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How To Decarb Kief: The Ultimate Guide To Activating Keef

If you plan on making edibles from kief, the first (and arguably most crucial) step of the process is decarbing your kief. 

Why is it so important to decarb the kief? It’s simple. If you skip this step of making edibles, they won’t get you high. 

Even if you know how to decarb weed, there are some differences when it comes to decarbing kief. 

But don’t worry, learning how to decarboxylate kief is straightforward, and if you follow the four step process below you will be cooking with it in no time.

Kief crystals

How to Decarb Kief In 4 Simple Steps

The reason you want to decarb your kief before using it to make butter or oil is the same reason you decarb cannabis flower. 

Decarbing kief activates cannabinoids

If you’ve decarbed weed in the past, you’ll recognize how it’s done. It’s very similar, only done with different temperatures and timing. 

The decarbing process for kief is a far shorter than decarbing flower. 

One report that investigated the decarboxylation process discovered that while there’s a significant increase in THC levels for up to an hour when decarbing plant material, there’s no substantial increase after around 30 minutes of decarbing plant matter ground to kief. 

To make kief you only need three simple things: 

  • Your kief (obviously)
  • An oven safe dish or baking sheet
  • 2-3 pieces of parchment paper. 

Let’s get started.

1. Collect Your Kief Crystals

The first step is to collect your kief crystals. Ideally, you’ll want to use a grinder with a kief catcher. This way you can automatically collect your kief as you grind up your weed over time. 

If you don’t already have kief ready to go, then you’ll want to collect it from your buds manually. The easiest way to do this is by using a fine mesh screen made for catching cannabis trichomes. 

Mesh screens with holes the size of 75-120 microns are ideal, as they allow you to catch the most trichomes without doing much damage in the process.

2. Preheat and Prep Your Kief

First things first. 

Preheat your oven to 250F (121C). Keep in mind that oven temperatures tend to be hotter on the top than the bottom. The middle rack in the oven is the ideal spot for maintaining an even temperature while decarbing kief. 

Next, place a piece of parchment paper in your oven safe dish. It can help to crumple the paper up a bit before you lay it in the dish. This keeps kief off the direct hot surface of the oven dish. 

Make sure you spread the kief out evenly on the parchment paper in the dish to ensure even baking and ideal decarboxylation. 

Pro tip: Place an extra piece of parchment paper on the top of the dish to trap in vapors and potency.

decarboxylating kief

3. Place the Dish in the Oven

Remember the middle rack is where it’s at when decarbing kief. Place it too high and you risk losing potency and ruining the entire batch. 

Once your dish is safely on the middle rack of your preheated oven, shut the oven door and set a timer for 20 minutes. We told you kief was faster than flower! 

It could take up to 25 minutes to fully decarboxylate kief, depending on a few factors. Namely, the precision of your oven and how much kief you have! 

After 20 minutes, check your kief. If it looks like it’s starting to turn brown, you should consider removing it from the oven. 

If you’re decarbing a small amount of kief or a thin layer, 20 minutes is probably perfect. If you’re cooking a big batch, on the other hand, it’s wise to leave it in for a few more minutes to ensure it receives enough heat. 

Once you’ve followed the process a couple of times, you’ll get more comfortable determining what kief should look like when it’s done decarbing. 

Definitely don’t stress the first couple times. With a little patience and practice, you’ll learn the process like a pro in no time.

4. Let It Cool Down

Once you remove your decarboxylated kief from the oven, you’ll need to let it cool down. Then comes the exciting step of making edibles! 

Word to the wise. Avoid baking the kief for longer than 20-25 minutes as it can decrease THC content. Removing the paper from the hot dish while the kief cools will also ensure it doesn’t bake anymore. 

Too much heat can decrease the amount of THC in the finished product. Kief cools quickly though, so you won’t have to wait long to make those infused edibles.

Decarboxylation of Kief: Time and Temp

Decarbing your kief is a delicate process, and there’s a variety of time and oven temperature combos that will decarb THCa into THC. This is why there’s a lot of conflicting advice as to what temp to use and for how long. 

For all intents and purposes, we’ve used a midpoint in regard to temperature and time to optimize for both speed and output. 

When it comes to decarbing your own kief, let yourself be the judge. You may choose to bake it at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Or maybe you go with high temperatures so you can bake it faster. 

Keep in mind that at high temperatures, THC levels rise rapidly but also decline quickly. This makes higher temps a risky strategy, as you can burn up all your cannabinoids if you don’t pull it out at the precise time. 

Lower temperatures eliminate this risk, but at the expense of making edibles a longer process. If you’ve got a longer period of time to spare, slow and low is a good way to go. 

When the midpoint is used, however, it provides a safe balance that offers a buffer for overcooking kief. And it doesn’t really take too much time when you consider how long it takes to decarb flower.

decarbing keef

Can You Make Edibles With Kief?

Yes! You can absolutely make great weed goodies with kief. In fact, this is a great reason to learn how to decarb kief in the first place. 

Kief is considered a cannabis concentrate. This means it will create some exceptionally potent brownies, cookies or whatever other baked goodies you decide on. 

Before you go mixing up your ingredients when making edibles, you need to decarb your kief first. This very crucial step is the only way your baked goods will get you baked. Decarbing kief is the only way to convert THCa into THC. 

Remember, cannabinoids remain in their acidic state in cannabis plant matter. In the plant, THC and CBD are known as THCa and CBDa. One of the defining characteristics of these molecules is that they have an extra carboxyl group. 

To remove this carboxyl group, they must be decarboxylated. See where the word “decarboxylated” comes from? This is typically done with heat, which is exactly what happens when you light cannabis flower and smoke it. 

Once the carboxyl is removed, the acidic forms of these cannabinoids transform into the THC and CBD molecules we all know and love. 

Kief will decarb while cooking if you just throw it into your favorite recipe. But it’s likely not going to decarb as efficiently as it will when you follow the correct process.

decarbing trichomes

Wrapping Up: Decarb Kief In The Oven

Learning how to decarb kief is a simple process that can be easily mastered with a bit of practice and patience. 

All you need to do to decarb kief is spread it out evenly and bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once it’s fully decarbed, you can add it to any of your favorite recipes. 

It’s a super convenient way to make cannabis infused goodies, whether you prefer sweet or savory. Considering its consistency, it can also be an awesome addition to your favorite seasonings. 

So get those grinders or screens out and get ready to get baked with kief! Follow the steps above and you’ll be baking potent goodies like a pro in no time.