What’s Cannabis Shake & Is It as Potent as Bud?

Have you ever come across something called cannabis shake? This form of raw cannabis isn’t as common as flower or bud, but you can usually find it on the menus of many dispensaries and delivery services.

Many wonder what shake is, how to use it and whether it’s as potent as other forms of cannabis are. Don’t worry. We’re here to answer all of your questions.


What is Cannabis Shake?

Shake is a term used to describe the leftovers from a batch of cannabis. When you put cannabis buds in a bag or jar and regularly handle them, little bits of that flower will fall to the bottom of the container.

When you take all of the full-sized buds out of the container, you usually have some shake left over. This pile of cannabis bits can’t be sold the same way as whole buds can, so dispensaries often repurpose cannabis shake by selling it at a drastically reduced price than that of cannabis flower.

But what’s the quality level on this discounted cannabis? Well, like other kinds of leftovers, shake’s quality can vary. It may be potent or weak, delicious or disgusting, easy to smoke or cause coughing fits. It all has to do with what the cannabis shake started as and how it was treated along the way.

For starters, cannabis shake is sometimes strain specific, but often is an unmarked combination of multiple strains. So, from the get-go and from a medicinal point of view, shake’s effects can be hard to predict.

It can also vary in terms of quality. In the best-case scenario, you may find shake that’s just broken pieces of cured, top-shelf indoor cannabis, with high potency and a smooth smoke.

You may even find some with super-high potency if a lot of kief has fallen off of the buds into the shake. In other cases, it may be that the quality is terrible and seems to mostly be stems and little leaves—a mix that will leave a burning feeling in your throat if you try to smoke it—and probably won’t provide enough of the medicine you need.

Sometimes leftovers after trimming cannabis buds are even sold as shake, although this is a real stretch of the term. If you get shake that’s just trim, you probably don’t want to buy shake from the same business again.

Usually though, it’s somewhere in between. A collection of broken-up bud with some tiny leaves and stems, usually at somewhat lower potency than that of normal flower.

Another factor with cannabis shake is its longevity. Cured bud tends to preserve its cannabinoids and terpenes inside the bud itself. But when these buds are broken into pieces, there’s nowhere to hide. Shake dries out quickly and the chemicals in it oxidize much faster than it does in bud. This can diminish the quality and potency of the cannabis.

To find higher-quality shake, look for shake that still smells like the flower it came from, and doesn’t have a lot of sticks and leaves. Then consume it as quickly as you can, since its quality will fade faster than the quality of your other bud.

3 Ways to Use Shake

There’s a big quality difference in shake. Still, whether you have top-quality shake or a bag of sticks and leaves, you can find ways to use this cannabis product.


Here are three popular ways to use up shake:

  • Edibles and tinctures: Using shake in homemade edibles and tinctures is probably the most popular way to use shake. And it makes sense, because cannabis quality isn’t the most important factor when it comes to marijuana edibles or tinctures.

You can pull cannabinoids from just about any form of cannabis. So for edibles, prioritizing quality in the ingredients you’re combining with the shake—like butter, honey, glycerin or high-quality oil—is more important. This makes edibles or tinctures a great way to use up your lower-quality shake.

Use shake with any edible or tincture recipe instead of wasting full buds. Or if it’s particularly lacking in potency, you can use it to supplement bud, hash or kief in your recipe.

On the downside, shake rarely has reliable test results for cannabinoid content, so it will be hard to tell the dosage for your edibles without some experimentation.

  • Joints and pre-rolls: For shake that isn’t all sticks and leaves, but is mostly made up of pieces of crumbled-up bud, some enjoy rolling them up into joints. In fact, using shake for joints is a common practice for dispensaries and delivery services. If you’ve ever received a free pre-roll from a dispensary that tasted a bit like dried grass, you’ve probably had a shake pre-roll.

While these tend to be less potent than a normal bud pre-roll, some swear that they prefer the mellow and toned-down high that shake provides. With lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content on average, shake may be a good solution for those who experience negative effects from high-THC bud.

  • Blunts: Blunts are another popular way to use up shake. These extra-large joints are usually wrapped in a flavored tobacco paper. This masks the flavor of the shake, making its quality less important.

Plus, with such a large size, it takes a lot of cannabis to fill up a blunt. So, some folks like to use all shake for their blunts, while others just fill in the gaps with shake, combining it with some higher-quality bud or adding in hash and kief.

Still, given the health effects of tobacco, we don’t recommend using tobacco blunts. Thankfully, there are now blunt wraps made of hemp. These can provide a better option for those seeking the classic blunt experience to consume their medicine—without the added nicotine.

Photo credit: Vuk Stajic/

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.


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