What is shake weed and how do you smoke it

Shake weed is the smaller fragments of cannabis bud that gather at the bottom of a storage jar. It is sometimes sold in dispensaries at a discounted price. Despite being sometimes overlooked, it still contains enough THC to get you high but it can sometimes be harsh to smoke.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to spot good from bad shake weed, compare shake weed with other cannabis derivatives like kief and trim. We’ll then guide you step by step through the process of putting your shake weed to good use.

Whats the difference between shake weed, kief and trim?

Shake Weed

Starting with shake weed, it is essentially the small pieces and of cannabis flower that settle at the bottom of a bud storage container. Think of it as the crumbs at the bottom of a potato chip bag. While some might view it as less desirable than full cannabis buds, shake weed still contains a decent amount of THC so there is no reason why you can’t smoke it.


Kief is a collection of the tiny, sticky crystal-like trichomes found on cannabis buds and is much finer than shake weed. If you have ever used a steel 3 part grinder, they often have a mesh screen covering the bottom level, this is a kief or dust collector. This mesh acts like a sieve and allows the tiny bits of dust and trichomes to fall through so what you have at the bottom of your grinder is a highly potent powder that can be sprinkled on your joint or bowl to give it an extra kick. Kief is normally very rich in trichomes terpenes, which makes it significantly more potent than regular bud.


Finally, trim refers to the excess parts of the cannabis plant, usually the leaves, that are removed during the process of manicuring your buds after harvest. While trim doesn’t contain quite as many cannabinoids as the bud or kief, it still contains THC and so it can be used to make cannabis edibles and extracts.

The difference between shake weed, kief, and trim

Is shake weed any good to smoke?

Absolutely, although its quality can significantly vary. The quality of shake depends largely on the quality of the original bud that it comes from. If the buds are high quality, then the crumbs that fall off of it will contain more THC, if the bud is low potency then so will the crumbs be that fall off of it.

One thing to bear in mind is that shake can be drier than whole buds, which makes it harsher to smoke. Sometimes shake weed can contain bits of stems and leaf material, if shake contains this it wont be great to smoke and will be much less potent. It’s always crucial to examine your shake before smoking to ensure it’s not too dry or filled with unwanted plant material.

What are the pros and cons of smoking shake weed?

Shake weed is often cheaper than whole buds. Because it’s composed of the small bits left over from larger nuggets, dispensaries and dealers usually sell it at a discount. Additionally, shake can be perfect for making pre-rolled joints or blunts, saving you the hassle of grinding up whole buds.

If your shake comes from high quality bud, it can provide a potent high. Some users even report discovering a delightful mix of flavors in shake, due to the combination of different strains in the mix.

On the downside, shake can often be drier than whole buds, which might result in a harsher smoke. Plus, shake can sometimes contain a larger amount of stems, seeds, and leaf matter. Shake will normally have a lower THC level, so although it will get you high, it wont be quite as potent as normal bud.

So, what are the best uses for shake weed?

Shake is excellent for rolling joints or blunts. Since it’s already broken down, it saves you the time and effort of grinding your buds. For those who enjoy smoking but dislike the preparation, shake can be a convenient option.

Secondly, shake is an economical choice for making cannabis infused edibles and homemade tinctures. Its relatively lower cost makes it ideal for processes that require a substantial quantity of cannabis, like making cannabutter or cannabis oil. While it might lack the potency of whole buds, the concentration is usually fine for making edibles.

Why is shake so harsh?

Shake is the leftover crumbs from the bottom of a jar, so its usually been sat around the longest and tends to be drier than intact buds. As cannabis dries out, it loses some of its flavor and aroma due to the degradation of terpenes, the compounds responsible for the distinct smell and taste of cannabis. This can result in a harsher and less tasty smoke.

Shake often contains a higher proportion of plant material, like stems and leaves, which don’t burn as smoothly as the flower. This can produce a much harsher smoke when ignited.

Lastly, because shake is essentially the small bits and pieces from a variety of buds, it can contain a mix of different strains. Each strain has a unique chemical composition, and when combined, they can create an unpredictable and sometimes harsh smoke.

How to spot good shake?

In the same way that you can tell if cannabis is stale and dry you can look at shake and get an idea of what it might be like to smoke. For starters, if you see lots of leaf and stem in the shake weed, I would recommend steering clear as it will almost certainly be harsh to smoke.

Secondly, have a close look at the shake weed, does it look really dry and faded in color, if so then its probably been sat around for some time. While this won’t necessarily make it harsh to smoke, it will mean that the cannabinoids and terpenes have degraded and so it wont taste great or get you high.

Ideally you want shake weed that looks reasonably fresh and still has the same smell as a jar of buds when you open the container. This is a good indicator that the terpenes are still present so it will have at least retained plenty of flavor.

Is shake weed less potent?

Yes, shake weed is almost always less potent than whole bud. The reason for this lies in the distribution of trichomes – the tiny, crystal-like structures on cannabis flowers where cannabinoids and terpenes are produced.

High-quality cannabis buds are coated in these trichomes, which contain the highest concentration of THC, CBD, and other beneficial compounds. In contrast, shake, being the leftover fragments and pieces from the buds, often has fewer trichomes. This can lead to a lower concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a less potent high.

Can you smoke Trim Shake?

Yes, you can smoke trim shake, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Trim shake refers to the small pieces of weed left over after the trimming process. It primarily consists of leaves, small stems, and occasionally, small pieces of buds. Because of its composition, trim shake typically has a lower concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes compared to shake from actual cannabis flowers.

While you can certainly smoke trim shake, be prepared for a different experience than smoking regular shake or whole buds. Due to its higher leaf content and lower trichome concentration, trim shake might offer a milder high and potentially a harsher smoke.

Despite these drawbacks, trim shake is commonly used for other purposes. It’s frequently used for making cannabis-infused products like edibles, tinctures, and extracts, where the cannabis is often cooked or processed to extract the cannabinoids, making the potency issue less of a concern.

In conclusion, shake weed is an economical choice that’s great for crafting joints, edibles, and tinctures. While it might be a bit harsher and potentially less potent than whole buds, its utility and cost-effectiveness are undeniable. 

Hopefully with the knowledge of shake weed you can put those crumbs to good use after your next grow and avoid bad shake weed if you happen to stumble across some in a dispensary. If you found this guide helpful, don’t forget to like and share this article!

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