There’s a lot of novelty in the current cannabis industry, so much that it’s hard to keep up with all the brands and products available. With the myriad options available, and the constant change and innovation of the cannabis space, not only can it be difficult to keep up, but it can make some of your favourite ways to enjoy the herb fall to the wayside. Hash falls into this category for many. Or, for those who have never tried it, it can be intimidating to learn what it is or how to use it. That’s why we’ve partnered with 48North to create this beginner’s guide for this classic concentrate.
Hash, also known as hashish, is a concentrated, processed form of cannabis resin, also called kief. Hash comes from the trichomes of unpollinated, female cannabis flowers; in its natural form, it’s the resinous, often sticky coating found on mature buds. Cannabis buds are harvested and go through a centuries-old process called sieving, where all of that resin is removed from the bud. The result is a paste with very high THC levels, and from there it can be further processed into different products.
It has been made for centuries using traditional sieving mechanisms, but modern technology has allowed for many new ways to make it. Hash can be used for cooking into edibles since it can be dissolved into oil and butter, it can also be smoked, and further transformed into the gooey substance, or wax, used for dabbing.
Hash and weed have very similar uses and applications, but there’s one thing that really sets them apart: potency. Hash is the most potent and concentrated form of cannabis. Basically, when you make hash, you extract only the resinous parts packed with cannabinoids. Regular weed is still plant material, which means that it has many extras that won’t have any cannabinoids.
Regular weed usually has THC levels that can go as high as 25% or even 30%. Hash, on the other hand, has levels of THC above 20% and can go as high as 70%. At the end of the day, hash will get you considerably higher than weed.
Hash is one of the oldest ways of processing cannabis. Northern Africa and the Middle East are the two regions known for traditional hash making. Hash is generally recognized as originating in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, which is still known for producing some of the world’s best hash. Today, Morocco and Afghanistan are the world’s two largest hash exporters.
The first mention of hashish in history is found in writings from around the 11th century, most popularly in the book One Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights). There is also historical evidence that hash was consumed regularly in Persia (modern-day Iran), and Persians are widely credited with spreading hash use across the Middle East. There are also theories that the Mongols, under Genghis Khan, helped spread the use of hash throughout the Middle East and Central Europe.
Hash can take many different forms and names, according to the way it’s made. Here are the most common ones you’ll find in your local dispensary.
Dry sift hash is probably the most common and traditional type of hash produced using the same natural, organic method that has been employed for hundreds of years. Hash that comes from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Lebanon is made using the dry sift technique. Dry sift hash is more of a solid, dark-colored paste with a thick consistency.
Dry Sift Hash is made by gently sieving dry bids and trim through very fine mesh screens. This gentle friction gradually separates the trichomes from the plant material, resulting in a fine powder known as kief. That kief is then pressed into blocks as the final product. It is a very delicate process, but the result is a very flavourful and versatile hash.
Bubble hash is also referred to as ice water hash, because that’s how it’s made. It was first introduced and popularized in 1997 by Reinhard C. Delp at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Bubble hash looks like a mushy paste and is praised for being aromatic and flavorful since most of the terpenes and flavonoids are preserved through the sieving process.
Bubble hash is made by putting frozen cannabis flowers in a bag with water and ice, some people use special bags called bubble bags for this. The process is simple: Agitate the mixture. The cold temperatures and the friction from the bag will separate the trichomes from the bud. After that, the mixture goes through several filtering mesh sieves until only the trichomes are left.
Wax is the modern version of hash. It is also known as shatter, crumble, or butter, and it’s getting very popular amongst cannabis users. These amber-colored extractions can reach THC concentrations above 50%, making them very desirable. Their high potency levels are possible thanks to the solvent extraction processes used to make it that extract huge amounts of trichomes and resin from the bud. Also, smoking wax requires special equipment.
First of all, we do not recommend you make your own wax. Making this type of hash requires strong chemical solvents such as butane, propane, or CO2. Those solvents are potentially harmful if not handled appropriately. Essentially, the plant material is soaked in the solution, separating the cannabinoids from the bud and resulting in an amber-colored substance. It can then be processed into different variations and products.
If you’re just getting into the hash world, we do advise that you start small and make your way up. Keep in mind that it is super potent compared to regular weed. Also, buy it from a legit brand, stay away from black market and homemade hash that you don’t really know what it is.
Regarding which type of hash to choose, we strongly advise sticking with the basics: Dry sift, pressed hash. Bubble hash is not commonly sold in dispensaries, wax requires special equipment and can be potentially dangerous. There’s a reason why dry sift hash has been used for centuries and still is enjoyed today. It is pure, natural, potent, and versatile.
If you want to experience ancestral hash smoking, go with 48North’s traditional pressed hash. It’s potent, clean, and hand-crafted out of 100% top-quality kief.
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