My very first experience with hash was at a party that was hosted at the venue I was working at, at the time. The event promoter had offered me a hit of a hash-cigarette, while we were setting up the event. I had been smoking marijuana for a few years at that stage, but never tried hash of any kind. It goes without saying the rest of the afternoon was quite the adventure setting up for the rubber ducky themed festivities to follow that evening. To my surprise, my new toking partner had made the bubble hash himself! The night went down without a hitch and I ended up having such an amazing experience that I was left thinking: what is hash and how do I make my own DIY hash at home?
WHAT IS HASH
Hash, which is short for Hashish, sometimes also spelt hasheesh; is a type of cannabis extract with a rich history across multiple cultures across the globe. Hashish was most probably the first form of cannabis concentrate, with written accounts dating back thousands of years. It is made by compressing and processing the trichomes of the marijuana plant by rubbing the trichomes, or resin glands, together to form rolled pieces.
Good hash should have a solid consistency, be rich chocolate or sandy in colour and have an aromatic scent. Depending on where and how the hash was produced and what cannabis strain was used; the colour can sometimes be transparent, yellow, black or red and have a texture ranging from brittle to malleable.
Hashish, which translates to ‘gaanja’ in Hindi, is a full-spectrum cannabis concentrate that is extracted without using any solvents. This means it contains most of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in the marijuana plant. Hash contains all these compounds that act synergetically to harmonize the psychoactive effects of the plant, which is known as the Entourage Effect. It can be consumed orally as an edible, vaporized or smoked with ground ganja.
Making your own DIY hash might seem like a tedious process, but is totally worth the effort of making your own at home. DIY Hash is fairly easy to make and requires no special equipment or solvents, but you will need to apply some serious elbow grease.
Hash is traditionally made by processing the flowers of the mature female marijuana plant, because of the high trichome content. Trichomes are the hairlike structure on the flowering cannabis plant that is rich in all the desired cannabinoids, terpenes and lipids.
WHERE DID HASH COME FROM
Hash is thought to have originated from the Middle East and Central Asia, although it has a long history in Lebanon, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Morocco and Pakistan. The first written record of hash consumption was published in Cairo in 1123 CE, the pamphlet derogatorily referred to Nizari Muslims as ‘hashish eaters’.
In 1596 Jan Huyghen van Linschoten documented his experience consuming Bhang in the East, comparing it to the smokable hash he encountered in Turkey and Egypt. Hashish arrived in Europe during the 18th century, after French troops were introduced to the cannabis concentrate while away in Egypt.
Theodor Friedrich Ludwig Nees von Esenbeck, who was a pharmacist and botanist, recorded the first description of the usefulness of hashish in 1830. In 1839 the European School of Medicine recognised a comprehensive study on Himalayan hemp; published by Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician. O’Shaughnessy prescribed hashish to relieve cramps and alleviate symptoms associated with ailments like rabies, cholera and tetanus.
An American author named Fitz Hugh Ludlow reported on hashish in 1857. Three years later, Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, put pen to paper for Les Paradis artificiels: Opium et Haschisch. The book, which translates to; The Artificial Paradises, outlines his encounters experimenting and being under the influence of opium and hashish.
By the end of the 19th century, in Europe and the USA, hashish had played a significant role in the treatment of pain, migraines, menstrual cramps, asthma, insomnia and whooping cough. Hash was also believed to relieve stomach aches, diarrhoea, itching related to pruritus and continuous bleeding; as well as increase or stimulate appetite and overcome depression.
The use of hashish as medicine, or otherwise, was ultimately globally prohibited by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. At the time it was important for the conference to “find a method and lay down permanent rules for determining the number of drug addicts as accurately as possible, especially since it was very difficult to distinguish between a consumer of hashish and a person addicted to that drug”.
The UN conference defined the newly prohibited hashish as “the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant’. Until recently, the UN considered cannabis to have particularly dangerous properties; listing cannabis and its derivatives as a Schedule IV drug along with Heroin and Methamphetamine.
A BRAVE NEW WORLD
In the 1990s Morocco held a quasi-monopoly on hashish, meaning they had a handful of large suppliers with very little competition. The Morrocan hash bricks were initially of poor quality but were in great demand by travellers and smugglers alike. Traditional artisanal producers were motivated to produce a superior quality product and began cultivating the perfect cannabis to produce higher-grade hash.
Although there was a dramatic shift in the market in the 2000s, due to an increase in homegrown cannabis cultivation, hash remains in high demand around the world. Due to the legalization of cannabis in certain countries around the world, there are more legitimate hashish producing countries. These regions have adapted more advanced cultivation techniques and developed cannabis strains with the desired characteristics to produce greater yields with improved resin quality.
The turn of the century brought new forms of cannabis concentrates that include oils, shatter, crumble, budder and wax. Concentrates are generally produced by using a solvent to extract the cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds, before purging the solvent agent. These are dangerous procedures and should only be performed by trained individuals in a controlled environment.
Hash can be made using the trimmings, leaves, shake and flower of the marijuana plant. The best hash is made using only buds as it is the part of the plant that has the highest concentration of cannabinoid-rich trichomes. The plant material can be cured, dried, fresh or fresh-frozen; depending on the preparation method you choose. In order to ensure you end up with a high calibre hash, it is important to select superior quality cannabis to start with. There are several methods to hash-making, which we will discuss in some more detail below. Each method delivers a slightly different variant of hash. Charas hash is the most common and is fragrant, spicy and aromatic; whereas bubble hash delivers a crisp and clean experience.
Charas is the name given to hashish that has been hand-rolled and thought to have originated from the Indian subcontinent and Jamaica. This variation is most probably the oldest method used to make hash. Charas have played an integral role in the culture, tradition and rituals of certain sects of the Hindu religion for thousands of years.
Start by washing your hands to ensure you have removed any dirt and oils that may contaminate your hash. You can use fresh cannabis plants, i.e. before it is cured, or you could opt to use fresh-frozen plant materials. The process of freezing the cannabis makes it easier to harvest the trichomes. Roll the cannabis between your palms in a circular motion, applying moderate pressure, until a thick black resin forms on your hands. Scrape the resin from your hands and repeat the process until all the resin has been extracted from the plant material. This could seem like a long and tedious process with a small yield, but the upside is that you do not need any specific equipment or supplies.
If you have ever grown your own marijuana plants and reaped the harvest will attest to the resin left behind on your trimming scissors. Simply collect the accumulated resin every now and then to build your hash-stash and keep your trimmer snipping smoothly.
Yes, you can make your own DIY hash in your shoe! This is a relatively undemanding way of making a small amount of quality hash. Firstly, tightly wrap about 2g of cannabis in parchment paper and secure the parcel with packaging tape. Use a pin to pierce the bud bundle, press out as much air as possible and then reseal it.
Secondly, place the pot package in the heel of a hard-soled shoe, slip on those boots and practise your catwalk strut for at least 30 minutes. Your weight will administer pressure as you walk up and down, the warmth of your body and the friction caused in your shoe will heat the parcel and facilitate the hash making process. What do you get when you peel back the layers? Other than being as excited as a kid on Christmas morning, you have a beautiful brown slab of DIY hash waiting for you to tuck in!
Kief is the resinous trichomes of cannabis that collects in the corners of your stash container or in the compartment in your herb grinder destined for the very job. You can make kief by rubbing loose cured cannabis through a fine sieve or even invest in industrial style equipment to process larger quantities of bud at a time. The kief can then be heat pressed into hash coins. If you do not have a pollen press you could opt for any of the hash making procedures mentioned here. You could decide to get your hands dirty and make Charas, or perhaps you will have a go at strutting your stuff, catwalk-style and stomp that bundle into the hash brick you know it can be.
When you apply heat, more substantial than body heat, and pressure to cannabis you get Rosin Hash. It is a pure form of extract that is similar to shatter in appearance. One method of making extracting rosin for DIY hash is to place a small amount of cannabis in the fold of a sheet of parchment paper. Then use a flat-iron hair straightener to apply some medium heated pressure for a few seconds. The golden coloured liquid can then be collected for your dabbing pleasure. Repeat the process until there is no more rosin goodness left in the plant material.
The rosin could be rolled into a joint or you could make a marijuana masterpiece by covering the outside of a rolled joint in some ganja goo before rolling it in dry kief. You could also use a standard household clothing iron on low heat or wrap the parcel in a tea towel and press it into a warm pan using a spatula, flipping it over every 15 seconds.
Whichever method you choose; to apply heat and pressure to your cannabis, be sure not to burn the rosin when it melts and seeps out of the plant matter.
PROCESSES TO PLAN FOR
The following two methods for DIY hash requires some equipment and materials you might not have laying around at home. The items are relatively easy to track down online or at your local shopping centre. Both Ice Water Hash, also known as Bubble Hash, and Dry Ice Hash render an excellent quality hash. These hash variations have an impeccable texture and melt-ability, meaning there will be absolutely no plant material in your rig’s banger once you have taken your hit.
Ice Water Hash
The first step to making DIY hash using the Ice Water method; is to blend the marijuana plant material with ice water, for one minute. Then pour the liquid into a silkscreen lined glass jar. The trichomes will have separated from the plant matter and fall through the silkscreen into the jar. Allow the mixture to settle for at least an hour before carefully pouring off and discarding ⅔ of the water, be cautious of losing your newly collected trichomes in the bottom of the jar. Refill the jar with ice water, wait five minutes and repeat the process three more times.
Now that all of the resin glands have collected in the jar, use a coffee filter to strain the water and then squeeze out as much of the excess water as possible before leaving the hash to dry. Spread the wet mixture into a thin layer on parchment paper to expose the maximum amount of surface area and ensure your hash dries properly.
Dry Ice Hash
Dry Ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide that is colder than water ice, does not leave any residue as it evaporates and is colourless and odourless. BE AWARE – Dry ice is extreme cold (around 78 C) and could cause frostbite injuries if not handled with the proper protective gear.
The dry ice process is similar to that of Ice Water Hash. The dry ice freezes the resin glands, making it easier to separate from the plant material when it is mechanically agitated. If you can get your hands on dry ice; put a few pellets in a container with a lid along with your cannabis, firmly grip the container with a pair of oven mitts and give it a proper shake. Andre 3000 from Outkast shaking a polaroid picture while singing Hey Ya, kind of shaking. The next step is similar to the dry sieve process when extracting kief, rub the material through a sieve hovering over parchment paper to catch the trichomes you just worked so hard for. Once the kief is dry it can be pressed together or hand-rolled.
It was only once tobacco was recognised as a smokable crop that hash cigarettes and hash joints became the preferred method of consumption in the 1500s. Before that hashish was consumed as an edible, especially in Muslim regions with a rich history in hash production and consumption. Consumption of hash in the east was generally by drinking Bhang, a cannabis drink that is prepared with a base of Charas hash, or smoking the hash by packing it on an ash bed in clay chillum, directly heating it and inhaling the smoke. Even though the consumption of marihuana, kief, hash and Bhang is against the law in India; it still has great traditional, cultural and spiritual relevance.
Today hash is most commonly vaped using a dab rig, e-nail or portable vaporizer, incorporated into a joint or blunt, sprinkled over a packed pipe, bong or bubbler or smoked by itself. Do not let anybody tell you how to smoke hash, experiment and incorporate it as you please! It is possible to get high from hash when it has been consumed as an edible but could lead to intense and prolonged psychoactive effects. So approach hashish with caution, remember the golden rule – start low and go slow.
The effects hash has on your body and mind is basically the same as when you smoke standard cured marijuana flowers, with an added kick! Remember hash is a cannabis concentrate and has a much higher level of cannabinoids and terpenes. Start by incorporating a small amount of crumbed DIY hash with your bud and evaluate your experience. Once you have experienced the high, you can adjust the amount of hash according to your desired potency.
BE THE JUDGE
The best quality indicator for hash is the smell, high quality hash smells fragrant and aromatic, whereas low-quality hash will have a distinct mouldy or musty aroma. Hash that is greener in colour may contain unwanted plant materials like Chlorophyll, deteriorating the quality. If the hash has a sticky consistency it has most probably been deliberately contaminated with oils to increase the weight and inflate the value.
Are you new to cannabis and wondering how hashish affects you? When you take a toke and fill your lungs with cannabis smoke, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. When the THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid in cannabis, crosses the brain-barrier and attaches to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. You start feeling it; your body relaxes, your cognitive sensories are heightened and if you are lucky you might experience a fit of laughter or uncontrollable hunger. Check out all Eight Stages of Being Stoned here!