Making hash is both one of the best-known and one of the most ancient traditions in the world of cannabis. To many growers, the making of hashish seems a daunting challenge, partly because it mostly happens abroad, and partly because of the sheer force and effort required for the job. Thankfully, though there are several techniques that let grower make hash out of their own grow from the comfort of their home. We’ll be explaining some of our favourite techniques below.
Hash And Kief
Hash is made of trichomes; the tiny resin glands responsible for production of cannabinoids mainly located on the colas or flower buds of female cannabis plants. Without trichomes, cannabis would not contain much along the lines of THC, CBD, and all the other active cannabinoid compounds.
If we separate the trichomes from the cannabis flowers, we end up with kief. Essentially, kief is the sum total of trichomes produced by a cannabis plant. It is also the quintessential ingredient for making hash at home or anywhere else. Kief can also be consumed straight away, for instance, by rolling it into a joint.
The main difference between kief and hash, then, is a procedure of pressing and (usually) heating. These steps alter the flavour, consistency and effect of raw kief into the phenomenon of hash as we know it.
There are many ways to produce or extract kief from cannabis plants, a few of which we will discuss below. Strictly speaking, though, there are just two ways to make hash: either with or without heat. You’ll learn about that as you make your way through this blog.
This is both the easiest and the most expensive way to make kief. After lovingly trimming the harvested buds, all the plant material goes into the drum. It contains a fine mesh that starts to spin when the drum is activated. The revolving motion separates the trichomes from the trimmed buds, allowing them to be sifted by the mesh screen. It is a simple matter of activating the drum and waiting for a few hours before collecting the end product. The resulting drum kief can then be processed into hash by any preferred method.
Traditionally, countries such as Nepal and Afghanistan produce kief by rubbing cannabis flowers against silk cloth. These pieces of silk are stretched tightly over a bowl or similar container, after which the plant material is carefully rubbed against the grain of the silk screen. The plants will often have been allowed to dry for six months before hand, which has a major impact on quality.
The trichomes pass through microscopic holes in the textile, separating them from the other plant materials that remain on the other side. Although tradition dictates using silk cloth for the screens, most modern hash aficionados have switched to metal or nylon mesh used in screen printing techniques. These materials are more affordable and easily available in large sizes, while still being fine enough to keep the crude plant material from passing through.
Growers interested in trying this technique should look for the finest type of mesh they can find. The pressure used to rub the plant material against the screen is a crucial factor in determining the final quality. Soft, subtle techniques lead to the best results. The product is often sieved several times before the kief is processed into hashish. However, sieving more often can paradoxically make the product less pure. Repeated sieving releases more fine non-trichome plant material, which contaminates the kief.
The very purest kief is a gorgeous white-golden colour. Kief containing more plant material is more of a greenish golden hue. These colour differences make it relatively easy to asses kief purity, and to decide whether you want to repeat the sieving process or not.
Sticky Fingers: Making Hash By Hand
This technique is used in India, and Moroccan growers apply it to make hashish from any residual product after the harvest. Freshly dried ganja buds are trimmed and processed by hand, which causes some of the trichomes to separate from the flowers. Home growers know that these trichomes also fall from trimming leftovers or ‘sugar leaves’– never just throw these away! After a while this makes any trimmer’s hands extremely green and sticky with huge quantities of trichomes sticking to the skin. If these sticky fingers and green thumbs are rubbed together, heat, pressure, and friction knead the trichomes into solidified hash. In effect, this means skipping the kief stage altogether.
This type of hash does contain everything and anything that was present on the hands that made it, however, including any harvest leftovers and skin grease. That may sound less attractive than regular hash, but it’s usually not so bad. Moreover, handmade hash is a true delicacy in India, so perhaps all that special manual labour does add a little something extra to the final product experience.
Making Hash In The Oven
The most popular way of making hash at home is probably the method that involves sticking it into the oven. To do so, first preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Simultaneously, all kief is collected in heat-resistant plastic cling foil. The kief content should be packed as tight and compact as possible, to make sure it sticks together (literally) and remains waterproof. Then, the bundle is wrapped in paper and folded tight, before soaking it with warm water and putting it in the preheated oven for ten minutes. The plastic wrap makes sure the kief stays dry while the wet paper prevents the contents from burning.
After ten minutes, the product can be removed from the oven and placed on a hard surface. A pin roller can then be used to roll and compress the package. This adds pressure to the process of hash making. After all sides have been evenly rolled, the process can be repeated. The package is moistened again, after which it is put back in the oven for another ten minutes. Then, the rolling process repeats itself. This will improve quality and can be repeated several times over. However, if the first pressing leads to satisfactory results, going for that second round is not necessary. As soon as the job is done, the whole package should be put in the refrigerator to cool down and harden. A few hours later, that home made oven hash is ready to enjoy!
Even though making hash may sound like a difficult and time-consuming job that takes all sorts of equipment and expertise, it turns out to be a rather pleasant single-afternoon pastime.
Making Next Level Hash
Anyone looking to up their game an get serious about making hash will find room for improvement in the finesses of pressing. The low-tech pin-roller approach can be replaced by mechanical presses, often using hydraulics for added power. That creates the highly compact next level hash you can find in most coffeeshops. Of course, may techniques have been invented over the years to perfect the separation of trichomes from the plants. There are all sorts of methods, and personal preferences are an important factor. Still, the simple techniques you’ve seen in this blog contain the essence of making hash, so from here on, any grower can manage at home.
The main thing to keep in mind when trying to make good hash, though, is that everything starts and ends with good genetics. We keep repeating this, but that’s just because it’s an established fact: ordering prime cannabis seeds is the key to enjoying results from germination until long after the harvest. It’s that simple.
Hash making can be done using any strain, but we recommend White Choco to any growers looking for a true Amsterdam classic, to reproduce the famous Blocks found in the best coffeeshops. Fortunately, you know just where to look for the finest cannabis genetics, so that first time making hash is bound to succeed!
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!