When checking in at your local dispensary, you might have noticed these small jars of curious-looking powder next to your favorite strain. Kief, a special cannabis extract, isn’t expensive for no reason.
While kief is worth the price, you may want to find a way to consume and save some bucks. In that case, you need to learn how to dry out kief. In this article, we’ll walk you through this simple process so that you can enjoy this precious gift of nature.
What is Hemp Kief?
What exactly are we talking about when we mention kief? In simple terms, kief is the thin, barely visible crystalline layer that grows on the skin of cannabis plant. You might have heard people using the term trichomes – those are the individual crystals themselves.
Kief comprises the “sheet” of crystals as a whole. The trichomes are one of the most important parts of the cannabis plant. Inside these crystals, cannabinoids reside, waiting for you to activate them. If you’ve ever ground cannabis flowers yourself, you will have noticed a thin layer of somewhat shiny residue left over on the floor of the grinder after using it.
This is kief, and instead of throwing it away 一 as many mistakenly do 一, you can add it to your cannabis to benefit from some additional terpenes and cannabinoid content. Many consider kief the “cleanest” form of cannabis since it lacks any artificial ingredients such as solvents while containing all the essential terpenes and cannabinoids that we associate with the plant.
In addition to that, kief is incredibly versatile. You can use it to make moonrocks, bake it into cannabutter, make your own hash or vape liquid, make a kief coffee, or sprinkle it on your joint or blunt to make your smoke more potent.
How is Kief Made?
We already established that kief is a natural cannabis product – it grows on the buds of every cannabis plant, no matter the strain or growing conditions. Hence, kief isn’t produced but rather extracted or harvested.
Traditionally, one way to make some kief and separate it from the plant is to just sift through fresh buds and leaves – either with your fingers or using a meshed screen. This method, simply called dry sifting, is still practiced by some but has been superseded by more industrialized and efficient ones for making cannabis extracts in bulk. This usually involves using high-grade solvents to chemically separate the kief, and the resin within, from the plant.
There is a catch though: if you were eager enough to try out some freshly-ground kief after reading some of the above, you might have discovered that it lacks any kind of noticeable effects. This is no coincidence. Kief, like marijuana strains, isn’t psychoactive in any way in its raw form. The reason is that all cannabinoids are, in their natural state, inactive.
By using heat, you activate their properties, giving you the effects you’re looking for. Decarbing is how we make sure that the cannabinoids in the plant contact the endocannabinoid system in our brains and produce real, measurable effects. Usually, we achieve this by applying a lot of heat over a relatively short period of time. This is why smoking and vaping cannabis are such effective methods. With kief, we need to follow a similar procedure.
The simplest method is to wrap your kief in some tin foil and drop it in the oven at around 250°F for at least half an hour. When you take it out, the kief should be noticeably drier while also producing a much more noticeable, hash-like odor. Feel free to try out your kief at this stage to test its potency.
For added convenience and to make decarbing large volumes easier, special decarbing machines exist where you simply drop in your kief and let the device do the rest. Still, while these will be useful for folks who need to decarb a lot of kief regularly, decarbing kief by itself isn’t a highly technical process at all. Using the traditional oven (or even microwave) method, anyone should be able to master it with some practice.
How Long Does Kief Stay Good?
If you have some kief sitting around from the last time you ground some fresh buds, you might be wondering if kief expires, or how long it will remain good for. In theory, kief can stay good indefinitely – it doesn’t “go bad” as fresh fruit do.
However, in practice, unless you keep your kief in a completely sterilized environment, it will eventually fall prey to bacteria or fungi, including mold. It will also eventually oxidize and lose some potency. Identifying kief that has gotten moldy or otherwise unfit for consumption is not too hard.
First, smell it – fresh kief should carry a scent characteristic of the flower you picked it from. If the smell suddenly changes or drops entirely, you know your kief is ready for the bin.
You should also give the kief a little prod with something like a toothpick. If it’s solid but very brittle and fragile, it has probably lost its freshness and might not be as potent anymore. Conversely, if it feels very spongy and moist, then it probably caught mold or some other bacteria if it feels very spongy and moist.
How long kief stays good for will ultimately depend on the environment it is stored in, but as long as you keep track of humidity and maintain room temperature without exposing the kief to too much direct sunlight, it should last you at least a week or two from the date of harvest.
How to Dry Out Kief
Once your kief is decarbed, it is ready to use or to put into storage if you have made a bunch of it. However, to make sure it doesn’t collect moisture from the air, run your moist kief through a wire strainer with your hands (and without adding water). This will, in most cases, be enough to bring the kief back to its drier, crunchier consistency.
Now that you know how to dry out kief, it’s time you use premium buds that can give you a large batch. Growing conditions can affect the amount of kief you collect, as well as its quality.
Delta-8 Zombie Kush makes for a perfect base for kief that’s rich in taste and punchy in its effects. A high-powered Indica with earthy and herbal flavor tones, we perfected Zombie Kush by adding our proprietary frozen Delta-8 THC distillate to it.
If classic, euphoric Sativas are more your thing, you’ll enjoy Delta-8 THC Pineapple Haze. With its summery vibes and sweet taste, it’s sure to put a smile on your face. With a solid 3-to-1 THC/CBD ratio, this strain is easygoing and perfectly suitable for any occasion and time of day.
Finally, for those that appreciate a good wild card, there’s Delta-8 Abacus 2.0. A potent Indica hybrid extremely rich in terpenes, this strain is not for the faint of heart. Its intense aroma navigates a spectrum of tones between citrus fruits, earth, and wood.
Meanwhile, its effects will leave you gasping for air – not just because of the spicy taste, either! With a lineage stemming from the inimitable OG Kush, Abacus 2.0 takes you on a wild ride that has been called among the most impressive cerebral highs around.