The simple one-line answer to the question of what bubble hash is would be a cannabis concentrate created using ice water. It is deemed to be one of the highest quality forms of solventless marijuana on the market today, with a THC content of up to 60%. While it isn’t quite as potent as wax and shatter, which can have THC levels of 90%, it is cleaner and purer than any concentrate made using solvents such as butane.
It gets the name ‘bubble hash’ for two reasons. For one, the concentrate bubbles when heated before use. Two, you need to use ‘bubble bags’ to sift the marijuana plant material from the purified trichomes it possesses. As you’re probably aware, trichomes are microscopic and resemble cloudy mushrooms to indicate when the weed is ready for harvest.
Bubble hash is marginally stronger than traditional ‘hash’ which is also taken from the cannabis plant’s trichomes. You can consume bubble hash in a pipe, via a bowl, or in a joint. For most users, one-third of a gram is more than enough to help them achieve the desired effect.
How is Bubble Hash Made?
The primary goal of making bubble hash is to make sure that the trichomes are removed without being damaged. Trichomes are glands that grow on the flowers, leaves, and stems of the marijuana plant, although they are most prevalent in the flowers. Trichomes are comprised of a miniscule stalk and a round head which is laden with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, as well as flavonoids and terpenes.
With bubble hash, you are removing these delicate glands in their entirety. There are different forms of bubble hash, and a variety of colors too. For example, it can be wet and dank or dry and sandy. It can be maroon, marigold or even brown in color. If you use plants that haven’t been cured or dried, you’ll end up with a wet and unstable product that resembles live resin. If you use older weed, you’ll probably end up with a brown or even grey dried mass.
The art of creating hash has been popular for centuries, but bubble hash has only hit the Western mainstream in the last 30 years or so. You can make it using cannabis flowers, fine-mesh micron bags, and ice water. Use the bags and ice water to extract the cannabinoids from plant materials.
If you’re really serious about making premium grade bubble hash, we recommend investing in an eight-bag Bubble bag kit. These kits contain eight differently-sized bags ranging from 25 microns to 220 microns. In most cases, the 73 micron and 90-micron bags are the best options, but it is handy to have the full spectrum of sizes. In any case, here’s a rapid, step-by-step guide to creating bubble hash:
- Place ice water into a bucket with the marijuana starting materials. Make sure you submerge the flowers to freeze the trichomes.
- Agitate the flowers to ensure the trichomes break off from the plant. Professional bubble hash making companies use a freezing ice washer for five minutes per cycle, and also use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water.
- Make sure you use caution when trying to separate the trichomes. Their heads are extremely delicate, and it is all too easy to damage them.
- Once the trichomes have been removed, use the bubble bags to separate them. Use a second bucket and place the bags in the bucket in ascending order of microns. For example, place the 25-micron bag on top, followed by the 45-micron bag, all the way to the 220-micron bag.
- After securing the bags over the side of the bucket, pour the water and flower mixture onto them. Make sure you take your time doing this and wait at least 15 minutes.
- Take the first bag from the bucket and flush it with ice water for a second time to get any remaining trichomes. Shake each bag in turn, allow them to drain, and set them aside.
- Every bag will have its own range of hash, with the finest mesh bags containing the best product.
- Take the different hash grades and spread them on separate drying sheets. We recommend using non-stick surfaces.
- When the hash is dry, roll it into a ball or press it onto a sheet.
- At this point, you can break off small pieces and either roll them into joints or place them on the tops of bowls. If you elect to roll a joint, add heat to the outside. If you don’t do this, the hashish will burn slower than the flowers and papers, which means it falls off the joint before you even get to use it!
Tips for Making Bubble Hash
Bubble hash is extremely rare, which also means it is costly. You’re unlikely to see it available in stores anytime in the near future, which means you probably have to make it yourself. Here are a few tips to help you get it right.
A Cold Process = An Outstanding Result
There is no way you can make bubble hash without extremely cold water, because it is the icy water that separates the cannabinoids from your weed. It freezes and snaps the trichome stalks and heads. Trichomes aren’t water soluble, which means they get mixed in the ice water mix contained in the bubble hash washer.
Make sure you make bubble hash in a cold room using as much purified ice as you can lay your hands on. If you use a bubble hash washer, make sure it is properly insulated.
Use Purified Water
The quality of water varies depending on where you live, and unless your town’s water supply has been in the news lately, it is hard to determine its suitability. Purified water removes chlorine and fluoride. If you use tap water instead, your bubble hash will probably have a nasty chlorine taste. Invest in a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter for best results.
Use Top-Shelf Genetics
Low-grade weed means low-grade bubble hash. We recommend using a marijuana strain rich in terpenes and resin. It is also important to use a fresh flower, or else your hash will be brown and stale looking.
Invest in a Freeze Dryer
Although one of these babies costs a small fortune, it is an essential investment for commercial bubble hash makers. A freeze dryer can reduce drying and processing time from days to hours. Without a dryer, it can take up to a week to fully dry the hash, which can compromise the quality. A freeze dryer gets the job done in 24 hours or less, and provides you with a higher quality product.
Assuming you can’t afford a freeze dryer, use desiccant-like cardboard lined with parchment paper. It is an effective method of wicking moisture from the hash. Don’t rely on porcelain, plastic, or metal, because none of these materials wick moisture from inside the product. You also need to cure and dry the hash to prevent it from buttering out within a couple of months.
Take Note of the Aesthetics & Smell
Your bubble hash should transform from a golden yellow hue to a slightly darker color, with the merest hint of transparency in warm temperatures. It should also become sticky. We recommend storing your hash in an airtight container in the freezer.
You have a problem if your hash is black, brown or green. Also, the hash should retain the same scent as the marijuana strain you began with. This is a sign that the hash has retained its trichomes and aroma. If there is a lack of a scent, it means you have a lower grade bubble hash and must consider new methods of making it.
Rating Bubble Hash
Don’t take it as Gospel that the bubble hash you have in your hands is top-grade. The genetics of the strain used and the success of your extraction method are just two of the factors that determine bubble hash quality. Experts in the field of bubble hash have applied a 6-star rating system to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
1 – 2 Stars
This is the lowest quality bubble hash. It is dry and filled with contaminants. It normally consists of less than 50% true trichomes stalks and heads. While you shouldn’t bother trying to smoke it, 1 – 2-star bubble hash is ideal for edibles. Despite being low-grade, it still adds potency to a regular joint and is easily affordable for most marijuana users.
3 – 4 Stars
Although there is fewer debris than in the lower grade hash, 3 – 4-star bubble hash half melts due to the presence of detritus such as leaf material. It is an excellent addition to a bowl, and can also be used for dabbing. However, most users prefer to press it into rosin.
5 – 6 Stars
This bubble hash is the cream of the crop because it contains nothing but trichome heads and stalks. There are no contaminants, and zero residue is left when it is dabbed or vaporized. Typically, this grade of hash is drawn solely from 73- and 90-micron bags. If you make bubble hash at home, it is highly unlikely that you’ll achieve 5+ star status.
Final Thoughts on Bubble Hash
It is widely believed that bubble hash is safer to consume than concentrates where chemical solvents were used to extract the cannabinoids. However, experts in the field dismiss this notion. According to Serge Christov of Honest Marijuana Co., extraction with a solvent such as butane is just as safe as ice water extraction because the solvent is evaporated, leaving behind a pure product.
It is also a fact that ice water extraction is an arduous, time-consuming, and expensive (if you purchase certain equipment) process. Overall, bubble hash is clean because you use ice water to freeze, and then extract, trichomes from the marijuana plant. You then separate it from unwanted plant materials through the use of mesh ‘bubble’ bags.
If you decide to make bubble hash, you are rewarded with a high-THC product which should only be used in small amounts. If you treat it as regular weed, there is a high possibility of suffering from side effects such as hallucinations and paranoia, so use bubble hash responsibly!