Bubble Hash: A Pure, Solventless Cannabis Concentrate
Hash-making is an ancient practice, yielding various forms of cannabis extracts throughout history. In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of bubble hash—an exquisite concentrate known for its purity and potency, all without the use of harmful solvents. Discover the origins, benefits, and embark on a step-by-step journey to create your own bubble hash, unlocking a new level of cannabis enjoyment.
What Is Hash?
Hash, or hashish as it is sometimes called, is a concentrated form of cannabis trichomes. It’s derived by collecting and compressing the trichomes, which are the resinous structures containing valuable cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals. These tiny trichomes envelop the plant’s leaves, branches, and most notably, the buds, giving them a frosty, white appearance.
Through this concentration process, hashish achieves significantly higher cannabinoid and terpene levels by volume, resulting in a potent and aromatic substance. Hash is commonly seen as a dark brown, waxy, and sticky material. It boasts versatility, being suitable for various consumption methods such as smoking, vaporizing, adding to edibles, or even incorporating into beverages.
While hash is considered a relatively crude cannabis concentrate compared to modern commercial “dabs” like wax and shatter, it can be up to four times stronger than regular bud, depending on the product. With the evolving landscape of recreational cannabis use, THC extraction methods continue to refine, driven by the relaxation of cannabis laws in the US.
Types of Hash
The origins of hash-making date back to ancient times, with India being a significant contributor to early hash-making techniques. Here, hash, known as charas, and Nepalese temple balls are produced by rubbing live cannabis buds between the hands to remove trichomes and capture the resin. This process continues until a thick, dark mass is formed, which is then shaped into balls or sticks of hash.
“Dry sift” encompasses various hash types such as red Lebanese, black Afghan, Pakistani, Turkish brick, and Moroccan pollen. These varieties involve dislodging trichomes from dried cannabis buds (kief) using physical agitation. The buds are rubbed over fine mesh sieves, collecting a fine powder that is pressed into blocks and typically smoked.
Rosin hash involves subjecting dried cannabis buds to intense pressure and heat, resulting in a satisfying golden, honey-like substance that is nearly 100% pure.
In modern times, cannabis concentrates, known as cannabis extracts, dominate the legal cannabis market, especially in the US and Canada. The industry has developed highly efficient methods to extract significant amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes, creating concentrates like shatter, wax, crumble, and budder. These extraction methods can yield concentrates with over 80% THC. However, these techniques often involve solvents like butane, propane, or CO₂, which carry potential safety concerns.
So, how does bubble hash compare to other forms of hash and cannabis concentrates? Let’s explore.
What Is Bubble Hash?
Bubble hash distinguishes itself as a solventless extract, devoid of additional chemical inputs. Its name originates from the tiny bubbles that form when the hash is heated. The use of cold temperatures during extraction helps preserve most of the terpenes, resulting in one of the most aromatic and flavorful cannabis extracts available. This captivating method of hash-making gained popularity through the pioneering efforts of cannabis industry trailblazer Sam the Skunkman in the 1980s. As more cannabis enthusiasts discovered this practice, bubble hash’s popularity continued to rise.
How Is Bubble Hash Made?
Creating bubble hash involves the separation of trichomes from cannabis buds using only ice, water, a couple of buckets, and filter bags. The combination of cold water and ice hardens the trichome heads, making them less sticky and more brittle. Gentle agitation allows the trichomes to break off the plant with ease. Filter bags with varying microns are then employed to sieve out the trichome heads from the water, along with any plant matter. The resulting hash is then thoroughly dried. Commercial manufacturers often utilize a freezing ice washer and reverse osmosis (RO) water for the purest results.
The Potency of Bubble Hash
While bubble hash’s potency may not reach the heights of some commercial cannabis concentrates, it still packs a punch, containing anywhere between 30% and 60% THC, in addition to a high level of terpenes. The actual potency can vary based on factors such as the strain of origin, cultivation method, amount of material used, terpene profile, and more. Fortunately, bubble hash experts have developed a 6-star rating system to help consumers differentiate between various qualities of bubble hash.
|1-2 Star||Less than 50% trichome heads, significant plant material||Suitable for making edibles or adding to bowls/joints for potency|
|3-4 Star||Small amounts of plant material, “half melt”||Works well when mixed with flower or pressed into rosin|
|5-6 Star||Finest quality, nearly free of contaminants, “full melt”||Effortlessly bubbles and leaves no residue when dabbed|
Bubble Hash vs. Dry Ice Sift – What Is the Difference?
While bubble hash and dry ice sift share similarities, they diverge in the methods used for trichome extraction:
Bubble Hash: This method employs ice water for extraction, allowing for a gentler process that preserves the quality of trichomes through milder agitation. The result is a hash that may require more drying time due to the water used in the process.
Dry Ice Sift: In contrast, dry ice sift utilizes dry ice to dislodge trichomes from the cannabis flowers. The agitation process takes place in freezing conditions, causing the trichomes to break away and fall through a screen, where they are collected. While this method is more efficient at removing resin from flowers, it may come with certain trade-offs.
It is well known that bubble hash produces a higher potency product than dry ice sift. The use of freezing-cold water in bubble hash extraction allows for a gentle process that leaves plant material behind and preserves trichome quality. However, the water-based process does require more drying time.
Dry ice sift has its advantages as well. Trichomes can be extracted and collected almost instantly, as there’s no need for extended drying time. The overall process is quicker and requires less effort. Additionally, the yield from dry ice sift is typically more substantial. However, the end product may contain more plant material, and the dry ice’s aggressive nature can impact the quality of the final hash product.
How to Make Bubble Hash: The DIY Process
If you’re intrigued by the idea of creating your own bubble hash, you’re in luck. Making bubble hash is a feasible endeavor, and with the right equipment and a little patience, you can enjoy the satisfaction of crafting your high-quality concentrate. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making bubble hash:
Equipment You’ll Need:
- Cannabis buds or trim
- Two 19-liter (5 Gallon) buckets
- Two large bags of ice (or more, depending on the amount of material)
- Bubble bags (recommended: an 8-bag bubble bag kit)
- Big stirring spoon or electric hand mixer
- Non-stick drying sheets
- Start by adding the ice to one of the buckets, leaving enough room for your cannabis bud or trim. Submerge all the cannabis material in the ice water, ensuring it’s completely covered.
- Agitate the plant material using a large wooden spoon or stick for 15–20 minutes. This gentle agitation allows the trichomes to break away from the plant. If you have an electric hand mixer, you can use it for this step.
- Throughout the agitation, periodically add more ice to maintain the water’s cold temperature. The colder the water, the more brittle the trichomes become.
- After the designated agitation time, it’s time to prepare the bubble bags. Place the bags in the second bucket in ascending order of microns, starting with the largest and ending with the 220-micron bag (the smallest size). Secure the bags over the rim of the bucket.
- Slowly pour the water and plant material from the first bucket into the bags, allowing the water to drain through the mesh. This process separates the trichome heads from the water and plant matter, with each bag collecting a specific grade of hash.
- Once the water has drained from the bags, remove each bag in succession, starting from the largest micron size. Flush each bag with ice water to capture any remaining trichomes. Shake the bag, allow it to drain, and set it aside. Repeat this process for every bag, collecting different grades of hash. The finest mesh bags at the bottom will contain the highest-quality product.
- Once all the bags have been drained, take the different hash grades and spread them out on separate non-stick drying sheets.
- Roll the hash into balls or press it flat while it dries. This step allows you to shape the hash to your preference.
- Store the dried hash in an airtight, lightproof container to preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes.
How to Dry Bubble Hash: Ensuring Quality
Drying bubble hash is a crucial step that should not be rushed. Proper drying ensures the hash remains free of moisture and prevents the development of mold, preserving its usability and quality.
Remove the filtered trichomes from the bubble bags and spread them on non-stick drying sheets.
Place the sheets in the freezer for about 12 hours, along with a sieve that you’ll use later.
Prepare a cardboard box by lining the bottom with parchment paper, ensuring the silicone side faces up (a pizza box works well).
After 12 hours, remove the hash from the freezer and gently scrape the frozen chunks back and forth across the sieve, positioned over the cardboard box and parchment paper. Use a spoon to press the chunks against the sieve, aiming for a fine, sandy consistency.
Move the closed box to a cool, dark, dry room or dedicated space with an ideal temperature of around 12°C and a relative humidity of 35%. Allow the hash to dry thoroughly, which can take anywhere from 48 hours to more than a week. When sufficiently dry, the hash should have a sandy texture with zero moisture when squeezed.
The Cold Room Method:
This method offers a more controlled environment, maintaining a consistent temperature of around 4–5°C and controlled humidity. It helps reduce terpene and cannabinoid degradation.
A wine cooler can serve as a makeshift cold room, providing the right temperature and humidity levels for optimal drying.
While more expensive, freeze dryers offer unbeatable results. These devices remove moisture quickly and evenly, which helps prevent mold growth.
The freeze-drying process is typically completed within 24 hours or less, and it minimizes oxidation, preserving the original, lighter color of the hash. This is in contrast to air-dried bubble hash, which often develops a darker color due to oxidation.
Freeze drying eliminates the need for microplaning or sieving, as the hash can be placed directly from the bubble bags into the freeze dryer. This approach saves time and labor while minimizing structural damage to the hash.
Using a Bubble Hash Machine:
For those who prefer a simpler, more automated approach to making bubble hash, bubble hash machines like the Bubbleator B-Quick are excellent options. These machines handle much of the agitation process, making the overall experience faster, uncomplicated, and reliable. All you need is some weed, a clean collection bucket, water, and some ice. The Bubbleator agitates the plant material in a similar manner to a washing machine, extracting the optimal amount of trichomes and producing fantastic results. Its compact size and portability make it a convenient choice for those looking to create bubble hash with minimal effort.
How to Smoke Bubble Hash: Versatility and Enjoyment
Bubble hash is incredibly versatile, allowing for various consumption methods to suit your preferences. Here are some popular ways to enjoy your bubble hash:
Breaking off small pieces and mixing them into joints for an enhanced smoking experience.
Placing bubble hash on top of bowls to add potency and flavor to your hits.
When rolling a bubble hash joint, remember to add it to the outside to ensure it burns smoothly without falling out before being combusted.
For those seeking the full-melt bubble hash experience, dabbing is the preferred method. Dabbing provides powerful hits and showcases the purity of your hash.
Many enthusiasts choose to turn their bubble hash into rosin, particularly with less refined grades. Using a dedicated press or even a pair of hair straighteners, you can create a waxy, oily substance that represents an even higher level of refinement and potency.
Is Bubble Hash Right for You?
Bubble hash stands out not only for its safety, being solventless, but also for its ability to capture the pure essence of the cannabis plant. By preserving the most potent and desirable components of the plant, bubble hash-making becomes an art form. As you delve into this world, you’ll likely encounter some initial challenges, but with practice, you’ll find your unique signature style. Variables such as the strains you use, the type of bags, agitation methods, and drying techniques all play a role in crafting your perfect bubble hash. Don’t hesitate to give it a try and embark on the rewarding journey of creating your own exceptional bubble hash.