Introduction to ice water hash
Ice hash, or ice water hash, is the cannabis concentrate the production of which involves using ice and cold water during sifting. It is usually a solid substance of a dark brown color and a crumbly nature, though, its color and consistency might depend on the temperature of the environment. The concentrate gets softer and crumblier when affected by the slightest heat, even a hand touch.
The measured potency of ice water hash reaches up to 60% THC and greatly depends on the moisture level and the quality of initial plant material.
Ice hash has a unique flavor different from the other concentrates. Consumers admit the presence of spicy and peppery smoke together with the floral scent. As this concentrate has the undisturbed balance between terpenes and cannabinoids, it is considered a full spectrum one.
The other popular name for this concentrate is «bubble hash». It is explained by two reasons: first, by the fact that when smoked, the high-ranked hash produces bubbles; and secondly, by using bubble bags — specific mesh bags for sieving.
Ice hash or BHO: which is better?
Cannabis concentrates are believed to be the future for both medical and recreational marijuana. However, there still is a controversy between those who love potent BHO (butane hash oil) extracts and those who vote for safe and pure choices like ice hash. If you are still uncertain about which to choose, consider the following aspects:
Potency. Even though solventless concentrates are claimed to be as potent as BHO, the facts prove the slight difference in favor of solvent-based extracts. For example, while ice hash might have up to 60% of active THC, butane hash oil sometimes reaches 90%. Nevertheless, both are extremely potent in comparison with herbal marijuana.
Purity. Ice hash, rosin, dry sift are the pure marijuana concentrates the production of which requires only physical measures: temperature, pressure, and water use. They cannot possibly have any chemical contaminants, just the plant matter. The situation with BHO is different. A solvent that is used to separate the active compounds from the fats, lipids and other undesirable flower material, has to be fully evaporated. High quality extracts from reliable suppliers are safe as a rule, but cheaper products might contain the remains of introduced chemicals the inhaling of which are extremely dangerous. You can either reduce the risk by purchasing from trusted dispensaries or totally eliminate it by abandoning BHO.
Health effects. Though all concentrated marijuana forms lead to addiction, it is BHO that is associated with the majority of health problems. Solvent-free concentrates are proven to produce less negative and more positive health effects than the potent extracts.
Ice water hash is one of the concentrates that had been popular for a long time before any solvents were first used. With a tendency towards natural and organic forms of marijuana, ice hash is experiencing its popularity comeback. It is very strong, fully secure, and it can be produced at home with minimal equipment needed.
Versatile nature of ice hash
Ice water hash is one of the most versatile products among marijuana concentrates. To select the best way of consumption, ask yourself what effect you want to get. So if you want:
...to make it simple — use a hand vaporizer.
This way, you will spend minimal time on preparation and will enjoy the effects soon. To get bubbles in the process, use extra hot vaporizers.
...to get most of the hash — dab it.
This way allows experiencing the pure potency of ice water hash, though it requires a certain preparation. First, you need to make your concentrate a ‘dabbable’ one by putting it into the folded parchment paper and pressing hash with your hands. Then, cut the received slab into pieces and use a dabbing tool to drop one onto the pre-heated nail of the oil rig. Place a cap and get the potent vapor. Note that the average amount needed to experience a sufficient high is about one third of a gram, but it is recommended to start with minimal quantities and regulate the amounts afterwards.
...to try ice hash for the first time — add it to the bowl.
Sprinkling ice hash on the bowl is recommended for newcomers, because it allows them to get acquainted with the concentrate in the mildest manner. This way is also good for those who prefer traditional smoking and want to add some pepper to their routine. It works the same way with joints and blunts — you just need to add ice hash on top of the flower inside the roll.
...to make it tasty — use ice hash in edibles.
Choosing this method of consumption, remember that though ice hash is very potent, it gets truly psychoactive only if the concentrate is heated (heat initiates the decarboxylation process), so if your purpose is getting high, you can either select the other method or mix ice hash with your tea or coffee.
Ice hash storage is very particular, because it can last for months and even a year if kept properly. Best way for long-term storage is the freezer. Note that your freezer must be frost-free to ensure that it accumulates no excessive moisture.
As for the package, it is not recommended to use plastic or rubber, because they interact with hash terpenes and influence their chemical composition. Best choices are the silicone, glass and metal. The most important rule when storing ice hash is to avoid oxygen, light, heat and moisture that destroy the potency of a concentrate.
Keep in mind that light-colored ice hash with the highest grade can live longer than the dark-colored one, because it contains less plant impurities.
Trichomes and microns
You can find trichomes on the buds of cannabis flower. They look like the plant hairs and this is exactly where all the potency and flavor is hidden. Trichomes consist of three parts: a stalk, a gland, and cells in between. The size of each part may differ depending on the type of the trichome: for example, in capitate-sessile trichomes, the stalk is as small that it is not noticeable to eye, and in glandular trichomes, all elements are very distinctive.
Terpenes and cannabinoids are present in all the trichome parts, but their greatest concentration is in the trichome gland. To separate the glands from the other plant material, various filter screens are used.
Trichome heads are of different sizes, from 20 to 120 microns, so their separation requires the use of several micron bags. The greater micron quantity of the screen is, the better product you will get. For example, the best-melt ice hash suitable for dabbing is produced by sieving trichome heads through the 80-120-micron bag. If the agitation is minimal, this bag will only let the smallest trichomes in.
Ice hash classification
The final concentrate gets classified according to its melt quality. The best melt product gets the highest grade and can be used for dabbing. The lowest grade of the concentrate does not mean it is a bad quality hash, it just serves different purposes.
5 or 6 stars mean that the production of this ice hash involved using minimal micron size of the bag and minimal agitation. This concentrate can be consumed any preferred way, with certain preference towards dabbing.
3 or 4 stars make the hash suitable for smoking and vaping, because it contains middle-sized trichomes and insignificant amount of plant contaminants. Ice hash of this sort does not melt fully.
1 or 2 stars is recommended for edibles. This grade is also called a cooking grade, because this application is the only one where a low grade hash is effective. It does not mean that 1-2 grade ice hash cannot be added to a joint or blunt, but the effect from smoking will be minimal.
What are bubble bags and why they are used?
Bubble bags are the plastic filtration screens that have the smallest holes on the whole bag surface. The diameter of these holes determine the bag micron quantity.
These bags are used to sieve the marijuana buds: the plant material gets placed in a bag together with the icy water, and the whole mass is agitated to make trichome heads freeze and become brittle to go through the screen.
If you have set your sights on making ice water hash on your own, purchase at least three bags with different micron sizes: this will let you take most of your starting material. At the end, you will get three heaps of ice hash of a different grade.
How to make ice hash at home?
First, prepare the required supply:
frozen cannabis buds;
bubble bags of various micron sizes (3-8 pieces);
a stirring tool.
When everything is ready, pass the following stages:
Fold bubble bags.
You need to fold them all over the bucket in the correct sequence. On the bottom you need to put the smallest number, increasing the micron size to the top. Make sure seams are out and the labels are visible.
Add weed and ice.
Get as much ice into the bucket as it is possible, interchanging the layers. Let the first and the last layer be ice, otherwise, some marijuana buds will not be frozen enough. When it is ready, pour cold water to cover it all.
Agitate the mixture.
Start with the minimal agitation when you work with the top bag. As ice melts, you might need to add some more to keep the buds in a frozen state. The best agitation strategy is to mix shaking and relaxing stages: make 5-sec break after each 10-15 sec shaking. Finish when there is no more hash coming.
Lift the top bag and repeat.
You need to make the same procedure with each of the bags, increasing the agitation level every new time. This way, you will get ice hash of different grade.
Collect and dry ice hash.
When you have all the bags ready, collect the hash by turning them upside down. The next important stage is to dry the material, because the excessive moisture might ruin the concentrate potency. The important thing is to keep reasonable, because when trying to get maximum moisture out of the hash, you might cause the terpenes` vaporizing. Take care of the proper room temperature: it must be between 40 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, never higher. The desired humidity level is about 30%. Use a knife or a spoon to cut the wet hash material into small pieces and leave the concentrate on a parchment paper in a cool place to dry.
Though ice hash can be relatively easy produced in home conditions, the market offers numerous solutions for commercial production: the Pollinator, the Ice-o-lator, etc. They suppose minimal participation from the maker`s side and allow to produce greater amounts of ice hash at a time.
Ice hash worst enemies
Meet three factors that are able to damage your hash more than you can imagine:
Moisture and molds.
The moist ice hash can be easily attacked by molds. You can recognize molds by the unpleasant musty smell and light lines on the surface. Such product should never be consumed in any form, because it will lead to indigestion and sickness. Throw it away and make sure to dry your hash better next time.
Unexperienced consumers sometimes try to simplify the process by using the commercial paint mixers — never repeat this mistake! Too much agitation will totally destroy the concentrate and let all the plant impurities through the mesh. Use only special machines designed for marijuana separation.
Temperature is the factor that must be considered both on the production and on the storing stages. Heat dries the buds and deprives them of their potency and flavor. Note that some terpenes vaporize at temperatures higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Top 9 recommendations for ice hash production
The process of sieving hash in the presence of ice and water has many nuances the knowledge of which can significantly improve the final outcome. Check the best tips for ice hash making:
make everything as cold as possible (except ice, consider cannabis, water and air temperatures);
avoid air circulation during the process;
use only purified water to improve the product quality;
pay attention to the quality of buds, not to the strain;
select bubble bags with consistent micron spacing;
avoid disturbing the trichomes with your hands;
use small pieces of ice, they melt faster;
consider the environment where the cannabis was grown: trichomes in outdoor plants can size to 120 microns, while indoor ones are bigger — up to 160 microns;
buy the ready-made ice hash at least once before you decide to make it yourself — this way you will know what quality to expect.