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What is hash?
Hash is a cannabis extract, made when trichomes, the resinous glands that line the surface of cannabis plants, are removed and processed into a concentrated form. It is usually brown or dark green in color and comes in a brick or ball.
Hash is a solventless extract, as trichome removal is done with physical manipulation and temperature changes, not with the use of solvents or chemicals.
There are a few different types of hash, and processes to make it have been practiced for centuries.
Hash vs. weed
When people talk about cannabis, weed, or marijuana, they are usually referring to buds, or flower, not hash.
Hash refers to the extract created from the plant’s resinous trichomes. Hash can be extracted in multiple ways; more on its different types below. Because hash is an extract, it typically has a much higher level of THC than flower.
Weed or flower is smoked in pipes, bongs, joints, and more, and hash can either be sprinkled on top of flower and smoked, or put in a dab rig and dabbed.
Where does hash originate?
The word “hashish” originates from the Arabic language, roughly translating to mean “grass.” It is believed that the popularization of hash originated around 900 AD, although some hashes, such as charas, which is the collection of resin on the hands of cannabis farmers, are believed to have existed prior to written documentation. Mahjoun, a sweet treat filled with hashish, is believed to have been the first cannabis edible and to have originated in Morocco.
After Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt in 1798, French soldiers brought hashish home, and it became popular in the Western world in the 19th century. For years, European doctors imported hashish for research, which led to the introduction of various extraction methods that allowed for further refinement into cannabis tinctures and medications.
By the turn of the 20th century, cannabis extractions were common in drug stores in the US and Europe. It wasn’t until US prohibition of cannabis in the early 20th century that hash products were outlawed and pushed back into the illicit market.
With the reemergence of cannabis enthusiasm in the 1960s, hash found its way back into the limelight. Countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, and Morocco saw an increase of hash exportation to Western countries. At the time, imported hash mainly came in the form of hard-pressed bricks made from heat and pressure.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s when gland separation was introduced to the West through a machine called the “master sifter.” According to Ed Rosenthal in his book Beyond Buds, this breakthrough machine by John Gallardi used vibration to separate trichome glands from plant material.
During this time, Neil Schumacher and Rob Clarke began experimenting with water extraction methods, the early precursor to what we now call bubble hash, or ice water hash.
The equipment used to popularize ice water extraction was introduced in 1997 by Reinhard C. Delp at the High Times Cannabis Cup. His patents would later be adapted and modified by Mila Jansen with her pollinator isolation bags.
This design would be further improved upon by Canadian hash enthusiast Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson with his BubbleBags, one of only a handful of companies worldwide who have a leased permission to use methods from the original 1999 patent.
What’s the difference between hash and other cannabis concentrates?
Hash is a cannabis extract that has been around for thousands of years, whereas most other cannabis concentrates have only been around for the past few decades with advances in extraction technology.
Hash is simple and easy to make; there are several methods of making it, and anyone can make it in their home safely and with minimal supplies. Most other concentrates—except for rosin—require expensive equipment and need to be done by legal, licensed, and experienced technicians.
Do not attempt to make solvent cannabis extractions on your own, and always make sure to buy any concentrate from a licensed store, which requires products be tested, to know that you are getting a product without contaminants or other harmful compounds.
Different types of hash
Dry sift hash
Dry sift, also called dry sieve, is a collection of refined resin glands that have been separated from cannabis flower using a series of fine mesh screens. It’s essentially a refined form of kief.
To create dry sift, extractors rub, roll, and tumble dried cannabis over a finely woven mesh screen. This agitation breaks off dried resin glands from the plant matter and the trichome heads pass through the screen.
Extractors usually rub the dry sift through multiple screens of finer and finer meshes to further refine the hash.
The powdery resin is often used to top a bowl or is sprinkled into a joint to add potency. Others prefer to press it into traditional hash or into rosin to dab.