What is weed shake and should you buy it?

For those who say ‘nay’ to using shake, let’s answer the question: what is shake weed?

Christina Winter / Unsplash


Buying shake weed is not unlike buying second-hand clothes – it’s slightly damaged, saves you some money and achieves your intended purpose. In this case, you are still buying cannabis but for some shake weed is anathema to quality. They absolutely refuse to buy shake even though it’s still smokable. If you aren’t among the weed smokers who say ‘nay’ to shake, keep reading.

The rundown on shake

When cannabis workers snip and cut buds from plants, bits and pieces sprinkle off naturally and land at the bottom of the bag. But just because these pieces fall off the main bud doesn’t mean they are useless. The leftover pieces create shake weed, which still contains the same amount of trichomes. Bundled together, shake can make for high-potent weed. It’s important to note that shake isn’t kief, which consists of small pieces of trichomes crystals. 

Think of shake as leftover weed buds that got cut off from the main bud. It shouldn’t get such a bad reputation despite what some cannabis connoisseurs say. Moreover, the majority of pre-rolls sold at dispensaries contain shake. This is common practice with a lot of dispensaries trying to get rid of shake: instead of throwing it away, why not entice smokers with ready-to-smoke pre-rolls? 

In an ideal world, the small pieces of bud that fell off the plant should be just as good as the actual bud. The downfall with some dispensaries is that they will fill their overstock that doesn’t sell fast with pre-rolls. It might be low quality because it’s old and might give smokers a headache. For those who buy pre-rolls, they should be aware that they might not get a quality smoke. 

Since shake weed is bits and pieces of different buds, it doesn’t follow a specific THC percentage or star rating and can ignite different opinions from smokers. One of the obvious disadvantages of buying shake is that it contains stems. Pre-rolls and small amounts won’t have this problem. But be warned, purchasing a big bag of discounted shake might not have the highest THC. That means you’ll only have a short or mild high. 

If there are more stems in your shake, they probably came from the “trim,” which is part of the main plant. Be sure to examine your discounted shake because it’s not possible to smoke stems. If the bag of shake contains more leaves and stems than pieces of bud, don’t buy it and maybe think about visiting a different dispensary or buying something else. 

Why buy shake? 

The main reason to buy shake is to make a last-minute purchase or as a last-resort solution when nothing else is available. 

While scraping at the bottom of the barrel might seem like an act of desperation, some smokers intentionally head to a dispensary to purchase shake.  

First, shake is still part of a cannabis flower. Since it’s cheaper, it works for those who are working on a cannabis-related project like cooking that requires a big amount of cannabis.  

For instance, for those baking cannabis edibles, shake can easily be made into cannabutter. Since it’s already cut into small pieces, the baker saves time by not having to grind. And cooking requires measuring – and shake is easy to measure.

Some smokers don’t like pre-rolls because they claim they don’t see what the shake looks like. So some users buy shake because it’s cost-effective and it’s ready to roll into blunts and joints. If users find a reliable dispensary that sells good shake, without stems, smokers save a ton of money and walk away with a deal.    

Besides saving money and time, users bypass the grinding process by simply dipping into the bag and rolling it up. 

Reasons not to use shake

Medical marijuana users who need specific strains to treat their ailments should avoid shake. It won’t be as potent as it’s a mix of different strains and some of the THC/CBD content might be lower than what the user needs. If users are low on cash or lacking a medical marijuana plant, ask the budtender if there is shake in stock that is close to the THC content needed to alleviate symptoms. 

If the smoker is visual and wants to see what every bud looks like prior to purchasing, then buying shake isn’t the route to go. Pre-rolls will likely be made with shake and it might not be the most potent smoke and can contain traces of stems. 

If a cannabis user has a favourite strain or preference for indica over sativa strains, shake might present as a risky purchase instead of a deal. There’s no label on shake that indicates you are getting a potent Indica strain, for example. In general, think of the situation you’re in. If you are buying for casual smoking or cooking, shake is a good solution. But if it’s for alleviating specific symptoms with a specific THC percentage, shake should be avoided.

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