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Wednesday September 25, 2019

By Andrew Ward

420 Culture

Let's talk about shake and its place in the cannabis world. In short, shake is the leftovers. It's the bits and pieces that fall off of cannabis buds. Shake often can be found in the various components of a grinder, or at the bottom of its packaging. If you're a bit messy, you can spot some shake on just about any surface a bowl is packed or a joint is rolled. Some don't mind using shake, or even buying it. Others would prefer to steer clear for one reason or another. 

Not the most glamorous by any means, your cannabis leftovers still have a good deal of value left in them. If you are willing to look past any ugliness in loose flower, you'll see that shake is suitable for almost as much as the more sizeable flower it fell from. That said, some have used the term to loop in just about any plant material they have leftover. Here's how you can steer clear of the counterfeits and enjoy the benefits of cannabis' black sheep, shake. 

Ask What They Mean By 'Shake'

Proper shake is the leftovers discussed above. The problem is that it can sometimes be passed off as non-smokeable parts of the flower, mainly the stems and fan leaves. That is not to say that shake should be free of stems. Proper shake may have a few pesky sticks and stems to toss away. However, some dispensaries and other retailers have taken far too much liberty with the term.

Cannabis Trim
Example of cannabis trim.

When a bag is filled more with undesirable plant parts than loose bud, you're dealing with trim. Don't accept it by any other name. Shake is acceptable for smoking while trim is better suited for uses we've previously covered – like making homemade infusions and edibles. To avoid picking up a bag of trim, be sure to first examine the contents inside its container. If you aren't able to assess the product, consider passing on it. When buying shake, look to see that it contains mostly flower. It is fine to purchase shake that has dried flower and a few stems, but draw the line there. Don't get anything of lesser quality. You'll be wasting your money on product that is not very enjoyable to consume. 

The Cost of Cannabis Shake

Shake offers customers the opportunity to buy cannabis at a discounted price due to its small bits and suboptimal freshness. Consider shake to be the day-old doughnuts. While fine, they aren't as fresh or pretty. Because of this, some will consider shake undesirable. 

To move either shake or doughnuts before they go bad, sellers mark its price down to remain appealing. Prices are also marked down because shake lacks the consistent quality that you find in fresh bud. When buying shake, you may get potent, quality flower. Or, it simply may be a bag of mids.

As such, prices for shake vary. Some companies try selling their leftover stock in grab bag varieties. These offerings include ounces for over $100. However, prices can be found well below triple digits as well, especially if the producer is trying to make sales. Shake sells for a variety of prices depending on the market, with some selling ounces as low as $20 for lower quality shake. “Top shelf" shake typically lists at an appealing discount to full buds but is more expensive than lower quality shake.

When to Use Marijuana Shake

Once you've sourced proper shake, it's time to discover its potential. These cannabis leftovers can be used in several consumption methods. That said, it is not suitable for all situations or consumers. Dispensaries and retailers may sell shake in jars or other containers. But another common application is in pre-rolls. Reputable retailers will take their leftovers, sans trim, and roll it up to get value out of product that is otherwise getting tossed away. Since you won't be able to see inside the pre-roll like you would a container, stick with quality cannabis cultivators and retailers.

Make sure you only purchase pre-rolls that contain quality shake or full flower.

Edibles work well with shake as well. The smaller bits of material doesn't make it much less potent than flower from an intact bud would be. You're working with the same stuff more or less. You might even get lucky and come across some extra potent shake to liven up your edibles. Just remember the quality in, quality out approach. Only use shake from well-cultivated buds. Otherwise, you'll come away really disliking shake and the items it helps create. 

When Not to Use Shake

It would be ill-advised to make top-shelf concentrates like full melt hash with shake. Items that can only be produced from superior flower will not benefit from shake. Instead, stick to using the loose stuff only when the quality of the flower is less of a concern. Medical patients should also steer clear of shake. Patients require consistent doses and results. With shake, neither is guaranteed. Overall, if the product has any sort of strain uncertainty, it would be best to decline the shake.

Have you ever purchased or consumed shake before? Share your experiences in the comments below!


Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based cannabis writer and creative. His work has appeared on Benzinga, High Times, PROHBTD and several other publications and brand blogs. He has covered the cannabis space for over three years, and has written professionally since 2011. His first book, "Cannabis Jobs," was released in October 2019. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to stay up to date.

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