what is hash

What is Hash?

Hash (hashish) is the resin collected from the flowers of the cannabis plant. The primary active substance is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) although several other cannabinoids are known to occur.

Hash is usually smoked in pipes, water pipes, joints, and hookahs, sometimes mixed with cannabis flowers or tobacco. It can also be eaten.

The most common effects of hash and cannabis are: a sense of wellbeing, relaxation, rapid flow of ideas, increased appreciation of music and food, heightened senses, sleepiness, pain relief, nausea relief and increased appetite.

There are also several negative effects including dry mouth, rapid heart beat, impaired short term memory, anxiety, and panic attacks.

Contrary to popular belief, the effects from smoking cannabis or hash are not increased by holding the smoke in the lungs longer. Almost all of the THC is absorbed within the first few seconds. Also contrary to popular belief, more potent cannabis or hash is not more dangerous. Users generally take enough of the substance until they achieve the desired effects. In the case of smoking, it means the user will have to inhale less smoke and therefore fewer toxins to achieve the same effect.

Most high school students report that it is easier for them to obtain cannabis than alcohol. This is possibly due to the fact that people who sell cannabis are already breaking the law and have few problems with selling to minors. Despite ever-increasing spending on prosecution of cannabis users and anti-drug misinformation, some 50% of high school seniors report having tried cannabis.

Hash is currently illegal in countries where the government feels it is best to make decisions for an individual, including what consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes.

Where does hash come from?

The word “hashish” originates from the Arabic language, roughly translating to mean “grass.” It is believed that the popularization of hash originated around AD 900, although some argue methods such as charas, or the collection of resin from the hands of cannabis farmers, are believed to have existed prior to written documentation.

As a result of early European exploration into Africa, hashish made its appearance in the Western world at the turn of the 19th century. For years, European doctors imported hashish to conduct research, which led to the introduction of various extraction methods that allowed for further refinement into medications.

By the turn of the 20th century, cannabis extractions were accounting for a large majority of Western pharmacopeia. It wasn’t until US prohibition of cannabis in the early 20th century that hashish products were outlawed from Western medicine and pushed back into the black market.

Different types of hash

Dry sift hash

With the reemergence of cannabis enthusiasm in the 1960s, hashish found its way back into the limelight. Countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, and Morocco saw an increase of hash exportation into Western countries. At this time the varieties of hash imported were old world varieties, mainly hard-pressed, brick-like solids made from heat and pressure.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s when gland separation was introduced to the West through a machine called the “master sifter.” According to Ed Rosenthal and his book Beyond Buds, this breakthrough machine by John Gallardi used vibration to separate the trichome gland heads from the plant material.

Ice water (bubble) hash

During this time, Neil Schumacher and Rob Clarke began experimenting with water extraction methods, the early precursor for what we now refer to as ice water hash, or bubble hash. The equipment used to popularize the ice water extraction method was first introduced to the public in 1997 by Reinhard C. Delp at the High Times Cannabis Cup. His patents would later be adapted and modified by Mila Jansen with her pollinator isolation bags.

This design would be further improved upon by Canadian hash enthusiast Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson and his popular line of BubbleBags, one of only a handful of companies worldwide who have leased permissions to use methods from the original patent filed in 1999.

How to make dry sift hash

Legalization efforts in the US over the past several years have increased the enthusiasm for hash. Making hash at home today is as easy as purchasing a few inexpensive ingredients from a hardware store. You can even purchase ready-made screens for dry extractions, presses for old school brick hash preparations, and even bags for water extractions, all online.

Check out our video above with Mark at Funky Skunk Extracts on how to make dry sift hash (lightly edited transcription follows).

Hash is a concentrated form of cannabis. We take the cannabinoids and separate them from the plant material using a dry sift method, which we then press into hash.

Our hash is different than BHO and other solvent-based extractions in that we don’t use a solvent. It’s entirely mechanical and uses different temperatures to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material.

The dry sift screen method

  • Start with properly cured frozen material. It’s important to get your temperature as low as possible because frozen trichomes will break off their stocks and separate from the plant material more easily.
  • Once you get your material on the screen, start breaking it up and spreading it around; wax on, wax off.
  • Dry sifting on a screen is a very delicate process. You’re not going for quantity, but quality, and expect a very low return. As long as you’re careful, it should be a very high quality.

The dry ice method

  • Combine your plant material with about 40% dry ice. Dry ice is five times cooler than regular ice, about -109°F. These super cold temperatures combined with friction caused by shaking the bag will cause the trichomes to break off their stocks and fall into the collection vessel below.
  • The longer we shake, the more plant material will break up and make its way through the screen, contaminating your kief. This is why old school methods of making hash are as much of an art form as they are a science.
  • It takes practice working with different strings to get the feel for the right time to stop. You want to maximize yield without sacrificing quality.
  • When satisfied with the shake, it’s time to collect.

You can see the difference in quality between the two methods: The dry sift is a beautiful golden color whereas the dry ice has been contaminated with some plant material, making it green.

Turning kief into hash

  • Fill up the hash press with kief (the traditional method is to wrap the kief in plastic and then in layers of wet newspaper, alternating between heating the brick slowly on a hot plate and rolling it with a rolling pin, sometimes for hours to achieve the correct consistency).
  • Jack it up like you’re changing a tire, and in just a few minutes, you’re done.
  • You can see by its dark and shiny surface that the trichomes have melted together.

Once we break it open, we see the gooey Play-Doh consistency and the beautiful golden brown color that we’re looking for.

Hash Can Be Induced Through Three Modes

Hashish can be consumed through three modes of ingestion, including eating, smoking or vaporizing. Eating and smoking are the traditional ways of ingesting hashish. As the pathways of absorption by the body are different, the effects from eating are differently different than from inhaling by smoking or vaporization. Because the effects of eating are more intense, the majority of hashish consumed worldwide is smoked. Hashish smoking is associated with feeling of relaxation, elation and euphoria. Usually smoked in a social setting, hashish device is shared by a small group.

There are many ways to smoke hash. One of them is rolled like a joint. Mixing hashish with tobacco and rolling it into cigarettes has been the standard way to smoke hashish in Europe since the 1960s. Simply stick a chunk of hash on a key and burn it slightly without charring it and while keeping the flame on it. Then crumble it up and mix it with tobacco if you wish. Roll it up and it is ready to be smoked.

Another popular way to smoke hash is with a glass or cup. Stick a sewing pin through a cigarette and stick the hash on top of the pin. Put the cigarette in a clear glass so the tips create a bridge. Light the hash and cover the opening of the glass with a paper or boo. Once the glass is filled up with smoke, you can breathe it in.

Vaporizing hashish is an alternative to eating or burning it. The THC in hashish vaporizes when the hashish burns. The THC adjacent to the burning ember vaporizes and is released with the smoke, and the smoker inhales the mixture of vaporized THC and smoke. When hashish is heated to between 200° C and 450° C, the user receives both the potency and the flavors without any of the smoke usually associated with smoking.

Hashish Smoking Is Euphoric in Nature

Most of the effects induced by hashish smoking are the same as the effects induced by marijuana. However, because hashish is often higher in THC, less hashish is often required to achieve the desired results. Hashish has a positive impact on the nervous system which helps relax the body and improve breathing. Hashish has been used for years over ethnic and geographical boundaries. It is not only a form of relaxation, but it helps one attain the spiritual realm by improving the consciousness.

Hash Is Used for Medicinal Purposes

Cannabis has been widely used as a medicinal plant for many years. The primary value of cannabis as a medicine lies in its analgesic ability to relieve symptoms of diseases rather than curing them. Both hashish and marijuana have been used for medicinal relief for menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, insomnia, pain and depression. Nonetheless, the only difference between marijuana and hashish is the concentration of the medically active cannabinoids. The concentration is higher in hashish, making it more concentrated and a more medically appropriate source of the active cannabinoid compounds.

How do you smoke hash?

Hash may be used in a number of ways. Traditionally, hash has been consumed orally, either as a solid or infused into a beverage such as the traditional Indian drink bhang. Hash may also be smoked, either on its own or as a way to accompany traditional cannabis flowers.

Some varieties of hash that have the ability to melt may also be vaporized on a hot surface, known as dabbing. When dabbing hash, screens are often used due to the fact that some resins leave carbon residue and will not melt completely, or at all. On the other end of the spectrum are high-quality hash oils (not to be confused with solvent extracts), such as full melt dry sift and full melt ice water hash, which have the ability to melt completely onto a nail, leaving zero residue.

When first learning how to use hash, consult with your budtender about the equipment you have at home to see what products are right for you. To get started with smoking or vaporizing hash, you will need some sort of smoking device, such as a pipe or dab rig, possibly a dabber tool, and a heating mechanism, depending on which route you take.

Understand the risks

Short-term effects of hashish include disrupted learning and memory, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, and anxiety. These effects are even greater when a person combines hashish with other drugs (including alcohol). Using hashish may cause dry mouth.

Hashish increases the risk of chronic cough and bronchitis, and increases the risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. It may increase risk of anxiety, depression and a series of attitude and personality changes, known as “amotivational syndrome.” This syndrome is characterized by a diminished ability to carry out long-term plans, a sense of apathy, decreased attention to appearance and behavior, and decreased ability to concentrate for long periods of time. These changes can also include poor performance in school. Hashish can lead to addiction. It affects the brain’s reward system in the same way as all other drugs of addiction – and the likelihood of addiction increases considerably for those who start young

What are the health effects of hashish use?

The short-term effects of hashish use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch); difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. The effects may be more intense due to the high concentration of THC found in hash and other concentrates.

THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana or its concentrates.

THC in hashish is many times more potent that the levels of THC found in standard marijuana. Levels of THC found in marijuana have skyrocketed over the last two decades. According to samples tested by the DEA, percentage of THC in marijuana has gone from roughly 4% in 1998 to over 15.5% in 2018.

The long term effects of hashish or marijuana concentrate use are not yet fully known; but, long-term marijuana plant-use has been studied.

  • Psychological effects can include paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations.
  • Alterations in heart rate and blood pressure may occur.
  • People who inhale THC products often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. They are prone to lung infections like pneumonia. Marijuana smoke may contain some of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke (toxins and tar).
  • Marijuana and THC affects memory, judgment and perception. Learning and attention skills are impaired among people who use marijuana  heavily.

Studies show that marijuana use from a young age can affect brain development and IQ levels. 

Hash Effects on pregnancy

Any drug of abuse can affect a mother’s health during pregnancy.

  • Some studies have found that babies born to mothers who used marijuana (THC) during pregnancy were smaller than those born to mothers who did not use the drug. In general, smaller babies are more likely to develop health problems.
  • A nursing mother who uses marijuana passes some of the THC to the baby in her breast milk. Research indicates that the use of marijuana by a mother during the first month of breast-feeding can impair the infant’s motor development.

Is hash illegal?

All forms of cannabis, with the exception of industrial hemp, remains federally illegal. However, hash is largely available in states with recreational legalization in place. Consult your state laws and regulations to see if hash is a legal form of cannabis in your area. 

Always remember that hash effects will be much stronger than smoking cannabis flower. Hash oil potency can range from low 40% to over 80%, depending on factors such as extraction technique and quality of starting material.

The rollercoaster history of hashish shows that it will stay no matter what. Although it is widely used without direct medical supervision, no deaths have ever been reported from any use. Consumed for pure relaxation and pleasure, for pain relief or as part of a culture, hashish is reportedly growing in popularity day by day and from region to region. It is legitimate to say that hashish has secured its footing in the ever-changing climate of the cannabis industry.

1 thought on “What is Hash?”

  1. othmane jalaoui

    I’m originally from Morocco but I live in Canada now, the actual reason why it’s popular here, it’s due to the fact that it grows well in the north, plus, it’s hard to grow marijuana.
    Though it’s true, Hashish (as we call it) is way more stoner than other pot (except oil hashish ofc). Oh yeah, like he said, it’s cheap!

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