Originating centuries ago in the Far East, cannabis hashish has a rich history of cultivation for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. As awareness spread throughout the globe by way of trade, exploration, and war, the popularity of hash grew right along with it.
A cannabis concentrate, hash is the collected trichomes, or small stalk-like “hairs” from the surface of the flower, separated, dried, and pressed into small bricks or rolled into balls. Originally consumed by oral ingestion, the final product can be smoked or vaped. Due to the relatively low flammability of hash, though, it is often mixed into a bowl or sprinkled on top of joints using cannabis, tobacco, or both.
One of the oldest, simplest, and least technologically advanced methods of making hash is what the people of Nepal and India call “charas.”
According to the Hindu religion, the god Shiva is known for his love of cannabis. Charas are often incorporated into their celebration of the festival of Holi.
What you’ll need:
- Fresh cannabis flower, ideally picked straight from the plant. Trim excess leaves, but leave a bit of the stem.
- Your own two hands, thoroughly washed, of course. Be sure to use the purest available soap and avoid any that contain perfumes or lotions.
- Place a cannabis bud between the palms of your hand and begin to roll it in a slow, circular motion. Not too much pressure, not too much speed. You want to get as little plant matter as possible to come off in the process. Remember, the faster you go, the more resin will be lost, so take it easy.
- You should start to see a thick resin form on the palm of your hands as the flower releases the oils and THC. This is the charas. When enough forms, scrape it off your palm, set it aside, and continue with the next flower.
- Once a substantial amount is collected, you can roll it into a ball or shape it into a block.
It should be noted that while this is the easiest way to make hash at home, it is also one of the most tedious. Also, it generally produces the lowest yield of concentrate when compared with other methods. At the same time, it’s very organic, requires no utensils, and can be a fun social event if you have a few friends and a lot of flowers to roll!
Another easy method is to dry sift your cannabis. This process involves removing the trichomes by passing them through a fine sieve or strainer. Freezing your flower the night before makes it easier for the trichomes to separate and fall.
Dry sifting is also achieved if you use a three-stage herb grinder. The hash collects in the bottom or final stage of your grinder below the wire mesh and can be scraped and collected for pressing. This is not a high-volume method as you usually grind one or two buds at a time, but it incorporates the same idea.
What you’ll need:
- Trimmed cannabis
- A sieve, silkscreen, or strainer with very fine openings
- Parchment paper
- A plastic card or scraper
- Roll out a section of parchment paper and lay it on a clean, flat surface. Be sure the parchment is cut to be larger than the widest part of the sieve or silkscreen.
- Hold the sieve above the parchment paper and place your cannabis flower in.
- Gently begin rolling and moving the flower around the bottom of the sieve, allowing the trichomes to separate and drop through the fabric or wire mesh.
- Fine dust should begin forming on the parchment paper.
- Continue gently rolling and adding cannabis to the sifting device and, when enough dust has appeared on the parchment, scrape it together with a plastic card and press it into a block.
This method should yield kief in about a 10 to 1 ratio to your original plant matter. This means, if you start with 10 g of flower, you can expect 1 or 2 g of kief to press.
Making Rosin Hash With a Flattening Iron
This is another process that involves a few items you may already have in your home. It’s very easy and quickly creates cannabis concentrate for you to enjoy.
What you’ll need:
- Cannabis flower
- Flat iron or hair straightener. One with fine temperature control is ideal, but if you’re careful, any similar tool you may have will do
- Parchment or baking paper
- Separate the flower into small portions about the size of your fingertip
- Cut the parchment paper into smallish pieces and fold in half. If your particular parchment paper has a shiny side, fold so that side is facing inward
- Place the individual flower into one of the folded pieces of parchment paper.
- Taking the flat iron, press the cannabis in between the hot plates for approximately 5 seconds.
- Unfold the paper and collect any golden resin that was pressed out of the flower. It is possible to re-press the same bud a few times to fully extract the hash rosin.
Making bubble hash, or ice hash is a process that takes a little more attention, a bit more time, and a few more specialized utensils. However, the yields are impressive, and you’ll end up with a couple of different grades of hash.
What you’ll be doing is agitating your cannabis in an ice bath and straining off the trichomes with filter bags of varying micron openings. The ice-cold water will make the trichomes brittle and break off more easily for harvest. The equipment used for this part of the process is up to your preferred level of investment. While hand-mixing with a long-handled rubber spatula or wooden spoon is fine and very inexpensive, you can also choose to use a cake mixer with beaters attached, a power drill with a paint-mixer attachment, or drop a little extra coin on a portable, compact washing machine.
What you’ll need:
- Two buckets
- Cannabis flower
- Bubble bags (also listed as press screen bags or rosin filter bags) in 220, 160, 73, and 25-micron sizes
- A 25-micron pressing screen for drying
- Metal spoon or scraper
- A clean spray bottle or sink sprayer
- Equipment for your chosen agitation method
The following instructions are for manually agitating your cannabis flower with a mixer or spoon:
- Secure your 220-micron bag into one of the two buckets.
- Layer the bottom of the bag with ice, then add a layer of flower, then ice, then flower, followed by a final layer of ice.
- Add enough water to cover the cannabis and float the ice on the surface.
- Let chill for 20 minutes. This will make the trichomes attached to the buds nice and brittle.
- Use your long-handled spoon, hand mixer, or paint stirrer set on low to slowly mix up the ice, water, and flower. Don’t go too fast! The last thing you want to end up with is a ganja smoothie. You just want the cold trichomes to fall off into the water. If using a hand mixer, it’s a good idea to pause every once in a while to give the bottom of the bucket a good stir to move the buds stuck lower in the bucket up and around a bit.
- Stop and let sit for 10 minutes or so to let the trichomes settle toward the bottom of the bucket.
- Pull the 220-micron bag up slowly and allow the water to drain out of the bag and into the bucket. Once the water has drained, give the bag a good squeeze to remove any remaining liquid still inside. Set the bag and buds aside for later. You’ll repeat this process in a bit.
- Take the second bucket and stack the bubble bags inside starting with the 20-micron, then the 73-micron and top off with the 160-micron bag.
- Pour the water from the agitator bucket into the strainer bucket. Once poured, give the inside of the agitator bucket a spray from the spray bottle or kitchen sprayer to release any trichomes stuck to the side and allow it to drain through the 160-micron bag for a minute or two.
- Carefully pull up the 160-micron bag a bit and spray the particulate toward the center of the screen. Then pull the bag up until it’s slightly across the top of the bucket and scrape the wet hash off with the metal spoon.
- Place on a 25-micron pressing screen to drain and dry.
- Repeat the lift, spray, lift, and scrape process for the remaining two bags. It’s a good idea to label the mounds of hash you have on your drying screens. They are of ascending quality as you descend in microns, so be sure to keep them separate
- Your first cycle is now complete. Now it’s time to head back up to step 1, re-secure the 220-micron bag to the agitator bucket, and do it all again. It is often the case that you can get a similar yield as your first round from your second, so be sure not to skip the repeat
- Once your second time around is done, use the spoon, plastic card, or knife to chop up the hash into tiny bits to dry. Give it about 30 minutes and chop it again. Then chop again. You want to create as much surface area as you can. Clumping is bad, and mould growth is devastating, so make sure it dries completely
- Once it’s finely chopped, let it sit in a low-moisture environment. It should be ready to enjoy in a day or two.
As I mentioned above, if you choose to spring for a portable washing machine for the agitation process, simply secure your cannabis in a sealable 220-micron bag with half your ice and place it in the machine. Add the rest of the ice to the drum and top off with water to the level indicated on the inside of the washer. Run for 12 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then continue from step 8.
Mechanical Drum Separation
This method is the easiest as far as manual labour is concerned but is also by far the most cost-prohibitive. Generally used by professionals in the dispensary and smart-shop industry, it involves the purchase of a mechanical pollinator drum, which is a closed, horizontally-mounted silkscreen drum attached to a motor. The motor spins the drum much like a clothes dryer and, as the cannabis flower tumbles, it releases the trichomes that fall through the mesh and are collected in a compartment in the bottom.
The only downside comes when you talk about the price of the actual implement. Pollen separators can run in the neighbourhood of $600 to well over $1,000. But as they are usually listed with drum sizes that can handle 500 g at a time you may be able to recoup the initial monetary loss in no time.
What you’ll need:
- Flower cannabis (again preferably frozen overnight)
- Pollen tumbler, pollinator, or hash drum
- Open the silkscreen tumbler drum.
- Throw the cannabis flower inside.
- Close and flip the switch.
That’s pretty much it! For about 15 – 20 minutes, the machine agitates the buds by tumbling them against the silkscreen, dry-sifting the kief from the plant matter and depositing it in a receptacle below. All you have to do now is to remove the hash and press it into bricks. No water, no ice, no harsh solvents, no dirty hands, no drying, and no messy clean-up.
Centuries of cultivation and use have solidified hashish’s place in cannabis culture. From the most basic and historical hand-rolling to high-tech sieves, screens, and mechanical drums, hash can be easily made from the comfort of your own home as countless people have done in years past.
If you’re making hash for the first time, you can try a simple method or one of the more complex methods, whichever works best for you.