Kief, also known as dry sift, is a collection of the trichomes, or resinous glands that grow all over the marijuana plant. To be specific, kief is technically only the bulbous tip of each trichome, which is the most potent part of the plant. But not everyone knows this fact, so when someone is talking about kief, they’re probably talking about a collection of various parts of the trichomes.
When marijuana plant material dries out, the trichomes dry out and begin to break off. This is why marijuana flowers should be handled minimally before they’re consumed. It’s a natural result of grinding cannabis flower, but kief is also targeted and collected by growers with large amounts of trim. Kief can be consumed by itself or combined with other forms of marijuana to create a more intense high.
Marijuana kief may help medicate consumers or get them high, but the tiny trichome glands also serve a purpose for cannabis plants growing in the wild. In addition to attracting pollinators, they also intoxicate herbivores (a strategy that hopefully results in the potential marijuana plant-eater forgetting what they were doing and wandering off.)