For thousands of years hash has been used for medicinal use, spiritual enhancement, medicine or for social scenarios. Depending on where in the world you buy your hash can determine the quality, flavour, colour and overall characteristics. Explained in this article are the four different types of hash, how method is traditionally performed, Rosin and how to check your hash.
Dry Sift and Pressed
Morocco is well known for the copious amounts of hash it produces that is exported to the U.K and high end coffee shops and social clubs throughout Europe. Moroccon hash is made using dry material and later pressed, and with mountain sides full of mature female plants, using a series of micron grade filters. These large screens will allow the farmers to work in teams and carefully sift the dried plant matter over each screen until a refined pollen remains.
Typically bubble bags will have a clean up bag that is 220 micron and when working with dry material, a 220-280 micron sized screen will eliminate plant matter meaning the sift will have a golden blonde appearance. Once a grade below 160 micron is achieved, this is where the full spectrum of the plant can be captured and one reason why hash makers mix a final grade consisting of 25-160 micron.
Once a golden sandy pollen is produced, the farmers will then begin to press the hash into shape and apply heat also. The best technique is to use a glass bottle and fill it with boiling water and close the lid. Then place the dry sift powder in between a plastic non stick bag and by rolling over the plastic, the golden sticky sift will begin to darken and change consistency. After working the sift into shape and applying more heat, the hash takes on a shiny, dark brown with a golden sandy appearance when broken open with fingers.
Top Tip: Try working in a cold air conditioned room, to keep the temperatures consistent and wear latex gloves to avoid sweaty hands.
Hand Rubbed Charas Hash
There are few occasions where a smoker will get the opportunity to smoke charas produced by farmers in the East. Countries such as Pakistan are known for their charas which is generally made from live resin. This basically means that the resin removed off the plants whilst growing has not yet had a chance to dry so the terpenes are different to dry material and the plant did not get chance to decarboxylate and become THC. Hand rubbed charas taken from outdoor crops can be classed as some of the best smoke in the world. Especially when smoking in an environment as spiritually powerful as India or the Himalayas.
There is no set method to harvesting charas and all it takes is a clean pair of hands and plenty of patience. In the mountainous areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal large groups can work their way through fields at a time collecting charas. It is debatable how good the landrace genetics are but one thing is for sure, proper hand rub charas is a true delight and an experience you for sure will encounter on your travels.
Top Tip: Next time you are trimming your plants and remove what we call finger hash, you can think that you are smoking your very own version of indoor charas!
Isolator and Bubble Bags
My personal favourite way to turn all of the sugar leaf and unwanted buds into full melt goodness. Making isolator is very different to the traditional dry sift for many reasons and the main reason is plants are kept in a state of ‘ Live Resin ‘. The original essence of the plants terpenes are more floral and technically the plants have not been decarbed with a darkness period and drying out time. When this happens THCA becomes THC, so in this case the grower knows what to expect in terms of effects and flavour.
In order to make excellent isolator you will need to start with top quality material which can consist of lower buds, sugar leaf or whole plant. You will also need plenty of ice for two reasons, the first for keeping the water as cold as possible and the second is to aid in the agitation process.
The idea is to allow the frozen plant material to sit in the iced water, whilst being allowed to be aggitiatly aggressively. This is often done with a washing machine tumbler that spins a vortex clockwise and counterclockwise every 15 seconds. The trick is to allow the resin to separate from the material and fall to the bottom where it will be syphoned off into your bubble bag set up.
For those who are interested in making isolator using a washing machine, should try a spin time of 6 minutes, 3 minutes, 3 minutes and 6 minutes to really get the best returns possible. Using ice cold water is preferred and I personally never use the wash bags that you can zip the trim into. My reason is the vortex effect does not happen and the resin does not get a chance to naturally fall down. I also finished with a mixed patty that consists of 25-160 micron whole plant extract.
Top Tip: Never wash your trim for too long as the material can turn mushy. Make sure your material in the freezer is as close to frozen and brittle to touch.
Dry Ice Methods
Whilst we are on the subject of using ice, there is such a way to combine bubble bags and dry ice with dry material to create dry sift. The technique is quite straightforward and many hash makers are having great success with tumblers and dry ice. Obtaining dry ice is not as simple as walking into the local supermarket or gas station and does need to be ordered in advance.
Top Tip: Dry ice is a brilliant way to keep your material as cold as possible. The cold temperatures are what increases the agitation and separation.
The Difference With Rosin and B.H.O
There is often confusion and mislabelling when talking about a hash maker and extract artist. The two are completely different in their end results as one harvests trichomes and the other harvest the oil within the trichome body.
An extractor is not looking to work with the necks and heads of the trichomes, but removed those parts which are labelled as wax. Butane is the most popular solvent used to strip Cannabis plants of their essential oils and generally the safest way regarding after care and purging of the product. Extractors using a closed loop system often times ensure the most refined product on the market and will often take the most care when cleaning up of any contaminants.
In the past 5 years or so, there has been a new wave of extract artists who are creating a rosin sap. Completely free of any solvents and no need to purge, rosin has allowed anyone with some good flower or ice water hash to use heat and pressure and parchment paper to achieve a medical grade Cannabis extract. Upon appearance a golden transparent sap will reveal itself rich in terpenes and cannabinoids.
Top Tip: Squishing dried ice wash hash under a rosin press for 75-120 seconds at 80 degrees celsius using a 25 micron bag will produce the very best rosin.
The Bubble Test
Not everyone has the chance to smoke the best extracts or hash around, and depending on where you live can play a big role in the quality of hash you come across. Hash connoisseurs will refer to their hash as full melt or bubble.
The reason why is when heated slightly or even briefly shown a flame, there will be an aggressive bubble that dances with a wet foamy shine. Expert hash makers will never let full melt get exposed to a direct flame for too long, as once the bubble is activated, it can catch on until blown out and cooled down.
Unfortunately commercial hash that is exported from Morocco, Pakistan, India, Lebanon and parts of the Rif Mountain can purposely contaminate the hash in order to increase their bulk loads. Over time I have heard plenty of stories from Morocons about the tricks of the trade ranging from plant material above 230 micron, powdered milk, sand and to cause the bubble effect henna ink and pig fat.
The last thing I want to do is put you off hash, however check your hash for any suspect signs of contaminants. A simple burn will indicate so much, but how white the smoke burns, the flavour and weight will all be a tell tale sign of how clean the hash you are smoking is.
Top Tip: If you burn some hash and there are orange embers burning, then avoid smoking this hash. The ember is a sign of contaminants and will be harmful to your lungs if consumed.