If you look at the very bottom of the huge glass jar containing cannabis flower at dispensaries, you’ll notice bits and pieces of leaves, stems, or segments of bud that aren’t big enough to sell on their own. This is typically accidental, the result of regular business, with some snips just falling through the cracks. Now, you might assume this would be totally unsellable marijuana, tossed out with the trash. But actually, that’s not the case.
“Shake” is the marketable term for cannabis flower remains. It’s usually is comprised of bud trimmings, like the leaves rife with trichomes, although occasionally bits like stems can get into the mix. At dispensaries, shake is often sold at a discount in comparison to nuggets of flower, making it a steal if you’re going to wind up grinding your weed and smoking it in rolled form, and possibly even if you’re going to smoke out of a pipe or bong as well. Another reason to go for shake is if you’re looking to make cannabutter and edibles, as the stems and bits of plant debris shouldn’t matter all that much so long as you’re sure to strain well.
The one major problem with shake is the fact that it’s often used in pre-rolled joints, as this ensures that the dispensary uses all of the product. While in the ideal world, all dispensaries would provide pre-rolls comprised of quality material that didn’t include stems, some believe that they get away with pulling a fast one on the customer because they cannot see what’s inside the pre-roll before purchasing. In addition to packing it with stems, pre-rolls known as mystery rolls also can include a combination of shake from different strains that might not pair well, or include strains that do not bode well for your smoking experience. Although some dispensaries and pre-roll producers do weed out these unwanted bits of shake before rolling up their product, not everyone upholds the same business practices.
One piece of terminology that should be noted is the difference between “shake” and “trim.” While shake is the leftovers from cannabis flower, trim is the discarded plant matter cut away from the bud before curing. This stuff often is much less potent than actual flower, and the smoking experience can be much less pleasant as well. Unfortunately, some pre-roll producers do try to put this stuff in their product since, as with determining whether you’re smoking bits of stem, you’re unable to determine what’s inside.