Sarah Ratliff   |   July 22, 2020

Hash Making Processes and Equipment

Necessary Equipment for Home Labs or Commercial-Scale Production
Following 20 years in the corporate world—culminating with biotech giant Amgen in Southern California, where she worked in health outcomes—Sarah Ratliff and her husband bought an organic farm on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Today…

Hash is produced when the trichomes (resin glands) of the cannabis plant are separated and concentrated, with little or no contamination that can reduce potency and quality. Inside the juicy organic factories of the trichomes, THC, CBD, and multiple terpenes are produced in abundance.

Solvents (usually butane) are routinely used to complete the hash extraction procedure (producing hash oil, a concentrate that is somewhat distinct from hash). But there are easier methods for removing and collecting resin glands that don’t require the use of toxic or explosive chemicals.

These methods are cheap, easy, and perfectly suited for do-it-yourselfers. They rely on mechanical processes and the laws of physics, using timeless but straightforward techniques that have been delivering results for decades—or in some cases, for centuries.

The Do-It-Yourself Options

Here are six types of hash that can be “manufactured” by virtually anyone with access to cannabis, using cheap and easy-to-obtain materials…

Bubble Hash

Bubble hash is also known as water hash or ice water hash, and the latter is perhaps the most descriptive term.

When trichome-rich cannabis buds or trim are mixed and stirred vigorously in ice water, the cold liquid will separate the trichomes from the remaining plant material. This happens because trichomes are impermeable to water, while the plant matter that contains them is quickly and easily saturated.  

The process of making bubble hash requires a large bucket to hold the ice, water, cannabis, and silk-screen filtering bags (called bubble or hash bags). Inside the bucket, dried cannabis buds or trim is sandwiched between layers of ice. The bubble bags, which are used to filter out detached trichomes, are arranged progressively in sequence inside the bucket, ranging in size from fine (73-micron filtering capacity) to coarse (220-micron filtering capacity). 

After the bucket is filled with water, the mixture will be stirred vigorously inside the top hash bag with a large spoon or electric mixer for approximately 10-15 minutes. This process will break a significant percentage of the trichomes loose, allowing them to pass through the screening mesh of the top hash bag, leaving only icy water and plant material behind. Then, the top bag is removed, the ice is refreshed, and the process is repeated. The process continues until all the bags are used, and the accumulated trichome mass (bubble hash) can be collected from the bucket.

For a more streamlined and efficient procedure, aspiring hash manufacturers can purchase Bubble Hash Mini Washing Machines, which are constructed purely for home hash production. These machines eliminate the need to mix the bubble hash manually while producing faster and more consistent results.

Dry Ice Hash

Using dry ice to make hash takes the standard bubble hash manufacturing process to another, much colder level. Cannabis plant materials will quickly freeze when coming into contact with dry ice, allowing for a quick and clean release of trichomes ripe with THC, CBD, terpenes, and other potent compounds.

The procedure to make dry ice hash is incredibly simple. The cannabis buds or trim are mixed with the ice in a three- to five-gallon bucket, which is then covered with a 73-micron hash/bubble bag. The bucket should be shaken and swirled for five minutes or less, which will ensure all the plant material comes into contact with the vaporizing dry ice (melting dry ice turns to carbon dioxide, not water).

When the shaking is finished, the bucket is tipped upside down into the filtering bubble bag. The bag is then shaken over a clean collecting surface until all the flash-frozen trichomes have sifted through the mesh.

Using the leftover plant material, this procedure can be repeated with 160- and 220-micron filtering bags, to create three separate hash products with varying degrees of purity. The hash collected after the initial filtering will be exceptionally pure, which is a testament to how fast and efficiently dry ice can extract resin glands from dried cannabis plant material.

Gumby or Gravity Hash

Gumby or gravity hash is essentially a simplified version of bubble hash.

In a five-gallon bucket, ice, water, and bud or trim are mixed together, with enough ice added to ensure a strong cooling effect. After mixing everything with an electric drill for up to 15 minutes, the mass of the plant material plus the non-melted ice should be scooped out with or poured out through a coarse screen, which will allow the separated resin glands to pass through.

Once the water has been purified in this way, the bucket must be left perfectly still for at least four hours. After that, the water is drained to a half-inch above the surface of trichomes settled at the bottom of the pail. This resin can be scooped out and dried, and the result will be a form of bubble hash that is less pure but still potent enough to deliver a strong impact.

Dry Sift Hash

While the results it produces are good, it isn’t necessary to use water or ice to make hash. Finely-chopped dried buds or trim can be sifted through a series of screens; each more coarse than the one before, until the final collection contains a concentrated conglomeration of trichomes that don’t require drying before they can be used.

The screens can be placed one on top of the other in a dry sift box specially manufactured for this type of hash production. As each filter is shaken thoroughly and removed, with progressively finer sifting down to the 73-micron level, the accumulated substance will gradually increase in purity. What remains at the bottom of the box after all the screens have been removed can be then be lifted out and used immediately.

Scissors Hash

Relying on mechanical techniques rather than chemical manipulation, the methods used to make dry sift, bubble, and dry ice hash are throwbacks to another era. But there are at least two forms of hash that create themselves.

Scissors hash is the term used to describe the THC resin that sticks to scissors or trimming shears used to cut cannabis plants. Because trichomes are naturally clingy and will easily detach from plants when subjected to physical force, reasonably significant quantities of proto-hash can collect on cutting tools after just a few minutes of continuous trimming.

Resin scraped off of scissors won’t be entirely pure. Nevertheless, it may contain as much as 40 to 50 percent THC and can, therefore, be quite potent.

Finger Hash

When someone is harvesting or processing marijuana plants, sticky trichome filaments will inevitably cling to their fingers. After a while, they can accumulate in decent amounts, creating a proto-hash that can be scraped off and used. This so-called finger hash will be high in THC yet contain an impressive mixture of other cannabinoids and terpenes as well.

Harvesters or processors looking to collect finger hash may wear latex gloves, which offer an ideal attaching surface for sticky trichomes. The gloves can be removed and placed in a freezer for a couple of hours, and after the trichomes have frozen, they will be easy to scrape off and collect.

Solventless Technologies for Commercial-Scale Production

Hash is easy to produce using DIY methods if you’re seeking to make it on a small scale for personal use. But 21st-century hash production has expanded beyond the home laboratory. Relying on the same principles of physics as the home producer, companies are now designing and manufacturing automated extraction and processing equipment that can produce superior-quality bubble or ice water hash at a commercial scale.

For example, Los Angeles-based Rosin Tech Products has developed a compact industrial hash extraction system that can process up to 1.5 pounds of plant material in a single cycle. The Rosin Tech Hand Washer Pro offers speedy and efficient creation of potent bubble hash, using nothing more than ice, water, and fresh-frozen, hand-trimmed cannabis buds loaded with THC-saturated trichomes.

The Rosin Tech Hand Washer Pro is compatible with any type of bubble bag. But commercial-scale production is guaranteed when the machine is combined with Rosin Tech’s Trichome Separator and Collection System, which includes a 20-gallon reclamation tank for high-efficiency trichome harvesting.

For extraction of ice water hash at an even larger scale, cannabis manufacturers can purchase the Bruteless Commercial Hash Washing System from PurePressure. This Denver-based company specializes in solventless processing equipment. With its 65-gallon washing tank and two 44-gallon draining vessels, the Bruteless system can process up to 15,000 fresh-frozen grams of cannabis bud in a single run.

Commercial-grade hash extraction and processing systems are costly, with price tags that fall somewhere in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. But these systems are heavy-duty producers that will pay for themselves in a relatively short time, assuming the demand for cannabis concentrates remains strong. 

High-Tech, Low-Tech, or No-Tech: The Hash Consumer’s Choice

While extraction technologies will continue to advance, budget-conscious cannabis consumers with a taste for hash do have some exciting options. Small-scale home hash production relies on the principles of science rather than sophisticated technology, and that makes them viable and practical regardless of how much money a DIY hash producer has to spend.

But those who aren’t interested in the production side can still gain access to high-quality hash, thanks to the arrival of commercial-grade extraction and processing equipment. Regardless of the methodology or scale of production, hash is an attractive option for cannabis connoisseurs who like their products potent and pure.

 

Comments

Join our community of 10,000+ users by subscribing to our Weekly Newsletter!