Kief refers to the hair-like or crystal-like projections that can be found at the bulbs or flowers of the marijuana or cannabis plant. Some people also refer to them as the pollen of the marijuana plant. Not many people may know it or simply ignore this crystal-like residue of the marijuana plant, it actually contains more of the cannabinoids and terpenes than the marijuana leaf alone. These substances have psychogenic properties making them highly addictive. Many countries around the world ban the use and/or planting of marijuana trees because of its effects on the brain which can be a cause for substance dependency. Research has shown though that the psychogenic properties of the marijuana plant, including kief, can also be used for medicinal purposes.
For the marijuana user, kief is something that is sought after because it contains more of the psychoactive chemicals compared to the dried marijuana leaves. When creating hash for example, kief is often added to the mix or sprinkled on top as it provides more psychogenic effects. As for the marijuana plant itself, kief actually serves a practical purpose. The high cannabinoid content of kief is considered a deterrent for plant-eating animals. The kief in the plant bulbs will basically make these animals very psychoactive that they will literally stop eating the whole plant. The effect on their brain will overwhelm their senses and make them stop eating the marijuana plant. Kief also has a strong smell which can also keep away herbivores.
When people want to extract kief, extra effort may be needed because of its crystal-like nature. When using grinders for example, much of the crystal powder will settle at the bottom of the machine making it more difficult to extract. Shaking the grinder may be necessary to make for an easier kief extraction. In terms of storage, kief is typically converted into hash or cakes for easier handling.