Cannabis 101: What is Shake Weed?

Like everything in cannabis, shake weed has its share of nuances.
Like everything in cannabis, shake weed has its share of nuances. /

If you’re new to the world of cannabis flower then you might not be familiar with the term shake weed. 

And rest assured, by the end of your first big bag/jar of weed, you’ll know exactly what it is. 

It’s that little pile of weed flakes and dust that’s leftover once you finish off the big beautiful full flower nugs; and it has plenty of uses. 

What is cannabis shake and where does it come from?

If you google shake, you’ll probably be led to a milky beverage that pairs greatly with a burger from Red Robin. 

But in terms of weed, shake refers to the pieces of your flower that have fallen to the bottom of the container as you regularly handle the weed. 

You can think of shake as weed leftovers. It is essentially the weed version of chip crumbs at the bottom of your bag of Doritos. The more flower you have in a container, the more shake you will accumulate over time.

Shake comes from the full bud flower your jar once held. 

Oftentimes, cannabis companies use shake for their pre-rolls. Some brands/dispensaries carry ounces of shake for the low. On that note, shake is a great purchase for the budget consumer that doesn’t care too much about the quality over quantity.

How is cannabis shake different than cannabis nugs

There are many ways that shake is different from fully-grown nugs.

For one, structure, obviously. When you pick up a big nug of Deadhead OG, you can see every color, every trichome, every hair in the plant. 

With shake, you just get a pile of those things, in addition to all the trim, stems, and seeds (depending on your quality of weed), which you most definitely don’t want to be smoking in your bongs and joints.

For two, the experience of smoking shake can be a lot different. Because of the leftover trim and plant material in there, shake could come with a harsher smoke than smoking fresh nugs. 

The jury is still out on if there’s a difference in potency, although it’s possible the THC in your shake, due to damage or age, may have degraded into CBN (cannabinol), which is known for its strong sedative properties.

And in terms of how smooth it’ll smoke, you’re definitely getting a better burn from buds versus shake weed. Think of it like bread. Would you want to make a sandwich with slices of crumbs? Exactly.

For three, the purchasing experience of shake versus nugs is worth noting. Sometimes companies will use leftover shake to pack their pre-rolls or bag up as a cheap ounce. However, inside of these joints/bags, you might really just be getting a bunch of trim. Trim refers to the leaves that are cut away from fresh buds. They are extremely low in potency and overall quality, which is part of the reason why they’re removed. 

Also, with those bags of shake, you might be getting a cocktail of multiple strains, which is not great for people who are looking for the specific effects of one specific cultivar. 

A piece on shake from Ben Adlin for Leafly states, “Sometimes shake is combined from various strains, so it’s important to be clear on what you’re getting. Ask questions and explain your needs to dispensary staff. If strain-specific effects are important for your treatment, you may want to avoid so-called mystery or rainbow rolls, pre-rolled joints made from a mix of different strains.”

Ways to use cannabis shake

You can use shake in all kinds of different ways.

Ways to use leftover cannabis shake:

  • Roll joints and blunts
  • Smoke shake bowls
  • Make cannabis tea
  • Make homemade cannabis edibles
  • Make homemade cannabis tinctures

Use shake to roll joints

First and foremost, if you have a bunch of shake on deck, go ahead and use it to twist up joints and blunts. That’s its best use. Shake contains the same cannabinoids and terpenes as fully-structured flower, so rolling it up will do you right. Shake is pretty much just meal-prepped roll-up weed.

Use shake to smoke bowls (or vaporize)

You can also toss your shake into a bowl and get high. However, just remember, that shake contains a good amount of plant matter, which might produce some pretty harsh bong hits.

Use shake to make weed tea

Making weed tea from your leftover shake is always a good move. With edible cannabis, you really just need the THC/CBD/etc. compounds, regardless of how the weed smokes. Here’s some tips on how to make weed tea.

Use shake to make edibles

Just like you can use shake to make weed drinkables, you can also use it to make baked goods and candies. As previously mentioned, the quality of weed matters less in a chew-swallow experience, because it’s all about the weed compounds. So collect that shake over time, decarboxylate the whole batch, and make the homies some homemade brownies or gummies.

Use shake to make homemade cannabis tinctures

Lastly, shake can also be used to make homemade tinctures. Tinctures are an alcohol-based liquid version of cannabis. You can read more in depth about them here.

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