Smaller Than Buds: Popcorn Nugs, Shake & Kief

If you enjoy cannabis, then you know that most of the time it needs to be broken down before using, especially when smoking. But have you ever heard the official names for sizes of cannabis buds? Popcorn nugs, shakes and kief are the three that we will cover in the post.

To clarify, buds are referred to as individual pieces of cannabis flower that can be used. For example, one gram of cannabis is often only one or two buds. Take a look at some:

Buds (also called nugs) are small bushes of marijuana, typically ranging from half of a gram to 2 grams each. Some buds are smaller than that, while others can also be much bigger. Some can get to 5 or 6 grams, maybe even bigger! But when a bud gets too small or starts shedding, then those smaller pieces are called something different. Let’s take a look.

Popcorn Nugs

First let’s talk about popcorn nugs, the biggest of the three in this list. These are tiny nugs that weigh less than half of a gram. They can usually be found at the bottom of a sack of bud or after breaking down some bigger nugs by hand. These nugs are useful for packing a bowl or rolling a blunt.

Personally, when I roll a blunt, I do not like my weed to be too small to the point where it is falling out of the sides. Instead, I will break down my buds by hand so that they are not too small for a blunt. These nugs are also great for taking snappers with. A snapper is a bowl of marijuana that is intended to be taken all in one hit (usually smaller than a regular bowl). One decent-sized popcorn nug may be enough for a snapper.

After looking at the image above, can you see why they are called popcorn nugs? Because they look like small pieces of popcorn! Just don’t eat them if you get the munchies. To obtain popcorn nugs from regular nugs, simply break down your marijuana by hand, not using a grinder. But there are still uses for grinders. Typically when using a grinder, however, the marijuana gets broken down even smaller than popcorn nugs, taking us to our next size.


With that said, let’s move on to shake. Shake is even smaller than popcorn nugs. If you have a large amount of marijuana, you can typically find some shake at the bottom of that. Shake looks similar to chopped-up parsley. To get a shake, simply use a grinder to break down marijuana instead of by hand. If you are rolling a joint, I suggest using a shake. Unlike a blunt, joints can hold a shake without it falling out. But make sure you are using a filter tip with that joint, or you might get small pieces of marijuana in your mouth!

Related Post: How To Avoid Getting Weed In Your Mouth

Notice the image above? Was I right about it looking like chopped-up parsley? Chop up your marijuana using a grinder for some shake! You could use your hands to get a shake, but this may take much longer than using a grinder. The only bad thing about some grinders is that you have to periodically clean them so they do not get jammed. So just make sure to buy a good grinder to get you some good shake!


Shake is pretty small, right? Well, let’s keep going because marijuana can get even smaller. Cannabis can get as small as a grain of sand. That is called kief (pronounced keef). This is marijuana so small that it cannot get any smaller. Kief is made when dry marijuana nugs begin to shed, or when marijuana is scraped along a mesh screen. Some grinders include kief catchers, which catch all of the kief that falls out of the marijuana you are breaking down. Take a look at Kief in a Kief catcher above.

Related Post: Best Methods For Collecting Kief

That right there is a lot of kief. If you are using a Kief catcher, it may take months before it fills up and looks like that (unless you are breaking down huge amounts of marijuana every day). Kief also has a higher concentration of THC than regular buds, meaning it is more potent than an equally sized bud. Once you have a good amount of kief, you can sprinkle some inside a blunt or joint, on top of a bowl, or even make it into its bowl! Some people even use Kief in recipes for marijuana edibles. It is always good to have some extra kief saved up: it’s like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!

Popcorn nugs, shak, and kief are all smaller than regular cannabis buds. They all have similar and different purposes. They are all obtained in different ways. Which is your favorite to use? Thanks for reading!

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Evan Weston

Evan Weston is a contributor to Reefer Posts, a growing community for exploring the developing market of Cannabis and CBD-related products. He spends a lot of time researching the development of health-related products that utilize Cannabis and CBD oils. He also keeps tabs on the developing legal environment regarding medical, recreational cannabis use, and production.

1 thought on “Smaller Than Buds: Popcorn Nugs, Shake & Kief”

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!


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