The Wide World of Hash!!
Hash has a deep, rich history, and has been processed and used by humans for millennia. It's not known for certain where hash production started, however, smoking was not common in the Old World until the introduction of tobacco. Before the 1500s, hash was consumed as an edible in the East. The word Hashish originates from Arabic, roughly translating to mean "grass". When Napoleon's campaign in Egypt was over in 1798, French soldiers brought hash home with them, popularizing it in the Western world.
Around the beginning of the 20th century, it was common to see cannabis extractions in European and North American drug stores to treat an incredible number of ailments. However, cannabis would soon be pushed underground following prohibition in the United States. In the 1960s, cannabis saw a rebirth, and hash, imported from countries like Morocco and Afghanistan, made its way back into the limelight. Packed in hard-pressed bricks it was easy and discrete to import, hash managed to largely fly under the radar of prohibition and only increased in popularity, especially in eastern North America.
But what exactly is hash?
Hash is the final product of a cannabis processing method wherein the plant's trichomes are collected and compressed into a potent extract. Trichomes are the fine growths on cannabis plants that produce a highly desirable, sticky resin. This photo shows a beautiful crystal-like coating of trichomes on this cannabis flower.
Hash can be extracted in many different ways but is always a full-spectrum product as trichome collection is done with physical manipulation and temperature changes. Some processing techniques are ancient, like Charas (pictured below), wherein the cannabis flower is pressed or rubbed between two hands, collecting the trichomes and resin with the aid of body heat. Typically this is formed into a ball shape.
More modern extracting methods may use ice, or even a solvent, such as ethanol, or butane to strip the plant of its valuable resin. Any time a solvent is used during processing, the purity and overall quality of the final product will be better, however, the solvent will need to be purged from the product before consumption. Solventless extraction may leave some plant matter or other contaminants in the final product. Hash can vary in colour from dark gold, brown, or dark green and usually comes in a brick or a ball after production.
Another common processing method is to use micron filter bags with ice water and physical agitation to release and separate the resin and trichomes from the plant matter. Essentially washing the desired components away from the greenery. This is often referred to as Bubble Hash and is an easy and effective way of processing your cannabis.
Watch our video of Allison and Holly making Bubble Hash.
Hash can be smoked in a pipe, or bong, rolled into a joint, or cigarette. You could even use your dab rig. An old school method, called "Hot-Knifing", has been common in the past. This is where you slide two butter knives into the grill of your coil top stove, let the knives get red hot, then use the heat to vaporize small pieces of hash as you inhale. Many people take the extra step to process their hash into edibles like Hash Brownies. Making edibles with hash can result in unpredictable potency, it's always best to go slow with homemade edibles.
Because of licensing and regulation in Canada, we have access to more hash offerings than ever before. There are so many Licensed Producers dedicated to making quality extracts, there is something for everyone. For the month of April, we're keeping with our "Old School" theme and have curated a special collection of some of the best hash on the market right now.
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As with most cannabis topics, we have only scratched the surface of hash. There is always something new to learn and new experiences to be had. We love to share in those experiences with you!