What is shake weed? Shake is made up of the tiny remnants that fall off the flower as it is being handled or jostled around the bottom of a container. These remnants often contain plenty of trichomes, which is where cannabinoids and terpenes are produced and stored. Shake can also sometimes include less desirable trim, stems, or seeds, so be sure to look out for anything bulky and pick it out from your shake. Over time, those scraps collect, and if they come from a high-quality cultivar, can be great addition to to a joint or a bowl.
However, shake is generally not as potent in overall THC or terpenes than whole cannabis flower. If the shake has sat for a long time or been exposed to air, it can dry out. Some of the THCa can degrade into THC, and some of which can even convert into CBN if left long enough. Not to worry, it still may have enough cannabinoids to have an effect, but it may feel a bit different than you remember.
So, don’t throw it away (we’ve got plans for that, read below) but don’t expect a great euphoric rush from a dried out shake joint. While not as potent as top-shelf flower, shake weed can be cost-efficient, especially if you consume large quantities of cannabis. Shake is often discounted compared to whole flower because it does not have the same “bag appeal” as large nugs or has not been handled as well, but as previously stated, it has its place.
Uses for shake weed
Joints, blunts, bowls, and dry-herb vapes
For Upstate New York cannabis farmer Erik Carbone, this is the best use scenario: “Throw it in a joint, bowl or bong and smoke it. It’s still weed after all.” It can be smoked or vaped the same as any other type of cannabis flower, but you don’t even need a grinder or sticky fingers.
Shake can be a great starter for making cannabis tea. If you’re looking for psychoactive effects, you must decarboxylate the herb, before steeping it in a mug of hot water.
It should be noted that cannabinoids are not water soluble. Even if the shake has been decarboxylated, the THC will not leach well into the water. In order to experience the full effects, the shake in the tea would have to be ingested even after infusing. You can also consider infusing into hot milk instead of hot water for a more bhang for your buck.
Shake can be great for making edibles – just collect over time, decarboxylate and bake.
Cannabis can also be treated as another spice in the cabinet, and do not be afraid to use it as such. Adding a little ground herb to any meal will add some color, taste, and texture. Depending on your usage, whether or not full decarboxylation occurs, you will still receive some cannabinoid acids, which have their own benefits.
Homemade tinctures and infusions
While it is subtle and often stated incorrectly, there is a distinction between tinctures and infusions. Tinctures are made with ethanol, while infusions are made with oil.
To make a tincture, First decarboxylate your shake at 230F for 30 minutes. Then, submerge and soak the herb in high-proof alcohol (ethanol). Feel free to shake this solution as it will allow more rapid and complete dissolution of the cannabinoids. This mixture should be left to sit for 24 hours or more, with occasionally shaking or mixing. Finally, strain and transfer to a dropper bottle.
If you want to make an infusion, that is usually done with butter or oil and requires some heat.
Where to find marijuana shake
You can find shake at dispensaries and usually at a lower price point. But make sure to ask about the contents and quality as you may find some small nugs, stems and seeds mixed in with the shake. Also, it may be made up of products from the entire operation and does not contain a single strain. “Consider it a hybrid grab bag.” Also, dispensaries recycle shake weed to make pre-rolls at a discounted price, making these products smart financial alternatives. Depending on the state regulations and the company, flower products will share a COA, which may truly only be representative of the in which it came from.
Shake from a strain with a high concentration of trichomes can be just as strong as the original bud it came from. So, if you’re in a state where home grow is legal and you know your strain is top-notch, make sure you place a baking sheet covered in parchment paper under the drying rack to catch the shake. Waste not, want not–and the trichomes that fall off store the majority of the goodies that cannabis produces.
Not to be confused with weed shakes
Words matter and to be clear, shake weed is not weed shakes — the involuntary tremors some people experience after using weed, probably from too much THC, which can lead to anxiety or even lower your body temperature.
And it is definitely NOT a cannabis milkshake, or Bhang Lassi, an Indian drink with seeds, spices, honey and milk. Delicious but another story. Of course, cannabis infused beverages have been consumed in India for thousands of years, and are still consumed as part of social, spiritual, and medicinal practices today. 1
Pros and cons of shake weed
For many, shake weed conjures up low quality from the backrooms of dispensaries. While that can be true, it is not always the case. As discussed above, there are multiple intended uses and intake methods for shake. Oftentimes the consumption method can be determined by its quality–with good-quality shake often good enough to be smoked while old, dry trim is best for making edibles, tinctures or infusions.
Always be a conscientious consumer and ask questions before buying, and make sure you know your intentions before you search out shake.
Here’s a quick recap and checklist as a reminder:
- Versatile uses: You can roll, vape, bake or formulate shake.
- Lower Potency: Shake typically has less cannabinoid potency, producing a milder psychoactive experience but still with wellness benefits. This may not always be true. Ask for cannabinoid and terpene profiles while at the dispensary.
- Accessible: Can’t pay top dollar for show-stopping buds? Shake is less expensive and may save you some time.
- Inconsistent. In a dispensary, shake could be gathered from a variety of strains. So, if you are a purist or have a specific condition that only responds to certain cannabis varieties, shake may not be right for you.
- Watch out for fan leaves, stems and seeds. Stuff falls to the bottom of a container, so sift before you smoke. Note that sugar leaves do contain a lot of trichomes, and therefore cannabinoids. They are often saved after trimming for extraction into oil.
- Dried out shake. Shake is often handled poorly, and the small size of the plant material that comprises shake tends to dry out quickly. This can contribute to loss of terpenes, degradation of cannabinoids, and poor burning while smoking.
- Balhara YPS, Parmar A, Modak T, Vikram V. From “Bhang Shops” to “Cannabis in Coffee Shops”: Time to Debate the Option? Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. October 2020. doi:10.1177/0253717620957501
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