Cannabis products come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more suitable for helping soothe pain, discomfort, and anxiety, while others are more often used to achieve the well-known “high” that many cannabis users know and love. If you fall in the latter group, you may be interested in an ancient preparation of the herb: hash.
Here’s what to know about this highly concentrated form of cannabis.
Hashish, or “hash,” is a highly concentrated form of cannabis. Unlike “marijuana” or hemp, you don’t consume hash by smoking the plant’s dried flowers. However, you can smoke the finished product with a pipe or use it in a cannabis infusion recipe.
What distinguishes hash from regular old cannabis buds is that you can make it by preparing a mixture of the plant’s materials. When most people make hash at home, they typically harvest the resin from the plant’s leaves and flowers and compress it to form a slab. If you have the equipment, you can take it one step further by converting it into a concentrated oil.
Either way, know that any hash you make will have significantly higher concentrations of cannabinoids than the typical flower you get at a dispensary. While the average joint might get up to about 15-20% or slightly more, hash can contain up to 25% – and, in some cases, 50% – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s primary psychoactive cannabinoid.
Although it has a long history of use in cultures around the world in medicinal and ceremonial contexts, hash has only just begun growing in worldwide consumption in the last several years.
For example, a 2016 study found that 25% of people who recently used cannabis containing THC have used hash at least once in their lifetime. Additionally, 18.3% of individuals in this demographic reported recent hash use, meaning they’d consumed it within the last year.
It’s tough to visualize what hash is from a description if you’ve never seen it before. However, a brief walkthrough on how to make it will help shape your expectations more thoroughly.
How to make your own bubble hash
There are a few different methods to make hash at home. Nearly all of them are relatively easy. One of the most popular techniques makes a version of the product known as “bubble hash.” To get started, you’ll need the following tools:
- Bubble bags (vinyl bags with silk or micron screen bottoms that fit in 1-5 gal buckets)
- You’ll need to get 3-5 sizes, each one’s screen size larger than the last.
- 1-5 gal bucket, depending on the size of your bags
- Wooden dowel
- 10-15 lbs of ice
- 3-4 oz of cannabis (you can use either flowers only, or a mixture of trimmings from the plants and shake)
Once you have everything you need, follow these steps to make your own hash at home:
- Layer your bags inside of the bucket, starting with the finest screen first.
- Pour all your cannabis plant material into the top bag.
- Pour in the ice.
- Note: This freezes the trichomes on the plant, causing them to break off and fall down through the screens. The trichomes are tiny crystalline structures on the leaves, buds, and flowers. They contain the cannabinoids and other chemicals.
- Pour the cold water until it barely covers the cannabis.
- Take the wooden dowel and mix up the cannabis and ice. Do this for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow the agitated cannabis to rest.
- Remove the top bag.
- Scrape the bubble hash from each bag’s screen as you remove them one by one.
- Note: Before you remove each bag, dip it into the bag beneath it. This ensures that any cannabis material trapped on the bottom surface of the bag will be scraped up in the next one.
- Place each scraped sample of the hash on some cheesecloth or another suitable material, fold it, and apply pressure to remove the excess water.
- There you have it: bubble hash!
Hash vs. cannabis flower
Despite coming from the same plant, hash and smokable cannabis flower are two very different products. Their chemical profiles are highly distinct, which may either be appealing or not-so-great for you. Here are the main differences between cannabis flower and hash to help you decide if you’d like to try hash for the first time.
As noted, hash is a highly concentrated cannabis product. It typically contains far more THC than your average joint or dried flower – usually about five to ten times more. So, of course, many people will be drawn to this over alternatives. This is, in part, because the demand for high THC levels has grown over the years.
In fact, one study from last year illustrated that THC concentrations in cannabis products increased by an average 0.29% each year across the following nations since 1995:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Interestingly, this gradual change only reflected changes in flower. For instance, cannabis resin’s THC concentrations rose by 0.57% yearly. At the same time, the scientists did not observe any significant rises in cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations, although another team reported that CBD concentrations fell from 0.28% to less than 0.15% between 2001 to 2014.
Although this may be desirable for recreational use, high cannabinoid concentrations don’t offer as much of a therapeutic benefit as some might assume. With lower doses, you might experience more beneficial therapeutic effects, without even inducing a high.
With that said, if you mainly use cannabis to manage your medical conditions, hash may not be the best option for you. You’ll most likely just wind up feeling loopy instead of soothing your symptoms.
Which lasts longer?
Another appealing characteristic of hash is how long it sticks around in your body. For some people, this could be a game-changer. One of the things that could send you back to the dispensary much sooner than planned is if your product is too weak.
Naturally, a comparatively lower-concentration cannabis product would not provide the desired intensity of effects. Because of this, you’d have to consume and purchase more of it in a shorter time span to manage your health or simply get the desired recreational satisfaction.
Many studies have shown that the body’s THC levels can drop quite rapidly. In fact, this cannabinoid can reach its peak levels in your system only 10 minutes after smoking. Within just one hour, it’ll fall to a mere 5-10% of that peak.
On the other hand, hash is much more efficient, meaning you could potentially get more bang for your buck. Whether you choose to eat it as an infused meal ingredient or smoke it, hash holds onto most of its THC. The body absorbs hash’s THC much more slowly, normally taking between 1-3 hours to set in. This results in less intense but longer-lasting effects.
Plus, hashish can also be used in small amounts, supplementing flower user (rolled into a joint, or added to bowls). This extends flower supply, while also extending the effects of when you consume cannabis.
Is hash right for you?
In short, hash isn’t for everybody, especially those who use cannabis to treat and manage medical conditions. However, if you’re looking for a good time and you’re more interested in having THC-rich cannabis than CBD alternatives, it could be a good cannabis product to try when you have some free time.
Like with any cannabis product, finding and vetting your source of concentrate is essential. Fortunately, hash is generally considered a solvent-less concentrate, as the bubble hash method above doesn’t introduce any solvents, and a common alternative “budder” is a whipped form of rosin (a heat-extracted form of cannabis resin). In any use, ask your local budtender about the extraction method of any hashish you use!