Hash is the original cannabis concentrate – Traditionally made from kief and bits of trim hashish has long been an easy and convenient method for both smoking and transporting marijuana, and though the world of marijuana concentrates has grown exponentially since the days of yore hash is still a great way to get the best out of a bag of weed without having to keep a mass of plant material hanging around. We’ll go over some of the most popular ways to make hash in each step-by-step guide below.
What Is Hash?
Hash is, in a lot of ways, the original cannabis concentrate. To make hash marijuana is taken and stripped of portions of its THC and trichomes/cannabinoid content; the exact amount can vary depending on extraction method (and more on that in a bit).
One of the benefits of making hash is that it doesn’t have to be made from fresh, high quality, flowered buds – Trim, shake, and even stems and leaves can all be taken through the extraction process of your choosing. After extraction, what’s left behind is usually dried out while being compressed in some fashion, typically into the shape of large, brown bricks – This is our hash.
Despite the many ways to make hash where it really differs from other concentrates is in it’s, well, lack of concentration. Hash will always contain more THC than the average bud, but the percentages of THC available are still low compared to something like shatter (which can reach 90%+ THC content). The reason for this is due to the plant material and other organic bits of marijuana bud left behind in the kief – Trichomes and other parts of the flower are still present in hashish, and make their way into the final product.
So why bother if hash usually has a lower potency than other concentrates? It’s these leftover bits that can make hash a more interesting and unique experience over purer marijuana extracts. As an extract reaches higher THC percentages this is at the cost of other cannabinoids and terpenes that can help alter and shape the effects given by the cannabis.
Think of it like an ice cream sundae, with THC standing in for the ice cream: Yes, ice cream is good, and we want a lot of it in our sundae, but what makes it a sundae are the toppings – The whipped cream, the cherries, the chocolate syrup. All the things that take it from being “just” ice cream to a decadent treat. Without the additional terpenes and other cannabinoids a specific marijuana strain has its THC content is just… well, plain, vanilla THC.
Hash offers a better taste and a more “true to plant” experience over many extracts, and can be a good way to take your favorite strain with you on the go without having to lug around potentially odoriferous bags of cannabis bud. Even better, unlike some concentrates hash can be used in almost any smoking or vaporizing device you have – Our companion article on “How to Smoke Hash” goes into further details but needless to say hash has a lot of versatility where other concentrates may not.
The method used to take THC/terpenes/cannabinoids from the cannabis plant matters, and what can be labelled as “hash” varies wildly depending on collection method. Hash can range from a powdery, easily crumbled light brown stick of something akin to incense, to a deep brown, borderline black goo that can only barely hold a shape. Though a general rule is that the stickier and more ‘wet’ the product the greater its potency this doesn’t mean that drier hash isn’t quality hash; just that the manufacturing process for each was likely very different.
Should I Decarb My Cannabis Before I Make Hash?
We go into greater detail about this topic in our “How to Decarb Your Weed” article but it’s important to mention it here as well. When making extracts or concentrates such as hash exposing your marijuana to heat first will “activate” a vast majority of the THCA cannabinoids in the cannabis, as well as help the plant matter break down more easily. This means an easier extraction process and higher quality hash, 100% ready to be used in edibles or even eaten out-right.
If your hash is being made purely from kief collected in a grinder or off your hands it has not been decarbed and should not be eaten – It will need to be smoked, vaporized, or otherwise processed into butter/further concentrates. Most hash has been decarbed, though, and is likely ready to eat – If you’re unsure it’s best to treat your hash as though it hasn’t been decarbed, and will otherwise be “inert” prior to heat exposure.
How to Make Hash from Kief
The most simple and basic method of creating hash is via collecting kief (which we talk about at length in our “How to Make Kief” article). Kief can be collected in a number of ways – Among the most popular are multi-stage grinders that “scrape” and break trichomes away from the bud as it rests on a screen within the grinder. More bulk sifting methods can also be used, which we talk about in greater detail below.
To turn kief into hash you’ll need to pack it down into a solid shape. A pollen press is a container that takes powder-like kief and, using pressure, compresses it into a coin or tablet shape. Industrial and more high-end models will use hydraulic action to swiftly press large amounts of kief into hash at once (heated versions of these are used to make shatter), but home hash makers are typically going to rely on a screw-based hand cranked press.
A hand-cranked pollen press generally consists of a chamber opened on two ends – One end has a cap or some other form of cover that can be taken off for easy removal of the pressed kief while the other end will have the press itself. Place the cover onto one end of the chamber, put your kief inside, tighten down the press and simply wait – After a few minutes of good pressure your puck of hash is ready to be removed.
Hash made in this way is typically very crumbly and dry, and should be handled with care lest it fall apart and end up in the carpet. As with any concentrated cannabis product storage is important, and we recommend keeping your kief hash in a sealed, temperature & humidity controlled environment – A jar in your refrigerator should do lovely.
Also: If you’re lucky enough to be partaking of a cannabis harvest you’ll likely notice the sticky residue left behind on your hands as you gather & trim the flowering bud – That is also kief, and can be rubbed off to create possibly one of the oldest forms of cannabis concentrate known to human kind: “hand hash”. This can be stored and smoked just like any other hash made with kief, though we recommend wearing gloves and collecting it off of there to avoid exposure to the skin (and losing valuable THC in the process).
How to Make Hash Using a Dry Sifter
This is where larger hash-making operations usually start. These types of sifters and filters are common through making most kinds of hash; where the methods differ is in how the plant material is processed prior to filtering.
Most dry sifting kits look somewhat like a stack of containers with mesh screens at the bottom of each – These screens each have a different micron size, filtering and sifting away different parts of the cannabis plant as it travels through the screens. Commercial processing facilities will often use a large mechanical drum to achieve the same effect; filter bags may also be used for dry sifting but are more common in wet extractions (which we discuss below). No matter the sifting device the containers must be stacked in a specific order for the screens to be effective.
To use a dry sifter marijuana is placed in the top container and shaken against the screen with vigor- As the weed is bumped and scraped against the filter resin glands, trichomes and bits of plant matter sift down into the screens below. The desired kief is then trapped in either the very last screen or the screen above that; anything that falls underneath that screen is usually plant material that can be run through another fashion of extraction process, likely solvent-based. After you have your desired amount of kief then it’s off to your preferred method of compression to get the final brick.
Most veterans and professionals will advise that you either work in a cold environment or freeze your cannabis (using an air-tight bag) before dry sifting; this helps the trichomes and resin glands break away from the cannabis buds more easily. If you want to keep things really cold, though, read on to our next method.
How to Make Hash with Ice Water
Again, cold temperatures can lead to easier, better yields, and if you’re wanting to get the most out of your hash without resorting to a solvent, this might be the method for you. When making hash with ice water the end result is referred to as “bubble hash”; specialty filter bags sold for this procedure are often called “bubble bags”.
First off we recommend decarbing your weed when making hash with wet techniques, to help get as much out of your plant matter as you can – Again, read our article on “How to Decarb Your Weed” for more information. Once your weed has been prepped the next step is simple if not a bit scary: Take your ground-up, decarbed cannabis and dunk it in water and ice. Once submerged you’ll want to agitate it for a good fifteen to twenty minutes to break your trichomes away from your plant.
For small batches of weed this can be done in a large mason jar – Simply put your weed in, cover well with water, add in a handful of ice, tighten down the lid and then shake vigorously for a minimum of fifteen minutes. After your period of shaking is done let your jar continue to sit for another thirty minutes or so (in the refrigerator is recommended) before preparing to strain.
Your first strain will be through a regular kitchen strainer, to catch any larger pieces of plant matter – Wring these out through the strainer to remove as much liquid as possible but don’t throw them away, as you can give them a second rinse to remove even more trichomes and cannabinoids.
Take the resulting liquid and pour this through a coffee filter into another container – You should begin to see bits of solid, easily malleable material forming, which is your hashish. Squeeze this material out gently to avoid breaking your coffee filter and you’re now ready to dry, which you’ll want to have happen as quickly and thoroughly as possible, either on a heating pad or in front of a moving air source such as a fan. Once the hash has been dried it is then ready to be used or pressed.
This method is also often used with stacked filter bags, which work much like the above but without the need to go through separate phases of filtration – Just pouring your ice water slurry into the top bag will see your hash emerge into the filter at the bottom bag. If you’re planning on making hashish more often than as a one-time novelty we recommend investing into a set of filter bags if for nothing more than convenience’s sake.
How to Make Hash with CO2 or Dry Ice
A dry ice collection basically works by making the trichomes/resin glands so cold they snap off at the slightest agitation. To use this method you’ll need the following:
- Marijuana: Your amount will depend on the size of your sifting bags, but we recommend starting off with around 20/30 grams as an initial test run.
- Filter bags: These are the exact same filter bags we discussed in the bubble hash method above – As said they can be used wet or dry.
- Dry ice: This can be found online fairly easily but usually comes with a minimum order; expect to purchase more dry ice than you’ll really need for a single extraction.
- A solid work surface: Metal or stone is preferred for a work table, though anything smooth and non-porous will work, including parchment paper. Anything such as wood or some plastics will attract and even absorb the kief as you sift it out (needless to say, we recommend against doing this on your shag carpet rug).
- A warming pad or fans: Though this is a “dry” method some liquid can still seep into the kief as the dry ice evaporates and condensates. Heat and moving air both help eliminate any residual moisture.
Assuming your marijuana has already been ground and decarbed the process works fairly similarly to the usual dry collection method, with the exception of the dry ice which is placed into the filter bag along with your cannabis. Once both are inside the top bag shake vigorously until a good ten-to-fifteen minutes have passed and you should have your hash-ready kief in the bottom bag, separated from its trichomes. Again, make sure to let this hash dry, as dry ice can still lend moisture to your end product – This is where your warming pad will come in handy.
How to Make Hash Oil With Butane
This is a little outside of the intended scope of this article, as the end result of this method isn’t exactly “hash” but more “hash oil”, which is more akin to shatter or other high-THC concentrates. But since this method is so closely linked to the topic of how to make hash at home we felt the need to cover it here…. and throw in some healthy warnings to go along with it.
Butane – And yes, we mean the exact same stuff you use for lighters – is a solvent often used to extract THC from marijuana flower. By taking the cannabis and blasting it with cold, pressurized butane trichomes, terpenes, and other desired cannabinoids are washed away from the plant material; as butane evaporates on exposure to air it leaves behind an oily substance that is a high quality hash oil, ready to be smoked.
Let’s be blunt here. What we are about to describe is dangerous, and can lead to a loss of property, limb and even life. This is no joke: Multiple people have lost their homes and their lives to butane explosions while trying to make hash oil themselves, and if you undertake the following method for making hash oil at home understand you may well replicate their failures. If you do decide to try this make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside, and away from any sources of spark or flame, as butane can and will go up at a moment’s notice. Once again: the purpose of this post is education and informational only.
To make hash oil with butane you require the following:
- Well ground marijuana: Not powder-fine but not whole buds. Expect to use at least a quarter ounce of cannabis to get any appreciable amount of oil.
- A screen or filter: Anything that will hold your marijuana in place will work but better filters with the proper micron sizes will result in a purer, more oil-like end product.
- An open container: This is what you set the screen on. Make sure it’s something you can easily reach inside of – A flat bottom is also recommended.
- A can of butane: You want this to be the pressurized type, often used for refilling torch lighters.
Place your screen or filter on top of your container – You want it to be recessed to keep your flower from blowing away under the butane, so the further down into your container the better. Once your screen is situated place your ground-up flower on top and position your can of butane so it is pointing downward toward the marijuana and into the container.
Now trigger the butane, making sure to keep it away from your fingers (you may need something to help you activate the butane canister; we found a clothes pin to work well) and spraying it down toward the marijuana. After a few seconds there should be quite a bit of bubbling clear liquid in your container – Set it aside in a warm area with good circulation and the butane will quickly evaporate, leaving behind an amber/brown liquid that is your hash oil.
Other forms of solvents, such as high-purity alcohol, can be used instead of butane, but require longer drying periods and are equally as hazardous. Perform solvent extractions at your own risk. Here’s another video fo someone using this technique.
We’ve covered a lot in this article but in truth there’s still more to learn – Hash making is an old art, and new techniques have only contributed to the myriad ways of making this ancient concentrate. We hope we’ve helped give you a few starting points for learning more about this unique extract – Enjoy!