Decarboxylation of kief: how to decarb kief

You’ll need to learn how to decarb kief before cooking edibles with it in order to activate the THC.

Kief can easily be extracted from plant material using a trim tray such as this Vivosun Trim Bin set.
Kief can easily be extracted from plant material using a trim tray such as this Vivosun Trim Bin set.

Decarboxylation kief is easy to do in your oven. Kief, which is made from the psychoactive trichomes of marijuana buds and leaves, can be extracted using dry ice, bubble hash, or just passing ground up weed and trim back and forth over a screen.

Raw kief isn’t psychoactive on it’s own. This is why decarboxylation  is critical for kief.

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction where the cannabinoid THC-acid (THCA) is converted into THC, which can then be processed by your body for psychoactive effects when you ingest it.

You need to decarb kief before cooking with it or your edibles will not be potent.  Here’s how to decarb kief in 3 easy steps:

How to decarb kief

Knowing how to decarboxylate kief will unlock the THC before making green dragon tincture.

  1. Preheat oven to 250° F.
  2. Crumble kief and spread into a very thin layer on parchment paper or foil on an oven-safe glass pan.
  3. Cook for 25-27 minutes.

After decarboxylation kief will darken a bit in color and have a rich, nutty smell.

A big thing to remember when learning how to decarboxylate kief: avoid overcooking or THC will begin to degrade into CBN, causing a sleepy high in your edibles.

Once you learn how to decarb kief you can make this cannabis tincture made with kief and everclear
Once you learn how to decarb kief you can make this cannabis tincture with kief and everclear. See recipe.

Can you decarb kief at other temperatures and cook times?

Greensadi's trimming tray includes additional tools such as a kief pollen press.
Greensadi’s trimming tray kit includes additional tools such as a kief pollen press.

Decarboxylation of kief can be done at other temperatures, but be sure not to overdo it.a

Some recipes show you how to decarb kief at 300° but you risk over-decarbing, which breaks down the THC into CBN and makes you sleepy.  If you’re looking to make edibles or tinctures for nighttime use then this would be the way to do it.

You can also decarb kief at lower temperatures for longer periods of time.  You could do 220° for 45-50 minutes, but watch closely for overbrowning.

We’ve found that 250° gives a nice balance of relatively short time frame without risking overdoing it (which can happen quickly at higher temps).

Use your observation skills and keep an eye on it if you feel you must decarb kief at higher temperatures.

You have learned how to decarboxylate kief – what next?

The Alpha420 extraction machine allows you to decarboxylate kief and infuse oils or butter in a few simple steps.
The Alpha420 extraction machine allows you to decarboxylate kief and then infuse oils or butter in a few simple steps.

Now that you know how to decarb kief, It’s time to make kief edibles!!!

Adding it to a fat-based substance such as butter or oil is beneficial since THC is fat soluble.

You can also use it to produce a delightful kief tincture using alcohol with the green dragon or the freezer tincture methods.

Make kief edibles

After decarboxylation kief can be used to make great tasting, potent edibles.

Here are some kief edibles recipes for you to try that can be made using kief from dry ice hash, bubble hash, or a dry extraction:

The great thing about kief edibles is that they don’t have the green, “planty” chlorophyll taste you seed in edibles made with flowers or leaves, such as cannabutter made with trimmings.

Kief edibles dosage and potency

Bubble Bag Dude's 5 bag set has the right bag micron sizes to extract kief using dry ice, or you can make bubble hash.
Bubble Bag Dude’s 5 bag set has the 72, 120, and 160 micron screen sizes you’ll need to extract kief using dry ice, or you can use them to make bubble hash.

How strong is kief? Assuming you have done a clean extraction, kief collected through a 73 micron screen or 90 micron screen would be around 30% THC.

So for 1 gram (1000 mg) at 30% you’d have 300mg THC. Assuming you followed the steps to decarboxylate kief correctly and fully extracted the available THC into your medicated oil.

Just be cautious. Kief edibles’ potency can vary based on the quality of the source material used.

If your kief is a pure grade straw-colored pile of 25-73 micron kief consisting of just trichome heads, you’ll find it is a lot more potent (and tastier!) then a similar amount of 120 or 160 grade hash which has more plant material.

Typically people will smoke or dab the best kief (25-73 micron), and make edibles with kief at 120 or even 160 micron. Kief edibles’ dosage should vary accordingly.

A lot of it depends on how much you have – if you have too much high quality kief to smoke then by all means get that oven warmed up and make some goodies.

How to improve kief potency

To improve kief potency of green low grade kief, filter through a 73 micron bubble bag. Discard what doesn’t fall through. Take what does fall through and filter that through a 25 micron bag.

Using a mini washing machine to process cannabis trim and flowers to make bubble hash will simplify the process of getting kief to decarboxylate.
Using a mini washing machine and bubble bags to process cannabis trim and flowers to make bubble hash will simplify the process of getting kief to decarboxylate.

Keep what fell through the 73 but remains on top of the 25 bag, this 25-73 micron pile is the purest kief. Discard what falls through the 25 bag, that’s trash. This will help remove green material, trichome stalks, and other impurities.

You could also make a tier-2 quality kief pile by running the stuff that won’t fall through the 73 bag through the 120 micron bag.  This will give you a pile that’s between 73 and 120, which is still good stuff especially for cooking edibles.

Regardless of potency when making kief edibles remember to watch out for overcooking during decarboxylation. Kief potency degrades when over-decarboxylated −THC converts into CBN. Kief edibles high in CBN will make you sleepy-sleepy.

How to extract kief

If you’re looking to get a small amount of kief, the easiest way is to do a dry extraction. Use a credit card to run dried, ground up cannabis flowers and/or sugar trim back and forth over a screen, collecting the fallen kief below.

The TrimBin kief screen lets you extract kief from plant material using the dry sift method.
The TrimBin kief screen lets you extract kief from plant material using the dry sift method.

For larger amounts, consider extracting using dry ice or making bubble hash. It’s a lot quicker.

Dry extractions are great if you’re looking for a small amount of kief to make edibles, or sprinkle on your joint or bowl.

If you grow your own weed, get a trimming tray.

It will capture falling trichomes when you trim your plants, and then you can use it later to dry sift your sugar leaves. It will pay for itself the first run that you use it. Just follow the steps above on how to decarb kief and then you’ll have a small mountain of trichomes just waiting to become kief edibles.

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