Published : 06/28/2021 15:19:55
Categories : Marijuana and cannabis Blog
Use Your Kief: Easy Ways To Make Hash At Home!
If you’re new to the cannabis world, you probably wonder what exactly hash is ―and if you’re a cannabis enthusiast, you’ve definitely thought of making your own.
Hash originates from the continent of Asia, and it’s made from cannabis. It essentially is the compressed and purified form of resin glands, the so-called trichomes, which can be gathered from the buds of the female cannabis plants.
After its extraction from the trichomes, it is then pressed into solid blocks via many different methods.
If you’re growing your own plants, from buying seeds to harvesting buds, making hash could be the next step to consider ―and it’s much easier than you may think!
But let’s take it from the start.
Hash (or hashish) comes from trichome heads' concentration, the extracted resin of the cannabis plant’s buds (kief). There are actually two main categorizations of hash: solid and liquid. Liquid hash can be a little complicated to prepare, but solid hash is the straightforward and most popular option, as it is relatively simple to make. Solid hash is basically made from compressing trichomes through some basic techniques.
One important factor to consider is this: your hash will only be as good as its source. This means that if you make hash from a poor strain with not much yield and low-quality trichomes ―or even a quality plant, but one that’s not yet fully grown―, the results will be disappointing. So make sure to venture into the hash-making world equipped with a crop grown from top-notch seeds.
There’s a range of different ways to make hash; even though the methods for separating the trichomes’ dust vary, they all eventually come down to compressing the hash into solid balls, blocks or bricks.
Also, keep in mind that these are not the most highly effective, but the simpler ways to make your own hash at home, without any expensive equipment. Still, if you have good material and sufficient amounts, you’re guaranteed a result.
If you’re a home grower, you’ve already invested in good quality seeds and gear (LEDs, fertilizers, etc.), and you’ve got your full-grown plants ready, you’ve reached the stage of harvesting your crop and carefully gathering your buds.
However, bear in mind that trichomes are not only found within your plant’s buds; you can also extract extra matter from the sugar and fan leaves of the plant. Even so, using the buds is still the most common and safe option.
Kief is a powder found within the glands of the buds ―the aforementioned trichomes. Those excrete that thick and sticky resin where THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes are found in the highest concentration levels comparing to other parts of the cannabis plant. To make hash, your first step is to gather a good amount of kief.
The best way to collect this powder is by using a three-piece herb grinder, which catches the ground herb in the middle chamber, allowing for the trichome dust to fall through a screen and gather at the bottom; afterwards, you can scrape with a scraper or a dab tool to get it.
If you have no grinder at hand, and this is your first time making hash, you can also try this age-old method: coming from India and Nepal, charas is the simplest and most traditional way to make your own hash ―though not the most profitable, as it is quite a time-consuming process that brings basic results. However, it’s the easiest method for a beginner who wants to make hash: you will only need non-dried cannabis buds and spotless hands!
Wash your hands thoroughly, preferably using non-perfumed, non-residual hand soap.
Take a bud in your hand, and take any stems and leaves out of the way.
Place the bud between your hands, and start rolling it gently inside your palms, following a circular motion. Try applying just a little pressure, as too much force could contaminate your hash.
A thick resin will have started to form inside your palms: this is the basis for your hash! Using a kief scraper, scrape this material off your skin and onto a clean surface, and apply pressure to create a small ball or a block.
Repeat with as many buds as you need to reach the wanted amount.
Another traditional and popular method to extract hash (widely used in Morocco) is the dry sift. Essentially, the goal is to pass the trimmed cannabis a fine sieve, or even better, a silkscreen, to separate the trichomes.
According to a large number of cannabis connoisseurs, you’re in for better results if you freeze your cannabis ―as this would dry it up, even more, facilitating the separation of trichomes from plant material. Putting your cannabis in a zip-lock bag inside the freezer overnight should do the trick.
Place a sheet of parchment paper upon a smooth, clean surface. Then, place your sieve (it shouldn’t be bigger than the sheet) above the paper.
Place the cannabis buds in the sieve/silkscreen, and gently move them around with your hand across the sieve's fabric to separate the trichomes. The trichomes should fall from the screen while hair, pistils, and leaves from the trimmings remain on the sieve. You should now see some powder accumulating on the parchment paper underneath.
Continue this process until you have enough powder; if you used 100g of cannabis, you should create about 10g of powder.
After you're done with the sifting, it's time to collect your kief and press it onto the parchment paper, using a flat item like a credit card.
Using home appliances to make your own hash is much more fun than it sounds! You can use just water, an ordinary blender, and a coffee filter to gather the hash and have it ready for consumption in the following steps.
Place your trimmed cannabis into the blender, add enough water to cover it, as well as a handful of ice; then, blend.
Pour the mixture through a sieve and into a jar, and let it sit for about an hour so that the trichomes can gather on the bottom.
Empty about ⅔ of the water, careful not to let any trichomes fall out. Refill the jar with ice water, and let it sit for five minutes. Finally, drain the ⅔ of the water again, and repeat this process up to five times.
After you’ve drained the water for the last time, pour the final solution over a coffee filter to separate the remaining water from the trichomes. Squeeze any excess water, and allow the kief to dry.
If you’re making bubble hash, you will need ice water, some silkscreen filter or bubble bags (sieve bags) of various sizes, and a bucket. Basically, the flower is combined with ice water inside the bags, separating the plant material from the potent resin glands, which gather through the sieves.
Again, for better results, you’re advised to use freshly frozen cannabis buds. Plus, remember that the ice and water you use must be extremely clean to avoid any damage.
Line the inside of the bucket with the smallest micron (or finest) screen at the bottom: the smaller the micron, the less plant material will pass through. Add the flower and enough ice to submerge it. Wait a few minutes, and start stirring; the trichome heads will now begin to harden and come off easily.
Continue with the same process by layering the bubble bags on top while going gradually bigger on size. As you pour the water after stirring, wait for it to drain completely; if it's taking too long, rock it!
After the cannabis has been sufficiently agitated, remove the top bag, which would be full of plant material. In the second bag, the material will be slightly darker in color: scrape this off and set it aside. Afterward, invert the second bag and dunk it into the water below so that the trichomes can continue moving through the series of bags.
Continue this process of collection and filtration until the trichomes have finally been filtered through every bag. Finally, collect the hash from each bag individually, removing any excess water, and place your final material on top of some parchment paper.
These cycles are repeated four times, starting from 5 minutes of agitation time, then 6-10 minutes, and 15 minutes in the end; this helps make sure that you lose the fewest possible trichomes along the process.
The more humid the material, the poorer the final product's quality, so you’ll need to dry it off before making hash.
Drying is not difficult: leave your extracted material on an absorbent surface, in a ventilated environment climate with low humidity, and you’re good to go.
But when water has been used in the process, as seen above, more effort should go into drying and curing. For example, to rid the moisture build-up on the kief after extracting it via the bubble hash method, you should spread it upon a cardboard piece lined with some parchment paper to draw the moisture out and absorb it into the cardboard.
After you’ve gathered your basis, it’s time to form your hash ―and this requires a lot of pressure. Using a combination of force and mild heat, the trichome glands are condensed into a solid mass.
Of course, the shape and size will vary, depending on the pressing method and the results you want. For example, the hash will often be ball-shaped when pressed by hand, while flat-pressed hash may look like a thin shale rock. On the other hand, mechanically pressed hash usually looks like a neat bar or brick, but we’re concentrating on DIY ways with no professional equipment.
You can make hash out of a good amount of kief by sheer force of pressure, using home appliances, like a flat iron hair straightener or an iron, in three simple steps:
Get a small plastic bag, fill it with your kief, and tape it shut, after you’ve rolled it up tightly. Wrap the bundle in two to three layers of newspaper paper, and once it’s wrapped, make sure to wet it a little.
Apply pressure with your preferred pressing machine at hand, and keep pressing; you should press long enough to have the kief compressed but not burn the newspaper.
Finally, unwrap your package: you’ll see a clean block of decarboxylated hash, which you can now use as you prefer. Roll it into a joint, sprinkle it in food or drinks, crown a bowl. And if you’re rolling, make sure not to add any other material (like tobacco) before the hash has sat and hardened up a bit so that you avoid damaging it.
If you want more insight into compression techniques, perhaps you’re interested in rosin. With this process, you don’t need kief, just plain flower; the flower needs to be completely dry to carry out the pressing ―as it tends to release water when wet.
Traditionally, this method is carried out with the help of a machine press. Still, you can just as well achieve a quality result by using a flat iron (a hair straightener is preferable, as you can have control over the temperature).
And don’t forget: higher temperatures bring higher yield and lower quality, but note that low temperatures make all the difference to guarantee top quality, maximum cannabinoid, and terpene concentrations without burning with excessive heat.
Separate the flower buds into small portions of about 1cm.
Cut some parchment paper into pieces of about 8x16cm, and then fold them in half.
Insert a portion of the buds into the paper, and press with the iron for approximately five seconds.
Open the paper; you will now see some drops of golden resin around the crushed bud. Use some tweezers to collect the resin, and store it. Note that it’s possible to repeat the process several times for the same flower.
Pressing by hand is a popular method for transforming kief into hash, given that no equipment at all is needed, but there’s a downside: it requires considerable energy! It’s definitely not for those who get tired easily, as they may find it very difficult to sustain enough power and patience to make the material bind together and get well-pressed.
To get better results, you need freshly sieved kief of medium to high quality. Plus, it should be clean: if there’s a lot of plant matter, it’s harder to mold into hash balls, and it won’t bind well together.
Measure out a few grams of fresh kief, as much as will comfortably fit inside your palm, and work the mound with one hand against the other, until it begins to form into a solid piece.
Rub the material between your palms or your palm and thumb, alternating hands to save strength. After about ten minutes of working and kneading the material, you will feel its density beginning to change. This is why you need your kief to be fresh: if you’ve got dry, aged kief, you lose considerable “stickiness,” and it will be twice as much work!
Use some mild heat if you deem it necessary and the kief is not cooperating well. Wrap the material in some cellophane and seal it up, making sure all the air is squeezed out. Wrap this bundle in several layers of thoroughly wetted newspaper, as we mentioned before, or use some cloth or paper towels.
Warm your iron (or even a skillet) at a low temperature, and apply pressure onto your package. You don’t need to do that for as long as with the other methods since you only need your material to stick better together so that it can be kneaded into a solid piece.
Finally, keep rolling, and be patient! When a piece of hash has not been pressed properly, it could easily crumble at room temperature.
Like pressing by hand, using a bottle of hot water is a homey way of making your own hash. In this method, it’s best to use high-quality, bone-dry resin; as more heat is applied, each trichome head's waxy cuticle is melted more thoroughly to achieve top results.
Boil some water, enough to fill a clean wine bottle; allow the bottle to cool for 5 minutes.
Place a pile of resin on the surface of some parchment paper or organic cellophane, and fold it in half. Then, place the hot bottle on the paper-covered resin, allowing it to sit for 30 seconds.
Look through the glass bottle to see the darkening stain of the warming resin at the bottom. If you see the color changing quickly, this means that your resin will be fully pressed soon. On the other hand, if the resin barely begins to darken after 30 seconds, you will have to do some more work.
Slightly roll the wine bottle over the resin, applying low pressure while allowing the heat to melt the material without additional force. Make sure to flip the bundle over at some point and do the same on the other side.
Swiftly and softly, open the paper: by now, the resin should be formed into a solid shape. Fold it in half, and then fold it again to apply more pressure.
Repeat this process once more before finally taking the material into the palm of your hand, and roll it firmly into a ball like you would do with clay. Make sure to compress the resin and push out any excess air. Continue rolling the resin until you’re satisfied with the mass in your hand.
If you’ve been patient and used high-quality material, the result will be a shiny ball hash, ready for consumption!
Last but not least, there is the shoe method ―one that lets you multitask!
Put a few grams of kief into a tight wrap of cellophane or parchment paper, making sure that your bundle won’t unfold (better use some tape, to be safe) and that it is securely sealed. Then, punch a tiny pinhole through the package to allow trapped air to escape.
Place your tightly packed bundle inside the heel of your shoe. For better results, it’s advised that you use hard-soled shoes or even boots; those are better for pressing than soft-soled sports shoes, which would take much longer to compress the kief into hash.
Your body weight applies pressure to your heels, and inside your sole, aided by body heat, the hash begins to form into a slab.
The whole process should take about an hour of on-foot activity, so you can go about doing some chores or go for a walk and have your hash ready afterwards!
So, regardless of the method you used, you’ve got your hash, and there’s a chance that you used your time to make a good amount ―possibly more than you can use in one session. Now, the question is: how to store it?
After the hash is pressed, it can be kept for months or even years, with only a little deterioration of its flavor and potency ―that is, if you store it correctly, whether it be formed into bricks, balls, cubes, or pucks (by using a pollen presser). A frost-free freezer is the best place for storing hash, while glass, metal, or silicone containers are preferred for storage.
Plastic and rubber should be avoided, as the terpenes that give all the flavor and aroma to your hash actually interact chemically with such materials, eventually degrading both the quality of your hash as well as the container! Of course, it’s worth mentioning that this is a risk occurring slowly under freezing conditions.