Whether you consider yourself a marijuana aficionado or you’re new to the cannabis world, there’s a pretty good chance that you haven’t heard of harvesting kief. But if you have ever seen a cannabis plant, then you’ve probably seen kief in action.
When a cannabis plant is still in the process of growing, it is bright green and flowering. Once the plant has flowered and has been harvested and dried, it looks very different. The bright green color fades, and the plant’s dried flowers are covered in thousands of fine, densely-packed, crystalline hairs. Those tiny crystals that cover the cannabis flower are called kief.
What Does Kief Do?
First of all, kief provides protection for the cannabis flower. These tiny crystals protect the plant by deterring herbivores and keeping the flowers in tact, offering protection from the elements such as wind and fungus. Just as animals have ways of protecting themselves from predators and environmental factors, cannabis has evolved to protect itself as well with these sticky, tiny hairs, which cause psychoactive effects, deterring animals from eating the entire plant. Plus, the odor emitted from the kief can attract pollinating animals, which may also help keep herbivores away. It’s really pretty brilliant, actually.
Why Do You Need to Know What Kief Is?
Keeping predators away isn’t the only reason kief is important. It also happens to contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that make cannabis unique and intoxicating. Those crystals are small resin glands that produce the cannabinoids THC and CBD (Cannabidiol). And while those cannabinoids are present throughout the cannabis plant, they are densely packed in the kief, otherwise known as trichomes.
Cannabinoids are the chemicals that give marijuana its powerful therapeutic and psychoactive effects, which is why it’s a hot topic in the medical cannabis world. The cannabinoids in kief may help to reduce chronic pain, alleviate nausea, reduce muscles spasms, prevent seizures, and improve sleep.
How to Collect Kief
For harvesting kief, you need to remove the sticky, hair-like glands from the plant. Those glands are actually much stronger than the buds produced by harvesting the cannabis flowers, which is why you want to collect them.
Once your cannabis plant has been harvested and dried, you’ll need a 3-piece herb grinder. Herb grinders are widely available and can be used for a range of herbs, so it’s a good tool to have in your kitchen arsenal no matter what. Yes, you can even find them on Amazon. For the purposes of collecting kief, finding a grinder with three chambers is important. This type of grinder will have 3 sections, a top chamber where you place the herbs (the dried cannabis flower), a middle section where the ground herbs fall, and then a bottom chamber where the finest powder falls — that’s where you’ll collect your trichomes, aka cannabis gold.
After Harvesting Kief, You Can Use it in a Variety of Ways
You can smoke it, use it to create cannabis oil for vaporizers or use it to make cannabis butter (and a wide variety of culinary masterpieces). There is some debate about whether or not kief is a better option for medical purposes. Many experts argue that medical marijuana is actually more effective in low doses, so super potent kief might actually be counterproductive. But regardless, kief packs far more of a punch in terms of THC and cannabinoids, so it would be a real shame to overlook or throw away those powerful contents.
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