Don't have a marijuana card? Call us at (240) 813 8818 to get started.

Card image

The Definition of Shake and Its Uses

May 25, 2021 in General Education

Based on my research, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what you can expect to get when you purchase shake. I hope to rectify the situation. In this article I will define shake, explain the difference between shake and trim, discuss what is in the shake you are likely to purchase from dispensaries and give suggestions on when and how to use it.

What is Shake?

Shake refers to the bits of cannabis flower which have broken off the larger buds due to handling.  You are most likely to find it at medical cannabis dispensaries, especially from those who store their flower in large jars. The shake collects at the bottom of the jar where it is collected and sold by itself or in pre-rolled joints. Some strains produce more shake than others. Dense, firm and compact buds produce little to no shake. Those with less dense buds produce a lot of shake.

Nobody seems to know when or who coined the term “shake.” It was used in the days of cannabis prohibition and it referred to the leftover material that fell off of the buds, often as “table weed.”

Shake vs Trim

Trim refers to the plant material that is removed after harvesting. It includes some pieces of flower, but also sugar leaves, stems and seeds.

Shake refers almost entirely to remnants of cannabis flower. It may contain a few stems which is acceptable, but if it contains more leaves, stems and seeds than flower, it is trim. Don’t pay for shake that is actually trim!

Depending on its composition, shake can be less potent, as potent or more potent than regular nug. It is possible for it to be more potent if it has been left to sit in storage at the bottom of a vacuum-sealed bag for a period of time where kief may accumulate on top of it. Kief powder results from a collection of the trichomes that form on the leaves and flowers of cannabis. But, it would take quite a lot of time for the kief to accumulate which results in a dry product that really burns your throat. If it hasn’t been sitting for long, the shake will probably be less potent.

The Make Up of Shake Purchased At Dispensaries

Depending on the dispensary, shake can come from the following sources:

  • Pieces of flower from a specific strain which is labeled with the cannabinoid and terpene content sold at a discount
  • A mixture of properly cured pieces from multiple strains sold at a discount
  • Dry flower that was either left out in the jars for too long or is just old
  • Pieces of flower not properly cured
  • Any leftover plant material
Cost of Shake

Be aware that there is no consistent quality in the shake you are purchasing unless it comes from a specific strain, labeled with the cannabinoid and terpene content. You may have no way of knowing if you are paying for high quality flower or low to medium quality flower or a combination thereof. There is a large range of prices for shake, depending on the company. Some offer a “grab bag” for which you can pay as little as $20/oz. They want a fast turnaround in moving product by marking it way down, making it more appealing. A labeled specific strain costs anywhere from $200-400/oz.

Uses For Shake

You can think of shake as flower that has already been put through a grinder.


Pre-rolled joints available at dispensaries are made up of shake. You may want to cut one open to make sure you are getting shake and not trim. If you are a fan of rolling lots of joints, using shake is an excellent investment.


Add shake to your tea. Even the less potent shake can provide benefits from the cannabinoid and terpene profiles.


For those new to making extracts at home, starting with shake makes good economic sense. There is no point in using and potentially wasting high-quality flower until you are proficient at making extracts.

FYI: For certain extracts such as pressed or ice-water hashish, you should only use high-quality flower.


To make topicals with shake, decarboxylate it first and grind it into a fine powder. Combine it with other essential oils such as lavender, rosemary and lemon, cook the mixture and allow it to sit for several hours. Regular applications will not only improve the general quality of your skin, but it will also reduce blemishes, minimize scars, hydrate dry skin and treat psoriasis and eczema.


You can use shake to make tinctures. If it isn’t potent enough, try adding some kief or hash.


For those new to making edibles, using shake is the perfect way to start. Do be aware that unless you are using labeled shake with the THC content, you won’t know the percentage of THC in your shake since it is often a mixture of different strains and potencies. This will make calculating how much to use in an edible very difficult. The recommendation is to make cannabutter with it, which is simple and relatively easy, and evaluate its potency before you incorporate it into recipes.

Vaporizing and Smoking

Vaporizing and smoking with shake may not produce the best tasting cannabis experience, but at least you are using every little bit of your cannabis flower.

When Not To Use Shake

Medical patients who are treating serious conditions that require consistent potencies with specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles in their doses should avoid using shake unless it is from a specific strain that is labeled accordingly.

Leave me a comment if you have other recommendations for using shake.

Sources:, What is Marijuana Shake? What is Cannabis Shake? Andrew Ward, Sept. 25, 2019, What is “Shake” Weed and Does It Get You High? Randy Robinson, May 23, 2019, What is Shake? Ben Adlin, March 8, 2016

Related posts

Hit enter to search or ESC to close