You’ve probably heard of people smoking a joint or a Kief blunt, and you probably said, What is Kief? Don’t worry, in this post we decode all the secrets of this mysterious product.
⭐ What’s the Kief?
Kief is the product resulting from the mechanical extraction of cannabis trichomes. It is a concentrate that is obtained accumulating the dry resin of cannabis. Kief comes from the Arabic word “Kaif”, which translated means “taste” or “pleasure”, therefore the definition of Kief is something like “cannabis pollen that gives pleasure“.
Kief, when freshly taken out, is usually light in colour, and is called Kief blond or green, produced in the Reef region in northern Morocco. This area is the main producer of Hashish of the world, and although they did not invent the method, the Kief of the Reef is considered like the best hash of the planet, especially when they make several filtrates.
Enlarged photo with high quality Kief*
Where does the Kief come from?
The technique of dry extraction of marijuana powder comes from Asia, specifically from the northern part of India, where its people separated the resin from the dried cannabis plants with the help of a cloth sieve. This sieve contains very small holes, large enough for trichomes to pass through, but the biggest pieces of plant material are trapped in the sieve.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were many Hippy travellers who went to India among many other smoker destinations. In these trips they collected seeds from the producing countries they passed through, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or Nepal among others. In addition to seeds, in some of the trips they discovered the method of extraction of the Kief that was used in Asia, and they soon exported it to the north of Morocco.
How to make Kief from marijuana?
Nowadays there are different ways to produce pure Kief in a simple way. The most comfortable is the Kief extractor, or dry cleaner, which is a container that inside has a drum covered by a mesh that rotates on its axis. The dry marijuana is placed inside the drum, which when it begins to spin removes the plant material, which releases the resin and filters through the sieve, remaining the Kief in the container. The more time spinning more Kief is obtained, but with less quality.
A similar technique is used with the Kief box, or box to make dry hashish. This box is separated by several chambers, the upper screen contains holes that filter the trichomes, which are trapped in the lower chamber. And you might ask yourself, What size or micron on the screen do I need to make Kief? Well, that depends on the quality and quantity you want to get, the smaller the holes the less quantity but the more quality. You also have to take into account the time and intensity of the rounds.
Image of the 00 work table to extract Kief*
Another simple method is with the Kief bags, which are actually extraction meshes for making hash with ice or Ice-o-lator, specifically the bag of 120, 150 or 160 microns. In this case we put a smooth tray to collect the resin, put the dried cannabis in the mesh and shake carefully so that the trichomes that filter fall into the tray.
You also have the possibility of producing Kief with a Shaker, which is a container similar to a conservation jar, but inside contains a small screen with holes. It works similar to the box extractor, but in this case we put the plant material and beat by hand. If you’re making Kief and you prefer quantity to quality, you have the option of introducing a small coin, which will help grind the marijuana and make the resin easier to release.
How to pick up Kief?
Both with the extractor and with the box or the meshes, Kief will be accumulated on a tray. Ideally, the entire tray should be cleaned with the help of a credit card or scraper, collecting all the dust in the middle. Once we have everything together, with the help of the card we take it out little by little and carefully put it in a silicone container or similar. With the Shaker it is even simpler, the lower chamber is unscrewed to facilitate the process of collecting the kief.
✅ What to do with Kief?
The uses of Kief are quite varied, you can press it to make hash from Kief, smoke it or vaporize it directly or prepare it for cooking. If you choose the first option you should know that in the market there are presses for kief at a spectacular price, the resin is introduced and with the help of pressure is compacted until it becomes like a coin.
This concentrate is very versatile, unlike other extractions such as BHO or Ice-o-lator, Kief can be smoked or vaporized instantly. This is one of the many advantages it has over other extractions, although it also has its drawbacks, as if you want to get a high purity product you have to rescreen or re-filter several times.
Rosin tech Kief
Lately it is the most common use for this form of extraction, making rosin with Kief is in vogue and it is not casual, as it is one of the most fast, comfortable and safe ways to get a high quality cannabis concentrate. It can be considered as a form of Kief refining, as if it were dry refiltered with the extractor method.
Pressing Kief to get Rosin
For this method it is necessary to have filters where the Kief is placed, otherwise it can contaminate the rosin. We put the Kief in the mesh or filter, cover everything with baking paper and prepare the press at 90º C.
When it reaches the temperature we introduce everything and give pressure for 1 minute and a half to about 10 tons. Return with this method is very high, depends on the purity of the raw material, but usually exceeds 50% of the initial weight.
How do I smoke Kief? Ways to consume your extract
The best way to smoke Kief, or more accurately, the most widespread way, is to mix it with tobacco, as if you made a joint of hashish, but in this case you would be smoking Kief. It is also possible to be mixed with cannabis, but normally it is smoked mixed. If you are wondering if you can smoke Kief without weed or tobacco the answer is yes, but if it is not very pure will leave a lot of residue in the saucepan.
Another way of consuming this cannabic extraction is vaporized. In the market you have available several vaporizers that have a coupler specially designed to work with concentrates, one of the best ones is Pax 3 in our humble opinion.
Catalogue image of the Pax 3 vaporizer*
Cooking with Kief
If you’re already seeing yourself gorging on kief with your favorite candies, first of all you must decarbox the kief. If you are not sure how to do it, I recommend you to read this article that talks about the decarboxylation of cannabis.
Once the Kief is activated, our favorite way of eating it is with Kief butter, that is, making butter with our decarboxylated concentrate, and then adding it to other recipes or eating it directly, for example with a toast. Be careful when you eat foods that contain marijuana, remember that it takes quite some time to work, wait at least an hour before re-dosing.
Power and effect of Kief
In the category of cannabis extractions, the normal homemade Kief in terms of power would be at the lower end of the classification, only ahead of Charas in my opinion, but below BHO, Ice-o-lator or Rosin among others. It is quite different if we talk about refined Kief, which after several screen sessions, when we look at it with a microscope we only see glandular buds.
The kind of effect depends on the variety that comes from, the classic producing countries work with Indicas and hybrids with Indica dominance.
Best varieties to make Kief
The genetics that have the largest trichomes are the Indicas, some of them are cultivars selected generation by generation for their quality and quantity of Kief. Many of the successful commercial varieties today come from some of these pure strains.
Main Kief producing countries
- The Mazar i Shariff area in Afghanistan produces one of the best in the world with this method, and the final product after pressing is black and very powerful.
- In the Bekaa valley (Lebanon) they work with a less potent genetics, but they get a tasty concentrate with a special effect, the Lebanese Red.
- In the north of India make Charas and also Kief, the most famous are the Parvatti Valley and Manali, but there are many of high quality.
- In Pakistan they also produce a good and great deal, and on the border between India and Pakistan another of the best in the world is made, the Kashmir.
Although there are other producing countries we are going to finish this review with Morocco, the main one, which a few years ago was already one of the best although its genetics was not very good, but for some years now feminized seeds of all kinds of commercial and bulk varieties have been arriving in the Reef valley, and currently Kief is being made from many well-known strains.
Tips for getting the best Kief
From our point of view it is best to go through a 150 micron screen, and then do 2 re-sieves with a 90 micron screen. With the help of a card or similar extends the Kief throughout the screen, without squeezing, little by little, the smaller dust falling down than the holes but the trichomes get trapped.
This way the return is obviously lower, but the quality has nothing to envy to other extractions. The Kief that is dismissed can be put together and go through the rosin press, will come out little but at least it is used. It can also be used for cooking.
If you know other methods or tricks to make Kief tell us, and if you liked the post share it so other people know about it too.
The Killing of Marijuana Seeds Icon & Weed Nerd Subcool
There once was a marijuana-loving guy whose public name was Subcool, but he covertly told me his real first name was “Montgomery.” I met him at a cannabis grower event where he was selling his premium cannabis seeds and his beautiful cannabis photography and strain diary books: Dank, and Dank 2.0.
Back then, his books back then cost $20 each. Today, if you can find them, they cost $700 or more—they’re collector’s items.
Subcool told of his epic transition from being a heating and air conditioning engineer and outlaw cannabis grower to being a worldwide marijuana icon who won a High Times Cannabis Cup Lifetime Achievement Award, and had an army of thousands of subscribers to his YouTube Weed Nerd channel.
Subcool’s fascinating biography is worth a long book, but the short version is he loved growing and breeding cannabis since he was a kid, kept doing it despite getting busted, went to prison for it, moved to West Coast states where cannabis was recently legalized, and created or supervised creation of dozens of novel cannabis strains and strain families and sold tons of marijuana seeds that grew into hundreds of thousands of cannabis plants.
Subcool is also famous for creating and promoting a homemade blended soil recipe called supersoil. If you make supersoil properly, start your seeds in starter soil and then transfer them to supersoil 2-3 weeks into grow phase, the supersoil by itself feeds your plants almost all the way to harvest without you having to add any base nutrients, bloom boosters or other feed products.
If you lived for getting high and growing incredible photoperiod cannabis nobody else was growing, Subcool loved you. I well remember when he shared with me tester seeds from a strain he called Jack’s Cleaner. “Watch for the sharp lemon-vanilla taste, and the sledgehammer Sativa high that borders on hallucinatory,” he intoned. “Nobody has ever smelled or tasted a strain like this.”
I knew Subcool didn’t exaggerate about his seed strains. I’d already grown some of them–they were spectacular and exactly like the strain description and photos on his website.
Anyone could see from his Weed Nerd videos that he knew how to run massive outdoor and indoor grows as well as professional boutique and craft grows with fat, gooey, dank buds the size of baseball bats. But I was totally unprepared for the insanely unique taste and smell of Jack’s Cleaner, and the centrifugal rocket blast-off force of the initial phases of the high.
The cannabis seeds industry has many good people in it, but it also has too many seedy people—pollen chuckers, thieves, liars, fraudsters, narks, egomaniacs, and worse—so I retained journalistic skepticism until I got to know Subcool well enough to verify he was an honest, bright, outspoken person whose main passion was growing, breeding, and using premium cannabis, and helping others grow it.
He was generous with tester seeds and completely honest and accurate about strain phenotypes, bloom phase duration, and cultivation particulars. Subcool sent out thousands of free tester seeds to thousands of growers for free so he could get detailed feedback on the evolving success of strain breeding programs.
Subcool was the only seed breeder and seller I ever encountered who publicly disclosed third-party cannabinoid and terpenoid test results for every strain he sold. He refused to make autoflowering or feminized marijuana seeds, saying they’re a ripoff for growers who want male and female plants so they can do their own breeding experiments.
As the years went by, he spoke more and more about costly, distressing struggles he had in the seed industry and in his personal life. We’d talk for hours on the phone as he ranted about the harsh challenges of running an illegal worldwide marijuana seeds empire.
I knew other seed breeders, including legendary Dutch breeders, who similarly describe the marijuana seeds industry as a minefield of backstabbers, defective people, black market paranoia, and rippers, so what Subcool told me wasn’t a surprise.
In fact, of the major commercial cannabis seeds companies that I and the other members of this magazine’s team know well, we can say that along with Subcool, only Tony from Sagarmatha, Karel from Super Sativa Seed Club, Simon from Serious Seeds, Henk from Dutch Passion, Nat from Humboldt Seed Company, and Paul from New420Guy Seeds are good people who work hard to ensure their seeds are always 100% viable, genetically-superior, and worth the money.
Subcool described supervising cannabis seeds breeders who were subcontractors for him, how hard it was to get them to use the advanced breeding techniques and quality control necessary to create thousands of seeds that were true to strain identity.
He talked of sending thousands of seeds to seed retailers who sold the seeds but kept all the money, instead of paying Subcool what they owed him. He said that people from rival seed companies went on marijuana cultivation online forums to slag his seeds, even though they’d never grown them.
He spoke of “pollen chuckers” who bought his non-feminized photoperiod seeds, did simple, amateurish crosses, and sold them as their own strains or falsely claimed they were authentic, original Subcool seeds.
He described close friends, business partners and lovers who robbed him, attempted to extort him, slagged him using fake names and social media accounts.
Despite the harshness of the marijuana seeds industry, Subcool was a generous philanthropist. He gave substantial sums of money to impoverished people, especially wounded military veterans and other disabled folks.
He bailed people out of jail, paid legal fees and rental deposits for homeless people, helped people feed their families, even donated toys to impoverished children!
In October 2017, Subcool lost everything when massive California wildfires burned his beautiful Northern California home, ranch, and outdoor and indoor cannabis gardens. His motherplants, photos, computers, clones, and most of his seed inventory was incinerated as he escaped through the flames just before he too would have been burnt to a crisp.
Thus began an odyssey that ended when he chose Arizona as his new home. He told me California’s so-called marijuana legalization regulations were “costly and stupid, designed to work against small growers and in favor of venture capitalist greedy assholes.”
He’d spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on “compliance attorneys” and grow op infrastructure costs in a futile effort to qualify as a legal California cannabis grower and seed producer. “The state and cities tax weed way too much, the compliance attorneys and the regulators all profit off of California’s fake legalization. They’re all in bed together. The more I spent to make my 100% safe and perfect grow op meet their regs, the more they said I had to spend,” he complained.
Eventually, he came to believe Arizona’s marijuana legalization regulations would be easier to work with, and moved to a home in the Arizona desert. In his Weed Nerd videos from the Arizona era, you see him talking excitedly about new strains, and converting a drained swimming pool into a large grow op. He and business partners also converted a closed bowling alley into a huge, high-tech indoor grow op.
All this time, Subcool was struggling just to stay alive. In 2014, he disclosed to me his ongoing battle with cardiopulmonary obstructive disorder, sometimes known as COPD or emphysema. He preferred to believe that the potentially fatal disease was caused only by a rare genetic disorder rather than his constant inhalation of combusted and vaporized whole cannabis and cannabis concentrates.
He had no health insurance, and had to pay a ton of money for expensive COPD treatments and medicines. He attempted to cut back on how much cannabis he inhaled by switching to tinctures and edibles. But he loved inhaling cannabis.
“I turned to burning pure dry sift and other organic resins, thinking that would save my lungs,” Subcool explained. “It didn’t really work.”
The dry desert air was good for his lungs, and he experienced what he hoped was a healing renaissance in his personal life. His long-time romantic partnership with a woman in California had ended in brutal acrimony and bitterness, and he was hesitant to ever trust and fall in love with a woman again.
Then he met a young woman who was a fan of his Weed Nerd shows and outlandish persona. He “adopted” the woman and her young baby, and they moved in with him in Arizona.
When I saw Subcool, his young lover and the baby together, they looked like an extremely happy, stable American family. He was more energized, optimistic and centered than I’d ever seen him.
As he moved to expand his cannabis empire by selling high-quality cannabis concentrates, I was happy to believe he’d finally found a good home and had good people around him.
But those sweet days were soon to end. On October 25, 2019, Subcool shocked me with this news:
“We just got robbed at gunpoint by nearly 30 Maricopa County sheriff officers. They stole everything, including all my money, seeds, plants, medicine, vehicles and my bank accounts. Apparently someone narked on me. I thought I was totally legal and compliant. This is devastating,” he said.
At first, he wanted Growing Marijuana Perfectly to do a big article about the raid, but his attorney told him that would harm his chances of beating the charges or escaping a prison sentence.
So Subcool hardly told anybody about being busted, and told me not to write about the raid. Thus, nobody reported the raid, leaving growers all around the world wondering what happened to Subcool’s new Arizona-based cannabis seeds and concentrates website, and why wasn’t he making new Weed Nerd videos.
Subcool was spiraling into depression, despair and suicidality. He realized he’d made a big error moving to Maricopa County, Arizona.
If you’ve heard of Maricopa County before, it’s probably because its former long-time sheriff Joe Arpaio was known as a racist bully and dangerous intimidator who thought it funny to house prisoners in crude tents in the desert where temperatures often reach 120°F.
Arpaio fancied himself a celebrity sheriff, and was constantly in the news because of lawsuits, and reports of his department’s racial profiling, embezzlement, abused and dead prisoners, entrapment, and his right-wing comments expressing hatred of Latinos and other immigrants.
During Arpaio’s 15 years in office, there were big-money lawsuits won by inmates abused in his jails, a $100 million misallocation of county funds, failed prosecutions of politicians and judges, and disgusting mishandling of 400 sex crime cases—many involving children.
Litigation defending Arpaio’s bad actions cost taxpayers nearly $150 million.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in a case related to racial profiling in 2017 and faced up to six months in jail, where prisoners would likely have gotten justified revenge on him.
But instead of going to jail, Arpaio was saved by then-President Donald Trump who along with pardoning war criminals and financial crimes fraudsters, and being a traitor who orchestrated a violent attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election, issued Arpaio a presidential pardon that blocked the punishment he deserved.
Arpaio wasn’t sheriff in 2019 when Subcool was busted, but his legacy of hating marijuana and creating a gangsterish police agency lived on.
As Subcool and his attorneys examined his case file, they discovered his arrest had been enabled in part by a secret regulation the city of Mesa had instituted, stating that anyone growing marijuana had to file a garden registration with the city government.
“But they never told anybody about this requirement,” Subcool lamented. “My very experienced attorney and my business associates who have been compliant with Arizona’s marijuana growing laws for nearly a decade didn’t know about it. That’s how the local government made my entire grow op illegal without me knowing it, and got the search warrant.”
As soon as he was raided, the happy days ended for Subcool. He told me he felt “cursed and jinxed.” He bitterly complained about his “ruthless, vicious ex-wife,” a person who as far as I can tell has no professional experience breeding cannabis seeds but has a massively inflated ego, who now runs a seed company selling strain names Subcool made popular.
I urged Subcool to get immediate medical care and mental health counseling after he told me the following depressing news:
“They’re trying to seize this home I live in even though it’s just a rent-to-own deal; my name isn’t even on the lease. So now within a few days I’ll be homeless. My credit score is destroyed by the raid because they seized all my bank accounts and cash. I have two dogs, so finding a place to rent isn’t easy. I’ve thought about camping in a tent or living in an RV, and tried it a little, but I’m so sick and broke, I don’t know if I can continue to manage it. I have to have a permanent address where doctors can send my COPD meds, but instead I live on the road like a wandering gypsy. The lawyer says maybe I won’t get any jail time. I could end up in a diversion probation program, but that sucks too.”
As I spoke with Subcool, I wished I knew of a crisis support center near him. It seemed he was giving up on life. In mid-January 2020, I received a cryptic message from him which I’ve edited to anonymize the names of individuals Subcool mentioned. Here’s what he said:
“I’m wasting my talent and life now. I never planned to have to move somewhere while I’m sick and solo and worried about going to prison. I hate life but I get up each day and work on. I found out that the cops were watching me on Facebook and Instagram. I discovered that [name redacted] stole all the cash I had hidden that the police didn’t get, and she’s out having a great time with my $30,000. I already knew that [name redacted] has been slagging me online, falsely claiming I’m a pedophile and saying other stupid shit. I cry a lot and am drinking alcohol, because I don’t have any cannabis. I have only a few days to find a home for me and the dogs, and my lung function is at 27%. I feel like I’m drowning in my own lungs. You go ahead and write my story after I’m gone. I miss the good days of being the happy Weed Nerd Subcool. Arizona was a massive mistake. All I can say is ‘one love, brother,’ and thank you for being one of few good people I met in the marijuana industry.”
Subcool said this to me in mid-January. After that, he never again responded to my numerous emails or phone calls. When I heard about coronavirus and COVID-19, and how it’s especially lethal for people with lung problems, I feared the worst.
Then came the terrible but not unexpected news—Subcool died destitute, abandoned, despairing and unable to breathe at the end of January 2020.
I consider myself fortunate to have a cache of rare Subcool seeds including strains lost forever to most people due to the 2017 fire, including Cuvee, Locomotion, Jack’s Cleaner, Jack the Ripper, Jesus OG Kush, Chernobyl, Timewreck and others.
I held a personal remembrance ceremony for Subcool. I gathered photos I’d taken of him and that others had taken, arranging them on my computer as an automated slide show.
I chose some of my favorite Weed Nerd episodes, put together an assortment of Subcool buds, got out the Mendo Dope album that’s a collection of cool songs about growing Subcool marijuana strains, and had a visual/musical memorial session while vaping his strains, remembering our friendship and all he did to bring unique, proprietary genetics and cannabis cultivation expertise to tens of thousands of growers worldwide.
The only time I didn’t have tears in my eyes is when I laughed as Subcool did one of his favorite Weed Nerd video tricks: going into his grow rooms during lights off, with a flashlight, and talking in a fake Australian accent about his grow ops.
Other cannabis media mistakenly reported that Subcool died because he finally succumbed to COPD. Just like many of those media reports get his “real name” wrong and blatantly plagiarize articles written about and photos taken of Subcool by other journalists, those articles also got wrong the actual reasons for his death.
The simple fact is Subcool didn’t die only because of COPD. He died because his home, funds and career were stolen from him by law enforcement and traitorous associates, because his heart had repeatedly been broken by greedy, nefarious lovers and others he mistakenly thought were friends.
Even now, there are greedy clowns selling inferior seeds with the same names as Subcool’s authentic strains. These seeds are made by pathetic amateurs who have no ethics or intelligence.
Rest in peace, Subcool. Every time I grow and use your cannabis, I say a prayer that your soul is in a better place now, your suffering has ended, you’re breathing easy, high in the sky with whatever cannagods might exist.