Caryophyllene 0.66%


Doogsitop Kief Caps     Serving Size: 1 Capsule = 1.23g



D9-THC 71.03mg

THC-TOTAL 72.85mg

CBG-A < 0.01mg
CBG 2.58mg
CBG-TOTAL 2.58mg
D9-THC-A 0.48mg
D8-THC < 0.01mg
CBN 1.34mg
CBD-A < 0.01mg
CBD 0.52mg
CBD-TOTAL 0.52mg
CBC 7.38mg


Cannabinoids are activated through decarboxylation - curing/storage of flowers, or heating/cooking of edibles, tinctures, & concentrates.  THC, Cannabinol, THCV but not CBD become psychoactive in this process. D8THC is a non-psychoactive form of THC, heated or not.



Caryophyllene 3.28mg

Limonene 2.46mg    

alpha-Pinene 1.47mg                                   
Linalool - < 0.01mg
Caryophyllene oxide - 0.97mg
Myrcene < 0.01mg
beta-Pinene - < 0.01mg
Terpinolene < 0.01mg
Humulene 0.48mg



Sieving Kief


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Concise and to the point.

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Born and raised in West Texas, Chris has criss-crossed the country and explored more careers than he has years on this Earth. From lab-technician to landscaper, salesman to finance specialist, the only constants in his life have been his writing, and passion for cannabis



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