Hash (hashish) is one of the most potent cannabis products that originated in India. Since it’s now widely available around the world, I decided to create an all-encompassing, encyclopedic online hash manual.
So here’s what you’ll learn today:
- What is hash
- Origins of hash
- How is modern hash made
- What are the different types of hash
- What does a hash high feel like
- How potent is hash
- How long does a hash high last
- How to make hash from weed at home
- How to smoke hash
We have a lot to cover so let’s get started.
What exactly is hash?
Hash (or hashish) is a drug made from cannabis. To be precise, hash is a type of marijuana concentrate that is made by separating resin glands from the flowers.
Resin glands are alsow known as trichomes.
Cannabinoids are the active chemical compounds in cannabis which modulate our endocannabinoid system, and create a variety of psychoactive and medicinal effects.
Making hashish from cannabis pretty much revolves around separating trichomes from the plant and merging this essential resin into a whole, either by just pressure or by using other more sophisticated techniques.
Example of trichomes. Image credit: ZenPype
As you can see in the picture above, trichomes look like miniature mushroom-like nodules, and a collection of collected trichomes is called kief, which is the most crucial part of any hash manufacturing.
Origins of hash
Because hash cannot be made without cannabis, separating the history of hash from the history of cannabis can be somewhat difficult.
The name hashish (in short and far more easily pronounceable hash) is derived from the Arabic word حشيش, which pretty much means grass.
The northern part of India has a long lasting tradition of consuming charas, which is their term for hash, and because cannabis Indica used to grow freely and wild in this part of the continent, it’s not hard to imagine that they figured out a way to incorporate hash in their religious and medicinal practices very early on.
From India, hash was introduced to the Arabian peninsula during the 10th century as written evidence suggests, and Europe followed somewhere at the beginning of the 18th century.
The widespread use of hash in Europe was facilitated by some notable members of high society at the time, most notably the Club des Hashischins, which included some pretty big players from the literary world from the era, such as Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac.
They experimented with hash (and other opiates like opium), to evaluate the effects of these substances on creativity.
Fast forward to the 20th century, Morocco became renowned for its hash quality and production, as the first hippie vagabonds came marching to the country in the 1960’s, the manufacturers also jumped on this newfound business opportunity.
Currently the biggest producer of hash in the world is Afghanistan, but countries where medicinal and recreational cannabis is now legal have also seen a rapid increase of hash production.
How is modern hash made?
Hash certainly came a long way since it’s humble roots, with several very technically advanced patents being created in the last few decades.
While the countries where cannabis remains illegal still use the old techniques of heat and pressure (the collected resin of trichomes is heated, and a press is used to create solid bricks of hash), during the 1980’s the an ingenious invention was created, called a “Master Sifter”.
Created by John Gallardi, the master sifter uses vibrations to remove the trichomes from the plant, and it has several mesh screen filters of different sizes (measured in microns) which can easily filter all plant residue, while capturing all the precious resin.
This method made the entire process much faster, as the trichomes didn’t have to be separated from the plant by hand any longer.
Hash also became much purer as the amount of plant residue was considerably decreased, because mesh screen filters stopped any non-trichome material to get in the mix.
Pretty much at the same time, guys called Rob Clarke and Neil Schumacher started dabbling with water extraction techniques, and their prototype was the precursor of a method we now call the Ice Water Extract (or IWE in short).
Since then the Ice Water Extract technique was upgraded by Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson, and only several manufacturers have a permission to use his patent’s radical technology.
What are the different types of hash?
Image credit: Canada’s Finest Emoji OG
One of the world’s most popular types of hash is bubble hash, also colloquially known as icewater hash.
Bubble hash is made through a process called icewater extraction, which uses cold water to separate trichomes from the flowers. The mix is then sifted through several screens.
When made with quality flowers, bubble hash has around 70% to 80% THC and is extremely potent. Color of this hash ranges from light, to very dark brownish hues.
For the production of this hash, the growers dry their flowers for an extended period of time.
The plants are then moved into closed locations and hung to dry even more, after which they are rubbed over a fine fabric which collects all the precious resin from the plants. The kief is then left to settle, after which it’s pressed into standardized slabs or so-called bricks of hash.
It’s not unusual that the manufacturers of Lebanon Hash to emboss their symbols on the slabs, which acts like branding and is meant to prove the quality of the product.
Afghani Royal (aka Royal Border) Hash
As I’ve previously mentioned, Afghanistan is one of the world’s biggest producers of hashish, and these types are made from landrace indica strains.
Afghan hash is made by placing the buds in water or tea for trichome separation, and the resin is then pressed into slabs or ball-like shapes. This type of hash is usually dark brown on the outside and light brown on the inside.
Image source: wikipedia.org
This type of hash originated in India, and it’s very closely linked with hinduistic practices in northern India. They make this hash by hand, which is the most time consuming (and quite tedious) form of hash manufacturing.
Charas is very similar to Afghan hash by appearance and is mostly sold in ball or hot-dog-like shapes.
Super Nepalese Hash
As the name suggest, this hash originated in Nepal.
It’s also mostly hand-made, which (similar to the Charas hash) makes it very soft and gooey.
Cannabis indica is usually used for making Super Nepalese hash. It’s very difficult to find it nowadays, but if you get a chance to try it, make sure you do because it’s truly exquisite.
Moroccan Slate Hash
This type of hash is usually made in northern parts of Morocoo, most notably in the Ketama region.
Slate hash is lightly aromatic, and not particularly potent compared to other popular types. It tastes quite mellow, and it’s not hard on the lungs. Its color ranges from green to light brown.
How does a hash high feel like?
Because hash can be made either from various strains, the high it produces will greatly depend on the type of cannabis that was used for its creation.
As the main ingredient of hash is kief (an extremely potent trichome resin), the high will depend on unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain used for making hash.
So, for example, if a hash has a lot of limonene (those hash usually have citrusy names like “Lemon Hash”), it will most likely make you cerebral, uplifted and motivated to tackle the day.
Hash made from indica-dominant strains generally contain more myrcene, which is why they create more of a body-type of high.
Compared to regular cannabis flowers, hash is generally considered more mellow, as the high from it lasts shorter.
Many users also report a much “clearer head” from the hash high in comparison to regular buds, which leaves room for performing various creative activities.
How potent is hash?
As mentioned above, hash is much more potent than regular cannabis flowers because it’s mostly made out of trichomes which contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids (including the most important ones THC and CBD). The exact potency of hash depends on how it was made and the flowers that were used.
The first factor is definitely the potency of cannabis that was used for the creation of kief, so if you have highly potent flower (let’s say about 20% THC), the hash that was made from it will be much more potent than when using low-potency weed.
Another key factor is the production method. For instance, using a standard grinder that has a sifter for kief, and later using this kief for hash production (which will have a lot of plant residue in comparison to the other techniques), will result in a hash that has medium potency, around 30% to 50% THC.
If we were to use the weed with the exact same potency, but instead of a grinder use a “Master Sifter” machine, our kief would be much purer, resulting in a more potent end-product, around 40% to 60% THC.
Currently the best possible technique for kief separation is the Ice Water Extract method—trichomes separate much better when they’re frozen. With this method, you can get kief which has even up to 80% THC.
How long does a hash high last?
Because of its high-potency, the starting effects of hash can be felt in a matter of minutes.
The duration of the high depends on the amount consumed and your tolerance to THC, but it’s safe to say that a high from hash generally lasts around 45 minutes to an hour.
Unlike smoking, hash-infused edibles take a while longer to kick in (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes), and the high just like with all other weed-edibles is far stronger and longer lasting (with the duration of up to 6 hours). Edibles are generally better suited for medicinal consumers, because of the elongated duration of the effects.
How to make hash from weed at home (2 methods)
There are a couple of very low-budget ways to make your own hash at home, so let me show you how it’s done.
Method #1: Hand rolling hash
The first one is the most simple one, but it also requires the most work.
This ancient technique is still used to this day in some parts of Nepal and India, and the trick is basically to get your non-dried (or fresh) buds in between the palms of your hands, and gently roll the bud.
Naturally make sure your hands are clean, and avoid placing too much too much pressure on your flower, because you’re risking getting non-trichome plant material in your soon-to-be hash.
After performing this for a while (10-15 minutes), you’ll start seeing a thick dark layer covering the insides of your palms and fingers. The next step is just to scrape the residue from your hands with a hard-surfaced object.
You can use a ruler or something similar, just make sure it’s not too sharp because you’ll probably cut yourself, and once you’ve removed the hash, press it to get a ball or a worm-like shape you can easily place in your joint/blunt.
Method #2: Pressing your kief into blocks
Using a grinder that has a separate chamber for collecting kief is the first step in creating your own hash-blocks.
Of course you can also use a “Master Sifter” silk screening method, or the Ice Water Extracts bags, but these options are much pricier, so if you’re doing this just for fun or experimentation (and not sale), I recommend you use a grinder, at least at first.
Once you’ve collected enough kief in your grinder chamber, you can turn it into hash using a press made for this specific task.
There are numerous different sizes and designs available, and this site for instance has many cool options available.
This method is quite simple—just load the kief into your press, and depending if it’s a twist-press or a hammer-type one, twist or hammer it until you’ve achieved optimal pressure.
I also recommend you leave your newly created hash in your press for at least 24 hours (or even longer).
Technique 2—The oven
This one is a bit more complicated, but luckily it doesn’t require anything you already don’t have in your household.
Place your kief in cellophane and make sure to make it completely waterproof.
Wrap this cellophane bundle in wet newspapers so the package doesn’t get damaged from direct exposure to heat.
Preheat your oven to 160°C and place your wrapped kief in it for 10 minutes.
Once you’ve taken the package out of the oven, place it on a heatproof surface and press and spread your kief with a rolling pin.
To create a perfectly firm and evened out hash, repeat the all these steps (wrapping your package with cellophane and wet papers, ovening and pressing it with a rolling pin) a couple of times more.
When all of this is done, place your DIY hash in the fridge to cool overnight, and in the morning you got yourself some high-grade hash ready to be smoked.
How to smoke hash?
There are a couple of different way you can get hash into your system.
1) Sprinkle it in a spliff
This is the most classical way to smoke hash, and it’s customary in most parts of Europe.
The premise is:
You roll a joint with tobacco (this means without any pot) and just sprinkle some hash on top of the tobacco leafs before you start closing the joint.
If you have a harder type of hash, you can use a lighter to soften it, and while it’s still warm pick tiny pieces out with your fingernails.
You can also make a worm-like shape (depending what type of hash you have).
If it’s soft any easy to manipulate, you can either you your palms to elongated it, or you can use two flat objects, for instance a table top and a hard-covered book to create your worm. Then just place your “worm” on your still-opened joint, and add some more tobacco on top of it.
Some people also like to mix weed and hash together, but because hash is really potent, and offers a slightly different high than weed, I suggest you find a way that’s suitable for you to only get pure hash in your system, in order to truly feel the unique buzz it offers.
2) The Glass method
This technique only applies if you have a clay-like hash that is easy to manipulate.
You’ll need a regular water glass, a cigarette, a straw and a hash “worm”.
Take a cigarette, and drill a tiny hole in the middle of it (you can use a pen or anything else that has a small dagger-like tip, for instance scissors).
Put your hash worm into the hole you’ve drilled in the cigarette, so the biggest part of it just suspends freely.
Depending on the size of your glass, cut your cigarette so it can suspend itself on the diameter of your glass.
Light the lower tip of your worm (the furthest part from the cigarette), turn the glass upside down, and place it onto the table. You’ll see how the smoke slowly fills up the glass as the worm slowly incinerates.
Once thick smoke fills the glass, lift one side of the glass up and inhale the content of the glass with a straw.
Just make sure when you light you worm not to leave it flaming, but instead you want to have a small ember, burning gently and evenly.
You might be concerned that this method burns the hash too quickly, but in fact it’s a very economical way to use hash.
3) Use a vaporizer
The most health-friendly way for consuming any cannabis product (besides edibles) is vaping.
Vaporizers function by heating your hash to temperatures much higher than an open flame does, and without all the nasty carbon that gets released when any organic matter is being burned.
Because hash is denser than any regular cannabis, you should use a vape that has temperature control and set it a bit higher than 190°C.
4) Use hot knives
A very vintage technique, it involves using two pre-heated knives and placing a piece of hash in between them, combusting it instantly.
All you need is a straw (or something similar that’s tube shaped), to place above the knives so you can catch all the smoke with wasting anything.
Just make sure you don’t burn yourself while heating the knives, or burning the straw by placing it too closely to the knife.
5) Smoke it with a bong or a pipe
While using bongs and pipes is a nice way to avoid smoking tobacco or getting way too high by adding regular weed to the mix, it’s not really practical because they usually burn the hash too quickly.
Feel free to try for yourself, but I honestly don’t recommend these items for hash smoking.