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Cannabis Products: A Deep Dive into Kief, Hash, and Extracts

The Core of Cannabis Products

If you’re thinking about jumping into the cultivation or processing scene and turning trichomes into profit, you’ll need to know all about these three essential cannabis products – kief, hash, and extract. Not only do they serve as the foundational ingredients for every cannabis product available at your local dispensary, they also dictate the equipment you’ll need as a cultivator or processor. This blog breaks down each of these products by looking into what each of them is, how they’re made, and what they can be used in. 

The Image of Cannabis plant on the page about kief pressing

Kief

Kief is a byproduct of marijuana buds, and it is the most potent part of the plant. The marijuana buds develop glands that produce trichomes, which contain THC, CBD terpenes, and various other compounds that cause consumers to feel the plant’s psychoactive effects. 

If you’ve ever looked at a relatively fresh marijuana bud before it’s been milled or processed, you’ve probably noticed the trichomes. They make up the frosty, crystal-like coating that naturally occurs on marijuana plants to form a protective layer around the buds and leaves.

When the buds are harvested, dried, and eventually broken down for processing or consumption, the trichomes dry out and fall off of the bud, resulting in kief. Generally, kief is a grainy, greenish-brown, and slightly sticky substance since it still contains some of marijuana plant material and resinous glands. 

Kief is known for having a very high THC content. For context, a regular marijuana bud usually has a THC content of between 12% and 25%, whereas kief can have a THC content as high as 70%. Lighter and finer kief particles usually indicate a more pure kief with less plant material, resulting in a higher THC potency.

The image of kief weed on the page about cannabis products

Kief is typically enjoyed most by cannabis connoisseurs, who tend to collect it, or buy products containing kief, like infused pre-rolls. Infused pre-rolls have been exploding in popularity over the last year with an increase of nearly 20% in sales across the US making it a very popular product for cultivators to collect and processors to produce. It’s also commonly used to make another popular cannabis product, called hash.

In short…

  • Kief is a potent byproduct derived from marijuana buds, primarily consisting of trichomes.

  • After harvesting and drying the buds, the trichomes dry out and detach, creating kief, which is a grainy, greenish-brown substance that’s slightly sticky due to residual plant material and glands.

  • Kief is notably high in THC content, potentially reaching up to 70%, compared to the 12%-25% THC content in regular marijuana buds.

Hash

Hashish, more commonly referred to as hash, originated in the middle east, but has since become a popular cannabis product in the legal cannabis market. Hash and kief are both made without solvents and chemicals, and they are generally very similar. Both products require that trichomes be separated from the cannabis plant to make a potent cannabis product. But kief is made from dry, loose trichomes and residual plant material that fall off cannabis bud during milling. While hash can be made using a variety of different methods that reduce the amount of residual plant material left in the final product. The three most common styles of hash are dry sift hash, bubble hash, and hash rosin.

In short…

  • Hash is made without solvents and chemicals.

  • Hash and kief are similar, both requiring separation of trichomes from the cannabis plant.

  • Hash is made using various methods to reduce residual plant material.

  • Common hash styles include dry sift hash, bubble hash, and hash rosin.

Dry Sift Hash

Dry sift and kief are very similar, but they are not the same. While kief is made by breaking down cannabis material and collecting the fine particles containing trichomes, dry sift hash does not require that the parts of the cannabis plant be broken down. Instead it is made by rubbing the trichomes off of the plant, which results in a product with less plant material, making it purer than kief. The process of creating dry sift hash is very simple and does not require any type of solvents or extensive equipment that are needed to create cannabis extracts. Dry sift can be made in many different ways using screens, hash shakers, or really anything else that will allow you to gently rub the trichomes off of bud, leaves, and other parts of cannabis plants. The plant is usually rubbed against numerous different screens with varying micron grains to ensure only the trichomes remain. The final product is usually pressed together in a block or ball. Dry sift is also most commonly used to infuse pre-rolls, but it can be purchased on its own and be cooked or baked into foods, and smoked in other ways.

The Image of Dry Sift Hash​ on the page about cannabis products

Bubble Hash

The image of the cannabis product "Bubble Hash​"

Unfortunately, bubble hash does not come in the form of a bubble. Instead, bubble hash got its name from the way it bubbles while it’s being smoked. Like all other forms of hash, it is a byproduct of cannabis plant material created from trichomes, but it’s made using ice and water. More specifically, cannabis material (typically flower) is submerged into a series of ice baths, usually in bags with screens. The ice and water agitate the plant, causing the trichomes to break off. The trichomes are then filtered out using a screen while the plant material, ice, and water are left behind. Usually, cannabis material is filtered multiple times through progressively smaller screens to produce the best yield of bubble hash. Just like dry sift hash, bubble hash is usually compressed into blocks or balls. Bubble hash is commonly used to create edibles, infuse pre-rolls, or be smoked in other ways including dabbing. 

Hash Rosin

 Rosin is one of the purest forms of cannabis concentrate made without using any chemicals or solvents. Large-scale rosin production usually requires a hydraulic press to compress cannabis material between two heated plates and squeeze the trichome oil out of the plant’s resinous glands. The oil is then separated from the plant material using a filter or mesh bag. Rosin comes in different forms and qualities depending on the material used to produce it. For example, live rosin is made by compressing dried and cured cannabis buds, while hash rosin is made by compressing dry sift or bubble hash. By compressing hash to make hash rosin, there is practically no residual plant matter left in the rosin, resulting in a very pure concentration of cannabis oil. This oil is typically vaped, dabbed, used to create tinctures, and many other possible uses. Rosin is also typically considered to be an extract.

The Image of one cannabis product Hash Rosin​

Extracts

Like kief and hash, extracts are produced from trichomes. Generally, extracts use solvents and other chemicals like butane, propane, and CO2 to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant’s trichomes, resulting in a more pure product. After extraction, the chemical is removed from the final product. In most cases, products that are produced from extraction are either full-spectrum or an isolate. Full-spectrum extracts contain multiple, if not all cannabis compounds and terpenes, while isolates include only pure cannabinoids like THC or CBD. An isolate is almost pure cannabinoid, which means it can contain up to 99% THC or CBD. 

Extracts are either an oil or wax that can then be used to create or infuse a variety of different cannabis products, including edibles, vaporizer cartridges, infused pre-rolls, and more. Extracts vary in texture, consistency, and appearance, typically categorized as shatter, wax, or oil. Two of the most common extracts are resin and distillate.

The image of a cannabis product "thc extract"

In short…

  • Extracts, like kief and hash, come from trichomes and use solvents like butane, propane, and CO2 are used to extract cannabinoids and terpenes, yielding a purer product.
  • Extracts are either full-spectrum (with multiple compounds) or isolates (pure cannabinoids like THC or CBD).

  • Isolates can contain up to 99% THC or CBD.

  • Extracts can be shatter, oils, or waxes and are used in various cannabis products like edibles, vaporizer cartridges, and pre-rolls.

Resin

Resin can be made using dried or living cannabis plants. Regular resin is made using dried cannabis material, which produces a more straightforward and potent oil, shatter, or wax. The other popular resin extract is live resin, which is produced using entire live cannabis plants that are flash-frozen directly after being harvested to preserve the plant’s compounds. Live resin tends to contain a greater amount of terpenes which result in a more complex experience brought in the form of different tastes and sensations in exchange for a slightly lower THC content. Live resin is considered a full-spectrum product since it uses the entire plant in all of its glory, providing a more well-rounded experience. If you’re interested in producing live resin, keep in mind that it requires the appropriate lab equipment, and lab technicians to do it correctly. Resin is typically between 70% and 95% THC extract depending on the material used to produce it. Resin is commonly used in vape cartridges, edibles, topicals, and many other infused products.

The jar of a cannabis product with the name "Resin​"

Distillate

The jar of liquid cannabis distillate on the page about cannabis products

Cannabis distillate is known for its golden color and use in numerous cannabis products, primarily being vape cartridges and edibles. Distillate is made by further refining cannabis resin to get a viscous liquid that isolates a single compound, like THC. Since distillate is an isolate, it can be up to 99% potent, and it does not have a diverse terpene profile making it subtle in taste. As a result, distillate is a desirable option for processors and manufacturers creating edibles. Even though it’s common in vape cartridges, it isn’t always the best option since THC extract is naturally a crystalline. In order to make use of it in a vape cartridge, additional ingredients such as vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, or MTC oil need to be added as a thinning agent.

Where to Start

If you’re interested in becoming a cultivator or processor, reach out to CannDelta for all licensing, operational, and marketing setup and support. CannDelta is America’s #1 cannabis consulting firm, known for its successful navigation of each state’s complicated regulatory framework. We help clients get past obstacles keeping them from starting a successful cannabis business. 

Explore the advantages of starting a cultivation or processing business by contacting us today at our toll free number: +1 877 274 6777

Frequently Asked Questions

The terms “extracts” and “concentrates” are frequently used interchangeably. Some individuals distinguish extracts as being products produced using solvents, as opposed to those obtained through non-solvent methods from the plant. For example, some people might refer to cannabis distillate as a concentrate, while some may refer to it as an extract.

Kief is a potent byproduct of marijuana buds, consisting mainly of trichomes, which are the plant’s most potent parts containing THC, CBD, and other compounds. Kief is a greenish-brown, sticky substance with a high THC content. Kief is particularly favored by cannabis enthusiasts and is often collected to be used in products like infused pre-rolls and hash.

Kief can be pressed into hash, smoked, used to make edibles, and infused into other products. Kief pressing may be required to create some forms of hash that is sold in blocks or chunks. Kief pressing can also be done without extensive equipment. Kief weed is another product that involves coating marijuana bud in kief. Kief weed is also often called moon rocks.

Hashish, or hash, originated in the Middle East and is now popular in the legal cannabis market. It’s made without solvents, similarly to kief, by separating trichomes from the cannabis plant. However, hash differs from kief in its production methods, which reduce residual plant material, leading to a purer product. The primary types of hash include dry sift, bubble hash, and hash rosin, each offering varying levels of purity and potency.

No, dry sift hash and kief are not the same product, even though many people consider dry sift hash and kief to be the same product. Dry sift and kief share similarities but are distinct products. Kief is produced by grinding cannabis material and gathering the fine trichome-rich particles, whereas dry sift hash is created by rubbing trichomes directly off the plant. This method does not break down the plant parts, yielding a product with lesser plant material and thus purer than kief.

Hash rosin is a highly pure form of cannabis concentrate created through a solventless process that involves pressing cannabis material with heat to extract trichome oil. It comes in various forms such as live rosin from dried buds or hash rosin from dry sift or bubble hash, the latter of which contains minimal plant matter for a purer oil. This versatile oil can be consumed in different ways, including vaping and dabbing, and is generally categorized as a cannabis extract.