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Bubble hash

bubble hash
Bubble hash. (David Downs/Leafly)

Bubble hash, named for the way it bubbles when smoked, refers to a specific type of hash made with ice water. To make bubble hash, cannabis flower is added to bags of ice water (called “bubble bags”) and agitated, which freezes and then breaks the resin glands from the flower. These broken resin glands, which contain essential compounds like THC and CBD, move through a series of screens while the plant material is left behind, forming bubble hash.

“This six-star bubble hash is better than any shatter or wax I’ve ever smoked.”

“I bought some bubble bags to make bubble hash.”

What is bubble hash?

Bubble hash refers to a specific type of hash made with a process involving ice water. Like traditional hash, bubble hash is a solid concentration of cannabis resin glands, or trichomes. It can range in color from light blonde to dark brown. Bubble hash gets its name from its tendency to bubble when brought under a lighter’s flame. 

“Full melt” is considered the highest quality of bubble hash. The ultra-refined full melt tends to largely bubble away when smoked or dabbed, leaving little material behind. You may also see hash rated on a scale of one to six, with six-star hash being the most refined and desirable. These highest quality hashes are made using extremely fine mesh sieves that prevent plant material from passing through—only the small trichome heads. 

How to make bubble hash

Bubble hash is typically made using ice water and a series of bags or screens. To make bubble hash, cannabis flower is combined with ice water inside of what are called “bubble bags.” Inside these vinyl bags are sieves which separate the plant material from potent resin glands. Trichome heads freeze from the ice water, and when the cannabis is mixed and agitated, they break off the plant and travel through the sieves.

In order to achieve a more refined product, finer mesh sieves are used to further separate the plant material from the hash. To do this, bubble bags of various sizes are layered inside of a bucket, with the smallest micron (or, finest) screen at the bottom. Micron refers to the number of units allowed to pass through the screen, so the smaller the micron, the less plant material will pass through.

After the cannabis has been sufficiently agitated, the topmost bag full of cannabis and ice is pulled up and removed. The material caught in the second screen is then scraped off and set aside; this will generally be darker in color due to the amount of plant material that passed through the first larger-micron bag. The second bag is carefully inverted and dunked into the water of the bag below so the trichomes may continue moving through the series of bags. This process of collection and filtration is continued until the trichomes have been filtered through every bag. Finally, the hash is dried by being pressed under a micron screen or cotton muslin cloth.

Difference between bubble hash and kief

Kief describes the dried resin glands that coat the outside of a cannabis bud. It is the brown crystalline powder that breaks off from cannabis buds in a grinder. A simple way to differentiate kief from hash is that kief is the decompressed precursor of hash. 

Both bubble hash and traditional hash are made from these resin glands, though they differ in preparation. Bubble hash is made using ice water, agitation, and a series of bags and screens while traditional hash is typically made through manual or mechanical separation and compression.