More About Ice Hash
Ice hash is a solventless concentrate made up of trichomes that are sifted through a series of screens in the presence of water and ice cubes. Ice hash is also known as bubble hash, ice wax, and water sift. These terms are used to describe different forms of ice hash, but there are only subtle differences between the four.
The central goal of making ice hash is to separate trichome glands from all other plant components. Trichomes are glandular appendages on the surface of the cannabis flower that produce and hold the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules. The purpose of ice hash is to remove all contaminant barriers between the user and the experience that trichomes provide.
The History of Ice Hash
The techniques used to make ice hash were first popularized by seed expert and industry pioneer Skunkman (aka Sadhu Sam or David Watson) in the 1980s. After learning that resin glands sink in water, Skunkman introduced the wider cannabis market to a hashish making process of stirring whole plant cannabis or sieved resin in water. He even took out an ad in High Times Magazine in 1987, offering secret tips for water extraction at home.
Skunkman’s water-extraction methods paved the way for the first automated sieving machines In the 1990s, as well as new techniques for ice-water extraction. Around this time, Canadian cannabis entrepreneur and activist Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson entered the scene, eventually revolutionizing the hash world with the Bubble Bag extraction system.
Throughout the ’90s, Bubbleman was active in medical cannabis advocacy, cannabis macro photography, and the development of cannabis extraction and decontamination. He popularized the water extraction method with the first multi-bag filtration kit in 1999 — designing three bags that would filter glandular trichome heads for the sake of, in Bubbleman’s own words, “harm reduction, finding the best way to deliver cannabinoids, and exploring the limits of pot purity .”
How to Use
Ice hash is a fairly versatile concentrate. There are several different ways to use ice hash, though some are generally preferred over others. Different methods of use may also suit different needs. Some users may prefer a sprinkle of ice hash over their bowl for an extra potency boost, while others may prefer to dab with ice hash for the full effect.
Sprinkle on a bowl
Sprinkling hash over a bowl is one of the simplest and most reliable ways to boost a bowl’s potency. “Icing” dry flower with a sprinkling of ice hash can produce a high that’s more pronounced without being overpowering. If you’re looking for a milder, more manageable introduction to ice hash, sprinkling some on a bowl might be the method for you.
Dabbing with ice hash delivers potent effects, but it also takes a bit more effort than sprinkling over a bowl. To dab with ice hash, press your solventless concentrate inside a piece of folded parchment paper. The heat from your hand should be enough to blend the trichome glands together. Once your ice hash is pressed within the parchment paper, separate the pressed sheet into “dab-ready” sections. Remember that it’s best to store your hash in a dark, cool environment, and wait to press it when you’re ready for a dab session.
Titanium dab nails are valued for their durability and lower outgassing rates than other metals. Unlike most metals, titanium doesn’t release harmful gases when heated beyond certain temperatures. If you want to avoid the potential contaminants of metal screens or dab beds, a titanium nail will do the trick.
Handheld vaporizers with a concentrate pad option are also becoming more common as dabbing grows in popularity. Using a handheld vaporizer for ice hash may not provide the purest effect, but it’s certainly a helpful option for beginners or anyone looking for a simple, efficient method of use. If you choose to vaporize ice hash, seek out vaporizers that get hot enough to make ice hash bubble — between 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, or 260-287.78 degrees Celsius.
When making ice hash, the goal is always to isolate the trichome glands from the cannabis plant. Any plant material that is not removed reduces the ability to bubble and therefore reduces the quality of hash.
That’s where micron sizes come in-the openings in a filter screen through which material moves are measured in microns. Using screens of varying micron sizes is how hash makers capture the trichome heads and separate them from the rest of the plant.
Trichomes range from 20-125 microns. Filter screens or bags designed to make bubble hash are made to correspond with the bags of varying micron sizes that are used to make bubble hash. If a concentrate has the micron listed on the package, this number indicates the micron size of the bag used for that particular fraction of water hash.
The larger micron sizes are used to capture the entire capillary stalked trichomes (90- 120 microns), while the smaller micron sizes (20-40 microns) are typically used to isolate the glands from the stalks. While some terpenes and cannabinoids can be found in the stalk of the trichome, the majority are found in the top gland where they are stored. Some connoisseurs see this as the purest form of ice hash and prefer the smaller micron bags to the larger microns that will remove the entire trichome but also have a higher chance of pulling in plant contaminants.
It’s also important to remember that trichomes don’t always conform to micron screen sizes. In fact, trichome sizes are cultivar-dependent. Some cultivars will produce thicker trichome heads, while others will have small heads. Plant maturity will also affect the size. However, the right combination of filter screens and micron sizes can reliably produce quality hash. Most water hash equipment consists of several filtration bags of varying micron sizes.
The Star Rating
The quality of ice hash is generally measured by how well it melts. Since measuring quality by micron sizes presents too many variables, hash makers use a star rating system to grade hash quality more accurately. While there is no universal system, the 6-star rating system is the most popular amongst hash makers.
1-2 Star: Cooking Grade Hash
Cooking grade hash is highly contaminated with plant matter. Commonly used to make edibles — hence the name — cooking grade hash is also suitable for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It consists of both low and high microns, and it doesn’t melt well, so it shouldn’t be used for dabbing.
3-4 Star: Halfmelt
A lower-grade hash that usually only melts halfway, leaving residue and plant contaminants behind. Halfmelt is sufficient for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It’s also well-suited for vaping. Similarly to fullmelt, halfmelt can also be heated and pressed into rosin .
5-6 Star: Fullmelt
Fullmelt ice hash is the highest grade. It completely melts into a puddle, or oil, if it’s a 6-star hash. A 4-star halfmelt hash can technically be turned into a “true fullmelt.” A fullmelt ice hash is great for dabbing, and typically produced with 70-120 micron sieves. According to Bubbleman, “A fullmelt experience will start by watching solid microencapsulated glandular trichome heads liquefy as you heat them up into a golden oil that boils and bubbles and dances around your dish or screen.”
The 1-6 star rating system is subjective, but it does provide a sufficient avenue to single out quality hash. The higher the rating, the better the bubble hash will melt. The lower the rating, the more plant contaminants the hash will have.
How to Make Ice Hash
Ice hash is one of the most potent, powerful concentrates you can make without solvents. The needed materials are minimal; a set of at least 5 bubble bags (silkscreen bags or filters of varying micron sizes), a bucket, fresh frozen or cured flower, and a large spoon or stirring tool. Fresh frozen flower is generally preferred for making ice hash, because the frozen trichome heads break off the stem and rest of the plant more easily. The ice hash-making process can be divided into the following steps:
1. Line the Bucket
The first step is to line the bucket with your micron filters or bubble bags. Start with your smallest micron filter and line with the rest of the bags in ascending size order, so your largest micron-sized bag is on top.
2. Fill the Bucket
Fill the bucket with a layer of ice, then flower, and follow this pattern to the top of the bucket. It’s usually recommended to fill your bucket with as much ice as possible. The colder your mixture, the more likely trichome heads are to freeze and break off. It’s also best practice to make sure the top layer is ice and not flower. Once all layers of ice and flower are in the bucket, fill it with water, preferably just high enough that you can still stir without spilling over.
3. Stir the Bucket
Allow the water to sit and chill, then gently stir your mix for a few minutes. The time and force used to agitate while vary depending on your starting material. Once the ice starts to melt, you can also gently increase your stirring speed. Add ice periodically to keep the water cold. The ideal ice-to-water ratio throughout your stir is about 1:1.
4. Strain and Repeat
Once your stir time is completed, lift the top bag with the plant material and strain the liquid into the bucket until only ice and flower are left in the first bag. As you repeat the strain through successive bags, observe the traits of what’s left on the screen. Depending on your needs, various micron filters offer different melt levels. Bubble bags between 73 and 90 microns are assumed to produce the finest resin. To collect the remaining concentrate, turn each bag inside out after draining.
5. Dry Your Hash
The final step is to press all excess moisture out of your hash. Drying is arguably the most important factor in ensuring the quality of your final product. Gently press the excess moisture out of your ice hash and then use a butter knife, or razor blade, to break it down into small pieces. If you do not have access to a freeze dryer, the smaller pieces will make it easier for the hash to dry out.
Spread the small pieces of ice hash over a piece of parchment paper and place in a cool and dry environment. Some hash makers choose to place the hash in the freezer and once frozen, use a microplane zester, to break the hash into smaller pieces to ensure the quick removal of all moisture.
A cannabis concentrate formed by sifting the trichomes of the cannabis plant in the presence of ice water. Ice hash, (commonly referred to as ice water hash, bubble hash, or wet sift) is typically dabbed, but can also be used to add potency to flower.
How to Make Fantastic Bubble Hash from Bud or Trim
by Sirius Fourside
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is Bubble Hash?
Bubble hash (also known as “ice hash”) refers to collecting hash from your weed (or trim) by submerging the weed in ice-cold water and agitating it. This causes trichomes to break off so you can collect them.
Whenever you hear the word ‘hash’, it’s just referring to the extracted resin glands (trichomes, the sticky sparkly stuff) of a cannabis plant. The ‘bubble’ part refers to the method of using cold water and agitation to extract that resin.
Why make Bubble Hash?
- The perceived potency of bubble hash is just…great! In my opinion, it feels noticeably stronger than dry-sift, kief or dry-ice hash.
- Bubble hash is safe to make since there are no flammable ingredients or chemical reactions when making it.
- It’s also safe to enjoy as no chemicals are used during the extraction process.
- It’s a great use of trim, though making dry-ice hash is easier and produces greater yields.
Three Main Methods to Mix Up Your Hash
The cornerstone of making bubble hash is mixing up your weed, water and ice. All three of these methods produce the same quality of bubble hash. It’s the efficiency and amount of work that varies.
- (Old School) Manual Method: Using a spoon or rubber spatula and hand mixing for a while.
- Pros: Cheapest method, needs the least amount of tools.
- Cons: The most physical work and the least efficient.
- Mixer Method: Using a hand mixer with beaters attached, or a hand drill with a paint-mixer or similar tool attached.
- Pros: Many people have most of the tools needed. This method is much easier then hand-mixing and more efficient.
- Cons: Still need a drill or mixer plus a good mixing attachment that’s also long.
- A hash-washing machine (mini washing machines)
- Pros: Easiest method since you don’t have to mix. Also, the most efficient method since all the material is constantly mixed while the machine is on.
- Cons: High initial cost since you have to buy the machine (
Here’s a short video of a washer in action
- Two 7lb bags of ice
- Your dried cannabis (bud or trim)
- Bubble Hash Bags with 25-micron drying sheet (preferably all-mesh)
- Tip: Get a pack of 25-micron drying screens and dry each of your various grades of hash on their own sheet. This makes it way easier to dry and keep your grades separated.
- 2 clean buckets
- A metal tablespoon
- A sink area with a sprayer. A clean mister or a simple cup can be used if you don’t have a sprayer
- A way to mix the hash-water
- Manual: A long cooking spoon or a rubber spatula, some patience and calories to burn.
- Hand Mixer or Drill: A hand-mixer (like you would use for cakes) with beaters attached, or a hand drill with a paint mixer attached
- A hash-washer. These are usually sold as “mini washing machines” and they’re pretty good for that, too. We use the “bubblebagdude” washer.
Alright, let’s make some bubble hash!
How to Make Bubble Hash with a Hash Washer (The Easier Method)
- Set your 25-micron drying screen(s) on some paper towels and set them aside. This is where your hash will dry.
- Your washing machine came with a 220-micron bag, which you will layer with ice and cannabis. Put ⅓ of the bag of ice in the bottom of the bag, add your cannabis, and then another ⅓ of the bag of ice on top. Close the 220-micron bag and use the string attached to the bag to tie the zipper closed. Place the closed bag into the washing machine.
- If your machine didn’t come with a 220-micron bag that fits inside, just layer the ice and cannabis directly in the machine. You can filter it later.
- Put the final ⅓ of ice into the machine. Double check to make sure the bag inside is completely closed and tied before the next step or all your cannabis will come out of the bag into the washer.
- Top off the machine with water. There should be a mark on the side of the washing machine that tells you how high the water should go. Fill it to below the low mark with cold water. When we’ve filled it to the high mark we’ve had it leak out the back once everything starts mixing and churning. Even at the low mark, there can still be too much water after a bit of the ice melts.
- Set the machine to mix up your cannabis for 12 minutes and wait for the cycle to complete.
- Let the machine sit for another 10 minutes afterward to let the trichomes sink to the bottom. Move on to the next step while you wait.
- Grab the unused bucket and stack the remainder of your bubble bags inside. First insert the bag with the lowest number (25-micron), then put the next biggest (73-micron) bag inside that, and finally put the (160-micron) bag inside that. If you didn’t use a 220 bag in the washer, or if plant material somehow escaped your bag while in the washer, you’ll need to lastly insert a 220 bag, which will filter away the larger plant matter.
- Note: Some bubble bag sets come with 5 bags and some come with 8. We use the 5 bag set, but we don’t use all of the bags that come with it. All bag sets come with 25, 73, 160 and 220, but the size of the other bags differ depending on who’s selling them. Some sets come with a 45, 90, or 120 and many growers like to use those bags. However, we only use the 25 (good stuff) 73 (the best stuff), 160 (not bad stuff), and 220 (cleans out the junk) bags. The most important thing is to start with 25 and make sure each bag after that goes up in number.
- Pour the weedy water from your washer into the bucket containing your stacked bubble bags. Your washer has a tube meant to dispose of old water; this is perfect for pouring your weed-water into the stacked bags. You might need to suck on the tube a little to start the siphon.
- If you had to add the 220 bag, lift that out before the next step. The 220 bag will remove the large bits of leaf and other plant matter. Keep this plant matter because you will run it through the whole cycle again.
- Allow the water to drain through the 160 bag for a few seconds.
- Carefully pull up just the 160 bag and place it into the empty, clean work bucket.
- Use your sprayer (or mister/cup) to wash the hash towards the center of the bag.
- Carefully pull the edges of the bag down over the bucket until the bottom of the bag (where the hash is) is stretched across the opening of the bucket.
- Use a metal tablespoon to collect the wet hash and place it on the drying screen.
- Remove the 160 bag from the bucket and set it aside.
- Repeat for the remaining bags, removing each one slowly one at a time and collecting the hash, ending with the 25 bag. I always try to label which hash is which so I can compare them later.
- First run complete! The next step is to do a second run with the same bag of plant matter. Yes, do everything again. You essentially want to repeat the entire process to get more hash that hadn’t been released yet.
- Repeat steps 2-15 to complete your second run (add ice, water, and the plant matter bag back in the washer, run it again for 12 minutes, let it sit for 10 minutes, then put the resulting water through the series of bags again to collect more hash). In some cases, the second run can yield as much as the first run, so don’t skip it!
- Once you’re done with your second run, use the tablespoon to chop up all your hash into tiny bits. Let it dry out for 30 min and chop it up again. Make sure it’s in tiny bits! Continue this process 2 more times. You’re doing this to help it dry out faster, prevent clumping – and more importantly – prevent mold.
- If it’s chopped up enough, your hash should be ready to use within 1-2 days.
- Tip: I pointed a tiny fan (like this one) at the drying hash from about 5 feet away on the low setting. It’s not enough power to move the hash even when it’s dry, and the hash is completely dry and ready to use in a few hours!
- You now have a bunch of great hash! Enjoy and let us know how it went for you!
Don’t have a washer? Want to make bubble hash by hand? Learn how below!
(Manual Version) Make Bubble Hash with a Mixer, Drill or by Hand-Mixing
Making hash with a drill, mixer or by hand-mixing is the same process as with a washing machine. The only difference is that you will agitate everything with a power tool (or by hand) and pre-filter your hash-water with a 220-micron bag before filtering out your hash.
Replace steps 2-8 above with these instructions:
- Place your 220-micron bag inside one of your two buckets. This is now the ‘work bucket’.
- Next, add several layers of ice and marijuana trim or buds. First put a layer of ice at the bottom of the bag, then half your cannabis/trim, then another layer of ice, then the remainder of your cannabis and top off with a final layer of ice.
- Add enough water to make the ice on top float.
- Let this mixture sit for 20 minutes so all that good stuff (trichomes) get nice and cold.
- Use your mixer or drill on a low setting to mix up the ice water and cannabis for about 10 minutes. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to blend the mixture into some sort of smoothie, you just want to agitate the mixture to get the trichomes to fall off.
- Most drills/mixers won’t be able to reach the bottom of your bucket. Make sure to mix everything up with your hand or a big spoon a few times so the stuff on the bottom gets some love, too.
- Let everything sit for another 10 minutes after mixing to let the trichomes sink down via gravity.
- Close up the top of the 220 bag with your hands. Then, pull the bag up and let the water drain through the mesh.
- Once the water has stopped draining, squeeze the remaining water out of the work bag (220), then place the bag of plant matter in a big bowl or container. That cannabis is going to get used again so don’t toss it yet!
- Grab the unused bucket and stack the remainder of your bubble bags inside. First insert the bag with the lowest number (25-micron), then put the (73-micron) bag inside that, and finally put the (160-micron) bag inside that.
- Pour the weed-water from your work bucket into the bucket with your stacked bubble bags. You may want to use a little water to rinse the sides of the work bucket to get any trichomes stuck to the sides of the bucket.
- Now you’ve done everything the washer would have done. Go to step 9 above and continue the tutorial.
Bubble hash is made by putting weed (or trim) in ice-cold water and agitating it. This causes trichomes to break off the cannabis so you can collect them.