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What is Hash?

Feb 7, 2020 3:05:48 PM

These days, there seem to be countless forms of marijuana that come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, textures, and devices. Despite the ever-growing list of new products on dispensary shelves, it’s rare to find any good, old-fashioned hash. The end of cannabis prohibition has led to growing curiosity about marijuana and its derivatives with hash being at the top of the list. So what exactly is hash and why is it so elusive in the modern cannabis industry?

Hash has many forms, but in the most simple terms, it is made from the trichomes of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are the little crystals that live on the bud or flower. They are actually the resin glands that would collect pollen in the wild, but they also carry most of the plant’s THC. Once the trichomes are separated from the rest of the plant matter we are left with something called kief.

blocks of hash with marijuana leaf

Kief can be consumed as is, or it can be turned into hash. Hash is made by condensing or pressing the kief into a solid form. In a way, all concentrates like wax and shatter are different forms of hash. Think of modern-day extracts like the new wave of cannabis and hash being the original. For the purpose of this post, we will just be focusing on “hash” which is not made with any solvents.

History of Hash

The earliest evidence we have of the existence of hash dates back somewhere near the end of the 10th century and the beginning of the 11th. We have evidence of people of power arguing about it from ancient texts and it pops up in the story of 1,001 nights, also known in America as Arabian Nights. Its exact origin is unknown and is shrouded in legend.

One legend states that Haydar, a monk who was also the founder of the Sufi order, fell into a deep depression and disappeared into the forest. On his journey, he came across the cannabis plant. He returned with joy in his heart and a different outlook on life after smoking hash from the plant. It is also said that the original assassins would eat hashish to prepare for battle. Hash arrived in Europe around the 18th century.

It is thought that it was spread to Europe by Napoleon’s soldiers who had experienced the glorious substance in Egypt. The 19th century was a good time for cannabis as European doctors began experimenting with and publishing work on cannabis for medical purposes. Unfortunately, medical research and the universal love of the plant completely changed with the onset of its prohibition. 

Different Types of Hash

 

  • Kief 

We briefly touched on kief, but it’s the most basic and accessible form of hash. On a larger scale, kief is made by agitating dried flower over a fine micron screen. The plant matter stays at the top and the tiny kief crystals fall through the screen and are collected for processing. Most regular pot smokers use a grinder to grind their weed.

small jar of kief

A quality grinder will have an extra compartment at the bottom that collects the kief that falls off the buds during grinding. This is the same principle as using larger fine micron screens, just on a smaller scale. Kief can be added to joints or bowls and can be made into other forms of hash. 

  • Pressed Hash

Pressed hash is made exactly as the name would imply. Large quantities of kief are heated and pressed into bricks or small balls.

two slices of pressed hash

The heat and pressure force the crystals to burst and release oils which changes the flavor as well as the texture making it able to retain its shape. 

  • Bubble Hash

Bubble hash is also known as ice water hash. It was widely popular before the onset of solvents. Bubble hash is made by mixing ice water and dried flower inside a series of “bubble bags”. Bubble bags are a set of different-sized micron bags that filter the plant material to collect the kief.

bubble hash

The crystals are mostly made of oil, so the ice-cold temperature causes them to harden making them fall off easily. The innermost bag has the thickest micron and is mainly for lifting the plant waste from the batch. The outer bags gradually get finer, and the product collected from the finest micron bag is the purest. 

  • Rosin

Rosin is a fairly new and extremely simple way of making hash. It is made by pressing the buds between two heated plates. This causes the trichomes to burst and release the sweet sweet nectar that we call rosin. This is a great method because when done right, it leaves behind most of the plant matter.

marijuana rosin

Some people make their own rosin by pressing their bud with a hair straightener. We recommend using parchment paper to collect the rosin since it won’t melt and the rosin will scrape off of it easily. Rosin has gained popularity in dispensaries as it is arguably the purest extract on the market.

  • Finger Hash

Finger hash is one of the most ancient and inefficient forms of hash. It is made by rubbing buds between the hands or fingers. The sticky resin clings to the skin and is scraped off and usually rolled into balls. This method has been used for thousands of years.


As old of a technique that it is, a large percentage of the kief falls to the ground, and a decent amount of plant matter is rolled up with the finished product. 

What's available in Missouri

Most of these forms of hash don’t translate well to industrial-sized operations that follow regulated government guidelines. Luckily for us, there are a few companies that produce bubble hash or rosin. All modern extracts are versions of hash, but traditional hash is made without solvents.

If you’re curious about trying hash or cannabis extracts of any kind, ask your local budtender for recommendations.

 

Rio Kaplan
Written by Rio Kaplan

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