The Art of Making Hashish
The process for making hash has changed very little since early humanoids first came into contact with mature marijuana plants. Removing the mature resin has become more refined but the original essence is still intact. The entire process that allows people to remove and preserve marijuana’s resins is what making hash is all about. The glands called trichomes are where you will find the psychoactive resins that you are looking for. They look similar to mushrooms when viewed through a magnifying glass. The frost look marijuana plants often have comes from these trichomes.
Most of the trichomes are located within the buds and flowers of mature female marijuana plants. However, you can also find some hidden within the trim and leaves of all mature plants, male or female. The trim and the leaves of most marijuana plants are typically just thrown out due to their miserable smoke, but simply throwing them away could be costing you nearly 10% of the resin of your entire marijuana plant. What a waste! Making hash yourself is starting to gain in popularity for growers to be able to maximize what they get out of each crop. These are just a few of the most common ways to create homemade hash. We are not including any forms of hash making that requires the use of isopropynol or alcohol style solvents.
There are numerous methods for hash making. Using a flat screen or a blender to make hash are relatively simple and cheap, but you will find more contaminates with these methods in your final result than you would if you tried bubble bag or drum machine hash. However, the latter two methods will require a financial investment. Hash can make wonderful use of what would otherwise be thrown out, no matter what way you try. The levels of THC will vary between marijuana varieties, but if you are looking for high potency, you will want to stick with only using gland heads. Many hash makers incorporate the stalk with the gland heads and some contaminates also get included. Any contaminate will decrease your potency.
Anything that would normally be discarded (trim, leaves, etc.) is collectively called “skuff”. The kind of hash you wind up with is only going to be as potent as the materials that start the process. This means that you should carefully inspect each piece of skuff before use. Just because you see frost on your marijuana leaves does not mean that it has THC on it. You need to inspect it with a magnifying glass for the resin “mushrooms” on the trichomes. If you do not see any, discard the leaf and move on to the next. If you use that leaf, you will only contaminate your hash. Try and avoid any alterations to your skuff like grinding or crushing the leaves because this is going to cause the loss of the trichomes and add to your contaminate levels. You want your skuff dry but not to the point of crumbling. The texture needs to be considered more carefully when you are trying a drum machine or flat screen method.
The flat screen method takes off the trichomes by taking your skuff and rubbing it on a silk or fine steel screen. This process is quite simple but how the hash turns out depends on how skilled and patient the maker is. This method breaks down to pushing only the small trichome heads through the screening while the rest of the plant matter that is too large remains behind. You will require a flat screen to start. Printing supply stores carry these readily, or you can create one at home. Four pieces of your chosen wood fastened together in a frame shape with the screening glued to the bottom is really all you need. The screen holes should be between 125 and 137 lines per inch (2.5 cm). You will want either a mirror or some glass beneath the screen to gather the trichomes. You will also want something to push the skuff across the screen and the trichomes to one place (we use credit cards) and you will need your personal stash of skuff. You want dry (not brittle) skuff so only the right particles fall through your screen. Once your glass or mirror is below your screen, just start pushing your skuff gently across your screen.
The less pressure you use, the better your hash will taste! The original layer you get from this method will have the greatest potency and purity. Due to the fact that your skuff must touch the screen, pure hash from this method is next to impossible. This is why many growers use a larger screened method first to remove some of the small plant material and the trichomes. Panty hose work well for this. You will end up with the smallest bits of broken off plant material and your trichomes, which can then be processed through the smaller screen for better results. You may even be able to just tap on the smaller screen to separate the trichomes from the excess plant matter. Even though this method is incredibly cheap and easy for even a novice grower, you will likely end up with quite a bit of contaminate using this method.
Drum machines look like the insides of a dryer with its cylindrical shape and electric power source. Inside that drum you will find a screen that your skuff will tumble up against. The same principles that worked in flat screening still hold true here. The main difference is the drum does the rubbing instead of you. You can either buy a drum or build one if you have the mechanical inclination. Mila’s Pollinator has the greatest popularity currently. Mila has pioneered hash-making from Amsterdam, creating many different sized drums for all of your hash quantities. The same size screen should be inside your drum (125-137 lines per inch [2.5 cm]). Put your dry skuff into the drum and turn the machine on low. The less time the machine runs, the purer the hash powder you will be able to collect. If you remove this first batch, you can then turn on the machine again and get a lower grade hash powder. This can sometimes be done a few times if you had enough quantity to start with, but each batch will be more contaminated. You can also add a ball into the drum after your first collection is complete if you want to release more hash powder from the biggest leaves.
This method goes by the principle that your resin glands weigh more than the rest of the plant materials, so you can filter off your trichomes and get the rest of the plant material separated more easily. You will need water, ice and some agitation to help break off the trichomes. The ice water will make your trichomes more brittle, allowing the glands of resin to snap off easily. Due to their weight, the resin glands will sink while the rest of your plant material will float. The list of materials this method requires is: one blender, trays of ice cubes, either a coffee filter that is reusable (metal) or a silk screen, paper coffee filters, and a substantial glass jar. First you will want your blender about half full with skuff. Then you will want to cover this with a tray of ice and cold water. Blend this for 45-60 seconds until it is a frothy green mix. Pour this out into your metal filter or silk screen placed over the substantial jar. Pour water over this filter so you do not lose any trichomes in the mix. After you have filled your jar, place it inside the fridge for 30 or more minutes. After the mixture cools and settles, a blonde or white substance should start settling along the bottom of the jar. That is what you are looking for: trichomes.
While being as careful as possible, pour or siphon off the top 2/3 of the green colored water without disturbing your trichomes. If you still have skuff to blend, do it at this point, adding in the new froth to the jar you just started to empty, repeating the cooling process and the siphoning process until you are done. After all of your blending is complete, add some ice to your jar and allow this to completely settle one final time. If you want only the purest of hash, blend this entire mixture one final time prior to the last settling. Once settled, pour everything through the paper coffee filter(s), allowing the water to pass through but leaving the resin glands stuck on the paper. Allow this to completely drain and then thoroughly dry. This is what you need for premium hash!
Filtering your skuff through ice water is rapidly gaining in popularity when it comes to hash makers. It has the best parts of the blending and screen methods by making trichomes brittle with ice, agitating the gland heads off and screening the heads through different filters so you have high quality. Some hash makers refer to this method as “bubble hash” because of how the hash bubbles when it gets hot from the increased purity. If you follow this method carefully, the result will be more potent than any other type, to where even a small bit of hash will be enough to get a small crowd of people high. There are two common filtration systems that use ice available commercially. The first is the “Ice-o-later” developed by the aforementioned Mila, and “Bubble Bags” available from Fresh Headies. They both use the same basic principle of filter bags plus cold water in order to isolate your trichomes. You could even sew together your own ensemble of mesh bags of differing sizes. For homemade bubble hash, you will need your filtering bags, a small hand mixer, and a couple of five gallon buckets that are clean and sanitized. Each method will vary slightly, but you will essentially be performing the same actions. The “Ice-o-Lator” has two filters, with the trichomes being left inside the second filter.
The Fresh Headies kits come with 3 and 6 different colored bags, allowing you to create many different hash grades simultaneously. When beginning a bubble bag kit, you will first place all of your skuff inside one of the buckets. If your skuff is dry, you can use up to 100 grams, but if fresh or still moist, you can double that quantity. Next you will want to add a minimum of six ice cube trays, more if you can fit it. This is followed by filling the bucket near to the top with cold water. You want a little space so you are not spilling all over when you agitate the mixture. You will then start hand mixing. You will want to run your mixer at least 15 minutes, but it can run much longer (an hour or longer). The longer you mix, the higher the yield but the lower the potency. Every few minutes you will want to allow your mixture to settle. After your mixing is complete, you will want the entire frothy mess to settle at least 30 minutes. If your ice is melted, make sure you add more. If you have a freezer big enough to hold your bucket, this is ideal. You can also use outdoors if you happen to live where it is cold when you make the hash. The goal right now is to keep the water cold. You will then want to place the “work bag” inside the second pail. The screen size for this bag should be between 200-250 microns (Fresh Headies is 220 microns).
Slowly pour this green smoothie-like mix into your work bag inside of the bucket, then lift the bag out slowly, squeezing out excess water. Set this bag aside for a secondary rinsing. You are now looking at a bucket full of green liquid that has many trichomes floating around in it, among other things. Anything that was tinier than 220 microns made it into that liquid. Next you will have to set up the rest of your bags inside of the original bucket. You will want the smallest mesh bag in first, fitting the larger meshed bags inside of the first bag. For example, the Fresh Headies kit means you will put the bag measuring 25 microns in first, followed up by the 73 micron bag. Now you are going to pour the remaining green liquid into the original bucket with the new bags in it. Next you lift the bags out in succession, allowing total drainage before moving on to the next bag. The tiniest bag (25 microns) will drain incredibly slowly, so just stay patient. Make sure you squeeze out all excess water from every bag after it finishes draining. This will leave you with a bunch of brown sludge remaining in the bottom of each bag.
Spoon what is left in the bag into a plastic bag or scoop it with your credit card. Blot out the excess moisture from the sludge using a towel and leave it to dry for 12 hours at the very least. If you can be patient long enough, it could dry and cure for an entire week before using it so that you have the most potent product. You want to ensure that all of the moisture is gone so there are no mold issues later on. The 25 micron bag will not have much product, but it will be quite potent and unique when you consume it. The person who created the bubble bag method believes these to be the smallest of trichome heads, not immature trichomes. These tinier heads are usually associated with the Sativa variety of marijuana plants. Bubble Man, as he is referred to, believes that Indica marijuana varieties have larger trichome heads with shorter stalks than its Sativa counterpart. Strangely enough, hybrids of these varieties do not create trichomes of medium size, but instead some large and some small trichomes. While this is backed up by initial research, more research is required to figure this out conclusively. Now, you need to return to your original bag that was set aside and give it another rinse to get every possible trichome out of the bag. The final result from about 200 g of skuff will be between 6 and 20 g of product, with the average being right around 10 g. The better quality product you started with, the better quantity and quality hash you will end up with!
Each of the explained methods will leave you with something that looks like sand when it’s dried. It is actually a bunch of trichome gland heads and stalks combined into one product. Holland calls these heads “polm” or what would be pollen in English. This is often confusing because this product has nothing to do with pollen. Due to how potent of an extract this marijuana powder really is, some people lovingly refer to this product as “hippy crack”. The only thing left to do with this “sand” is to combine it into a solid product. This can be done quite simply by rubbing it together until you get a small ball like ancient humanoids did many moons ago, just make sure you wash your hands really well first. You could also press this “sand” into a cake or bar shape. Make sure there is absolutely no moisture left in the product before you begin to press it. If you leave even the slightest bit of moisture in it when you store it, you will likely lose your entire product to mold. Freezing it can help the residual moisture come to the surface and gather as ice that can be removed, if you want an easier way.
If you are going to press your product, these are the supplies you will need: heavy-duty plastic wrap, newspaper, a rolling pin, cardboard, a frying pan and a marble or tile surface to roll everything out. First you need to trim down your cardboard to the size you want your final product to be. You’re going to need to create a bag around your piece of cardboard and then remove the piece of cardboard. Fill the created bag with your dry trichomes and then seal and wrap the bar inside of numerous layers of damp newspaper. Put this bundle inside of your frying pan and keep it on its lowest setting. Keep turning the bar often and open it occasionally until every one of the trichomes are fully melted. Do not let any of the newspaper get too dry or start a kitchen fire! After everything is melted, take your bundle out of the frying pan and leave it all wrapped up inside the newspaper. Move the bar over to your rolling surface and start to press it all out beginning with the center of the bar. You want to roll it for 30-45 minutes. Remove the newspaper and place this bar into the freezer for 60 minutes or more. At this time, remove the plastic and appreciate your final product!
You can enjoy hash through smoking, eating or for those more daring folks, a suppository! This type of product is also easier for smuggling across borders. Creating this fine hash product, you are connecting to your ancestors, so enjoy the work that went into it and the affects you get out of it!