Everyone knows a great herb grinder is an essential tool for any cannabis enthusiast. It’s a very simple machine that enables you to grind bud and herb into small pieces. Grinding is the ideal way to get your weed prepped to enhance its potency, keep your hands clean, and elevate your smoking experience.
The essence of grinding cannabis is grinding it down into small particles which increases its surface area and burns completely (not just scorch the outside). You can use your fingers or even crush your bud with pharmacist’s pestle and mortar, but you’ll be settling for lower quality – and wasted product. The cannabinoids that stick to your fingers could’ve stayed on the bud – not your hands.
Investing in a high quality grinder is the sure way to get the most from your cannabis and use less. However, a grinder isn't necessarily enough – what you’re putting in makes the most difference (removing stems and seeds). Cannabis from Canadian retailers offers some of the best smoking experiences.
Why should I grind cannabis?
Many underestimate what a grinder can do for your smoking session. Not just a procedure for preparing your weed, the truth is that it significantly improves cannabis quality, and equals the burn or vapour you get.
To get evenly ground weed, look towards a stainless steel or metal alloy grinder. Consistency is paramount because when you smoke and vape, every last cannabinoid is extracted. The bigger and uneven the pieces, the longer it’ll take to evenly extract; you’ll be left with an ashy taste in your mouth – and wasted weed.
If you’ve made the investment in a grinder, here’s five tips and tricks to hack your grinder and get the most from your bud:
1. Never be an over-filler
Everyone loves a grinder jam packed full of weed. Although packing the grinder full gets the job done quickly, it isn’t a good idea. A grinder is designed to operate with minimal strain when twisting. Grinding up smaller quantities – with more grinds and rotations of the blades – ensures every piece is evenly ground. The goal is to avoid chunks, which is a direct cause of uneven heating and ultimately clogging your piece. Simply stop once you start feeling resistance as you complete each twist. Tap it on the table to let the pieces settled, empty, and repeat.
2. Be a kief hoarder
A typical 4-piece grinder (like ours) consists of multiple chambers, designed to make it easy to collect kief when using it. It’s what settles into the bottommost chamber, comes with a little scooper.
Kief is the pollen of the marijuana plant that contains the most amount of THC and makes your cannabis potent. Not collecting kief isn’t a bad thing; it means it stays on your bud and releases when you smoke or vape. By collecting kief, think of it like a savings account where a little bit each grind gets saved for later. You can layer scoops of this fine, gold-like substance into your bowls for an increasingly potent hit that far exceeds the strength of ground weed on its own. When you run out of weed and enter “dankruptcy”, you’ve got your kief hidden away for a rainy day.
Never overfilling your grinder also leads to more kief collected, along with using dryer nugs.
When you’re ready to harvest your kief, simply and carefully scoop out all the pollen into a mason jar or other glass container. Then, throw your freezer in the grinder for 10-15 minutes. This makes it easier to collect the stuck pollen. After, firmly tap your grinder on a hard surface to knock the remaining stuck kief loose. Using a coin (in hack #4) makes this process even more efficient.
3. Flip your grinder upside down (but…make sure it’s closed)
Cannabis enthusiasts use this tactic to enhance their grind and wind up with finer weed particles.
Gravity naturally pulls the ground weed particles through the grinder as it does its job. When you flip it upside-down, the bud stays with the blades in the grinding chamber – and you choose when you want the pieces to settle. This allows more room – and more time – to grind. Once the turns are effortless, flip it right-side up, give it a few taps on the table, and you’re ready to burn. Naturally, this enables more kief particles to loosen up and top-off your kief savings account in the bottom.
4. Get yourself a grinder coin
It can be a token from an arcade, a foreign coin from traveling, or any small, non-magnetic coin that makes your grinder unique. Why use a coin? When you tap or shake the grinder, the ground pieces fall through the holes into the holding chamber. What you’re also doing is letting the metal mesh do its job and sift the bud, letting the fine kief to fall into the bottom chamber.
A grinder coin creates additional micro-vibrations when you tap the grinder against your palm, knee, or tabletop. This creates more opportunity for kief to fall into the bottom (or “kief catcher”) and helps ensure no bud is left stuck in the blades.
The best part is your coin makes a great scooper or separating tool when preparing to grab a pinch or fill a bowl.
5. Grind thoroughly (it takes more than you think)
It’s obvious, but critical. It is the aim whenever you use a grinder, but how do you know when the weed is well-ground?
The first way is feeling for the resistance when you are twisting the grinder. Resistance decreases as the particles become finer. The way to know when you’ve ground enough is when it feels like you’re grinding air. It should feel as if you’re grinding nothing at all; any resistance means buds in the blades and oddly shaped pieces. Don’t settle for half ground weed. By following this step and combining it with #3 (flipping upside down), no uneven pieces will make their way through the holding chamber’s holes.
It’s important to know that thoroughly grinding weed should not be misinterpreted as applying too much force. A grinder that is well maintained delivers a smooth turn – even for the stickiest bud. Be sure to check if you’ve overfilled: if you need more-than-usual force to twist, that equals something is incorrect. The quick remedy for this is opening up and checking if the blades are in good condition – even using a toothpick or small tool so leftover bud doesn’t compromise performance.
6. Clean it regularly
Like every machine, keeping it clean is the key to keeping the pieces moving. How often you clean it depends on your frequency of grinding. At the minimum, it’s important to clean yours every 30 days (like a toothbrush…if you follow your dentist’s instructions).
Terpenes and cannabinoids accumulate when you don’t clean a grinder. Like all flowers, bud decomposes over time. It develops bacteria, and cleaning a grinder means keeping you healthy.
Cleaning the grinder also keeps it in better condition. Sticky bud means sticky grinder blades. Bottlenecks and build-up slow down the operation and its efficiency.
How to clean a grinder? An old (and clean) toothbrush does the trick for clearing out the kief catcher mesh! But, the easiest way is to follow the same steps in our bong and glass cleaning article.