Written by Pat Goggins
Hash is a cannabis extract that’s been around for hundreds of years and is easy to make at home. It requires just a small amount of equipment, time, and money to make.
Making hash is great if you have recently harvested a homegrow, as you’ll likely have a lot of buds and trim. You can concentrate a lot of flower or trim down into hash.
You can make hash anytime of the year and in any climate, but it’s a popular wintertime activity. That’s because cool temperatures and low humidity are conducive to the hashmaking process, and if you grew your weed outdoors, it should be dried and cured by winter, after the fall harvest.
What is hash?
Hash, or hashish, is resin from the cannabis plant that has been extracted and compacted, usually into a ball, brick, log, or patty shape. Resin (not to be confused with the leftover tar in your bowl) is made of trichomes, the glands on weed plants that house terpenes and cannabinoids, such as THC or CBD.
Hash, itself, is considered an extract and is a concentrated form of cannabis. It is often smoked by itself, sprinkled onto a bowl, or rolled into a joint. It can also be dabbed, vaped, or used in foods or drinks.
Adding more weed slang confusion into the mix, the term “hash” can also refer to all cannabis concentrates in general, whether that’s shatter, wax, budder, sugar, or crumble. In this article, we’re specifically referring to hash that can be created by hand or with simple mechanical tools.
It is solventless and does not rely on chemicals or solvents for extraction, like BHO, shatter, wax, and other concentrates sometimes do.
Methods of making hash
There are a few different methods of extracting and pressing hash. You can use different starting materials, including buds, trim, and even stalks and stems. Hash varies in color from dark brown to light brown. The lighter it is, the more refined and higher quality it is.
How to make bubble hash (ice water hash)
The basic idea behind this type of hash is to freeze and break off trichomes from weed plant material. This is done by putting weed in a mixture of ice water and stirring it—called “washing”—then filtering and refining it.
You’ll need to get your hands on some Bubble Bags, a set of 4-8 bags with different meshes ranging from course to fine. After freezing weed material in ice water, you’ll pour it into these bags with successively finer meshes to remove plant material. The more refined, the higher the quality, and the lighter the hash is in color.
Stalks, branches, and stems all contain small amounts of trichomes but beware, they can punch a hole in your bags. Trying to extract the minuscule amount of trichomes from them usually isn’t worth the risk of damaging your bags.
Perhaps the most important rule to remember is this: Quality hash only comes from quality flower. Don’t expect amazing hash from so-so flower or trim.
- Bubble bags (4-8 bags, between 75-250 microns)
- Two 5-gallon buckets
- Long stirring stick
- Bag of ice
- To prep: Place buds, trim, and other weed plant material in a zip lock bag, and put in a freezer overnight to facilitate trichome breakage.
- The next day, when you’re ready to make bubble hash, prepare the ice-water mixture.
- Fill one of the 5-gallon buckets with a layer of ice, then add frozen weed on top, then add more ice on top of the weed.
- After that, fill the bucket with enough water to cover the weed and the ice. No need to add a ton of water if everything is covered.
- Let the weed sit and get cold in the ice water mixture for at least 20 minutes to facilitate trichome breakage.
- In the second 5-gallon bucket, layer the bubble bags: finest mesh on the bottom, and coarsest mesh on top.
- Agitate or stir the weed and ice mixture in the first bucket continuously for 20 minutes. This will encourage the trichomes to shake loose and break off.
- When done agitating, pour the ice water mixture into the topmost bubble bag in the second bucket.
- Pull up and remove each bag, allowing the ice-water mixture to flow into the next bag through the mesh. Start with the first (coarsest mesh), continue down to the finest mesh, and gently squeeze each one if necessary.
- When you get to the last bag with the finest mesh, spoon the wet hash onto a drying sheet.
- Let the wet hash dry for 2-3 hours.
- Shape the hash into patties or balls and let them dry for at least 1-2 days before consuming.
Hashmakers often collect the product from some of the coarser bags and make hash patties out of those as well. For example, if you use eight bubble bags, you can also collect hash from the sixth and seventh bags. Those hashes won’t be as refined as the hash in the final bag, but they will still be good. Expect the hash from the coarser mesh bags to be darker in color because they aren’t as refined.
Bubble hash is graded on a star system, with six-star hash as the most refined and highest quality and one star as the least refined and lowest quality. High-grade ice water hash can also be called “full melt” or “ice wax.”
If you don’t feel like stirring your bubble hash, you can buy specially designed washing machines to do it for you. Don’t use your clothes washing machine!
How to make dry sift hash (brick hash)
Anyone who’s seen a weed movie from the ‘60s or ‘70s is likely familiar with brick hash, more popularly called “dry sift hash” these days because of the process used to create it.
To make it, cannabis plant material is rubbed over a series of screens, breaking off the plant’s trichomes. Similar to bubble bags, screens have different meshes, ranging from coarse to fine. Each screen further refines the hash.
- Hash screens (3-4 screens, between 75-250 microns)
- Credit card or other device to scrape up and collect hash
- (optional) Hash press
- (Optional) It is recommended, but not necessary, to freeze your flower or cannabis plant material overnight to facilitate trichome breakage.
- Stack your screens on top of each other: finest screen on the bottom, coarsest screen on top. You should set up the screens on a clean, dry, and smooth bin or table.
- Rub the weed material over the top (coarsest) screen. Trichomes will fall through to the next screen down. Rub the plant material on the screen until no more trichomes come out.
- Remove the screen to reveal a layer of trichomes on the next screen. Using a credit card or other collection tool, scrape together the trichomes, pushing them through to the next screen.
- Repeat this process with successive screens, further refining the hash.
- (Optional) Collect the final amount of hash and put it in a hash press to form a brick. Generally, hash presses have two plates that come together with a pneumatic arm to form a brick. Each press works differently, so be sure to read the directions on how to operate it.
Hash doesn’t have to be pressed, but it often is. You can leave it in powder form and sprinkle it on bowls or in joints.
As with making bubble hash, you can collect and press hash at each screen level. Hash collected on the coarser screens will be harsher and darker in color.
You can check out this post from the Dank Dutchess to see how to make dry sift hash in action.
Also, check out our video on how to make dry sift using dry ice.
How to collect finger hash (charas)
Probably the oldest and easiest way of making hash, finger hash—traditionally called charas—can be collected off of the hands and fingertips of trimmers and weed framers.
After trimming or working with weed for several hours, a thin layer of resin will accrue on your hands, which can then be collected, rolled into a ball, and smoked.
Be forewarned that finger hash is very harsh because it is unrefined and has a lot of plant material in it. Many scoff at smoking finger hash, but some trimmers love it.
Also, note that in a commercial grow operation, trimmers are usually required to wear gloves for health reasons. The average consumer wants clean hands touching their buds. Finger hash is usually only collected by those trimming weed from their homegrow or their buddy’s.
Making hash is a decades-old tradition. Have fun making your own hash at home!