Even if you’ve been familiar with cannabis for years, defining what “hashish” is can be a bit tricky. Simply put, hashish (also known as hash) is a cannabis concentrate made purely of fresh resin glands that have been separated from flowers of mature female cannabis plants, often entirely by hand. Here we will briefly discuss how to identify hashish as well as a few ways it’s extracted from cannabis today.
Hashish Is Extracted From Cannabis
Just like the unprocessed flowers we all know as “marijuana,” hashish varies in potency and appearance depending on the quality of cannabis it’s extracted from and the process used to do so. The end product of hashish can range from hard, dry bricks that can be brittle and crumble apart at a touch to soft, resinous balls that are sticky as tar. The color can vary as well, from creamy, yellow blonde or amber to rusty reds, browns, and even black.
Hashish is made by collecting and compressing the sticky, crystalline resin glands produced by cannabis flowers (known as trichomes but sometimes called “kief”) and then compressing them into sticks, blocks, or balls.
For instance, the process of making “charas” in Pakistan and India is thousands of years old and consists of gently rubbing cannabis flowers until the resin accumulates on the farmers’ hands to be scraped off, shaped, and compressed. Modern methods of collecting the tiny resin particles from cannabis often involve motorized tumbling machines, fine sieves, molds, and presses, and there is an innovative process that involves mixing marijuana with ice water to remove trichomes and make a pasty concentrate called “bubble hash.”
Tracing the Origins of Hashish
The origin of hashish is unclear, making the routes of its diffusion difficult to trace. Made from the resin produced by the female flowers and floral leaves of the marijuana, hashish is believed to have existed thousands of years ago. There are many legends surrounding the origin of hashish.
One of them is the story of Sheik Haidar, written by Hassan Mohammed ibn-Chirazi. Monk of the order Haidar, Sheik practiced many exercises of devotion and mortification. He was detached from all worldly things and lived alone in a corner of his convent. One day when he was in his retreat, he wandered alone into the countryside. The latter noticed that all the plants were in a perfect calm, not experiencing the least agitation despite the extreme heat. When he passed by a certain plant covered in foliage, he observed that it was moving softly from side to side with a soft light movement, like a man dizzied by the fumes of wine. He began to pluck the leaves of the plant and ate them.
According to him, the plant produced the gaiety that helped him humanize and converse familiarly with his fellow devotees whom he never saw before. Sheik then showed his disciples the magic plants and asked them to cover his tomb with this plant when he died. When visitors, pilgrims and devoted followers came from neighboring lands to venerate the master, they were surprised by both the plants and the atmosphere of gaiety that prevailed around Haidar’s shrine. Soon, the secret of cannabis use spread among Sufi followers of Islam throughout the Middle East to North Africa, Central
Soon, the secret of cannabis use spread among Sufi followers of Islam throughout the Middle East to North Africa, Central Asia and India. Today Afghanistan is known as the world’s top producer of hashish according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The crop in Afghanistan yields more hashish per hectare.
Hashish Production for International Trade Started in Morocco
Hashish has many qualities that make it suitable for international trade. It is relatively dense, compact and easily transported, is not damaged by water and has the potential to store well. Being superior to marijuana in potency, storability and transportability, hashish is a better item for trade and smuggling. But how did the trade started off?
It is believed that massive hashish production for international trade originated in Morocco during the 1960s, where cannabis plant was widely available. Morocco has a long history of psychoactive cannabis cultivation and consumption, but no accurate records of its antiquity are available. Hashish first came to Morocco as early as the 14th and 15th century and was adopted traditionally by the inhabitants of the Rif Mountains. During the 1960s and 1970s, tourists from Europe and North America visited Morocco and their love for the hashish led to increased cannabis cultivation and hashish production in the Rif region.
To conclude, hashish has been used in areas of west Asia and northern Africa for thousands of years, and in recent years its popularity has risen in the Europe and North America. You can consume hashish by either smoking it in a pipe, vaporizer, or in a rolled joint/cigarette mixed with tobacco or cannabis flowers, or it can be used to make edibles the same way marijuana is infused with oils, creams, and butter. Just remember, hashish is a strong concentrate and a pinch will go a long way.
There Are Two Methods for Collecting Resin
As described above, hashish is a psychoactive drug prepared from the resin or the resin glands of the female cannabis plant. The process of making hashish is divided into two parts – resin collection and resin preparation. The two methods for collecting cannabis resin include rubbing off living plants by hands or collecting resin glands by sieving after the plant has been harvested and dried.
Hand-rubbing is the most basic method of separating the medicinal trichome heads from the body of the plant. The hashish is made exactly like it sounds – collecting the resin that builds up on one’s hands after rubbing a bunch of flowering marijuana plants. Though labor-intensive, hand-rubbing requires no tools other than the fingers and palms of the hands. This method is preferable in very humid climates where both drying the plants thoroughly and sieving resin powder are nearly impossible. Healthy and mature plants with mostly green leaves and few brown leaves are the best for rubbing hashish. Cannabis plants are very tough, resilient and difficult to damage. Therefore it is important to apply the correct pressure and vigor when rubbing the flowers. If they are rubbed too gently, such a small quantity of resin is collected that it is hardly worth the effort.
On the contrast, rubbing the plants harder than required may cause the plant tissues and juice to mix with the resin on the hand. This dilutes the resin and seriously diminishes the quality. To remove the resin from the hands, the palms are rubbed together so resin clusters together into sticky little balls. This is perhaps the most difficult and least enjoyable part of hand-rubbing. The balls can be dislodged for collection by gently brushing the hands together. If the piece of hashish is to be kept for more than a couple of days, it must be kneaded thoroughly until consistency and stickiness stabilize. It must be known that no matter how carefully the environment is controlled, the storage of hashish leads to diminished flavor and potency over time, but lower storage temperatures will maintain both of them for greater lengths of time.
Another preferred and popular method of collecting resin glands for the production of hashish is sieving. According to Afghan legend, the highest quality hashish has always been made by sieving rather than rubbing. Compared to hand-rubbing, sieving is a recent development that came after the introduction of smoking from the New World. Sieving involves drying out the cannabis before grinding it into fine powder. The powder is then put through a large sieve and the process is repeated, but each time with a smaller sieve. This increases the potency of the powder.
However, it must be remembered that neither technique removes more than half of the total amount of THC contained in the flowering tops. The discovery of sieving and the subsequent availability of large quantities of sieved hashish made the international trade in hashish possible, and sieving gained in popularity.
Hashish Can Be Induced Through Three Modes
Hashish can be consumed through three modes of ingestion, including eating, smoking or vaporizing. Eating and smoking are the traditional ways of ingesting hashish. As the pathways of absorption by the body are different, the effects from eating are differently different than from inhaling by smoking or vaporization. Because the effects of eating are more intense, the majority of hashish consumed worldwide is smoked. Hashish smoking is associated with feeling of relaxation, elation and euphoria. Usually smoked in a social setting, hashish device is shared by a small group.
There are many ways to smoke hash. One of them is rolled like a joint. Mixing hashish with tobacco and rolling it into cigarettes has been the standard way to smoke hashish in Europe since the 1960s. Simply stick a chunk of hash on a key and burn it slightly without charring it and while keeping the flame on it. Then crumble it up and mix it with tobacco if you wish. Roll it up and it is ready to be smoked.
Another popular way to smoke hash is with a glass or cup. Stick a sewing pin through a cigarette and stick the hash on top of the pin. Put the cigarette in a clear glass so the tips create a bridge. Light the hash and cover the opening of the glass with a paper or boo. Once the glass is filled up with smoke, you can breathe it in.
Vaporizing hashish is an alternative to eating or burning it. The THC in hashish vaporizes when the hashish burns. The THC adjacent to the burning ember vaporizes and is released with the smoke, and the smoker inhales the mixture of vaporized THC and smoke. When hashish is heated to between 200° C and 450° C, the user receives both the potency and the flavors without any of the smoke usually associated with smoking.
Hashish Smoking Is Euphoric in Nature
Most of the effects induced by hashish smoking are the same as the effects induced by marijuana. However, because hashish is often higher in THC, less hashish is often required to achieve the desired results. Hashish has a positive impact on the nervous system which helps relax the body and improve breathing. Hashish has been used for years over ethnic and geographical boundaries. It is not only a form of relaxation, but it helps one attain the spiritual realm by improving the consciousness.
Hashish Is Used for Medicinal Purposes
Cannabis has been widely used as a medicinal plant for many years. The primary value of cannabis as a medicine lies in its analgesic ability to relieve symptoms of diseases rather than curing them. Both hashish and marijuana have been used for medicinal relief for menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, insomnia, pain and depression. Nonetheless, the only difference between marijuana and hashish is the concentration of the medically active cannabinoids. The concentration is higher in hashish, making it more concentrated and a more medically appropriate source of the active cannabinoid compounds.
Hashish Will Stay
The rollercoaster history of hashish shows that it will stay no matter what. Although it is widely used without direct medical supervision, no deaths have ever been reported from any use. Consumed for pure relaxation and pleasure, for pain relief or as part of a culture, hashish is reportedly growing in popularity day by day and from region to region. It is legitimate to say that hashish has secured its footing in the ever-changing climate of the cannabis industry.