Today you can enjoy any number of cannabis concentrates. Cannabis oil, shatter, crumble, batter, Butane Honey Oil, Rick Simpson Oil - there are many different variants on the same theme and you probably have your own favourite cannabis concentrate. But many will remember the days when the only choice was weed or hash. So what is hashish, how is hash made, what is the potency like and how does hash differ from other cannabis concentrates? Hashish is simply the waxy product formed when the cannabis trichomes (resin glands) are concentrated and compacted into a solid block. As well as cannabinoids, hash also contains small amounts of plant material and plenty of terpenes which help give the distinctive hash taste. Many will simply smoke some in a pipe or bong. Others will roll a thin ‘sausage’ of hash and lay it in a joint to supercharge it. Some people break small chunks of hash into a vaporiser and other prefer to cook with it. Hash is a powerful cannabis concentrate, a little goes a long way!
Hash has been used for thousands of years, ever since the first humans noticed the curious sticky by-product from the cannabis plant. Hash can be smoked, or used in cooking/edibles and and usually contains between 5-40% THC, often with higher CBD levels than traditional weed. The final levels of THC, CBD etc will depend on the cannabis genetics, grow conditions and the hash production techniques. Here is a link about hash types with some interesting info. For some cannabis lovers the rich aromatic scent and taste makes hash a unique treat. It’s easy to store, transport and enjoy.
In the 1980’s hash would be exported from some of the main production areas (Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan) with a unique seal embossed on the block of hash, and it would be wrapped often in red or gold packaging prior to export. It’s easy to cultivate home grown cannabis, so you can make your own hash at home if you like. Traditional hash imports from places like Afghanistan, Nepal and Morocco can still be found, often at competitive prices. You can find these traditional hash imports in The Netherlands and other countries too.
Here are a few methods you can use to make hash at home.
The trichome resin glands form on the leaves, buds and branches of the cannabis plant. Usually the buds are harvested and the rest is thrown away. Most people simply can't be bothered making hash from the waste leaves and the waste trimmings which remain after harvest. After all, they have already got plenty of top quality buds. But with a small amount of effort this waste material can be used to make hash. What’s more, it can be surprising just how much hash you can make from waste plant material. Some growers also convert their buds into hash.
Below we list many of the different ways to make your own hash easily at home. The methods are listed roughly in order of increasing difficulty/complexity.
The oldest way to make hash, and probably the original method, is simply to scrape the sticky cannabis resin from your hands when you have been handling cannabis buds or harvesting your home grown plants. Hash can be made simply by rubbing your fingers on cannabis blooms, it’s a bit messy, but when you scrape your fingers you will have a ball of potent ‘finger-hash’. The friction and heat transfers the sticky cannabis resin from the plant to your skin. From there, it’s a short journey to your vape, pipe or joint.
Anyone that has harvested their own cannabis plants will be familiar with the scissor hash which builds up quickly on the scissors used to trim your plants and buds. Sometimes, especially with a well grown premium cannabis seed variety, you will need to occasionally scrape away the hash accumulation from your scissors or trimmer. Scissor hash is excellent hash, with all the terpenes from the fresh plant you will get a great tasting treat.
It’s easy to make hash at home simply with a pair of normal hair straighteners. Simply get a bud and put in inside a folded sheet of grease-proof paper or parchment paper. Heat up the hair straighteners and then squash the bud inside the paper. The heat converts the sticky resin into a more free-flowing liquid which is squeezed out of the bud under pressure from the hair straighteners. Press hard for a minute! You can then remove the squashed bud from the paper and scrape up all the rosin which has been pressed from the bud.
Once it has cooled, you can see the amber residue, commonly known as rosin or rosin hash. This process is a quick and easy way to make some rosin hash from your buds. The only downside of this technique is that it takes a long time to create large volumes of rosin. One of the advantages of rosin is that it is a clear and pure extract with a similar appearance to shatter. It is also a completely solvent-free way of making a cannabis concentrate.
Making your own rosin has become a very popular way to make cannabis concentrates at home. No solvents are used, it’s safe and there are not the explosive risks associated with e.g. production of butane honey oil (BHO).Large scale rosin hash producers have taken advantage of the professional rosin presses which are becoming available. These are industrial quality devices which apply huge pressure to your buds, sometimes with the application of heat on the pressure plates. You can buy a rosin press in all sizes and for all budgets. Prices range from around €100 for a small personal unit, up to several thousand euros for the high end large volume devices.
Instead of squeezing the rosin from a single bud, the professional presses can produce several tons of pressure on a large bag of buds thanks to the hydraulic mechanism. This can allow an ounce (28g) or more of buds to be squeezed in each operation. Specialist squash mesh bags are used with the professional rosin presses. These are designed to maximise the yield of rosin from the buds to give the highest levels of efficiency. Because a rosin pressing only takes from 1-5 minutes (depending on temperature and bud quality) a single professional press can be highly productive when in continuous use.
Hand rolling is a technique of rolling blooms firmly in-between your palms to collect the hash, often while harvesting. Unlike finger hash or scissor hash (which is often an unintended bonus after harvesting your plants), hand rolling is a process of deliberately converting the blooms into hash. It may not be the most efficient process, then again hand rolled hash has probably been used for thousands of years in times when cannabis grew in massive quantities free from prohibition.
Hand rolling of hash probably originated when stone-age man found fields of cannabis plants and wanted a quick way to make hash from them. With such an excess of buds the low efficiency of the hash production wouldn't have seemed like an issue. Hand rolled hash is simply scraped from your hands, along with any sweat and dirt, and compressed into a shiny ball. Old school simplicity with great modern appeal!
You will probably have noticed kief collecting at the bottom of your jars or grinder. Kief is simply the trichome resin glands which have fallen off the buds. It looks like a light brown or pale coloured dust. This can be made into hash simply by collecting and squashing it with your fingers. The heat from your fingers helps melt the oils and speeds up the process. Some people invest in small hash presses, sometimes called a pollen press. This mechanically squeezes the kief under pressure into a block of hash, perhaps with your own unique motif or logo on it. Of course, making hash from kief can be increased in size and scale by deliberately dry sifting your buds to create kief. Or you can use a mechanical tumbling drum to make kief.
Some people deliberately ‘shake’ as much kief as possible from their buds to make hash. It often helps if the buds have been in a freezer for a few hours first. The freezing temperatures make the trichome resin glands very brittle, perfect for the shaking which follows. The buds are then shaken on the silk screen and the kief slowly drops through the screen onto a clean, flat surface below. Sometimes the screen will be attached to the bottom of a box, making it easy to shake the box whilst allow the kief to drop through the screen. The kief can then be scraped up and collected. Of course, hash can be made with waste trim from your plants or grade-A buds.
If you are using trim from your plants aim to recover around 10% (by weight) of kief. When using buds to make hash, to maximise yields the buds are usually broken apart before being shaken. This allows trichome glands from within the bud to be easily removed.
In order to further automate the process of shaking kief from buds/trim, some people use a mechanical tumbling device. This is typically a drum, similar to the internal drum from a washing machine which is rotated with frozen buds/trim inside. The mechanical action of tumbling the plant material dislodges the resin glands which fall from the drum. These can be sieved through a screen to remove any larger particles (e.g. green plant/leaf material).
Making hash with a tumbling drum tends to be done only by the larger scale hash producers. Some less scrupulous hash producers shake kief from their buds to make hash, before selling the buds. This is a risky business for the shady characters involved. Often the buds are of significantly lower potency after the kief removal and are difficult to sell, creating a bad reputation for the producer.
Hash can also be made by the water/ice method. A bucket of iced water is stirred vigorously while cannabis is added to it. When making hash you can use buds or trim. High quality shredded buds will produce more hash than low quality trim. The cold temperatures induced by the ice make the trichomes brittle and easy to break off. The stirring motion causes the resin glands to fall off the cannabis and into the water.
The water is passed through a fine mesh filter (‘bubble bags’), which collect the resin glands prior to air drying. Choose a THC-rich photoperiod or auto cannabis variety for best results. Making ‘bubble hash’, as it is known, does require some preparation and time. It is sometimes called bubble hash because the trichomes settle in the bags and can form temporary wet ‘bubbles’ as they collect.
This ice-water hash making technique is a solvent free process and produces excellent quality hash. If you are looking to make hash at home in reasonably high quantities then the ice water method is well worth considering. You can read a dedicated Dutch Passion blog on hash production with the ice/water method.
Another way to make hash is using dry ice. Dry ice is solidified carbon dioxide (CO2). You can buy it online for overnight delivery, or you can order it from pharmacies. Dry ice uses very low temperatures, fans claim this helps preserve a lot of the terpene content for extra flavour. The dry ice method involves mechanical agitation (shaking) of the buds/trim with dry ice to remove the resin glands. These can be collected in the normal way and sieved with silk screens or hash bags (bubble bags). The trichomes drop through the holes in the bags according to their size.
With no solvents, this is a fire-proof way to make hash but caution must be used when handling solid dry ice. Read more on how to make hash easily with dry ice.
Charas is another name for hand-made hash. Charas makers would roll fresh cannabis blooms between their palms. The hash would be scraped off and collected. Some of the most prized charas is the pale Malana Cream products which are produced slowly with hours of effort for just a few grams. In contrast to hand-rolled cannabis (which can be done with dried and cured blooms), charas tends to be made from fresh (occasionally unripe) and uncured buds/blooms.
Male cannabis plants are often discarded by home growers. They will pollinate your female plants turning the buds into seeds. Most of the cannabis seeds sold these days are feminized seeds. Usually they will grow into a crop of 95%+ female plants. But male cannabis plants do produce THC, just not as abundantly as female plants. Save male plants for your hash-making exploits and put them to good use.
Hermaphrodite or ‘hermie' cannabis plants are those which show signs of both male and female sex. Often they are female plants which start to produce occasional male flowers. Some growers ‘pinch’ out the male flowers and monitor that plant carefully. If the hermie is producing too many male flowers the plant is usually discarded. But you can save the plant material for hash production. The older hermie plants usually have more resin glands than younger ones.
Using the hair straightener method is probably the easiest way to make some rosin hash easily at home. But it’s not a great option if you need to make larger quantities. Perhaps a rosin press would be better. Some people prefer the traditional ice-water method of hash making. Much depends on your personal situation, how much hash you want to make and how much cash you have available for equipment.
One of the disadvantages of hash is that it often contains small amounts plant material. This can give the hash the brown appearance. This limits the potency of the hash. And that prompted some people to look for alternative methods of creating THC-rich cannabis concentrates. Today there are lots of way to do this, and the result is that concentrates with around 50-80% THC can be routinely produced. That’s two to four times as potent as traditional hash. However fans of traditional hash will claim the the original hash taste is far superior and richer to modern concentrates such as shatter.
The modern ways to make cannabis concentrates usually involve grinding up the cannabis buds and washing them with a solvent to extract the cannabinoids and oils from the plant. Typical solvents include ethanol, butane, iso-propyl alcohol or super-critical carbon dioxide. Once the solvent is safely removed, the cannabis concentrate is ready to be enjoyed. Most people enjoy their cannabis concentrates in a vaporizer, but there are numerous ways to enjoy them, from eating to smoking.
These were palm-sized hash balls, sometimes egg shaped. They were made in Nepal and were hugely popular in the 1960’s and 70’s as hash popularity boomed. The cannabis was grown outdoors in the Nepali mountains and converted into hash balls by hand. The genetics that grew in the rugged mountain regions were typically indica dominant. Often the Temple Balls had a highly polished exterior thanks to the loving hand smoothing process. The high quality Nepalese Temple Balls produced a luxurious high and were highly prized by those that could get genuine ones.
You can make hash from any cannabis variety, whether it was grown indoors, in a greenhouse or outdoors. Hash can be made easily at home whether you grow feminized seeds, autoflower seeds, CBD seeds or any other type of cannabis seeds. But some cannabis varieties will give you particularly good results. Below we recommend an indica, sativa and autoflower seed variety from the Dutch Passion collection. All will give great results if you want to try making your own hash.
Bubba Island Kush is one of Dutch Passion’s best selling premium indica cannabis seed varieties. Not only does she produce frost-drenched plants with huge yields, but she is one of the fastest blooming indica varieties in the Dutch Passion collection. She takes just 7.5 - 8 weeks to flower. The high THC levels in Bubba Island Kush make this a natural variety to use for hash making. The buds and fan leaves sparkle with the encrusted resin glands which coat all surfaces.
Bubba Island Kush plants tend to stay short and stocky, it’s an easy strain to grow indoors and like many of the best indica varieties she practically grows herself. No expert grow skills are required here!
Orange Bud is an all-time classic variety from Dutch Passion. Boasting a fantastic quality feel-good, soaring psychedelic high and extreme frost levels Orange Bud is superb for hash production. When grown well THC levels are 20% or more. Trichome production on Orange Bud is seriously impressive. This plant glistens and sparkles. She has been one of Dutch Passion’s all-time best selling sativa dominant cannabis seeds for all the right reasons.
If you like growing autoflower seeds then Auto Glueberry OG is a perfect choice for hash production. As the name suggests, this variety is exceptionally resinous. Genetics come from Gorilla Glue and Dutch Passion Blueberry with some OG Kush. Yields are heavy and like all Dutch Passion autoflower seeds this one is exceptionally easy to grow in any grow medium/system.
AutoGlueberry OG grows from seed to harvest in around 75 days, occasionally some phenotypes will require an extra week or two but will reward the patient grower with XXL yields. With such resin production this is a natural variety to use for hash making. Expect extra heavy conversion rates into hash with Auto Glueberry OG.
Modern cannabis concentrates are proving extremely popular with both medical and recreational consumers. A quick visit to a USA dispensary will show you that concentrates are now more popular than buds for many cannabis lovers. And, perhaps sadly, finding good quality traditional hash is no longer as easy as it once was. Many younger cannabis consumers view hash as a slightly old-fashioned product. But to the old-school hashish fans, there is nothing quite like it.
October 1st 2019