If you have ever seen a cannabis plant, you may have wondered what is that tacky stuff on top of the plant buds. You may be astonished to learn that these yellow glandular hairs (trichomes) are essential to the plant, as they contain cannabinoids, such as THC, in high concentrations. Do plants and animals need it? Or is it all about human euphoria?
Though the etymology of the word “keef” (also known as kief) goes back to Arabic word that means delight and blessing, from the scientific point of view, it has nothing to do with human pleasure. Indeed, a plant needs weed keef to protect itself from herbivores who may destroy the plant. The trichomes scare away such animals so that they avoid marijuana plants in future.
In what way does the sticky substance on the trichomes deter herbivores? The secret lies in the psychedelic effect on the animals. The animal gets confused and lost after contacting with the cannabis plant and ceases to eat it. Also, the substance emits an odor that attracts varmints, who pose a risk for herbivores, and useful insects, such as bees and other pollinators. So, the substance that people have learned to use as a drug is a vital element of flora.
To separate the pollen from the buds and to extract keef, one needs a grinder—a screen made of fabric (like silk or other material) that will divide the keef particles from the dried herb. In order to extract pure substance, use multilevel grinders with screens of different sizes, from large to small. The color of the substance depends on the purity of the product. While the pollen grain on the flower has a yellow color, the hue of pure keef is white. Keef is used in making hashish. When the product is pressurized and heated, it changes its structure and color to a darker one.
Because of a high THC content, keef can also have a psychedelic effect on a person, which cannot be observed with animals. For example, it affects the cognitive activity of a person and leads to learning and memory defects. Marijuana consumption also causes mental disorders such as psychosis, anxiety, and depression.