What Is Cannabis Shake?

Like a lot of cannabis terms, it means different things to different people.

If you look at the very bottom of the huge glass jar containing cannabis flower at dispensaries, you’ll notice bits and pieces of leaves, stems, or segments of bud that aren’t big enough to sell on their own. This is typically accidental, the result of regular business, with some snips just falling through the cracks. Now, you might assume this would be totally unsellable marijuana, tossed out with the trash. But actually, that’s not the case. “Shake” is the marketable term for cannabis flower remains. It’s usually is comprised of bud trimmings, like the leaves rife with trichomes, although occasionally bits like stems can get into the mix. At dispensaries, shake is often sold at a discount in comparison to nuggets of flower, making it a steal if you’re going to wind up grinding your weed and smoking it in rolled form, and possibly even if you’re going to smoke out of a pipe or bong as well. Another reason to go for shake is if you’re looking to make cannabutter and edibles, as the stems and bits of plant debris shouldn’t matter all that much so long as you’re sure to strain well.

3 things shake is not

  • Shake is NOT kief
  • Shake does NOT replace cannabis – you can’t smoke it by it’s lonesome
  • Shake is NOT useless

Where to Find It

You’re most likely to encounter shake at a medical dispensary, especially one that keeps its flower in large jars. As budtenders shift the nugs, bits break off and collect at the bottom of each jar. The shake is collected and then either sold on its own or used to make pre-rolled joints.

If you buy shake separately, it’s almost always cheaper than flower that’s still in bud form. So the question becomes whether the discount is worth it. The answer depends largely on what you’re looking for in cannabis — and how you plan to consume it.

If you’re someone who regularly grinds your flower before using it, shake might be worth considering. Joint, blunt, and spliff rollers are an obvious audience, but even fans of glass might be interested if the quality is good and the discount is deep enough. Bakers and other edible makers should also take a look: If you’re making cannabutter, it doesn’t matter much if there are even a few small stems and leaves mixed in — just be sure to strain the butter well before using.

What is shake used for?

The uses for shakes are numerous. Lucky you! Shake is used as a topping in your joint. Additionally, feel free to sprinkle some on top of your favorite edibles, like a brownie or firecracker.

Shake is used to make cannabis oil or butter (the LEVO Oil Infuser would come in handy here!), which you can ingest alone or cook into recipes. It can be added to tea, blended to make cannabis flour, made into pressed hash, or made into Ecig oil. With a variety of uses, it’s hard to understand why shake has such a bad reputation.

For a number of reasons, shake has a bad reputation. Most cannabis users do not understand what shake is, and misconception has led to misunderstanding in the community.

A Key Pre-Roll Ingredient

Another place you might find shake is in a pre-rolled joint. Using shake in pre-rolls allows dispensaries to use every last bit of cannabis, but it can also raise doubts about quality.

Why? Think in terms of leftovers. Say you have a steak dinner and you’re planning to roll the remnants into a burrito later on. If you save the best pieces of meat and make the burrito the next day, you’re in for a solid meal. But if you save just bits of gristle and forget about them at the back of the fridge for a week, you might be in for a nasty surprise. It’s less about the fact you’re using leftovers than it is about the quality of those leftovers.

Because pre-rolls come wrapped in paper, the meat (as it were) is already in the burrito — it’s hard to know what’s inside.

First, ask your budtenders what is in their pre-rolls
Second, if you are a medical patient, ask if shake from multiple flowers is in your medical pre-roll
Lastly, if your dispensary of choice sells shake (some do!), verify if it is a single flower

So yeah, just imagine that the whole bud is a steak, and shake is what has remained on the plate when you’ve reached your limits. This analogy is particularly accurate because leftovers can be either delicious or disgusting, and shake goes by the same token.

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