What is Hash: All You Need to Know About This Potent Weed Derivative
A lot of people seem to be considerably confused about the exact origins and effects of hash, so I decided to create an all-encompassing, encyclopedic online hash manual.
In order for you to digest all of this information with more ease, I’ll be dividing this piece into several stand alone sub-categories, because there really is a whole lot to take in.
Here’s what you’ll learn today:
- What is hash
- Origins of hash
- How modern hash is made
- Different types of hash
- Hash effects
- Hash potency
- How long does a hash high last
- How to make hash from weed at home
- Smoking hash
- Hash edibles
We have a lot to cover so let’s get started.
What exactly is hash?
Hash (or hashish) is a marijuana byproduct that can be made from both Sativa and Indica female flowers, and the most important aspect for the creation of hash is separating the plants trichomes from the plant itself.
Trichomes are the holy grail of all cannabis plants, because they contain the biggest amount of cannabinoids, which are the active chemical compounds that when connected with our own internal endocannabinoid system (found in all mammals and many plants), create a deluge of psychoactive and medicinal effects.
Creating hash out of cannabis (there are many different ways to do this, which will be covered later in the article), is pretty much separating the precious trichomes from the plant and merging this essential resin into a whole, either by just pressure or with other more sophisticated techniques.
Image credit: ZenPype
As you can see in the picture above, trichomes look like miniature mushroom-like nodules, and a collection of collected trichomes is called kief, which is the most crucial part of any hash manufacturing.
Origins of hash
Because hash cannot be made without cannabis, separating the history of hash from the history of cannabis can be somewhat difficult.
The name hashish (in short and far more easily pronounceable hash) is derived from the Arabic word حشيش, which pretty much means grass.
The northern part of India has a long lasting tradition of consuming charas, which is their term for hash, and because cannabis Indica used to grow freely and wild in this part of the continent, it’s not hard to imagine that they figured out a way to incorporate hash in their religious and medicinal practices very early on.
From India, hash was introduced to the Arabian peninsula during the 10th century as written evidence suggests, and Europe followed somewhere at the beginning of the 18th century.
The widespread use of hash in Europe was facilitated by some notable members of high society at the time, most notably the Club des Hashischins, which included some pretty big players from the literary world from the era, such as Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac.
They experimented with hash (and other opiates like opium), to evaluate the effects of these substances on creativity.
Fast forward to the 20th century, Morocco became renowned for its hash quality and production, as the first hippie vagabonds came marching to the country in the 1960’s, the manufacturers also jumped on this newfound business opportunity.
Currently the biggest producer of hash in the world is Afghanistan, but countries where medicinal and recreational cannabis is now legal have also seen a rapid increase of hash production.
How modern hash is made
Hash certainly came a long way since it’s humble roots, with several very technically advanced patents being created in the last few decades.
While the countries where cannabis remains illegal still use the old techniques of heat and pressure (the collected resin of trichomes is heated, and a press is used to create solid bricks of hash), during the 1980’s the an ingenious invention was created, called a “Master Sifter”.
Created by John Gallardi, the master sifter uses vibrations to remove the trichomes from the plant, and it has several mesh screen filters of different sizes (measured in microns) which can easily filter all plant residue, while capturing all the precious resin.
This method made the entire process much faster, as the trichomes didn’t have to be separated from the plant by hand any longer.
Hash also became much purer as the amount of plant residue was considerably decreased, because mesh screen filters stopped any non-trichome material to get in the mix.
Pretty much at the same time, guys called Rob Clarke and Neil Schumacher started dabbling with water extraction techniques, and their prototype was the precursor of a method we now call the Ice Water Extract (or IWE in short).
Since then the Ice Water Extract technique was upgraded by Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson, and only several manufacturers have a permission to use his patent’s radical technology.
Different types of hash
Image credit: Canada’s Finest Emoji OG
One of the world’s most popular hash types is bubble hash, also colloquially known as icewater hash because of its production method. This is currently the most technically advanced technique for hash creation, and the potency of bubble hash is epic, ranging from 50% to 80% THC, while most types have around 70% to 80%. Color of this hash ranges from light, to very dark brownish hues.
For the production of this hash, the growers leave the plants for an extended period of time, which causes the cannabis to become much drier. The plants are then moved into closed locations and hung to dry even more, after which they are rubbed over a fine fabric which collects all the precious resin from the plants. The kief is then left to settle, and then it’s pressed into standardized slabs or so-called bricks of hash. It’s not unusual that the manufacturers of Lebanon to leave their sigils embossed on the slabs, which acts like branding and is meant to prove the quality of the product.
Afghani Royal (aka Royal Border) Hash
As we previously mentioned, Afghanistan is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of hashish, and these types are made from pure Indica plants. Similar to the IWE method, buds are placed in water or tea for trichome separation, and the resin is then pressed into slabs, or ball-like shapes. Using sigils is also frequent as it’s in Lebanon, and the appearance of this hash is very dark brown on the outside layers, and the central part has a wonderful green shade. Yummy.
Image source: wikipedia.org
This type originates from India, and it’s very closely linked with hinduistic practices in northern India. They use the hand method for the creation of the hash, which is the most time consuming (and quite tedious) form of hash manufacturing. Charas is very similar to Afghan hash by appearance, and is mostly sold in ball or hot-dog-like shapes.
Super Nepalese Hash
As the name suggest, this hash originates from Nepal, and it’s also mostly hand-made, which (similar to the Charas hash) makes it very soft and gooey, which is perfect for easy manipulation and smoking. Cannabis indica is usually used for Super Nepalese, and this type was very popular in the previous decades, but new production methods have left it in their shadow. It very difficult to find it nowadays, but if you get a chance to try it, make sure you do it, because it’s truly exquisite.
Moroccan Slate Hash
Usually made in the northern parts of the country, most notably in the Ketama region. Slate hash is lightly aromatic, and not particularly potent compared to the other popular types. The taste is quite mellow, and it’s really easy for smoking. The appearance ranges from green to light brown.
Because hash can be made either from Sativa, Indica or hybrid strains, the effect will greatly depend of what type of pot was used for its creation.
As the main ingredient of hash is kief (an extremely potent trichome resin), the amount of hash ingested doesn’t have to be substantial for getting substantially high.
Sativa-dominant hash will result in a more energetic and euphoric buzz, while the Indica-dominant ones will create more of a body-shock experience, or the so called couch-lock.
It should be noted that even with harsh Indica-based hash the user will still be more vibrant than smoking regular buds, because of its pure trichome-based structure.
In case you find yourself smoking a hybrid based hash, you can determine by the type of buzz you get if it’s Sativa or Indica.
Another great aspect of hashish is that the momentary after effects will be much lesser, and the user will be able to perform various activities without the gruesome grogginess and lethargy we usually associate with smoking flowers.
Many users also report a much “clearer head” from the hash high in comparison to regular buds (but at the same time being quite high), which leaves room for performing various creative activities.
What’s also very crucial for the overall vibe that hash brings to the table is its potency.
As mentioned above, hash is much more potent than regular buds because it’s mostly made out of trichomes which contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids (including the most important ones THC and CBD), but the exact potency depends on many different factors.
The first factor is definitely how strong is the cannabis which was used for the creation of kief, so if you have a very powerful weed (let’s say about 20% THC), the hash that was made from it will be much more potent than when using low-potency weed.
Another key factor is the production method. Because removing the anything but the trichomes is paramount for hash manufacturing, the amount of plant material that “sifts through the cracks” during the production process and gets mixed with the trichome resin, this mixing will diminish the potency of the hash in question.
For instance, using a standard grinder that has a sifter for kief, and later using this kief for hash production (which will have a lot of plant residue in comparison to the other techniques), this will result in a hash that has medium potency, around 30% to 50% THC.
If we were to use the weed with the exact same potency, but instead of a grinder we use a “Master Sifter” machine, this will eliminate plant residue much better (because the sift-screens of the master sifter are much more refined), our kief will be much purer, resulting in a more potent end-product, around 40% to 60% THC.
Currently the best possible techniques for kief separation are the Ice Water Extract methods (because the frozen trichomes separate from the plant much better than with standard room temperatures), and this will result in kief that has the potency of around 50%, to a staggering amount of 80% THC.
Again the potency of the strain used for the extraction is absolutely crucial for the potency of the hash that is going to be made from it.
How long does a hash high last
Because of its high-potency, the starting effects of hash can be felt very quickly during a session (I would say the second toke is when things start to get interesting), while the peak happens anywhere for 10 to 30 minutes after smoking.
The duration of the high is usually around two to three hours long, depending on the strength of the hash.
Unlike smoking, hash-infused edibles take a while longer to kick in (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes), and the high just like with all other weed-edibles is far stronger and long lasting (with the duration of up to 6 hours). Edibles are generally better suited for medicinal consumers, because of the elongated duration of the effects.
How to make hash from weed at home
There are a couple of very low-budget ways to create your own hash at home, so let me show you how it’s done.
Hand Rolled Hash
The first one is the most simple one, but it also requires the most work.
This ancient technique is still used to this day in some parts of Nepal and India, and the trick is basically to get your non-dried (or fresh) buds in between the palms of your hands, and gently roll the bud.
Naturally make sure your hands are clean, and avoid placing too much too much pressure on your flower, because you’re risking getting non-trichome plant material in your soon-to-be hash.
After performing this for a while (10-15 minutes), you’ll start seeing a thick dark layer covering the insides of your palms and fingers. The next step is just to scrape the residue from your hands with a hard-surfaced object.
You can use a ruler or something similar, just make sure it’s not too sharp because you’ll probably cut yourself, and once you’ve removed the hash, press it to get a ball or a worm-like shape you can easily place in your joint/blunt.
Pressing your kief into blocks
Using a grinder that has a separate chamber for collecting kief is the first step in creating your own hash-blocks.
Of course you can also use a “Master Sifter” silk screening method, or the Ice Water Extracts bags, but these options are much pricier, so if you’re doing this just for fun or experimentation (and not sale), I recommend you use a grinder, at least at first.
Technique 1 – Press
Once you’ve collected enough kief in your grinders chamber, use a press made just for this task.
There are numerous different sizes and designs available, and this site for instance has many cool options available.
This method is quite simple, just load the kief resin into your press, and depending if it’s a twist-press or a hammer-type one, twist or hammer it until you’ve achieved optimal pressure.
I also recommend you leave your newly created hash in your press for at least 24 hours (or even longer), so the mixture can connect better, and with a tighter grip.
Technique 2 – The Oven
This one is a bit more complicated, but luckily it doesn’t require anything you already don’t have at your household.
Place the collected kief in cellophane and make sure you have a tight and completely waterproof package.
Wrap this cellophane bundle in wet newspapers so the package doesn’t get damaged from direct exposure to heat.
Preheat your oven to 160°C and place your wrapped kief in it for 10 minutes.
Once you’ve taken the package out of the oven, place it on a heatproof surface and press and spread your kief with a rolling pin.
To create a perfectly firm and evened out hash, repeat the all these steps (wrapping your package with cellophane and wet papers, ovening and pressing it with a rolling pin) a couple of times more.
When all of this is done, place your DIY hash in the fridge to cool overnight, and in the morning you got yourself some high-grade hash ready to be smoked.
There are a couple of different way you can get hash in your lungs, and we’re gonna cover all of them.
Tobacco joint (or just regular joint)
This is the most classical way to smoke hash, and it’s customary in most parts of Europe.
The premise is:
You roll a joint with tobacco (this means without any pot) and just sprinkle some hash on top of the tobacco leafs before you start closing the joint.
If you have a harder type of hash, you can use a lighter to soften it, and while it’s still warm pick tiny pieces out with your fingernails.
You can also make a worm-like shape (depending what type of hash you have).
If it’s soft any easy to manipulate, you can either you your palms to elongated it, or you can use two flat objects, for instance a table top and a hard-covered book to create your worm. Then just place your “worm” on your still-opened joint, and add some more tobacco on top of it.
Some people also like to mix weed and hash together, but because hash is really potent, and offers a slightly different high than weed, I suggest you find a way that’s suitable for you to only get pure hash in your system, in order to truly feel the unique buzz it offers.
The Glass method
This technique only applies if you have a clay-like hash that is easy to manipulate.
You’ll need a regular water glass, a cigarette, a straw and a hash “worm”.
Take a cigarette, and drill a tiny hole in the middle of it (you can use a pen or anything else that has a small dagger-like tip, for instance scissors).
Put your hash worm into the hole you’ve drilled in the cigarette, so the biggest part of it just suspends freely.
Depending on the size of your glass, cut your cigarette so it can suspend itself on the diameter of your glass.
Light the lower tip of your worm (the furthest part from the cigarette), turn the glass upside down, and place it onto the table. You’ll see how the smoke slowly fills up the glass as the worm slowly incinerates.
Once thick smoke fills the glass, lift one side of the glass up and inhale the content of the glass with a straw.
Just make sure when you light you worm not to leave it flaming, but instead you want to have a small ember, burning gently and evenly.
You might be concerned that this method burns the hash too quickly, but in fact it’s a very economical way to use hash.
The most health friendly way for consuming any cannabis product (besides edibles) is vaping.
Vaporizers function by heating your hash to temperatures much higher than an open flame does, and without all the nasty carbon that gets released when any organic matter is being burned.
Because hash is denser than any regular cannabis, you should use a vape that has a termometar you can control, and set the temperature a bit higher than the classical 190°C.
A very vintage technique, it involves using two pre-heated knives and placing a piece of hash in between them, combusting it instantly.
All you need is a straw (or something similar that’s tube shaped), to place above the knives so you can catch all the smoke with wasting anything.
Just make sure you don’t burn yourself while heating the knives, or burning the straw by placing it too closely to the knife.
Bongs and pipes
While using bongs and pipes is a nice way to avoid smoking tobacco or getting way too high by adding regular weed to the mix, it’s not really practical because they usually burn the hash too quickly.
Feel free to try for yourself, but I honestly don’t recommend these items for hash smoking.
Hash is definitely an awesome cannabis concentrate that can be used for both canna-infused butter or oils, but it’s crucial to remember that hashish can really be much more potent than regular weed.
So, a proper dosage is very important for cooking with hash, or eating already prepared hash treats.
Nowadays it’s common stoner-knowledge that ingesting too much THC though edibles can create very unpleasant feelings of anxiousness and paranoia.
Not to get too sciency right now (because I know this article is already long enough), edibles are stronger because when you eat canna-infused goods, the delta-9 THC compound (the way this cannabinoid is found in the plant) is metabolized by the liver into 11-hydroxy-THC.
This 11-hydroxy-THC is a more potent cousin of delta-9 THC so to say, getting to our brain more quickly, and creating stronger psychoactive effects.
Because dosing hash for edibles is a very complicated subject (which we’ll hopefully cover soon in a new piece), for now we’ll just urge to do your homework before you start experimenting with hash-edibles, because the four of us here at Greencamp don’t want you to have any negative experiences with this awesome weed offshoot.
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