It’s no surprise, but Canadians love weed. From premium flower to high-power concentrates to edibles. These new exciting products are taking over retail shelves and online dispensaries, but what about hash? Hash is an ancient form of cannabis concentrate, and one still in use around the world today.
But even though you’ve heard of hash, do you know what it is? How do they make it? How do you use it? If you have hash questions — we have answers!
What is Hash?
Hash, or hashish, is a drug derived from the resin that forms the sticky outer layer on ripe cannabis plant buds. The resin comes from trichomes produced by the plant – trichomes being the small, sticky crystals typically seen on marijuana buds that produce the cannabinoids and terpenes that determine the aroma, flavour, and effects of the bud.
Depending on the methods of extraction and the final quality of the hash, it is typically more potent than the whole, dried marijuana buds.
How to Make Hash
Traditionally, and most commonly, the resin is extracted by dry-sifting, which is done by shaking the dried buds on a screen to mechanically separate and collect the trichomes. The resin is then mechanically pressed into bricks.
Hand rubbing involves literally using the hands to roll the buds back and forth, and then scraping the resin off the skin. Once collected, hand-rubbed hash is rolled by hand into balls.
Modern extraction includes more involved methods of mechanical separation. Ice bath separation is when the marijuana buds are steeped or plunged into icy water and agitated. The crystals, or trichomes, separate and sink, while the plant matter will float to the top.
There is also the dry ice method, wherein the buds are put in a screen bag with dry ice, which cools the buds quickly. The frozen trichomes snap off and are collected in a vessel underneath. Less commonly used are chemical separation techniques, such as the Butane Hash Oil method, chiefly used to achieve a higher potency resin. Each of these methods may differ in their final appearance from more traditional methods of resin collection. Be sure to ask your source how the hash was made to help you find what is right for you.
How to Choose the Best Hash
As you can see, the term ‘hash’ covers quite a spectrum of production methods and forms of the final product. Regardless of how the hash is made, it’s important to choose clean, undiluted hash for the best experience.
Generally speaking, hash should be anywhere between a light blond-ish brown to a dark brown or black, depending on how it was made and finished. Too much green indicates the presence of plant material, which dilutes the purity of the hash.
A simple test to check the purity of hash is the bubble test. Break off a piece of hash large enough to keep one end away from your fingertips. Apply a clean flame (as in a lighter or something that burns without creating soot), holding the hash just above the flame.
If it is pure, it should begin to bubble immediately and let off a clean white smoke, without any black residue left on the hash. Contaminated hash may have added oils to make it bubble as well. Keeping an eye out for black smoke, an acrid or chemical smell, or soot remaining after the test will help you determine whether or not your hash is pure.
How to Use Hash
As with marijuana itself, hash can come in different varieties and levels of THC or CBD. Once you’ve chosen a type that appeals to you and given it a few tests for quality, you are ready to partake!
There are several common ways to use hash, including taking it orally, smoking it alone, or adding it to other smoking mixtures. First things first: be aware of the potency of your hash! It is typically stronger than marijuana, so if you don’t know for sure, start small and work your way up as needed. Often a little bit goes a long way.
1. Ingesting (ie. Hash Edibles)
Eating a blob of sticky hash sounds pretty gross, right? Fortunately, there are many ways to take hash orally that don’t literally involve chewing on the tar-like stuff. Hash can be melted with butter and mixed into many kinds of foods, or baked up into yummy brownies or cookies.
If you really love the flavour, you could even spread hash butter on toast! Some folks recommend decarboxylating your hash to maximize potency when using it for cooking.
With ingesting hash, the effects typically last longer but take more time to come into effect. This is why being aware of the potency of your edibles is important, as it can take up to four hours for the effects to peak.
Smoking hash gives the benefit of taking effect immediately. It can be done in many of the same ways that marijuana can be smoked: in a pipe, bong, chillum, or a vaporizer, to name a few.
In a pipe: To smoke hash in a pipe, a chunk can simply be placed in the bowl, lit, and the smoke inhaled. Some people prefer to break up the hash into small bits for better airflow, through a screen at the bottom of the bowl may be necessary.
In a bong: The smoother smoke of a bong is more appealing to some people, in that the water cools the smoke before inhaling. Like smoking from a pipe, the hash can be broken into small pieces and placed in the bowl of the bong, then smoked as you would with marijuana.
With either method, be sure to clean the bowl often. Burning and inhaling residual carcinogens will affect the flavour of the pure hash you took so much time to choose.
In a vaporizer: Hash can be placed in a regular vaporizer and smoked the same way you would smoke dried bud. Due to the resinous nature of hash, more frequent cleanings will be necessary to clear out the gum and ensure proper functioning of the vaporizer.
Hash, while enjoyable to smoke on its own, can be mixed and smoked with marijuana and/or tobacco as well. To add hash to a joint or a spliff, simply break the hash into small pieces and mix with the dried material before rolling. Mixing hash and marijuana, while a complimentary combo, provides a more powerful high, so again, be aware of potency and dosage.
Hash can be smoked almost any way that marijuana can be smoked. However, proper devices are recommended for the safest and healthiest smoking experience.
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