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What Is Hash and How Does It Relate to Cannabis?

October 26, 2016
To understand what hashish is means to realize the duality that exists with the female cannabis Sativa plant. First, there is the physical structure of the plant itself, which is this rich fibrous leafy material complete with essential amino acids and a myriad of benefits. Second, you have the essence of the cannabis plant, otherwise known as trichomes, which are responsible for producing the aromatic terpenes and medicinal cannabinoids that facilitate our therapeutic experiences.
Hashish is the moment at which the essence of cannabis (the trichomes) parts ways with the plant material itself. This is achieved when the ripe and resinous gland heads that line the surface of female cannabis plants are separated and collected. Processes to achieve resin separation have been practiced for centuries; however, the rapid rise of cannabis legalization in the western world has brought new methods in hash preparation that are sweeping legal markets by storm.

Where Does Hash Originally Come From?

Origins of hash (or hashish)

The word “hashish” originates from the Arabic language, roughly translating to mean “grass.” It is believed that the popularization of hash originated around A.D. 900, although some argue methods such as “charas,” or the collection of resin from the hands of cannabis farmers, are believed to have existed prior to written documentation.

As a result of early European exploration into Africa, hashish made its appearance in the western world at the turn of the 19th century. For years, European doctors imported hashish to conduct research, which led to the introduction of various extraction methods that allowed for further refinement into medications.

By the turn of the 20th century, cannabis extractions were accounting for a large majority of western pharmacopeia. It wasn’t until U.S. prohibition in the early 20th century that hashish products were eradicated from western medicine and pushed back into the black market.

Different Types of Hash

Brick of weed hash (or hashish)

With the reemergence of cannabis enthusiasm culminating in the 1960’s, hashish found its way back into the limelight. Countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, and Morocco saw an increase of hashish exportation into western countries as a result of cannabis interest hitting the mainstream for western tourists. At this time the varieties of hash being imported were old world varieties, mainly hard-pressed, brick-like solids made from heat and pressure.

It wasn’t until the late 1980’s when gland separation was introduced to the west through a machine called the “master sifter.” According to Ed Rosenthal and his book Beyond Buds, this breakthrough machine by John Gallardi used vibration to separate the gland heads from the plant material.

Related

‘Beyond Buds’: A Look Into Ed Rosenthal’s New Guide to Cannabis Extracts

During this time, Neil Schumacher and Rob Clarke began experimenting with water extraction methods, the early precursor for what we now refer to as water hash, or IWE (ice water extract). The equipment used to popularize the ice water extraction method was first introduced to the public in 1997 by Reinhard C. Delp at the High Times Cannabis Cup. His patents would later be adapted and modified by Mila Jansen with her “pollinator” isolation bags. This design would be further improved upon by Canadian hash enthusiast Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson and his popular line of BubbleBags, one of only a handful of companies worldwide who have leased permissions to use methods from the original patent that was filed in 1999.

How to Make Hash

Making hash (or hashish) with weed extracts

Legalization efforts in the U.S. over the last half decade has significantly impacted the emergence of hashish enthusiasm. The Internet’s mass proliferation and dissemination of free information has also made previously proprietary hashish making techniques readily available.

Making hash at home today is as easy as purchasing a few inexpensive ingredients from a hardware store. You can even purchase ready-made screens for dry extractions, presses for old school brick hash preparations, or even bags for water extractions all online. Learning how to make hash at home today is incredibly easy with the availability of information through the internet and social media.

To learn how hash is made, check out our Cannabis Craftsmanship video on how to make hash featuring the experts at Funky Skunk Extracts.

How Do You Smoke Hash?

Smoking hash (or hashish)

Hash may be used in a number of ways. Traditionally, hash has been consumed orally, either as a solid or infused into a beverage such as the traditional Indian drink bhang. Hash may also be smoked, either on its own or as a way to accompany traditional cannabis flowers.

Some varieties of hashish that have the ability to melt may also be vaporized on a hot surface, otherwise known as dabbing. When dabbing hashish, screens are often used due to the fact that some resins leave carbon residue and will not melt completely, or at all. On the other end of the spectrum are high-quality hash oils (not to be confused with solvent extracts) such as full melt dry sift and full melt ice water hash that have the ability to melt completely onto a nail, leaving zero residue.

When first learning how to use hash, consult with your budtender about the equipment you have at home to see what products are right for you. To get started with smoking or vaporizing hashish, you will need some sort of smoking contraption such as a pipe or dab rig, possibly a dabber tool and heating mechanism, depending on which route you take.

Always remember that hash effects will be much stronger than smoking cannabis as the concentration of cannabinoids is much greater. Hash oil potency can range from low 40% to over 80%, depending on factors such as extraction technique and quality of starting material.

The emergence of hashish into the canon of mainstream cannabis consumption speaks volumes about its enduring popularity. Today, hash products ranging from old world pressed varieties to full melt water hash are available in almost every market. With the rise of dabbing culture fueling a booming uptick in cannabis concentrates, hashish has secured its footing in the ever-changing climate of the cannabis industry.

Patrick Bennett's Bio Image

Patrick Bennett

Patrick lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, where he spends his time writing, photographing, and creating content for the cannabis community.

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  • Mo Jo

    It is likely that in 2000BC the Atharvaveda mentions “Bhang” in the context of seperating chopped up cannabis into various grades. You Bang on the screens to seperate the hash. The Semitic word “Hashsha” refers to a of growing and drying and cutting up and seperating the plant. As an example, the Hebrew Rosh Hash-Shana refers to the course of the year from wet and vigorous to dry and hot and finally to the hashing of the tree leafs and *thrashing or threshing of the grains in the Fall. The Arabic Hash-sha means “it became dry, it dried up” referring to the drying of herbage. We need to find the PIE root for more info. At the same time the Semitic word Hash was reaching Europe (1590), the French words for hash were also being adopted, presumably in the same context (verb for processing). Hacher means “chop up” with an axe “hatchet” and for grasses, the sifting process through the screens “to hatch”. Just as Bhang means to seperate by striking, the PIE root of Hash is *kop, meaning “to beat, to strike, to seperate and cut into little pieces”, from which we get Chop. In context of cannabis, Hash means ‘that which was grown, dried, cut, seperated, chopped, placed on screens which were banged to seperate the grades’. The word has probably been around since around 6000 BC or earlier.

    • Laura P. Schulman

      Rosh= head
      Ha’= the
      Shanah= year
      Rosh ha’Shanah= “Head of the Year.”

      ראש השנה

      • Mo Jo

        Before Hebrew Hash-Shah was Semitic, preserved in the Arabic word signifying the arc of the sun through the sky and the corresponding arc from seed to senescence and harvest-processing of the produce. All I did was take it back to the PIE root when Hash was *Kop or *Kaph, signifying something which was chopped, sifted and processesed (often in screens like Bhang). Rosh Ha-Shanah might as well refer to the harvest of the heads of grain or the heads of cannabis. In fact, in Egypt Hashret (also Deshret) is the word for the Red Crown and Hedget (or Hachet) is the word for the White Crown, while the Blue Crown of War was called the Khepret (literally The Chopper) and the Double Crown is the Pshent or Hashent (literally The Hasher). And what does the Double-Crown wearing King hold if not the Crook and Flail – two Harvesting and Threshing tools? In Egypt, the Atef Crown represented the arc of the sun through the sky over the course of the year. Various books have been published showing that Moses was likely Akhen-Aten, who led the Jews out of Egypt on their Exodus and gave them his Aten or Aden-worshipping monotheism. Why Jehovah says he rules from “Olam to Olam”, or the rise of the Sun of Eternity to its setting, what the Latins called the “Aeturnus” or the Eternal Year and today we call an “Eternity”, the very misunderstood 1000 solar years associatedwith the 1 year of YHWH. In laymens terms, Hash simply refers to the processing of the harvest since the oldest times, when ancient Jews probably worshipped Brahma and Shiva as Baal and El, whose wives were Asherah and Shekinah respectivaly.

  • Cyril Buchard

    cela ressemble a du pain d’épices dommage que notre oursons rieur(d’une marque de pain d’épices disparu) nous rappele plus le message a ne pas dire

  • chris

    Author Patrick Bennett, thank you for the useful information. I think you left out one important thing, “Hash oil potency can range from low 40% to over 80%, depending on factors such as extraction technique and quality of starting material.” 40 to 80% of what?

    • Genesis 11:9

      Politribetanalfreenamitons, silly.

    • twicebitten thasme

      That would refer to the available THC content.

  • Ken Russell

    We used to smoke hash by putting a pinch of it on the point of a thumb tack, then light it and place a glass over it. When it consumed all the oxygen and the flame went out, it would fill the glass with smoke, and we would slide the glass to the edge of the table, and inhale the smoke from the glass. As in everything weed, there are favorite methods. Me and my buddies preferred a smaller rounded glass, as it made far more interesting patterns as the smoke circulated around the glass. Being in the great state of Texas, and a liscensed nurse, no can do anymore, but once these money grubbing Texas politicians figure out how to best line their wallets from legalization, and allow it to happen, hash will quickly return to my life. Lots of good memories from the stuff, and looking to make more!

    • MBKellogg

      Amen.

  • David Maser

    I’ve often heard that the word hashish comes from a tribe called the hashashin (origin of the word assassin) who used to smoke hashish to give themselves the courage to execute an assassination (no pun intended).

    • Stephen Bearg

      The version I heard is similar but crucially different: hashashins were allowed to live in beautiful gardens maintained by their patrons.. Available to them were beautiful women, music, and hashish. To maintain residence they were required to occasionally leave on missions of political or mercenary violence, after which , if successful, they could be re-admitted to the garden.

      • FanaticalPadre

        So essentially just drugged intentured servants?

    • Jond01

      They were named after the hashish, not vise virsa. An unfortunate slur on the name im afraid.

  • PRT PRT

    Hasj can also be rolled with cigarettes to make a hasj joint, european style.

  • Mohamed Boka

    Hashish named as sensitive in Arabic language (حسيس))حساس(

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