Learn how to decarb kief, the fine powdery substance found at the bottom of a grinder, and then make amazing edibles and topicals at home. You will also discover why kief can be more potent and get instructions on how to decarb your kief for best results.
- A step-by-step guide for how to decarb kief
- Tips and tricks for mastering the decarboxylation process
- Instructions for how to make edibles with decarb kief
Why You Will Love This Recipe
If you've ever topped a bowl or a joint with a sprinkle of kief, you know it's powerful stuff.
Cannabis enthusiasts like my Well With Cannabis Community Members know that kief can make potent edibles in a few easy steps.
But before getting started, it's important to decarboxylate cannabis - even kief, for the best final product.
In this guide, I will show you how to decarb kief with step-by-step instructions, how to make edibles with kief, along with tips and tricks and frequently asked questions.
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- Kief - your desired amount. For example: 1 gram, 5 grams, 7.5 grams, or more. You can use CBD flower to THC flower to get kief.
- Equipment - digital scale, mason jar or oven safe baking dish, and parchment paper, optional. Seen notes.
Note: a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions is located in the recipe card below.
- Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 240° F.
- Step 2 - If you plan to infuse the kief into butter or oil, you can decarb it in the same jar you plan on using for the infusion process. This helps prevent any waste.
- Step 3 - If you don't plan to use the decarbed kief for an infusion, carefully put a layer of parchment paper into an oven-safe baking dish with a lid. Make sure the kief is in an even layer, you do not want clumps or mounds. If you don't have a lid, the tin foil will work.
- Step 4 - Using a digital scale, weigh the kief to your desired weight (example: 1 gram, 5 grams, 7.5 grams, or more) directly into the container you plan on using. Make sure the kief is in an even layer, you do not want clumps or mounds.
- Step 5 - Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes for THC-dominant flower or 60-65 minutes for CBD-dominant flower.
- Step 6 - Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool completely with the lid on.
- Step 7 - Your kief will have darkened in color. Sometimes, the resin crystals may have melted a little, but that's OK and why we used parchment, so they don't stick to the baking dish.
- Step 8 - Your decarbed kief is now ready for immediate use. Be sure to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place if you don't use it right away.
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Be sure to store it in an air-tight container in a dark, cool place if you don't use it right away.
What Is Kief?
If you use a three-chamber grinder to grind your cannabis, you're left with a powdery substance in the bottom chamber once you're done grinding your flower.
This stuff is usually known as kief but is sometimes called pollen or dry sift.
But what is kief, exactly?
Kief is made up of the cannabis plant's resin glands, also known as trichomes, containing much of the plant's terpenes and cannabinoids.
This means that kief is essentially concentrated cannabis - it's the most potent part of the plant in terms of cannabinoid concentration.
Because kief is so high in cannabinoids, depending on the type of flower you're starting with, even just a tiny bit can have a big effect.
If you're using a THC-dominant flower, you will have THC-dominant kief.
If you are using CBD-dominant flowers, you will have CBD-dominant kief.
These cannabinoids work with the cannabinoid receptors found in our endocannabinoid system.
It's easy to collect kief without any special equipment besides a grinder, and over time you'll quickly save up a lot, especially if you use trichome-heavy strains of cannabis.
If you don't plan to vape or smoke your kief, it will need to undergo the process of decarboxylation before making edibles or topicals.
Why You Need to Decarb Kief
Decarboxylation is crucial step to get the active components from raw plant material need to make edibles, with a lot of scientific terms along the way.
The good news? This is a simple, straightforward process that is very easy to do at home in an oven or Instant Pot.
But if you're interested in the science, here is the reasoning behind using decarboxylated cannabis.
Almost all raw cannabis products need to be decarbed if you want to experience the effects of cannabis edibles.
Kief is no different. Before you use it in edibles, the decarbing process needs to occur to get active cannabinoids.
Cannabis in it's raw form does not contain high amounts of active CBD or THC; it contains cannabinoid acids.
Cannabinoid acids found in raw marijuana, like CBDA and THCA, have their own therapeutic benefits – but they are not intoxicating - meaning you won’t get high.
To convert these nonintoxicating cannabinoid acids into the active cannabinoids we want to consume, the chemical process of decarboxylation must occur.
During this chemical reaction, a carboxyl group is released, converting CBDA into CBD, THCA into THC, etc.
There are many different ways to do this, but the most common and effective method is to bake the plant matter in an oven.
The decarb process for kief is slightly different than cannabis buds, as kief can sometimes be hard to work with.
This unique cannabis material is sticky, powdery, and easy to spill, so be extremely careful when following the instructions below.
Also, keep in mind that each cannabinoid molecule decarboxylates at temperature and amount of time.
We want to avoid high heat and high temperatures so that we can retain the beneficial terpenes and psychoactive compounds, like THC.
Baking at low heat and low temperatures for a longer period of time is the best way to retain these beneficial compounds.
Use the guide below for the most commonly recommended decarboxylation temperatures and times used to decarb cannabis.
• THCA to Δ9-THC → bake at 240°F/116°C for 40 minutes
• CBDA to CBD → bake at 240°F/116°C for 90 minutes
• CBGA to CBG → bake at 220°F/105°C for 60 minutes
• Δ9-THC to CBN→ bake at 240°F/116°C for 180 minutes
How Potent is Kief?
It's difficult to know exactly how potent your kief is without testing it in a lab, but you can approximate its strength if you know what kind of bud the kief came from.
If you buy kief at a dispensary, the label will likely give you a good idea of its potency.
While it's standard to find cannabis flower that is roughly 15-25% THC, kief can contain upwards of 70% THC.
With this in mind, know that a little can go a long way. It's a great way to quickly deliver a strong dose of THC when you need relief or relaxation right away.
In most cases, you'll probably want at least a gram of kief before you get started and you can use the edible dosage calculator to try and guesstimate your final potency.
How to Make Edibles with Kief
Now it's time to enjoy your decarbed kief in a variety of ways. Because the kief is decarbed, its effects are active in whatever way you use it.
This means you can add it directly to a recipe like a spice, infuse it into oil, or make an extract like a tincture.
I will go over all of those options below.
Use Kief Directly in a Recipe
Kief has a distinct flavor, but it isn't particularly harsh, which makes it great to use as a seasoning or to sprinkle directly onto food.
Because kief has a fine powder texture, the dry material has a similar consistency to other ground herbs, meaning it will blend into a recipe well.
From savory recipes like taco seasoning and ranch dressing to sweet recipes like brownies and chocolate chip cookies, kief works in various applications.
One important thing to note if you plan on adding kief directly to recipes is that cannabis is more effectively absorbed and utilized by the body when paired with a fat source.
According to this cannabis study, when paired with a fat, the absorption of cannabinoids is enhanced: THC and CBD by 2.5-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to fat-free formulations.
This means that adding a fat source to your kief recipe may make it up to 2.5-3 times more potent than choosing to skip a fat source.
Learn more about how to use just ground cannabis in edibles here.
Use Kief to Make Oil or Butter
You can use your kief to make a potent infused oil or butter to be used either as a tincture or added into baked goods.
Making kief butter is a simple process and you can follow my guide for how to make kief butter here with a cup of butter and your desired amount of kief.
If you want to make an infused oil, I have many recipes which I will share with you below. You can use a slow cooker or Instant pot.
If you're unsure what one is right for you, be sure to grab my guide to understanding the many different types of cannabis oils here.
Cannabis oils that can be made with kief:
Use Kief to Make a Tincture
You can use kief to make a potent cannabis tincture. I have two different tincture options to try, a traditional Green Dragon tincture and a more modern QWET freezer tincture.
You can then turn around and use that tincture to make a variety of different recipes such as:
Use Kief to Fill Capsules
If you want to reap the benefits of edibles without the need to prepare a recipe, making kief capsules may be the perfect option for you.
Many members of my Well With Cannabis Community report that swallowing cannabis capsules makes for a quick, easy, effective, and essentially tasteless way to dose and consume cannabis.
Because kief is so potent, you may not need a lot to fill your capsules.
You can fill the remaining space of the capsule with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, to get the fat you need for better absorption in one simple dose.
If you've never made cannabis capsules before, be sure to check out my guide on how to make and fill cannabis capsules.
Frequently Asked Questions
Working with kief can be brand new to even the most seasoned cannabis consumer, so here are some of the most common FAQs I get asked about this from my Well With Cannabis Community.
Different cannabinoids decarboxylate at different temperatures and times. When baked at higher temperatures, a lower cook time is required. When baking at lower temperature, you will need to bake for a longer period of time.
If you skip the decarb process, the chemical structure of the raw cannabis plant will not change. Chemical compounds like tetrahydrocannabinolic acid will not be converted into active THC. This means you will not experience any psychoactive effects.
Placing your parchment paper on a baking sheet will also work.
All ovens vary slightly. The easiest way to know if your oven temperature is accurate for the heating process is to use an oven thermometer.
There are several different methods to get more kief than just the grinder. Common methods include using in a kief collector, kief boxes, or a fine mesh screen is a great way to collect as much pure kief as possible.
Yes, there are many different methods you can use to achieve decarboxylation. You can use the sous vide method, or a machine like the Ardent Nova to decarb weed for you.
How to Determine The Dosing
Want to get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions? Try our popular edibles calculator!
Not sure what your perfect dose is? Learn more here.
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How to Decarb Kief
What You Need
- 1 gram kief or your desired amount
- Preheat the oven to 240° F.
- If you plan to infuse the kief into butter or oil, you can decarb it in the same jar you plan on using for the infusion process. This helps prevent any waste.
- If you don't plan to use the decarbed kief for an infusion, carefully put a layer of parchment paper into an oven-safe baking dish with a lid. If you don't have a lid, the tin foil will work.
- Using a digital scale, weigh the kief to your desired weight (example: 1 gram, 5 grams, 7.5 grams, or more) directly into the container you plan on using. Make sure the kief is in an even layer, you do not want clumps or mounds.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes for THC-dominant flower or 60-65 minutes for CBD-dominant flower.
- Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool completely with the lid on.
- Your kief will have darkened in color. Sometimes, the resin crystals may have melted a little, but that's OK and why we used parchment, so they don't stick to the baking dish.
- Your decarbed kief is now ready for immediate use. Be sure to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place if you don't use it right away.
If you’re using a mason jar- do you have to worry about too much in the jar for even heat distribution? Do you place the jar on/in something else in the oven? Do you put the lid on the jar for this process?
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Chrissy. We recommend filling the jar 3/4 full MAX and the mason jar should go onto a cookie sheet for stability. The lid does go on for the process, but only hand tight, maybe tad bit looser. One more tip, preheat the oven before putting the jar in. I hope this helps!
Gina L Miller
Do you have a favorite method for making kief?
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Gina. Personally, I love the kief chamber in my grinder so I can collect with every grind. Hand grinding is the best way to make kief. It keeps everything in a smaller area, and you will lose fewer trichomes. You have to do smaller amounts, but it's worth it. 👍🏻