Them’s the Shakes: The Secret Supply of Weed You Should Be Smoking

Them’s the Shakes: The Secret Supply of Weed You Should Be Smoking

Have you ever opened your herb grinder and emptied it, only to leave behind a small collection of green bits that are slightly too fine to fall out into your joint and slightly too large to be pollen? Have you ever broken down a fat nug by hand and left a pile of tiny flower bits behind on the table? Congratulations, you know what shake is.

“Shake” is just a catchall term that is used to describe all of the leftover bits of flower that get left behind during processing. At home, this processing occurs while you’re breaking down flower to prepare it for smoking. At dispensaries, the processing occurs as they break down large amounts of flower to prepare it for retail. While these leftover bits and pieces seem meager on their own, when you collect them all together, they make a powerful source of smoke.

How do I use shake?

Like many aspects of stoner culture, what you do with shake is limited only by your imagination. You can transform it into edibles, you can smoke it, you can vape it, you can even turn it into a potent tincture. If you’re looking for ways to use all the loose weed you collect, look no further. We have some ideas…

Smoking shake

This is the most obvious use. Shake isn’t quite like a whole nug. It’s much smaller, which means it’s much easier to compact. If you have a large amount of shake available (if you buy it in bulk from a dispensary, for example) you can use it to fill in the spaces of your joints and blunts. This makes for tighter joints that smoke more slowly and evenly, as filling in the gaps limits the amount of oxygen that passes through the joint as you draw.

Shake that you buy from a dispensary, often at bargain prices, is perfect for party smoking. Not only does the low price stretch your party budget further, hitting a gravity bong with 20 other people isn’t exactly the situation to bust out your best stash. While you obviously want to get high, expensive weed is usually expensive because of its flavor, premium smokability, and nuanced attributes that are wasted in a party setting. Save that stuff for a small-group hang, use your shake for the ragers. You can get just as high without throwing nugs before swine.

What about vapes?

Shake is ideal for use in an herb vape. Because the pieces are so small, shake is easy to burn in herb vapes that load flower. Not only that, they leave behind relatively little residue compared to larger pieces with pieces of stem holding together the flower.


One of the most annoying parts of making edibles is processing the weed into a small, smoothly ground herb mix that’s suitable for cooking. The last thing anyone wants out of an edible is to spend time picking bits of weed out of their teeth. Shake is essentially pre-ground, and all it needs is a quick blitz in an herb grinder (the cooking kind) or food processor to get it nice and smooth. All you need to do next is cook it (to decarboxylate the THCA and convert it into THC that’s digestible), and you’re ready to make edibles! Mix your shake into your favorite baked goods recipes and be prepared to get baked yourself.

You can also make a tincture with your shake, but you may need to use caution. While many tinctures are used medicinally, shake isn’t a great choice for medicinal cannabis. Because shake is made with leftovers, there’s no good way to know which strains those leftovers came from. While some dispensaries may work in high enough volumes to divide their shake up by strains, that’s not likely to be the case. As such, the effects of the shake you buy at dispensaries can be unpredictable. For some users, unpredictability is a selling point, but for people who want a reliable, predictable effect, it’s best to make your tincture with just one strain.


Collecting shake is an economical way to start making your own concentrates. Why pay for shatter when you can make it at home? This is particularly true if you tend to buy resinous, dank weed. You will likely collect a large amount of shake and pollen in your grinder (especially if you use a 4-piece grinder). Set it aside each time you clean your herb grinder. Once you have a good amount put away, use a tool like a pollen press or even a hair straightener to melt and extract the oils in the flower. As you draw out those oils, you can remove stray bits of leafy material to create highly concentrated oils, or leave them in a highly compressed form to create dense, pressed pucks of weed that will store nearly indefinitely.

Whatever you decide to do, one thing is painfully clear: Don’t throw away your shake. Many new smokers have no idea that they’re sitting on a goldmine each time they clean their grinder. While these stray bits seem inconsequential, they add up over time. While saving money is one obvious benefit of saving shake, learning to make your own edibles, concentrates, and other projects is a fun way to increase your weed knowledge. Until someone opens up Cannabis College, learning to DIY is the closest we can come to a master’s degree in marijuana. Check out for all the best tools to smoke, vape, or press your shake and become a veritable Ph.D. of Pot today.

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