Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Exploring Marijuana Offshoots & Byproducts

There are a number of different ways to ingest marijuana, and teenagers are among the most creative when it comes to finding new ways to use the drug. In an attempt to concentrate the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient in the plant, some people try to create offshoot substances that are derivatives of marijuana like kief and hash.

In addition to the more intense high these substances offer, teens also appreciate the fact that these versions of marijuana are often easier to hide from parents because the smell may be less intense and parents often don’t know what they’re looking at if they find it. Here’s what you need to know.


Kief is a residual of marijuana, the powdery remains that fall to the bottom of a grinder when marijuana buds are shredded so that they can more easily be rolled into a joint. Though the marijuana plant is legal for medicinal purposes in some states, kief is still illegal. It can be smoked, vaporized, or made into hash, another marijuana offshoot substance.

Many teens collect it over time, so if you find a small container that looks like it’s filled with dust or dirt, you may be looking at a “kief box.”


Hashish, or hash, is made from kief, the highly potent crystals that fall off when a marijuana bud is broken up for use. Hash is a compressed version of these THC-laden particles, and pieces are broken off as needed and smoked in a pipe, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

If you find this substance in your son’s possessions, it is often oily and brown and in an asymmetrical chunk kept in plastic wrap and/or a plastic baggie. Your son may keep it with a small pipe used only for smoking hash.

Hashish Oil

Another derivative of marijuana, hashish oil is made by dissolving hash into a solvent. Depending on what kind of solvent is used in this process, the look and smell of the hashish oil will vary, though it is usually an amber color or dark brown. Teens usually use it by putting drops onto a marijuana joint in order to increase its potency, says the DEA.

Is Your Teen Using Marijuana in Any Form?

Whether your son smokes marijuana buds or uses hash or kief, marijuana use of any kind among teens is exceedingly dangerous. The State of Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services reports that any use of the drug can lower inhibitions and decrease their ability to make positive, healthy decisions based on common sense. They also report that the following is true about teen marijuana use:

  • Teens who abuse marijuana frequently are more likely to get into a car accident while under the influence.
  • In 2011, in emergency rooms across the country, more than half of all admissions of patients between the ages of 12 and 24 that involved illicit drugs were caused by marijuana use.
  • The risk of teen depression and anxiety doubles when marijuana use is a factor.
  • Attention span, cognitive function, and memory all decline when people abuse marijuana during their teen years.
  • An increased risk of developing certain kinds of cancer has been linked to heavy marijuana use, especially lung cancer and testicular cancer.

If your son is abusing marijuana, no amount or ongoing use of the drug is safe. If he is unable to stop using the drug on his own, help him to put all substance abuse aside immediately and learn how to make more positive choices for his health and well-being today. Contact us at Muir Wood for more information on our treatment programs and how they can help your son move forward.