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More About Ice Hash

Ice hash is a solventless concentrate made up of trichomes that are sifted through a series of screens in the presence of water and ice cubes. Ice hash is also known as bubble hash, ice wax, and water sift. These terms are used to describe different forms of ice hash, but there are only subtle differences between the four.

The central goal of making ice hash is to separate trichome glands from all other plant components. Trichomes are glandular appendages on the surface of the cannabis flower that produce and hold the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules. The purpose of ice hash is to remove all contaminant barriers between the user and the experience that trichomes provide.

The History of Ice Hash

The techniques used to make ice hash were first popularized by seed expert and industry pioneer Skunkman (aka Sadhu Sam or David Watson) in the 1980s. After learning that resin glands sink in water, Skunkman introduced the wider cannabis market to a hashish making process of stirring whole plant cannabis or sieved resin in water. He even took out an ad in High Times Magazine in 1987, offering secret tips for water extraction at home.

Skunkman’s water-extraction methods paved the way for the first automated sieving machines In the 1990s, as well as new techniques for ice-water extraction. Around this time, Canadian cannabis entrepreneur and activist Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson entered the scene, eventually revolutionizing the hash world with the Bubble Bag extraction system.

Throughout the ’90s, Bubbleman was active in medical cannabis advocacy, cannabis macro photography, and the development of cannabis extraction and decontamination. He popularized the water extraction method with the first multi-bag filtration kit in 1999 — designing three bags that would filter glandular trichome heads for the sake of, in Bubbleman’s own words, “harm reduction, finding the best way to deliver cannabinoids, and exploring the limits of pot purity .”

How to Use

Ice hash is a fairly versatile concentrate. There are several different ways to use ice hash, though some are generally preferred over others. Different methods of use may also suit different needs. Some users may prefer a sprinkle of ice hash over their bowl for an extra potency boost, while others may prefer to dab with ice hash for the full effect.

Sprinkle on a bowl

Sprinkling hash over a bowl is one of the simplest and most reliable ways to boost a bowl’s potency. “Icing” dry flower with a sprinkling of ice hash can produce a high that’s more pronounced without being overpowering. If you’re looking for a milder, more manageable introduction to ice hash, sprinkling some on a bowl might be the method for you.

Dab

Dabbing with ice hash delivers potent effects, but it also takes a bit more effort than sprinkling over a bowl. To dab with ice hash, press your solventless concentrate inside a piece of folded parchment paper. The heat from your hand should be enough to blend the trichome glands together. Once your ice hash is pressed within the parchment paper, separate the pressed sheet into “dab-ready” sections. Remember that it’s best to store your hash in a dark, cool environment, and wait to press it when you’re ready for a dab session.

Titanium nail

Titanium dab nails are valued for their durability and lower outgassing rates than other metals. Unlike most metals, titanium doesn’t release harmful gases when heated beyond certain temperatures. If you want to avoid the potential contaminants of metal screens or dab beds, a titanium nail will do the trick.

Handheld Vaporizer

Handheld vaporizers with a concentrate pad option are also becoming more common as dabbing grows in popularity. Using a handheld vaporizer for ice hash may not provide the purest effect, but it’s certainly a helpful option for beginners or anyone looking for a simple, efficient method of use. If you choose to vaporize ice hash, seek out vaporizers that get hot enough to make ice hash bubble — between 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, or 260-287.78 degrees Celsius.

Melt Quality

When making ice hash, the goal is always to isolate the trichome glands from the cannabis plant. Any plant material that is not removed reduces the ability to bubble and therefore reduces the quality of hash.

That’s where micron sizes come in-the openings in a filter screen through which material moves are measured in microns. Using screens of varying micron sizes is how hash makers capture the trichome heads and separate them from the rest of the plant.

Trichomes range from 20-125 microns. Filter screens or bags designed to make bubble hash are made to correspond with the bags of varying micron sizes that are used to make bubble hash. If a concentrate has the micron listed on the package, this number indicates the micron size of the bag used for that particular fraction of water hash.

The larger micron sizes are used to capture the entire capillary stalked trichomes (90- 120 microns), while the smaller micron sizes (20-40 microns) are typically used to isolate the glands from the stalks. While some terpenes and cannabinoids can be found in the stalk of the trichome, the majority are found in the top gland where they are stored. Some connoisseurs see this as the purest form of ice hash and prefer the smaller micron bags to the larger microns that will remove the entire trichome but also have a higher chance of pulling in plant contaminants.

It’s also important to remember that trichomes don’t always conform to micron screen sizes. In fact, trichome sizes are cultivar-dependent. Some cultivars will produce thicker trichome heads, while others will have small heads. Plant maturity will also affect the size. However, the right combination of filter screens and micron sizes can reliably produce quality hash. Most water hash equipment consists of several filtration bags of varying micron sizes.

The Star Rating

The quality of ice hash is generally measured by how well it melts. Since measuring quality by micron sizes presents too many variables, hash makers use a star rating system to grade hash quality more accurately. While there is no universal system, the 6-star rating system is the most popular amongst hash makers.

1-2 Star: Cooking Grade Hash

Cooking grade hash is highly contaminated with plant matter. Commonly used to make edibles — hence the name — cooking grade hash is also suitable for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It consists of both low and high microns, and it doesn’t melt well, so it shouldn’t be used for dabbing.

3-4 Star: Halfmelt

A lower-grade hash that usually only melts halfway, leaving residue and plant contaminants behind. Halfmelt is sufficient for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It’s also well-suited for vaping. Similarly to fullmelt, halfmelt can also be heated and pressed into rosin .

5-6 Star: Fullmelt

Fullmelt ice hash is the highest grade. It completely melts into a puddle, or oil, if it’s a 6-star hash. A 4-star halfmelt hash can technically be turned into a “true fullmelt.” A fullmelt ice hash is great for dabbing, and typically produced with 70-120 micron sieves. According to Bubbleman, “A fullmelt experience will start by watching solid microencapsulated glandular trichome heads liquefy as you heat them up into a golden oil that boils and bubbles and dances around your dish or screen.”

The 1-6 star rating system is subjective, but it does provide a sufficient avenue to single out quality hash. The higher the rating, the better the bubble hash will melt. The lower the rating, the more plant contaminants the hash will have.

How to Make Ice Hash

Ice hash is one of the most potent, powerful concentrates you can make without solvents. The needed materials are minimal; a set of at least 5 bubble bags (silkscreen bags or filters of varying micron sizes), a bucket, fresh frozen or cured flower, and a large spoon or stirring tool. Fresh frozen flower is generally preferred for making ice hash, because the frozen trichome heads break off the stem and rest of the plant more easily. The ice hash-making process can be divided into the following steps:

1. Line the Bucket

The first step is to line the bucket with your micron filters or bubble bags. Start with your smallest micron filter and line with the rest of the bags in ascending size order, so your largest micron-sized bag is on top.

2. Fill the Bucket

Fill the bucket with a layer of ice, then flower, and follow this pattern to the top of the bucket. It’s usually recommended to fill your bucket with as much ice as possible. The colder your mixture, the more likely trichome heads are to freeze and break off. It’s also best practice to make sure the top layer is ice and not flower. Once all layers of ice and flower are in the bucket, fill it with water, preferably just high enough that you can still stir without spilling over.

3. Stir the Bucket

Allow the water to sit and chill, then gently stir your mix for a few minutes. The time and force used to agitate while vary depending on your starting material. Once the ice starts to melt, you can also gently increase your stirring speed. Add ice periodically to keep the water cold. The ideal ice-to-water ratio throughout your stir is about 1:1.

4. Strain and Repeat

Once your stir time is completed, lift the top bag with the plant material and strain the liquid into the bucket until only ice and flower are left in the first bag. As you repeat the strain through successive bags, observe the traits of what’s left on the screen. Depending on your needs, various micron filters offer different melt levels. Bubble bags between 73 and 90 microns are assumed to produce the finest resin. To collect the remaining concentrate, turn each bag inside out after draining.

5. Dry Your Hash

The final step is to press all excess moisture out of your hash. Drying is arguably the most important factor in ensuring the quality of your final product. Gently press the excess moisture out of your ice hash and then use a butter knife, or razor blade, to break it down into small pieces. If you do not have access to a freeze dryer, the smaller pieces will make it easier for the hash to dry out.

Spread the small pieces of ice hash over a piece of parchment paper and place in a cool and dry environment. Some hash makers choose to place the hash in the freezer and once frozen, use a microplane zester, to break the hash into smaller pieces to ensure the quick removal of all moisture.

A cannabis concentrate formed by sifting the trichomes of the cannabis plant in the presence of ice water. Ice hash, (commonly referred to as ice water hash, bubble hash, or wet sift) is typically dabbed, but can also be used to add potency to flower.

How To Make Dry Ice Hash from Buds/Trim

Let’s get straight to it:

Making hash with dry ice is the easiest, fastest, and (more importantly) the most efficient means of extracting resin from your cannabis. In short, it’s our collective opinion (all 2 of us) that Dry Ice Hash is the best means of making hash…period!

Pretty big statement right? It’s even bigger when you consider how seriously people take hashish in today’s world!

Regardless, we’ll stand by that statement, and we’re confident that by the end of this article you’ll be itching to try making some dry ice hash. And we’re even more confident that once you do try making it, you won’t go back to any other method unless someone invents ‘Resin Teleportation™’.

We’ll make sure you get set up with the all the information you need, but first, let’s start things off with a picture of what we collected in under 15 minutes total!

What is Hashish (Hash)?

There’s a very popular book written in 1998 called Hashish!, and it tends to be treated as the end-all source of hash-related information. Here’s their definition of hashish:

“Hashish is a psychoactive drug prepared from the resin glands of the female (pistillate) Cannabis plant. […]The idea is to isolate (and thus concentrate) the THC-containing resin in order to make hashish.”

Simply put, hashish (which we’ll now just call hash), is just the isolated resin glands of the cannabis plant. Even simpler, hash is when you get the good sticky stuff from your cannabis all by itself. In a sense, hash is distilled cannabis!

Keep in mind that not all hash is the same. Some types of hash are made with solvents and can still contain said solvents when finished. BHO (Butane Hash Oil) has become very popular lately, but there have also been many cases where batches still contain significant levels of butane. That’s not to say that BHO always contains excess butane, just that it has the possibility. When hash or hash oil is made correctly, no trace of solvents should remain in the finished product.

That being said, using dry ice to extract resin will leave you with nothing but the resin itself because it is solventless. The CO2 is used to freeze off the resin, and then turns directly into gas. Your trim/bud never even gets wet! So you can make hash using this method without any additional concern other than careful handling and usage of the dry ice.

How is Dry Ice Hash different?

Here’s another pertinent piece of info from the book Hashish!,

“The process of hash-making can be divided into two parts – resin collection, and resin preparation.”

Although not all hash is the same, many types of hash are pretty darn close. Water hash – also called ice hash, bubble hash, gravity(Gumby) hash, and dry ice hash all produce forms of the same product: isolated resin glands. The difference between methods comes down to how the resin is taken off the plant, and how the hash comes out afterward.

Although many methods produce the same or a similar product, using dry ice has advantages in many areas that end up making it superior to other means of resin collection:

  • It’s faster than other methods.
    • You can finish making dry ice hash in about 1/25th of the total time it takes to make gravity hash! Although that example is extreme, it only takes a few minutes to make dry ice hash and is much faster than other methods.
  • It’s insanely easy
    • And that ease translates to it being quickly gratifying. You get top grade hash at the cost of shaking a bucket and a bag for a combined total of less than 15 minutes.
  • There’s no moisture!
    • That means the resin is ready as soon as it’s shaken loose!

So, back to that quote: “The process of hash-making can be divided into two parts – resin collection, and resin preparation.”

We know that collecting the resin is easy with this method, but what about preparation? Let’s go back to ‘Hashish!’ one more time to see why we need ‘resin preparation’:

“Primarily, [preparation] makes resin powder a more easily transported and marketed commodity. Secondly, since early-smokers lacked metal pipe screens that could contain raw resin powder during smoking, they made the loose powder into solid pieces, convenient for smoking.”

In short, preparation makes your hash easier to sell (which we STRONGLY RECOMMEND AGAINST) and easier to use (if you’re somehow reading this 40 years in the past). In other words, it’s completely unnecessary in our case! We’ll save time and effort by skipping any post-processing, and there are no real drawbacks!

Alright, enough background and quotes, let’s get started!

How to make Dry Ice Hash

We’ll be showing you how to make dry ice hash using hash bags of the following sizes: 73, 160, and 220. Here’s why we picked these sizes:

  • 73 will catch nothing but resin in this case
    • The good stuff – only actual trichomes with no vegetative matter at all! Golden colored and powerfully potent!
  • 160 will catch mid grade with a bit more ‘green stuff’ in it
    • Not as high quality as 73, but still great and definitely worth collecting!
  • 220 catches pretty much everything else that’s not an actual leaf or stem
    • This will have much more plant matter than the other two, but still much less than actual bud. This will smell like a concentrated form of your buds! I personally skip 220, but I would strongly suggest collecting 220 at least once before dismissing it, to see if it works for you!

If you’re going to do just one extraction, I personally would do the 120 (more pure) or 160 (more yield) Micron bags by themselves.

From left to right: 73 Micron, 160 Micron and 220 Micron Dry Ice Hash

Closeup of 73 Micron hash (most pure – just trichomes)

Closeup of 160 Micron Extract (more green matter, but still very high quality)

This is the 220 Micron dry ice hash

What You Need to Make Dry Ice Hash

  • One sanitized 5-gallon bucket
  • Cannabis trim/bud
  • 3lbs of dry ice
    • You may need more or less depending on how much bud/trim you use. 3lbs will cover a little to at least 6oz.
    • Click here to go to a page that will let you search for dry ice in your area.
  • Bubble bags/Hash Bags/Pollen Bags
    • You’ll need 3 sizes for this tutorial: 73, 160, 220. These sizes are standard for this type of bag.
  • Thick, insulating sturdy gloves
    • No latex gloves, you need protection against -109.3°F cold. Snow gloves or BBQ gloves will do the trick.
  • A scraping tool
    • An unused paint scraper works great, but a credit card will do.
  • A large, CLEAN, flat surface
    • This will collect your hash, so make sure it’s clean!
    • We used a large piece of new plexiglass (cheap at Home Depot) on a table.

Dry Ice Handling

Dry ice has some inherent risks due to its extremely low temperature and the fact that it sublimates (turns directly into a gas), but it’s actually very safe to use! Just check out these quick safety tips, exercise a little caution, and this will be a smooth and fun experience!

  1. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area.
    1. Dry ice turns directly into CO2 gas. Although it’s a small amount of CO2 and doesn’t really pose a threat to you, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  2. Don’t put dry ice in an airtight container.
    1. Dry ice turns into gas which will pressurize the container it’s in. Eventually, you’ll get a top shooting off unexpectedly, or worse, an exploding container!
  3. Don’t touch dry ice with your bare hands
    1. Dry ice measures -190.3°F at its warmest. It won’t kill you to grab it, but it’s no fun to get freezer burn either.
  4. Dispose of dry ice safely
    1. If you put dry ice down your sink or toilet, you could freeze your water pipes and end up with a massive repair bill. When you’re done with dry ice, just leave it in a well-ventilated area and it’ll simply turn into gas and leave.

Step-By-Step: How to Make Your Own Dry Ice Hash

Basically, you just shake a hash bag full of cannabis + dry ice and piles of resin will start raining out!

You’ve got your materials together and you know how to handle dry ice… let’s have some fun!

  1. Dump your (ground up) cannabis and dry ice into the 5-gallon bucket.
  2. Take the size 73 hash/bubble/pollen bag and fit it over the opening of the bucket, then shake and swirl the bucket around for 3-4 minutes. The process of shaking the cannabis around with dry ice freezes the resin so it starts breaking off from the cannabis and is more easily collected.
  3. Turn the bucket upside-down, emptying both the dry ice and cannabis into the hash bag, with the mesh side facing down.
  4. Shake the bag over a clean flat surface.This will cause resin to sift through the mesh part of the bag and fall out onto the surface like it’s raining resin! Keep shaking until you don’t see any resin falling out or you just can’t shake anymore 🙂
  5. Use your scraper to collect the newly fallen resin into a pile and transfer it into a container of your choice.
  6. Dump the cannabis and dry ice back into the bucket and repeat steps 2-5 with the size 160 pollen bag. Then again with the 220 bag.

You should now have 3 grades of your own solvent-free, homemade hash: 73 (pure resin), 160 (not as pure but still really good stuff), and 220 (it’s super fragrant and super free!). Enjoy!

FYI: Hash can be sprinkled over bud, vaporized, smoked directly with a screen, and mixed into joints. If you’re unfamiliar with hash, starting slowly will help ensure you don’t use too much – this stuff is powerful!

How To Make Dry Ice Hash from Buds/Trim Let’s get straight to it: Making hash with dry ice is the easiest, fastest, and (more importantly) the most efficient means of extracting resin from ]]>