Hash is an old-school cannabis concentrate that was consumed for centuries before fancy BHO and CO₂ extracts entered the market. It’s an amazing concentrate—when done correctly. Hash has a distinct smell and taste, which is very soothing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that hash is much more relaxing and sedating than smoking cured buds. Hash comes in various textures and colours; it can look like golden powder or a solid block of dark chocolate. Here, we’ll guide you through the process of making high-quality hash at home.
Let’s begin with the easiest method of making hash: the finger hash technique. When trimmers handle the buds during the process of removing fan leaves, parts of sugar leaves, and stems, the hands get very sticky and develop a shiny brown surface—that’s called “finger hash”. When you collect it from your fingers and place it in a small container, you can get a nice hash ball.
Now, in India, the method of gathering hash from one’s hands is done purposefully, more than as a happy outcome of trimming the buds. As a part of the Indian tradition, when the plants are in the late flowering stage, the farmers rub the buds while they’re still on the plants. This generates an abundance of hash on the hands. This hash is removed by pressing down on the hand with one’s thumb; then in a quick and forced motion, the thumb is released from the hand, which gathers the hash. The hash is then moulded into small balls, which are called “charas”.
Charas can be used just like any other form of hash. This method is mostly practised on larger plants that don’t have a rigid stem structure. After the plants have been rubbed, they can still go through the normal drying and curing process for smoking later, or can even be turned into cannabutter and bubble hash, which we’ll mention shortly.
When trichomes detach from cannabis plants, then are collected and pressed, that's essentially what hash is. When you grind dry herb to make a joint, the bottom chamber of the grinder (if it’s a 3-chamber model) will catch the powder. This powder is referred to as kief, which is basically just trichomes with some plant material. When this kief is pressed, it creates hash. This form of hash will not be as sticky as charas or finger hash, but more powdery. There are several ways to develop this kief, which in turn is pressed into hash.
Dry sifting is an easy way of getting high-quality kief. What you need is a special screen with small holes that will only allow the trichomes to surpass, along with a trace amount of plant material. There are special dry-sift shakers or boxes you can purchase to simplify the process. When the buds are dried and cured, place them in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. Take the frozen buds and arrange them on the sifting platform. Make sure to place the sift above a clean area from where you can easily collect the kief. Gently move the buds over the screen and you’ll notice a golden powder sprinkling down on the area below like it’s Christmas. Collect the kief with a scraper, and that’s your dry-sift kief! There’s also a mechanical drum that can perform this process automatically. It costs around $300, so it might be a bit expensive for most.
The second method of collecting kief is the dry ice technique. It’s just as simple as collecting kief through dry-sifting, although the process is slightly different. First, you need to purchase a mesh bag with a correct size micron size, anything between 73–160μm. Then, you need to buy some dry ice (carbon dioxide in a solid state), which is super cold, reaching about –78.5°C. You also need to have some thick gloves to handle the insanely cold dry ice.
Now, take your plant material, which can include virtually any part of the plant, and place it in the mesh bag. The dry ice should be broken down into smaller pieces, so that it can come into contact with most of the plant material. Now, shake the mesh bag containing plant material and dry ice over a clean and even surface. This will instantly create plenty of powder, which is then collected using a scraper.
Now that we have our kief, it needs to be pressed. One needs to purchase a fairly inexpensive and easy-to-use pollen press. All you have to do is add kief to the press, turn the device to compact the kief, and the result is a solid hash block or disc. There are many viable hash-pressing techniques, but the pollen press is the best option for the everyday grower/smoker.
You can also make "bubble hash" by mixing plant material with water and ice. This is a great method to squeeze out the maximum amount of trichomes from the plant. Here’s the “recipe”:
You will need:
Step 1: Arrange the bags in a clean bucket. Have the largest mesh size as the most inner bag and the finest mesh size as the outer bag.
Step 2: Place water, ice, and plant material into the other bucket. You should use significantly more water than plant material, around six times more. The ice cubes should comprise ⅓ of the water amount.
Step 3: With the hand blender (the one you use to whisk eggs), mix until the water turns brown, approximately 15–20 minutes. Now that you have your cold cannabis-ice mix, it’s time to pour it into the mesh bags.
Step 4: Pour the mix slowly into the mesh bags, allowing the run-off water to collect in the bucket below. With each bag, the product will become more refined. You want to allow the material collected in each bag to dry out completely before using, but then you’re good to go!
And that’s how you get bubble hash. Some people even create special “hash washing machines” that do the mixing automatically and more thoroughly.