What is Shake Weed (and What Can You Do with It)?

What is shake weed?
By Andrew Ward Updated July 1st

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

The cannabis market offers a range of items for consumers to purchase, ranging from premium buds to concentrated oils to edibles to topicals. Even loose flower clippings are available, but we often call that shake. 

Shake weed is a cost-effective choice that can offer various solutions and positive outcomes for some consumers.

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What is Shake Weed?

Shake weed is the term used to describe the tiny pieces of cannabis flower that break off of larger buds during processing, packaging, and handling. It is found at the bottom of bags, trays, and even some production room floors. These loose flower fragments contain broken-off trichomes, often called kief, as well as small sugar leaves on some occasions. 

Shake is less aesthetically pleasing than full buds. That may impact its sellability to connoisseurs. Still, shake does offer a range of value for consumers looking to have a good time on a budget.

In some cases, the shake is made up using several strains, which can make the flavor, aroma, and overall experience a bit unexpected. However, that isn't the case if the shake comes from a single strain source. In that case, the consumer is likely getting a good deal from a strain that may cost more if fully intact. 

What it lacks in eye-catching appeal, shake weed makes up for in affordability. If you don't mind a dip in quality or uncertain effects, shake can be an extremely affordable option when purchasing cannabis. Depending on how you're using it, shake can be a suitable option for many homemade cannabis products, like edibles. 

Shake is also used to roll, pack, or make:

The battle between shake and bud will likely result in a crushing defeat for shake. Yet, shake weed has its place in the market and can be valuable in some cases.

How is Shake Weed Made?

How is shake weed made?

Shake weed usually comes from larger cannabis flowers, commonly referred to as buds or nugs. When these larger pieces of flower are broken or clipped, small parts often detach in the process. The small broken pieces fall to the bottom of bags, jars, and various other storage sources, making up “shake.” 

When made from a singular strain, the experience is similar to what a consumer would experience with a larger nug of the same strain. The experience can be a mix of those plant profiles if made from various strains. 

Making shake weed can happen anywhere. Shake naturally accumulates and occurs during the curing, bagging, shipping, and pre-smoking processes. As such, many people make cannabis into shake weed even when they don't intend to. 

Shake sometimes gets a bad name, and this may be due to its confusion with trim. Shake is not to be confused with weed trimming. Shake typically contains broken or partially ground flower pieces. Trim often includes largely undesirable plant parts, such as fan leaves and stems. The addition of these plant parts typically makes it more difficult for trim to be smoked. Usually, it results in a less desirable consumption experience due to its suboptimal taste.

Advantages of Shake Weed

It might not be the prettiest flower on the sales shelf, but shake weed has plenty to offer consumers for several reasons. 

Cost

If cost is a determining factor in your shake vs. bud decision, then consider that shake runs at lower rates compared to full-bud. Shake may sell for under $30 an eighth, depending on the market. In some cases, pounds can be acquired for approximately $150. For comparison, a pound of good quality, full-bud weed can exceed $1,000. As such, shake may be ideal for consumers without much concern for plant aesthetics or possible unknown effects. 

Versatility

Shake is very versatile. Consumers and producers can use shake to smoke, cook, infuse, or produce products like extracts and topicals.

Effects

Opinions may split on this point, as it comes with a big caveat. If you aren't looking for strain-specific effects, shake could be an exciting journey, as it may provide the effects of two or more strains. Those looking for one strain's effects should check their shake options before buying, as many stores mix what they have. Still, single strain shake is available with a bit of browsing. 

Reduces Waste

Producers or retailers often toss out shake. This problem helps fuel an ongoing waste issue in the cannabis market. Selling shake helps reduce this waste. 

Drawbacks of Shake Weed

Drawbacks of shake weed

Whether a consumer has a finer taste or seeks a strain specificity, there are a few critical drawbacks to consuming shake weed. 

Not Pretty

Shake isn't the pretty bud that most people want to buy. Similar to "ugly" fruits and vegetables, shake weed can still satisfy consumers with adequate or above-average effects. 

Uncertain Effects

With two or more strains often included in shake, consumers won't completely understand the plant's potency, terpene profile, or effects. This uncertainty concerns many consumers, namely medical patients requiring specific plant compounds and effects. However, this worry is significantly reduced if you find a bag of shake made from one strain. While shake has drawbacks, it can be an effective smoked or infused option. If you decide to buy some, treat it like any other cannabis product for the best results. That means keeping your small buds stored optimally in a cool, dark place in an airtight container away from harmful elements like sunlight, oxygen, and humidity.

Tips for Buying Shake Weed

Before buying any shake weed, make sure that your cannabis meets the below qualifications:

  • Does the product come from a well-known seller with a positive consumer reputation?
  • Is the flower lab tested? Look for a certificate of authenticity on the packaging (a QR code) or website to verify the contents.
  • How does the flower look? Consider skipping if the flower looks old or if it is trim.
  • If you can, smell the flower. Confirm that its aroma is fresh. If it was made from a single strain, confirm the bag smells like what a full bud should smell like. 
  • How fresh is the flower? Legal products will have a harvest date. Avoid flower of any kind over a year old or close to that date, as THC expires and converts to the cannabinoid CBN around this time. 

Consider buying your shake at a licensed dispensary to ensure you're buying shake or any products made under state regulations. This is also a good idea, as you can chat with a budtender who can help determine if shake weed is best for your next bowl, bong, or other method of consumption.

Top 5 Shake Weed Products

Types of shake weed products

Technically, shake weed products aren't advertised much. Some stores and online retailers will have shake on their menus. Still, it's not a large product sector, such as edibles, topicals, vape carts, etc.  

Instead, the best shake comes from the best and freshest flower possible. Shake is often used in many cannabis products as well, giving consumers a few different places to source shake.

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Pre-Packaged and Purchased

Many dispensaries and online retailers offer single and multi-strain shake options. While sold in bags, many retailers and producers combine their shakes with other popular products, namely pre-rolls. 

Pre-Ground Shake

Some shops may even sell their shake pre-ground, an ideal option for anyone looking to make pre-rolls or pack a spliff or blunt without doing the prep work. 

DIY Shake

You can make shake at home using any flower you already have. Just keep the small bud pieces that have fallen off and store it for when you're ready to use them.

Popcorn Buds

Similar to shake, popcorn buds contain small pieces of cannabis flower. Unlike trim, popcorn buds are usually made from underdeveloped buds. These smaller flowers typically don't make the cut for top-shelf sales. Still, depending on the source strain, popcorn buds can have potent effects at a relatively low price.

Trim

Despite its less-than-ideal experience, trim can be used to make a range of products, including edibles and concentrates. However, the diminished quality of source material will likely affect the end product.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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