How to smoke hash: the best ways to enjoy weed concentrates
Hash is one of the oldest forms of cannabis concentrate on planet Earth. But the extract has come a long way in the last decade, with more varieties available than ever. This leaves many consumers wondering how to smoke hash.
Just like cannabis concentrates themselves, there are a wide range of ways to consume extract. From the old-school knife hits method to futuristic electronic vaporizers, the ways to smoke hash are seemingly limitless.
Whether you’re looking for a way to jazz up a joint or you want to explore the refined art of dabbing, this crash course on how to smoke hash is all you need to get lit.
What is hash?
Hash is the sticky resin made from the most potent part of the cannabis plant called trichomes. These crystals contain the majority of weed’s active compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes.
In the past, hash was created by rubbing the leaves and buds of cannabis plants vigorously to remove the trichomes. The resin is rolled and pressed together, resulting in a dark green or brown substance. The introduction of screens to separate trichomes came hundreds of years later.
In the early 1990s, bubble bags rose to prominence. Cannabis flower would be washed in cold water, making the trichomes brittle. The buds would pass through a series of bags with tiny metal screens, separating the crystals to be pressed into hash.
Thirty years have seen several more innovations in cannabis concentrates. The hash from the days of old is less prevalent in the American market, replaced by modern iterations such as butane hash oil (BHO) and live rosin.
While old-school hash is still available, the concentrates section is far more diverse in the dispensaries of 2023.
What are the different types of hash?
Most hash is now classified as either hydrocarbon or solventless, based on the production method. From glassy shatter to six-star full melt, there are products at every price point and consistency.
This is the ancient form of hash discussed above, created by rubbing cannabis plants. Depending on the location, variations included charas and temple balls. The consistency of hashish can be sticky, like caramel, or quite solid, like a green brick.
Ice water hash
As mentioned above, cold water entered the extraction chat in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. Depending on the process, this extract may be known as bubble hash, ice water hash, or wet sift. This hash crumbles but can be a bit stiff, depending on quality.
The micron size of the screen used is often noted on the product package, next to the letter u. Standard sizes include 90u and 120u. The higher the number, the larger the spacing is between screen threads.
Ice water hash is unofficially on a scale of one to six, with one being the lower quality. It’s rated based on the amount of plant material left behind after the production and the ability of the final hash to melt.
Low-quality hash is usually used for cooking or pre-rolls. Mid-range may be smoked or dabbed or also used for joints. This style’s highest quality six-star hash is called full melt and often commands a high price tag.
Dry sift hash is similar to ice water hash in that it uses screens, but there’s no liquid involved. This extraction method is more straightforward, but it can be challenging to achieve a six-star rating due to the difficulty of removing plant particulates. Loose trichomes (aka kief) are sandy in texture, but dry sift may also be pressed.
Another solventless hash-making technique, rosin uses extreme pressure and heat to squeeze the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the trichome resin glands. The yellowish oil is dried and typically resembles a soft cake batter or dough.
Rosin may be created with either sifted hash or cannabis flower. Many DIY dabbers have turned to making rosin at home using a hair straightener. More sophisticated hash makers use specially designed rosin presses.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
The use of hydrocarbon solvents like butane and propane in cannabis extraction became more widespread in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The liquids strip the trichomes from the plant; some lipids and other plant compounds may be in the residual mixture.
Any solvents left are removed, resulting in an amber color oil. The product may be refined further to make distillate, seeing any extra plant compounds removed.
There are many types of BHO, including crumble, shatter, wax, batter, and sauce. Nuances in the production process are responsible for the variations in consistency.
If you see the phrase live resin in a concentrate name, that means the plants used were freshly harvested and likely flash-frozen. Standard BHO uses dried and cured buds.
Carbon dioxide extraction has been used in various applications, including cosmetics and food, for decades. CO2 is turned into a gas-liquid mixture and passed over cannabis to strip the cannabinoids and terpenes. The resulting oil is viscous and often used in vape cartridges.
The benefit of supercritical is the ability of the liquid gas to achieve higher yields, although the process can take longer than BHO.
Can any strain of weed be made into hash?
Technically, any resinous buds can be turned into hash, but some varieties are more suitable. This is because certain weed strains produce more trichomes, meaning the hash yield will be higher.
How to smoke hash
There are multiple ways to smoke hash, ranging from infused joints to high-tech digital rigs. The method of consumption depends on the type of extract and personal preference.
Historically, smoking hashish was done using a pipe or bong. Sprinkling a bit of hash on a bowl or joint is also a classic move.
The use of butter knives (aka hot knives) became more popular in the later part of the 20th century despite its risky nature. The knives would be heated on the stove or with a blowtorch, and a small piece of hash would then be squished between to create vapor.
Smoking hash under glass is another quintessential way to enjoy the extract. A tiny piece of hash is placed on a pin. Next, you light the hash with a lighter and blow out the flame as if you were burning incense. A small jar or bowl is placed over the smoking ember, filling the area with smoke, which is then inhaled with a straw.
Nowadays, most people opt for dabbing hash. This practice relies on something called a rig, which often looks similar to a bong. However, the “bowl” (referred to as a banger) must be heated to extreme temperatures to vaporize the hash using a blowtorch or e-nail. These bangers are usually made from quartz, which is better at withstanding the heat.
Once the banger is at the desired temperature (anywhere from 400 to 700 degrees, depending on the person), a piece of hash is placed inside using a dab tool. The banger is covered with a carb cap, and the dabber inhales from a mouthpiece. Vapor will likely pass through a water chamber to help cool it down, creating a smooth hit.
Glass dab rigs vs. e-rigs
While many hash purists swear by the traditional glass rig dab, a surge of electronic dab rigs hit the scene in the late 2010s. The debut of the Puffco Peak changed the game thanks to its convenient and portable nature. Instead of using a blowtorch, these all-in-one rigs have an internal heating element.
There are pros and cons for both types of rigs. Glass rigs may be less precise (unless you use a special thermometer like a Dab Rite), but they offer a more robust hit. The dabs from a traditional rig are often more flavorful and produce bigger clouds.
E-rigs are easy to use but may not offer as strong of a rip as some consumers prefer. While convenient and easy to transport, they may have less horsepower than a traditional glass rig.
What about dab pens?
Dab pens are pocket-size e-rigs. They resemble an ink pen and can be pre-loaded with your favorite hash. The extracts are heated internally with the press of a button and are great for dabbers on the go.
Smoking hash: a next-level high
Cannabis concentrates offer a uniquely potent and powerful high. While not for beginners, the practice is ideal for folks with a high tolerance for THC or medical patients needing a more impactful session.
The art of consuming these extracts has come a long way, with a wide range of options on the market today. This includes smoking hash or ice water hash, dabbing shatter or wax, or hitting a vape cart.
For those wondering how to smoke hash, the answer is truly up to you. What kind of extract are you working with, and what type of experience are you hoping to have? If you still aren’t sure, your friendly neighborhood budtender can make plenty of recommendations to set you up for stoner success.