Source: SF Evergreen Magazine
For all you home growers out there who want to get the most out of every harvest, your best quality trim and smaller buds are valuable commodities. The presence of sticky resin on any leaf matter directly translates into a yummy concentrated toke if handled properly. Several low-cost home extraction methods make it fun and effective to separate trichomes into top-notch head stash. Here’s an overview of good possibilities.
Screening is the oldest form of hash making. It simply involves getting 2-3 different micron sizes of screens, preferably stretched onto frames, and sifting the dried trim until the resin glands drop through the screens. The resin, or “kief,” that makes it through the finest screen is your purest and most valuable, while the coarser screens collect some green matter, but also some pretty decent mid-grade kief.
Bubble Hash Technique
Bubble Hash came into popularity in the early 2000s in California, where growers realized they could use ice water to freeze the trichomes off of resinous leaf matter. Similarly to the screen technique, several micron sizes of screens (in the form of 5-gallon bucket liners) are used to separate different qualities of the final product. An agitator like a drill with a stirring bit on the end is used to spin the trim in the ice water so all the glands will separate, and the wet goo at each layer of the “bubble bag” screens is collected and dried on coffee filter paper, after which it is pressed into balls or bricks. With this method, you must take care to dry it enough before pressing, or it could get moldy on the inside. The term “bubble hash” comes from the fact that the finished product bubbles when you put a flame to it. Many smokers love the taste and feel of bubble hash.
Dry Ice Technique
Somewhere along the way, our ever-entrepreneurial stoner colleagues discovered that cold temperatures could be used to break off trichomes without getting the leaf matter wet. This is the Dry Ice Technique. You can buy a kit that comes with the micron bags, a container, and a neoprene jacket to keep your hands from freezing. Place your dry trim in the container with broken bits of dry ice, seal it, and shake it. Careful with this stuff! You can burn yourself. Wear thick gloves or your skin will meld with the dry ice like superglue does to your fingertips. As with the other methods, the length of time you spend agitating the trim, along with the screen micron size will determine the purity of your results.
The Rosin Technique is the latest and potentially the coolest of all these hash techniques because, if done properly, it produces a pure glass-like final product that can be likened to shatter, wax, or BHO, but without requiring the use of a solvent. This technique requires buds (not trim), an electric flat-iron hair straightener, a little scraper tool, and some parchment paper. You simply take a folded piece of parchment paper, place a bud inside of it, and flatten the bud between the heated ironing plates till the resin melts off of the bud and sticks to the paper. It can then be scraped up and stored before it cools down and stiffens up. Because this method involves heat, the THC gets “decarboxylated” in the process, meaning the potency of the resin is maximized. Buds are recommended over trim because trim would cause a prohibitive amount of leaf bits to end up in the finished rosin.
Some industry pros are experimenting with t-shirt presses to make the rosin technique doable on a larger scale. And with the right type of high-temperature screen material, the use of trim, rather than only buds, can then be introduced which would make this technique unbeatable as a low-cost, high quality and high yielding option for making cannabis concentrates in large quantities.
Send me an email about your favorite about home hash making method and, as usual, send me questions and comments for future articles. I’m here to help!
Jennifer is a monthly columnist for Marijuana Venture and SF Evergreen Magazines and owns/operates the product review website and blog WeedGear.com. She writes on beginner and advanced cannabis cultivation topics, entrepreneurship, trends & technologies, and DIY cannabis crafts. Here are some recent articles.