Hash is the oldest form of cannabis concentrate with a rich tradition across multiple cultures. Hash is straightforward to make, and its simple makeup denotes a deep-rooted connection with cannabis users.
Here is a brief review of what hash is, how to make it on your own in a modern setting, and the best ways to consume it.
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What is hash?
Hash, or hashish, is a concentrate made by rubbing the cannabis trichomes or resin glands, which house the desired compounds of the cannabis plant, to form a brick, a slab, or rolled pieces. Not to be confused with kief, a dry-powder of trichome glands accumulated through a mesh screen or sieve, hash has a more solid consistency and chocolate or sandy color.
Think of hash as the ultimate concentrate. Long before there was the technology and equipment to create concentrates such as wax, shatter, sauce, and budder, hash existed as a low-tech, albeit fully functioning, prototype of the concentrates to come.
Every concentrate variety has its own advantages, and hash is no different. Hash is easier to make on your own because it doesn't require any special equipment or solvents. Because hash is a direct concentration of the plant's resin glands, it contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules which work synergistically to heighten each other's potential effects. This represents a phenomenon known as the ensemble or entourage effect.
Written records of hashish date back as far as the 12th century. Throughout this long history, a variety of methods have been used to make hash. Originating from the Middle East and Central Asia in its earliest form, which was a resin powder more akin to what we know today as kief, hash is typically made today by sifting trichome glands through fine mesh or silk fabrics with varying pore sizes that systematically narrow the end product down to only desired trichome material. The resulting kief is then pressed into solid bricks with a chalky consistency.
How to make hash
If you want to make hash at home, your best bet is to make bubble hash, which is essentially agitating cannabis through ice-filled water. The idea is to get trichomes to freeze and break off of the plant and sift through a series of mesh screens.
You can make bubble hash with cannabis trim, leaf, shake, or bud, as long as you're working with plant material with visible trichomes. Dried and cured cannabis is the norm for making bubble hash, but you can also use fresh-frozen. Either way, consider pre-chilling the cannabis in the freezer overnight. And when you make your hash, try to do it in a cool space, either air-conditioned indoors or in a cool outdoor environment.
Making bubble hash requires the following materials:
-Set of 5-gallon (19-liter) ice-water hash bags (Bubble Bags, Boldtbags, etc.)
-25-micron filter cloths for collecting and drying
-At least three clean 5-gallon (19-liter) plastic buckets
-Large wooden spoon or pole for stirring
-Butter knife or stiff card for collecting hash from bags
-200 grams (7 ounces) of cannabis flower
-A water hose
-Turkey roasting bags
-Tray or wire rack
-Bottle filled with hot water
When you have gathered all your materials, follow these steps:
- Line your bucket
Line a bucket with a bag with the highest number of microns (aka the largest filter hole).
- Fill your bucket
Fill the bag with one-third ice and up to 200 grams of cannabis. Top it off with a layer of ice and fill the rest with cold water. Wait 14-30 minutes for the cannabis to get cold and rehydrate so the trichomes break off easily.
- Stir the mixture
Using a large wooden spoon, agitate the mixture by stirring vigorously for up to 5 minutes. Be careful not to damage the bag or over-agitate and pulverize the plant material.
- Drain the bag
Wait 10 minutes for the agitated trichomes to reach the bottom of the bag. Then, lift your bag and let the water run out into the bucket. Set the bag of cannabis aside in your second bucket.
- Line the third bucket
Take the rest of your filter bags and line the third bucket, starting with the smallest filter size and layering in ascending order.
- Fill the third bucket
Pour water into the bags and allow the resin glands to settle so the water reflects a golden hue. If your water is green it means there has been too much agitation.
- Drain the bag
Lift the top bag so the water moves through the filter into the bottom bucket. As you drain the water, you'll notice a layer of trichomes on the filter. Wash the collected trichomes with a quick splash of water to help get rid of contaminants.
- Scrape the hash
Gather the filter and gently squeeze from the outside to remove excess water. Lay the filter on a towel to collect more excess water. Then, make the filter taut and scrape the hash with a card or butter knife.
- Repeat the process
Place your collected hash on a 25-micron filter square, then set aside and repeat the process for the remaining filters.
- Put the cannabis bag back into a bucket and repeat
Put the bag of cannabis back into the bucket and refill with water and ice. Then, go through the entire process again until you've gotten the full yield out of the plant material.
- Dry your hash
Spread your hash on a tray or wire rack with a towel and parchment paper. Place in a cool, dry, dark, dust-free, and well-circulated place until the bubble hash is dry. This process may take several days. Drying hash prevents mold growth and doing so in a cool, dark place decreases the chance of degradation. Hash can have a long shelf life if stored properly.
How to smoke hash
Smoking is still the most common way to consume hash. Hash can be smoked on its own but is most often consumed with flower in some form or another. And while it's possible to eat raw hash, many who have done so report intense, long lasting, exceptionally psychoactive effects that the average user may not be prepared for or desire. Smoking hash offers a potent cannabis high, albeit a more manageable one.
If you want an easy way to enjoy hash, add it to a bowl of flower to enhance the effects next time you smoke from a bong, pipe or bubbler. You can also add your hash to a joint. Simply lay out a rolling paper and add a layer of flower, then crush or cut up some hash and add a layer to the joint before you roll it up. If your hash is of a higher quality, it may not be dry or chalky enough to break into pieces, but it will likely be soft enough to warm into a long, thin snake and lay on top of the flower inside the joint. If you slowly roll the joint around the piece of hash and keep the edges secure, your joint should have a hash center surrounded by flower.
“Hot knifing” or taking “knife hits,” which involves placing two metal knives on a hot surface and heating the hash between the blades, has historically been a popular method of smoking hash. To avoid inhaling any toxic fumes from the heated metal, it's better to smoke hash from a pipe, using a special screen attachment. A screen prevents the hash from dipping into the pipe, which could lead to accidentally inhaling the heated hash.
To smoke hash from a pipe safely, insert a titanium, mesh-style, or glass screen in the opening of the bowl and place a piece of hash on top of the screen. Heat with a lighter or hemp wick until you get a steady stream of smoke, then remove the lighter or hemp wick and inhale through the mouthpiece.
When smoking hash, remember that hash made from fresher resin glands may produce a harsher smoke than hash from aged resin, because aged resin has had more time to dry out moisture content and some terpenes.
A rich part of cannabis history and culture, hash is easy to make at home and best enjoyed alongside flower.