When you're only growing a small amount of plants for your own use you want to be getting every available gram at harvest time.
Rummaging around in the loft the other day I came across a bag of forgotten leaf trimmings. At first glance they didn't look like much but on closer inspection there were in fact plenty of visible glands on the leaves. It got me thinking about the whole process of making hash and how, as a grower if you're not already doing it you really should. It makes sense in so many ways.
Firstly, (as Ed Rosenthal's classic book puts it,) you're turning ‘trash to stash'. The logic of making use of as much of the plant as possible speaks for itself. After all, it's taken considerable care to get your plants through their lives, not to mention the personal risk to your liberty. When you're only growing a small amount of plants for your own use you want to be getting every available gram at harvest time. Keeping plant numbers down always makes sense when arguing the self-sufficiency defence and it's also worth remembering that the Police have a habit of weighing whole plants, root-ball and all sometimes, to come up with outrageous sounding amounts of cannabis for one person.
With this in mind turning a few hundred grams of leaf trimmings, which the Police and Courts would view as exactly the same as prime buds, into less than ounce of high grade hash is well worthwhile. If they want to consider all parts of the plant as equal it is wise to keep only the bit you want i.e. the cannabinoid rich glands and not the green leaf. This way you reduce the amount of cannabis in your possession by around 90-95% without sacrificing any of the part that gets you high. This is certainly true for leaf trimmings that were otherwise destined for the bin but may not be so true of your best buds, which have an appeal of their own.
|Trim leaf on Screen|
|Separated gland collected under the sceen|
Skuff, shake, pollen – all of these are terms for ‘dry' hash; that is glands that are detached from the plant matter using dry leaf or buds rubbed over a screen as opposed to bubble hash which is done using ice, water and two or more filter screens, or charas-style hash that is directly hand-rubbed from buds. The differences in the processes give the hash very different properties and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Of all the methods making Skuff is by far the quickest, simplest and cleanest way to get your very own high-grade.
As we have mentioned the value and appeal of top buds means that it is unlikely that home growers would start making hand-rubbed hash in the Indian tradition where whole fields of (relatively) low strength plants are rubbed to make sticky black hash. This is arguably the oldest and simplest form of hash making but is not so practical for the home grower. Making dry hash, Moroccan-style, on the other hand is almost as easy and will probably give a more refined product, and it's ideal for using up unwanted leaf trimmings. Unlike bubble hash the dry hash is ready to smoke right away and is in no danger of it going mouldy.
|Close-up 1st Grade unpressed|
To make your dry hash you need a screen with a mesh of around 120 microns. This will allow all the glands on the leaf to fall through, leaving behind the majority of other plant matter. Several companies produce an automated ‘tumbler' which is usually a drum made if 110 micron mesh fabric stretched around the barrel contained in a plastic box, where the detached glands are collected. Of course these take any manual effort out of the process and are ideal for getting through large amounts of plant matter. However, if it is only small amounts you are collecting the automated tumbler works out to be a pretty expensive option when a simple flat screen can be just as effective.
Flat hash making screens used to be fairly widely available but a quick internet search showed that getting hold of one these days may not be so easy. You may need to make your own using a screen stretched over a frame or box or similar. Art supply shops can be a good option for getting silk screen used for screen printing. Be aware that they grade the mesh size in T – threads per inch – and not microns, so for example 48T is the same as 135 microns and this is probably the best one to use. But the good news is that's the only bit of kit you need. Because you are manually rubbing the leaf it is possible to get different grades of hash with just one screen. A first quick light rub will produce a fine, light sandy hash similar to un-pressed Moroccan ‘pollen'. The more the plant matter is agitated over the screen the more contaminant is likely to fall through. Subsequent grades will be progressively greener as more plant matter gets busted up small enough to fall through the screen. If you want the highest grade possible do a light rub first and keep it separate. Keep the leaf in the freezer until the last minute as this will help detach the glands by making them brittle. It is always worth giving it a second rub as you'll be surprised at how much more you can collect.
|Lower grade – note visible contaminant|
|Cold pressed dry hash|
When making bubble hash in a seven stage filter system you collect all of the available glands and little or no contaminant at all. If you rubbed the same material over the dry screen you would undoubtedly collect a larger pile of ‘hash' but the extra will be contaminant rather than gland. This is not such bad a thing. After all, the contaminant is just bits of plant that gets smoked with bud usually, to some extent anyway. Usually dry hash retains more of the flavour of the original plant than bubble hash, presumably because of the small amount of plant matter that remains in it. One other possible advantage is that dry hash, especially when it has only been cold pressed, burns better in a spliff with tobacco than dense, sticky, pressed hash, not to mention being easier to crumble in. I'm sure all self-sufficient growers have times when supplies run short and this is when that forgotten bag of crummy looking leaf becomes a pure gift because in no time at all you've got a nice piece of high grade pollen in your tin and the world doesn't seem so bad any more after all. Happy Hashmaking!