Six Ways to Make Hash: From Hand Rolling to Mechanical Drums
One of the oldest forms of cannabis, hashish has a long, long history after becoming popular in the Middle East more than 1,000 years ago. There are many ways to make the popular and often powerful dried resin, as Chris Bond explains.
Hash has been consumed in all parts of the world for many centuries. There are almost as many different ways to make it as there are people doing it. Hash, or hashish, is a highly concentrated form of cannabis and is usually made from the byproducts of its cultivation, though some growers specialize in this cannabis delicacy and grow specifically for it. It is made by taking the resins or the kief and applying pressure to it to yield the full trichome punch. The finished hash can then be consumed directly, incorporated into edibles, or mixed with cannabis or tobacco and smoked. Some people eat it directly, but care should be taken as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of hash can be as high as 65 percent.
Hash can be made from just about any part of the cannabis plant and is often created from the trimmings left over from harvesting. Like anything, though, the quality of hash will vary greatly depending on what part of the plant, how it is derived, and what strain of cannabis is used. Methods for making hash range from low-tech hand-rolling to using machinery. From least sophisticated to most, here are several (but not all) different methods to make hash:
Six Ways To Make Hash
Hand Rolling — Just as the name implies, this method of hash creation relies on nothing but the grower’s or trimmer’s own hands. It is sometimes also referred to as “finger hash.” Assuming the starting point is clean hands (hopefully), after handling cannabis, especially harvesting it, one’s hands get coated in a dark resinous material. This rosin is then rolled into tiny balls and can be used in this crude form, or can be further purified using one of the other methods described later. There is a variation of this known as Charas, which is another form of hand-rolling hash but is created by using fresh cannabis, usually still on the plant a few weeks prior to maturity as opposed to using harvested or even dry buds or leaves. In some cultures, this is then smoked in a special clay pipe, known as a chillum.
Dry Sifting — Dry sifting is a slightly more refined method of hash creation than hand-rolling. This can be done with silk screens or a pollen press. Essentially, one presses by hand the trim or kief through a series of gradually smaller screens or mesh filters to free the trichomes from every last bit of the cannabis plant. Each sift is a different grade, with each following sift yielding a smaller volume, but higher quality material.
Blender Hash — For those who can craft their cannabis creations on the kitchen counter, there is blender hash. Blender hash, as the name suggests, is made using a blender. Start by placing the cannabis and ice into the blender. Then, fill with water to the top of the indicator line on the blender pitcher. Blend on high and let it do its thing for about one minute.
Next, take a sieve, screen, or mesh filter and place over another container or glass. Pour the blended mixture through and let this glass or vessel sit for about one to two hours. During this time, the trichomes will settle out and rest at the bottom. Without losing anything at the bottom, pour out about two-thirds to three-quarters of the water and then refill with ice-cold water. Let chill for about five minutes. At this point, additional filters can be used and the process repeated. Otherwise, the majority of the water can be poured out and the glass or container refilled with ice water can be allowed to set again for a few minutes. The final step will be to separate all of the material by straining it through a coffee filter. After these leavings dry, they are ready for consumption or to be incorporated into other cannabis concoctions.
Bubble Hash — Likely named because it involves the use of bubble bags, this is another method of creating hash through a process of screening. To make bubble hash, a bucket, water, ice, and a series of bubble bags or other appropriately fitted filters or sieves will be needed along with the cannabis material to be sifted. To make this method worthwhile, it is best to have more than just a dusting, but enough to cover several consecutive layers of ice. Start with a clean bucket. Line the bottom with a layer of ice, then top with a layer of cannabis. Repeat until just below the top of the bucket making sure that the top layer is ice. Stir for up to 15 minutes. This is a really tedious method and may best be done in front of some form of entertainment to take your mind off of all of the stirring. The mixture then gets poured through the bubble bags or screens with each layer capturing the trichomes of various sizes respective of the mesh size of the bubble bags or filters. This method is credited with the ability to make use of old, even moldy cannabis, as the mold or other contaminants can be sieved out.
Dry Ice Hash — Given the inherent risk of working with dry ice, this is not likely the first method for novices. This method requires dry ice, screens or mesh filters, a bucket, and a flat, clean surface for dumping the product on to. Gloves are a must also. With this method, the trim, kief, or other cannabis raw materials are put into a bucket along with dry ice. This bucket should be covered or otherwise contained while the user agitates the bucket by stirring and/or shaking for several minutes. A sieve, filter bag, or other mesh material is then placed over the open bucket and it (the bucket) is then turned over onto a work surface and shaken again. This can be done in stages with different sizes of filters to get the variously sized trichomes in stages. Dry ice may need to be added to the bucket between shakes as it will evaporate rapidly. The resulting hash powder can then be collected and pressed or used in any desired application.
Mechanical Drum Hash — This method is for those who want to professionally produce hashish. For best results from the mechanical drum machine, it is best to freeze your raw materials for a few hours before inserting into the drum. As with some of the other methods above, this is so the trichomes will be more easily cleaved from the leaves, buds, or kief.
The mechanical drum is designed so that the cannabis, under pressure, will pass through a series of filters or sieves, usually by vibration until achieving the desired size and consistency. This can take several hours depending on the machine and wanted results. The finished product is often then taken and pressed into hash cookies or pills. Mechanical drum machines for hash can cost many hundreds of dollars. A quick online search will reveal several hacks and DIY versions as well.
Even though much of the hash market is made of the leftovers from harvesting, that doesn’t mean it has to be inferior quality. Many types of cannabis— especially those rich in trichomes—are ideal for hash-making and, in fact, are used predominantly for that. Case in point: Hash plant or Hashberry are strains selected for hash production due to their highly resinous trichomes. Other strains known for their stickiness include G13, White Widow, Sour Diesel, ChemDawg, White Dawg, OG Kush, Kosher Kush, Chernobyl, Sharksbreath, Jillybean, Durban Poison, Amnesia Haze, and, everyone’s favorite strain to say, Alaskan Thunder Fuck.
There are, of course, dozens to hundreds more that could have made the list. Any strain that can be grown can be used for hash, but the ones that produce stickier trichomes are better suited for hash production.
From dirty hands to high(ish)-tech machinery, there are numerous ways to make hash. Try some samples from these various techniques and strains to see which you like the best. From there, try your hand at hash-making and who knows, in another few years, your method may grace the pages of this magazine. Until then, and with apologies to Clement C. Moore, “hash away, hash away, hash away all!”
Written by Chris Bond | Certified Permaculture Designer, Nursery Technician, Nursery Professional
Chris Bond’s research interests are with sustainable agriculture, biological pest control, and alternative growing methods. He is a certified permaculture designer and certified nursery technician in Ohio and a certified nursery professional in New York, where he got his start in growing.