You might see kief for the first time in the bottom of your grinder. It’s a fine golden-brown dust that contains the terpenes and cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.) from the cannabis plant. These are the compounds that deliver medicinal benefits and the “high” from cannabis.
Gooey-looking resin glands on mature cannabis buds are known as trichomes, and they secrete compound-rich oil. They look like tiny crystals from a distance, and they break off of the buds when disturbed.
Unsurprisingly, when you chop up weed in a three- or four-piece grinder, trichomes detach from the plant matter. They fall through the grinder’s screens and into the last collection chamber. And after some time, you’ll notice you’ve collected enough “kief” to make use of.
To get the most out of your kief, you’ll need to decarboxylate it first. We’ll walk you through how to properly decarb kief. But first, what does this even mean?
What Is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation, commonly known as decarbing, is a chemical reaction. A carboxyl group is removed, and this releases carbon dioxide. It’s the reverse process of the first step in photosynthesis.
All cannabinoids in the raw buds of cannabis have an extra carboxyl group — written as an “A” at the end of their chemical names. Once you apply the right level of heat for the correct amount of time, THCA becomes THC, CBDA becomes CBD, and so on.
Why Decarb Kief?
Chemistry and initialisms aside, why do you decarb kief at all? Well, it’s essential to lose that extra carboxyl group to enjoy cannabis’s full effects. Each important cannabinoid needs to transform into a chemical form your body can use. Once you’ve created a decarboxylated kief, the magic is released.
Decarboxylation is essential to get a psychoactive or medicinal effect from any cannabis product. If you don’t decarb your kief first, you’ll be sprinkling benign plant matter into your brownies or your joint. Can we all agree that’s not an amazing investment return on your trip to the dispensary?
How to Properly Decarb Kief
You may be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to decarboxylate kief. Here are the steps to decarb kief in your kitchen at home.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use an oven-safe dish, first covering it with parchment paper if you prefer.
- Spread your desired amount of kief onto the dish, breaking up any clumps.
- Cover the dish with either its lid or aluminum foil.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake it for about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven, leave it covered, and allow it to cool completely.
What Does Decarboxylated Kief Look Like?
If you peek inside the oven while it’s heating, you’ll probably notice your decarbed kief’s color has darkened. It may melt a little too (this is fine), and it will take on a rich, nutty aroma.
Now comes the fun bit. Will you mix your decarbed kief into edibles, sprinkle some onto your next bowl, make your own hash — or something else entirely?
How To Buy Kief and Kief Extraction Products
Are you just starting your weed journey and you’ve heard about the potent effects of kief? Or would you rather skip the task of collecting and decarbing your kief?
At some dispensaries in Massachusetts, you can buy kief as its own product. At Campfire Cannabis, we currently stock 0.5g of Nature’s Heritage Dosi-Woah Kief.
Some kief enthusiasts buy kief pollen boxes and other contraptions to gather precious trichomes faster. If you’re interested, visit us in-store and ask a budtender what they’d recommend for kief collecting.