CULTURE

The Scoop On Bubble Hash: What Is It And How Is It Made?

Making your own hash is easier than you might think.

Bubble hash is one of many cannabis concentrates enjoyed due to its versatility, safety, and simplicity for DIY enthusiasts.

Bubble hash's history doesn't extend back as far as its non-bubbling counterpart, but it's definitely interesting. Neville Schoenmakers - a man of fame and infamy to stoners and law enforcement respectively - discovered the water trichome separation technique in the 1980s.

In the late 1990s, California resident "Sandhu Sam" created the famous ice water extraction method. Bubble hash enjoyed a lot of popularity over the next two decades, reaching its peak in the early 2000s.

The product has since taken a backseat to other, more popular concentrates, but hash-lovers are quite loyal to this concentrate. As the saying goes: "if it doesn't bubble, it's not worth the trouble."

Let's see what all the trouble is about.

What is Bubble Hash?

Bubble hash - also known as "wet sift," "water hash," or "ice water hash," is a concentrate made from kief - the separated trichome heads of the cannabis sativa plant. These resinous glands contain most of the plant's cannabinoids and terpenes, making products like bubble hash more potent than dried flower.

The name "bubble hash" comes from its tendency to bubble when heated. The purer the product, the more effectively it evaporates when a person is consuming. Its name is also inspired by the bubble bags used for filtering the trichomes from the cannabis plant using ice and water.

Unlike traditional hash, though, bubble hash is usually powdery or pasty, but some people like to press it.

How Potent is Bubble Hash?

Bubble hash is marginally more potent than its basic version. While both start at around 30 percent, the former hits up to 60 percent THC compared to dry sift hash's 50 percent.

However, given that dried flower falls between 10 to 20 percent THC, bubble hash is a good stepping stone for people curious about concentrates.

The most potent form of bubble hash is called "full melt bubble hash," which consists of pure trichome heads. This requires a long, thorough filtration process achievable only with special equipment. But in exchange, you get the purest, strongest product possible.

Is Bubble Hash Safe to Make?

More potent concentrates require solvents to separate cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. These extraction methods include things like butane, alcohol, and CO2.

However, bubble hash is a solventless concentrate. It only requires cold water or water and ice (depending on personal preference) to separate the plant trichomes. The water evaporates as your kief dries.

How to Use Bubble Hash?

One great thing about bubble hash (or hash in general) is that you have plenty of consumption options. Some concentrates require special tools, like concentrate pens or rigs. But bubble hash works well with any conventional smoking method.

  • Smoking: Some people like to sprinkle water hash on their bowls or mix them into joints. True to its name, the hash will bubble once exposed to heat.
  • Vaping: Hash can work in a dry herb vaporizer. However, you'll need to take extra steps. Hash (bubble or otherwise) can quickly gunk up - and ruin - your vaporizer. Keep the following tips in mind.
  • Clean Frequently: Make sure to clean your chamber after every use to keep residue from sticking to the bowl or element. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol is the best way to remove resinous gunk.
  • Protect the Chamber: There are two ways you can keep your chamber safe. The first is degummed hemp fiber. This product is available in dispensaries and smoke shops for only a few dollars. You then sandwich the hash between two bits of fiber - one to keep the mouthpiece holes clear and another to protect the element.

If you don't have access to hem fiber, you can use dried flower instead of hemp fiber. However, this affects smoothness and flavor. It's not a huge problem if you use low-quality bubble hash, but if your product is high-quality, you're better off investing a few bucks for hemp fiber.

  • Cooking: Like flower, bubble hash can be decarbed and used for making edibles.

How Bubble Hash is Made?

Using water and ice over chemical solvents isn't just about safer consumption, though. Tap water and ice are easily accessible, as is the required equipment for making bubble hash.

We'll go over a basic how-to in a moment. But before we do, it's important to understand how bubble hash is made.

There are many methods available, but the one we'll cover provides a good balance between efficiency and simplicity.

Trichome Separation

Again, water and ice are the keys here. The bud is agitated within a large container of ice and cold water, making the trichomes brittle. As a result, they break off more easily as the dried flower gets mixed around.

It's possible to use cold water alone, as long as it's as frigid as possible. The ice simply helps maintain the low temperature.

Cool or room temperature water won't make the trichomes brittle enough to break off effectively, reducing your potential yield.

If all goes well, the plant matter floats as its trichomes settle into a system of filter bags (bubble bags) below.

Sifting

To separate the remaining plant material from your kief, you use bubble bags to collect the kief. These bags are stacked on top of each other, with mesh size decreasing as you go further down.

Screen sizes are measured in microns, with the smaller, finer screen sitting at the bottom. This allows the kief to become purer as it makes its way down. The first bag contains your plant matter, so its contents get discarded or set aside for cooking.

Consequently, the kief you collect from every subsequent bag will gradually become finer. The mesh hole sizes are measured in microns. For instance, this kit starts with a 220-micron bag to capture large plant material, while a 25 micron-bag at the very bottom collects the finest particles.

Drying

Once the kief is collected, it's time to remove it from the bags. The hash will be in chunks when you first collect it.

Drying methods vary, but the best option is to freeze-dry the hash, as this prevents mold. We'll describe the process in greater detail soon.

How to Make Bubble Hash at Home?

Enough buildup. Now that we understand what bubble hash is and how to make it, it's time to put that info into action.

As we said, there are other ways to make bubble hash at home, some of which require minimal effort or equipment. However, you'll end up with an inferior product - and we're not interested in giving bad advice.

The following method requires little equipment, which means you don't need much (if any) experience to start making bubble hash.

Setup

The material you'll need depends on how pure you want your hash and how much you want to make. If this is your first time, it's best not to get in over your head. You can always crank up the difficulty with some more practice.

Also, keep in mind the micron bag sizes listed here aren't written in stone. As long as you start with a large size at the top and a finer one at the bottom, you're good to go. For today, we'll use four bubble bags.

Finally, make sure you DON'T GRIND the plant matter to make bubble hash. Grinding removes some of the trichome heads you need, which means you will lose a lot of potential kief before it even hits the ice water.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole dried marijuana flower
  • 5-gallon (20L) bucket
  • 220-micron bag
  • 160-micron bag
  • 73-micron bag
  • 25-micron bag
  • 8-10 pounds of ice
  • Spoon
  • Cold water
  • Electric drill mixer

Step 1: Stack the Bags

Place the 5-gallon bucket on an even floor. Put the 25-micron bag in first, securing it around the rim of the bucket, just like a garbage can bag.

Secure the 73-micron bag above it in the same fashion, followed by the 160-micron bag and the 220-micron bag.

When you're done, the bags will stack in descending order from largest to smallest.

Step 2: Combine the Ingredients

First, pour your ice into the 5-gallon bucket until it's about 1/4 full.

Next, dump the marijuana into the bucket and give it a shake to spread the herb as evenly as possible.

Finally, pour in the cold water until the bucket is 3/4 full.

Step 3: Mix

Using your electric drill mixer, gently blend the mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes until the water takes on a beige or tea-like color. Give the combo another 20 to 30 minutes to settle. Don't be afraid to add more ice in case your water starts warming up.

Step 4: Strain the Top Bag

Once you're done mixing, slowly remove the 220-micron bag. It's going to be full of soggy plant matter. Holding above your bucket, squeeze the bag as you would with a wet cloth to get as much liquid out as possible.

Set the bag aside. You can either discard the flower or save it for making edibles later.

Step 5: Continue Straining

To continue the extraction process, gradually pull out the 160-micron bag and let the water slowly drain out on its own. Once the water's gone, you'll see wet, chunky material left behind.

Take your spoon and scrape the bag until you collect all the pasty kief.

Repeat the same steps for the 73-micron bag and 25-micron bag.

Now that all the kief is separated, it's time to dry the hash.

Drying the Bubble Hash

Drying bubble hash is a lot easier than extracting it, but the method you use is arguably the most critical part of this process. When it comes to drying hash, mold is your worst enemy.

A lot of people make the mistake of leaving wet, chunky kief out to dry. While this might work out, it can also end in disaster. If the air is too humid or there isn't enough light, fungi can grow on the hash.

Once fungi invade your weed, it's game over. Inhaling mold is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious lung issues.

With that in mind, let's follow a fungi-proof drying method.

Things You'll Need

  • Parchment paper
  • Pizza box
  • Freezer
  • Cheese grater
  • Dehumidifier (optional)

Step 1: Freeze the Hash

Immediately place the wet hash into your freezer. Leave it for a few hours until the kief is completely frozen.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Lay out your parchment paper inside the pizza box.

Step 3: Grate the Hash

Use your cheese grater to grind the kief onto the parchment paper. Use a grater with the smallest holes possible. The kief needs to be extremely fine - ideally sandy - for fast, effective drying.

Step 4: Spread the Hash

Once you grate all your hash to a sandy consistency, spread it out evenly on a single layer on the parchment paper in your pizza box. Make sure you provide as much surface area as possible. The more exposed to the air, the faster your bubble hash dries.

Close the box to avoid exposing your hash to light; otherwise, the cannabinoids will degrade and reduce the hash's potency. If possible, place it in a dry pantry or closet.

Step 5: Dry the Room (Optional)

If you're concerned about humidity and don't have a dry location, you can always reduce the humidity using a dehumidifier. You don't need anything fancy, just a regular appliance you'll find at a hardware or department store.

Step 6: Wait Patiently

Even though you've done everything to facilitate the drying process, it still takes time. Don't be surprised if you have to wait a few days.

Check your hash every day to track its progress. Look carefully for fungi. Once the material is dehydrated, you can leave it in its powdered form, press it, or use it in edibles.

Bubble Hash FAQ

Should I Press Bubble Hash?

Yes, you can press bubble hash if you want. However, doing so damages the trichome heads. If your hash is highly pure, it's best to leave it alone.

Is Bubble Hash Indica or Sativa?

Bubble hash can be indica or sativa, depending on the strain used.

Is Dry Sift Hash Better than Bubble Hash?

Dry sift hash isn't better or worse than bubble hash. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Bubble hash is more potent, but it also requires more time and effort to make than dry sift.

Can You Use Wet Bubble Hash?

No, you can't use wet bubble hash. Like flower, hash needs to be completely dry before consumption.

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