Hashish, or hash is a cannabis product made from the compressed resin glands found on the cannabis plant. These resin glands are known as trichomes (or ‘crystals’) and are responsible for the white sparkling coating that is often seen on good quality marijuana.
Hash, like cannabis, can vary in quality and strength. It can also vary in appearance, from black, brown, reddish and even creamy blond. It may be hard and brittle, or soft and pliable. Hash can be smoked in a pipe/vapouriser or mixed with tobacco/marijuana in a ‘joint’. Some people use hash in cooking, it is most soluble in fatty materials such as butter, cream or oils.
Hash / hashish is thought to have originated in the Pakistan/Afghanistan/Indian regions of west Asia. Anyone who has had the pleasure of running their hands through mature female plants will be familiar with the sticky resin that transfers from the plants to the hands. By lightly rubbing the plants this resin will accumulate on the hands and can be scraped off and collected. This was probably the first method used to make hash, and dates back many thousands (and quite possibly tens of thousands) of years to the times when man first began to use cannabis. In Northern Pakistan hashish is often referred to as ‘Charas’ and is available in different quality levels.
Hash can also be made by mechanically beating the dried cannabis plant, or using motorised tumbling devices and collecting the powdery resin which is known as ‘kief’ and sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘pollen’. Fine sieves are often used which allow the small resin particles to pass through but prevent larger vegetative matter such as leaf material. The ‘kief’ is often, but not always, compressed into blocks. Recent innovations in hash production have involved mixing cannabis plant material in icy water to remove the trichomes. Sieves are used to separate the trichome material which is dried prior to use. This is known as ‘bubble hash’.
Hash remains a popular alternative to marijuana though its image may have been damaged in recent years by unscrupulous criminals who add harmful adulterants during the manufacturing process.