These days, cannabis lovers are spoiled for choice when it comes to concentrates. But it wasn’t always this way! Before RSO, shatter, budder, and many more became commercially available; you were mostly limited to hashish. Commonly referred to as hash, this cannabis concentrate predates the rest and can be traced to the 9th Century in the Middle East.
What is Hash?
Hashish is a concentrate made by concentrating or compacting the resin glands or trichomes of cannabis flowers. Simply put, the sticky part of the cannabis bud is removed using heat, cold, water, pressure, or a combination. And then, it is compacted into a ball, nugget, or block.
So in many ways, concentrates and hash are alike, as the ultimate aim is to extract as many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant. The differences become more apparent when you explore how their varieties are made.
Depending on the type of hash, the process is straightforward. And often, there is no processing beyond the human hand or a press. For this reason, it often contains traces of plant material or biomass.
How Potent is Hashish?
Because most hashish was homemade over the years, using various methods, a wide variance of cannabinoid ranges has been recorded historically. On average, you can expect hash’s cannabinoid range to be between 15-60% (Chandra et al., 2020). These days, you can expect the professionally produced product to hit the higher end of that range, containing between 50-60% THC.
Does It Need to Be Made in a Laboratory?
Because concentrates use chemical solvents, they need to be produced in controlled settings using laboratory-grade equipment. This is the only way to guarantee that these solvents are safely purged.
On the other hand, Hash can be safely produced in food-safe settings without the need for laboratory-grade extractors. Applying low, controlled heat, pressure, or water to cannabis biomass is a safe activity. The only thing that can go wrong is a low-quality product that doesn’t get you high. While this might be a bummer or a waste of money, it doesn’t risk the consumer.
How is Hash Different From Concentrates?
Cannabis Concentrate Characteristics
Most concentrates are made using solvents. These solvents aim to distill and preserve the maximum amount of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other volatile compounds from the cannabis plant. And this achieves a product that is like cannabis on steroids, strongly concentrating a strain’s essence.
Solvent distillation produces a wide range of viscosities and forms, mostly thick, intense liquids or sticky solids. There is a translucent, highly clarified quality to concentrates. Indeed, they have a visually appetizing quality, taking on the dark depth and richness of molasses through to the light liquid amber of honey.
Because concentrates can be tricky to handle, they require specialized equipment to be optimally consumed. In general, safely consuming concentrates requires a dab rig or a specifically designed vaporizer to accommodate concentrates.
By contrast, hash has a less refined aesthetic and flavour profile. If concentrates are cannabis on steroids, then hash achieves its body through good old-fashioned no-days-off.
Traditionally made with Indica-dominant or full Indica cannabis strains, a distinct earthy look, aroma, and flavour concentrates lack. In addition, there is a deep body high and dreamy euphoria that is rooted in the Indica phenotype.
Certain forms, like gum hash, can turn into a concentrate-like liquid at very high temperatures. But, for the most part, they are solid. Some form an almost a dough-like consistency, others a solid hard block that needs to be shaved or sliced.
Unlike concentrates, it is opaque, taking its colour and consistency from cannabis biomass. Kief, its precursor, is light and sand-coloured. And many types of pressed Moroccan hash can be as smooth and black as volcanic glass.
How Is Hash Consumed?
Since it is full of terpenes that have yet to be heated, hashish has a heady aroma. The traces of biomass enhance this distinct earthy aroma and appearance. Most types need to be decarboxylated or heated to get you high by inhalation or ingestion.
Vaping vs Smoking
For this reason, vaping is recommended, allowing you to get maximum flavour and scent without burning the product. Traditionally, hash was smoked using combustion, in a bong, pipe, chillum, or rolled inside a joint. Unfortunately, many people still prefer to consume it this way, perhaps out of sentimentality or convenience. Certainly, combustion effectively decarboxylates the nonpsychoactive THCA content into psychoactive THC. However, it doesn’t achieve the same experience or benefits as vaping or dabbing.
Combustion destroys the terpene profile and intensely over-heats most cannabinoids, rendering them far less effective. Also, inhaling carbonized organics is a well-established health hazard. For this reason, we highly recommend vaporizing cannabis products or using a dab rig with an e-nail for concentrates.
To learn more about combustion and vaping, read our article ‘Smoking VS Vaping.’
Hash for Edibles
Ingestion is also a popular way to consume hash. In fact, in the 9th Century, when the hash was first being produced in the Middle East, this was the preferred method of consumption.
Heating hash to decarboxylate the cannabinoids will result in a typical edible high. However, since hash is a heavy concentrate, it should be used sparingly when added to edibles. Ingested cannabis products deliver intensely sedating effects, and the onset is completely different from inhaled cannabis.
Before trying edibles for the first time, read about them to learn how to dose for the best experience. Our article, ‘Cannabis Edibles Safety Guide.’
Types of Hash
Regular users of cannabis flowers who keep their buds in a glass jar are familiar with the simple joy of kief. And this is where it all begins. Like Gum hash, kief is made without water or heat. As a result, trichomes naturally fall away from cannabis flowers when agitated.
Here at Sacred Meds, we naturally accumulate trichomes from best-selling premium cannabis strains like Citrique. The accumulation of these trichomes is kief, like Blue Rhino Kief. And You can use it to intensify the terpene and cannabinoid content of any session, easily added to concentrates and cannabis for vaporization. Indeed, kief can also be enjoyed on its own.
Finger hash or gum hash is named for the method of production. In Jamaica, Jamaican Red Gum was a popular export, named for the red hairs that grew seasonally on hash-grade cannabis strains in-country. And it is produced simply by rubbing cannabis flowers together to produce gum. Generally, it can be quite soft and flexible, breaking apart easily. It delivers a heavy couch-lock, intense euphoria, and strongly stimulates the appetite. Like all other hash, it is quite powerful, and a little goes a long way.
Moroccan Pressed Hash
This is the most traditional style of hash. On the other hand, Moroccan Pressed Hash is produced by applying heat and pressure to kief, compressing it into concentrated blocks. This ancient tradition of pressed hash production originates in Afghanistan and is sometimes referred to as Afghani Pressed Hash. In these instances, the differences lie in the strains grown in these regions, specifically for hash production. And these are mostly 100% Indica-cannabis strains.
Standing for ‘medical,’ Medi Hash refers to Hash that qualifies as ‘medical grade.’ Medical Grade Cannabis products are distinguished by high quality, purity, and concentration. These products are specifically designed for consumers suffering the symptoms of disease and illness to relieve their pain and increase life quality as much as possible. For this reason, Medi Hash can take any form, such as Pressed, Nug, or Bubble Hash.
Also called water hash, Bubble Hash is made without chemical solvents, using only water. The process is rather simple. First, cannabis trichomes are agitated in ice and water, chilling the resin to the point where it separates from the biomass. And the colour and quality of Bubble Hash depend on whether the trichomes were cured, raw, fresh, or old. Consistency can vary too, from dry and sandy, to wet and dank.
Originating in British Columbia, Nug Hash or BC Nug Hash is a combination of kief and shatter. Since shatter is a concentrate made using solvent, Nug Hash is one of the only types of hash produced using a solvent. Most other types rely on water, heat, or pressure for extraction. The addition of shatter contributes an exceptional terpene profile that is noticeable compared to other forms of hash.
Chandra, S., Radwan, M. M. and Majumdar, C. G. (2020) “Mean δ⁹-thc concentration for hashish and hash oil (concentrates)…,” ResearchGate, – available from: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, [online] Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Mean-D-THC-concentration-for-hashish-and-hash-oil-concentrates-samples-seized-from_fig5_330592132 (Accessed 17 August 2021).
Dutch Passion (2019) “Hashish. What is hash and how is it made?,” Dutch Passion, [online] Available from: https://dutch-passion.com/en/blog/hashish-what-is-hash-and-how-is-it-made-n799 (Accessed 19 August 2021).
Klein, K. (2018) “A History of Hashish: Past and present,” Cannabis Training University, [online] Available from: https://cannabistraininguniversity.com/blog/marijuana-101-basics/a-history-of-hashish-past-and-present/ (Accessed 19 August 2021).