Weed shake. No, not a frothy drink made from blending cannabis with ice. We’re talking about the loose, leafy detritus found at the bottom of baggies and bottles. Is that stuff any good to smoke? Is it good to use in baking or extraction? Or is it best used as backup weed for when your mooching friends come over to bogart your stash?
First, a little etymological history of the term “shake.” Like most things relegated to cannabis folklore, we don’t know when this term originally appeared or who said it first. But back in the days of widespread prohibition, “shake” simply referred to the leftover weed that fell off the lush, fuller buds. Think “table weed.”
How much is shake?
You won’t often find shake on dispensary shelves, but most cannabis shops hold on to the unseemly trimmings to maximize their profits. Depending on the laws in their state, some dispensaries throw all of their shake into a large, grab-bag container and use it to roll their in-house joints. These can be a fun, surprise smoking experience but tread with caution — you never know quite what strain you’re puffing with a shake-filled joint. When in doubt, ask your budtender for more details.
Dispensaries typically will also sell different amounts of shake for far cheaper than the flower on their shelves. Some shops in legalized states will sell an ounce of shake for as little as $40. In a pinch, shake is cheaper, looks exactly like pre-ground bud, and it’s just as smokeable.
What is weed shake used for?
Once you move past the lack of glamour, shake is an excellent substitute for full, fluffy buds.
Shake essentially is pre-ground flower, ready to pack in a bowl or fill out the empty space in a large joint or blunt. When crafting edibles, too, one needn’t worry about the look of one’s buds — they’re all about to be mixed into your recipe. You only need pretty flower to use as a garnish.
Some cannabis consumers create tinctures using their leftover shake. As long as you have enough shake by weight for your recipe, the alcohol in the tincture recipe will properly strip all the THC-goodness from your trim.
Occasionally, cannabis extractors will use shake to make concentrates, though many in the industry prefer to use flower, ensuring a higher quality end product
The pros and cons of shake
Shake is cannabis flower that has naturally broken down through handling. It’s small parts that have come off of larger buds. For the average consumer, shake collects at the bottom of your stash, which you can also use to make joints. Convenience is the real benefit of shake—you can put it in a joint without having to grind it down. However, it is thought to be lower in quality.
If shake includes kief that also fell off of buds then the shake will likely be potent. Shake is usually of lower quality because it’s the last to go from your stash and has had the longest time to dry out and degrade.
Alternative Uses for Marijuana Shake
Of course, there are other ways to maximize the potency of marijuana shake. If you don’t want to smoke leftover shake because you don’t think it will get you high or you consider yourself “weed snob,” and prefer to smoke fresh buds, you can always utilize it for non-smoking methods of ingesting THC.
If you’re of the holistic sort, you can opt to put some marijuana shake in your tea. This method won’t get you high, but if you were already under the pretense that shake wouldn’t get you high enough anyway, there’s no harm in putting it in your hot beverage. This method allows you to unlock some of the potent, non-psychoactive effects of CBD.
Another great way to utilize shake—again, without actually getting stoned—is using it to make CBD-derived skin topicals. This method is a bit more time consuming, but it’s well worth the wait, especially with a “burning” passion for natural self care methods.
For skin topicals, decarb your weed into a fine powder. The extracted plant material is already rich in essential oils, but combining it with other all natural oils like lavender, lemon, and rosemary can be incredibly effective in improving the condition of your skin. Once you mix the oils with the extracted cannabinoids, cooke them, and then let the concoction sit for a few hours, feel free to apply it to any blemishes, dry skin patches, or scars. Regular application of this simple topical can improve the condition of your skin slowly, but surely.
On the other hand, you might be somebody who likes to get the best bang for their buck out of their weed, and that’s ok, too. Maximizing the THC in your shake is certainly one way to do just that.
Using the remnants of your marijuana shake to make edibles is perhaps the best way to do just that. This way, you’re extracting all of the remaining THC from your flower and maximizing its potency in a highly-condensed form. We’d suggest making cannabutter out of your shake, as it’s a simple and relatively fast process that will certainly get you stoned…to say the absolute least.
Vaporizing your marijuana shake is another way you can get the most out of your cannabis flower. While smoking it in a bowl, bong, or joint might not be the most enjoyable form of consumption, at least taste-wise, vaporizing the shake will better maximize the remaining THC while tasting the same as, well, any other time you vaped your weed.
Regardless, whatever method(s) you choose, at least you can go to sleep at night knowing that you utilized, quite literally, all of your weed. And that, friends, is all that really matters.
Lastly, we would simply recommend being upfront and asking questions before you decide to buy shake weed. Most dispensaries will be happy to help, and they’ll do what they can to point you in the right direction. Also, if you see shake referred to as “premium harvest shake,” this usually means it has all come from one flower. When possible, opt for this variety as it typically results in a much more enjoyable experience.