Hash or hashish is a cannabis extract made by compressing and processing trichomes, the resinous glands that line the surface of cannabis plants. Hash can be consumed using a pipe, bong, vaporizer, or conventional joint. It’s available in select brick-and-mortar shops, but if you look online, it’s easier to find a broader product range.
The plant is defended against strong winds, UV radiation, and fungus growth by its potent odors and bitter taste, which help guard against insects and other animals. The idea of hash, at its foundation, is the separation of trichomes from the material. Trichomes, in addition, provide the production site for the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that form the defining biochemical qualities for which people get to know the plant better.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common methods of hash production and provide tips on choosing the best variety for your individual use case.
Four Methods of Hash Making
No matter what you do, hash may be a good use of things that would otherwise be thrown out. The THC content of different marijuana strains will vary, but if you want a high potency, you should only use gland heads. The stalk and gland heads are frequently combined when making hash, keeping away any contaminants likely to reduce the potency.
One of the oldest and simplest methods of hash production is hand-rubbing, where fresh cannabis flowers are rubbed between the hands to extract the sticky resin. The resin is then scraped off and rolled into small balls or pressed into slabs.
Hand-rubbing is a traditional method practiced for centuries as part of religious and cultural rituals in India, Nepal, and Kashmir. Hand-rubbed hash is valued for its simplicity, low cost, and potency.
Some disadvantages of hand-rubbed hash include more waste, a high risk of contamination, and unreliable quality. It can contain plant debris, dirt, bacteria, and sometimes even hair. It can degrade quickly due to oxidation and moisture and is best consumed fresh.
Sieving involves sifting dried cannabis material through a fine mesh to separate the resin glands from plant matter. The loose material is then pressed into slabs or bricks, forming kief.
Sieving is more efficient and less labor-intensive than hand-rubbing and is better at processing larger quantities of cannabis. It produces a higher average yield and is reliably cleaner than hand-rubbed hash.
Some disadvantages of sieved hash are variability and degradation. Kief can vary widely in quality and potency depending on how fine the screen is, the quality of the source material, and the pressure applied during pressing. It’s also prone to losing flavor and potency quickly.
A more advanced method of hash production is ice-water extraction. This involves agitating cannabis in ice water to separate the resin glands, then filtering them through a series of bags to isolate the resin glands by size. The dried and pressed resin results in what is commonly known as “bubble hash.”
Ice water extraction requires more precision than sieving and can produce different grades of hash based on the size and quality of the resin glands. This method produces a more pure and potent hash than either sieving or hand-rubbing.
The downsides of ice water extraction are the complexity of the process and overall cost, which translates into a more expensive product. It requires specialized equipment, like bubble bags and a drill mixer, and some technical skills.
Ice water extraction is very time-consuming because it requires multiple washing, filtering, drying, and pressing steps. Bubble hash is best consumed fresh or stored in a freezer to prevent premature degradation.
A more modern method of hash production is solvent extraction, which involves dissolving cannabis in a solvent like butane or ethanol before evaporating it to isolate a highly-concentrated resin. The resulting material is then purged of any residual solvent and formed into various textures and consistencies, including oil, shatter, wax, or crumble.
Solvent extraction is particularly effective compared to the previous three methods and produces higher yields and a wider range of products. It’s also effective at preserving flavor and potency and can extract more terpenes and cannabinoids from raw cannabis.
The primary downside to solvent extraction is an increased risk in the production process and product selection. We don’t recommend DIY solvent extraction because it requires highly-flammable and toxic chemicals, expertise, and high-end equipment like a closed-loop system, a vacuum oven, and a powerful ventilation hood.
If mishandled, this method carries an increased risk of explosions, fires, or poisoning. Solvent hash is best left to professionals; the resulting products should be consumed cautiously.
How to Identify Good-Quality Hash?
Given the many different ways to manufacture hash, you want to know how to spot high-quality goods. Due to the inability to touch it, it is only sometimes simple to point out the quality of products in the US legal market. Even though fragrance and sight are good quality indicators, it can look phenomenally good, yet won’t melt very well.” Therefore the greatest quality hash will ultimately be judged based on melt ability.
However, it is simpler to test resin quality at home accurately. To test the melting ability of hash, put some hash in your hand’s palm to examine the oil content to see if it melts easily; if the resin melts well with the heat of your skin, it’s good. A fire test is an additional option. Circulate a flame from a lighter around the hash. The more bubbles there are, the better it is.
Each hash production method has its advantages and disadvantages. The one best suited for you depends on your needs, budget, and preferences. Here are some tips to help you choose between them:
- Those who want simplicity, lower costs, and traditional DIY-friendly methods might want to try hand-rubbing or sieving.
- If purity and flavor are your priority, ice water extraction is a good choice.
- For diversity and potency, solvent extraction is undeniably the best option if you properly vet your sources.
Ultimately, the best method for you is the one that suits your taste and budget. Experiment with the products of different methods and see which you like best!