It doesn’t matter if you’re a stoner of yore, a cannabis newb, or just an observer, you’re probably familiar with the common marijuana terms like joint, bong, and weed.
But when it comes to the more technical terms like shatter, wax, and Thai stick, things get a little fuzzy (and not in the good way). Case in point: hash (hashish).
People are so confused (and in many cases, bent out of shape) about the hash debate, we — the experts at Honest Marijuana — decided to take the opportunity to set the record straight about this unique form for marijuana.
To do that, we’re going to start at the very beginning with a bit of simple bud biology and track it all the way through to the final product: hash/hashish.
Doing it this way — instead of just giving you the answer up front — will help you understand ALL the different forms of cannabis and how they relate to each other.
Bud Biology: It All Starts With Trichomes
Cannabis is a plant just like any other. It comes in different varieties: indica, sativa, and ruderalis (or hemp). It has the same parts — roots, stem, leaves, and flowers — and grows well in a specific climate.
The roots, stems, and leaves are pretty much inconsequential to our discussion of hash, so we can discard them along the wayside.
But the flowers? That’s where all the action is. And actually, it’s not the flowers (or bud) that we’re really interested in. It’s what’s ON the flowers that gets us excited.
When you zoom in on the cannabis flowers, you see tiny mushroom-like tendrils covering the surface. Those tendrils are called trichomes. They’re the beginning of the hashish vs. marijuana debate.
What Are Trichomes?
Trichomes are the resin glands of the cannabis plant. Inside those resin glands, the cannabis plant produces THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and other active cannabinoids.
The trichomes are actually a defense mechanism to deter hungry herbivores from devouring the plant. But because those trichomes are psychoactive, humans can use them to get high or treat a wide variety of medical conditions.
So when you get right down to it, trichomes are what all the fuss is about. The leaves and plant matter in the flowers do contain a low concentration of cannabinoids, but not enough to have a significant effect.
It’s the trichomes that we’re really concerned about.
The Only Two Choices
Let’s say you’re holding a cannabis flower in your hand. To get to the trichomes (and get high or get your medicine), you only have two choices:
- Grind it up and add it to a joint, blunt, or edible
- Extract the trichomes into a concentrate
At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wait, what? That can’t be right. What about all those different forms of cannabis I’ve been reading about on the internetz?”
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is where the learning starts.
Everything other than dried, cured, and decarboxylated cannabis (the stuff you pack in your bong) is just trichomes extracted from the plant matter and formed into a concentrate.
- THC pills
- Honey oil
- Liquid THC
- CBD oil
- Cannabis oil (Rick Simpson oil)
- THC strips
- CBD strips
- Cannabis lube
- THC and CBD patches
- Vape juice
And pretty much anything else you can think of (like hash/hashish). They’re all just extracted and concentrated trichomes in one form or another.
Think of those trichomes as blueberries. Once you pick them off the plant, you can do all kinds of different things with them.
You can eat them like candy, bake them in a pie or cake, mash them up in a smoothie, or anything else your creative little mind can come up with.
The same goes for trichomes. But in this case, you can’t pick them off with your fingers. You have to extract (separate) them from the plant matter by other means.
The Extraction Process
We’ve been talking a lot about extracted trichomes in this article because they are pivotal to the hash vs. marijuana question. It’s essential that we talk a bit about the extraction process itself because it has a significant effect on what form of concentrate you end up with.
So what exactly is extraction? To help you understand, let’s go back to the blueberry example for a moment.
Let’s say you wanted to put some blueberries in your smoothie. You could cut a branch off the plant and stuff it into your blender, but you’d get all the extra plant material rather than just blueberries.
Now let’s say that you take the time to pick the blueberries off the branch before putting them in your blender. You’ve essentially made a concentrate of pure blueberries.
The bud you buy at your local dispensary is like that blueberry branch — wood, leaves, and berries together. Yes, it’s got trichomes on it, but it’s got other stuff as well.
So when you go to use it, you’ll get a mix of trichomes and plant matter. You won’t be maximizing the amount of trichomes you take in.
But with a concentrated extract, all you get are trichomes. That makes the high higher and the medicine more potent. In many cases, that’s the entire purpose of taking cannabis products.
Methods For Extracting Trichomes
As we mentioned earlier, the extraction process you use has a large effect on the form of the concentrate you end up with.
Extraction methods vary from the simple habit of kief collection in a grinder to the extremely complex process of CO2 extraction.
While the former you can do on your own at home without putting your life at risk, the latter requires special equipment, knowledge, and experience and can be deadly if undertaken incorrectly.
In-between those two processes lie other extraction methods, such as:
- Ice water extraction
- Butane extraction
- Alcohol extraction
- Ethanol extraction
- Bubble hash extraction
You can also go old school and just rub a nug of bud between your hands until all the sticky stuff comes off. Put the plant matter down and keep rubbing your hands together until you make a gooey ball. These are the trichomes we’ve been talking about.
Congrats! You just made a concentrate.
So now that we know a bit about cannabis plant biology, trichomes, and concentrates, let’s return to the original question: What is hash?
What Is Hash?
Hash (short for hashish) is a cannabis concentrate made from fresh resin glands (trichomes) that have been separated from the plant matter of a marijuana plant. That ball of goo you rolled in the last section is actually hash.
Before all these fancy extraction methods were invented, cannaseurs just rubbed cannabis flowers between their hands until all the trichomes came off. Then they smooshed all the trichomes together in a brick, bar, or block, packaged it, and sold it as hashish.
It was, and still is, just that simple.
Too Many Terms
The confusion comes about because there are just so many stinkin’ terms for the same thing in the cannabis community. Cannabis is weed and pot and Mary Jane and marijuana and chronic and bud and skunk and about a hundred other terms.
Concentrate — even though it’s all the same thing — is honey oil and wax and shatter and hash and hashish and cannabis oil and tincture and about a hundred other terms.
Don’t let the language fool you. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, if it’s in some form other than dried bud (plant matter and trichomes together), it’s just a concentrate.
So if you’re not sure what you’re looking at — you don’t know if it’s wax or shatter or budder or hashish — use the term “concentrate” and you’ll be fine. Sure, your friends may look at you funny, but, technically, you won’t be wrong.
How Does Hash Differ From Marijuana
This is a tricky question to answer because hashish is made from the marijuana plant. At the most basic level, it all goes back to the concepts we outlined in the section The Only Two Choices.
When those in the know say “marijuana,” they’re referring to the flowers of the cannabis plant (where all the trichomes live). So marijuana (or pot or weed) is what you roll in your joints, burn in your bongs, or bake in your edibles. In many cases the terms “cannabis” and “marijuana” are synonymous.
Hash, on the other hand, is a concentrate made from the trichomes of the cannabis or marijuana plant. That’s the first noticeable difference: one is made from the other.
But perhaps the most significant difference between hash and marijuana is potency.
On average, regular marijuana clocks in at 10-15 percent THC or CBD. Creative growers have even pushed those numbers toward 50 percent to give us some of the strongest weed strains available.
Hash, on the other hand, clocks in at anywhere from 60 percent to almost 90 percent THC depending on the original strain used to make the concentrate.
That significant difference in THC makes for one heck of a ride.
Start Small And Take It Slow
If you’re wary about trying hash, don’t be. Just make sure to buy from a reputable dealer so you know what you’re getting.
Then start with a small dose and increase slowly from there. Remember, this stuff is powerful and you don’t want to ruin your fun by getting too high your first time around.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.