Why a 38u over a 45u?

Why a 38u over a 45u?

Cannabis genetics are incredibly diverse. Displaying a huge spectrum of smells, flavours and effects. They are also all unique in their growth and development throughout their life cycles. Additionally, they are also different on the microscopic level, producing unique trichome head structures that have similarities but are just as diverse in shape, size, texture and colour as there are smells and growth structures in the gene pool.

When making Bubble Hash or other mechanical extraction with Cannabis it is important to consider that we are not dissolving anything. We are “shaking the tree and collecting the fruit” based on their size in our different sieves. 

Because we are using mechanical forces to separate the resin glands from the bulk of the plant material. It is important that we consider the physical properties of what we are trying to remove as well as the physical mechanics of how this is done and how to achieve ideal conditions.

First let’s talk about Trichomes

There are many different trichomes and many different growth phases for each. Each serve a specific purpose for the plant but for the Hash Maker we are generally only interested in one type of trichome – the Capitate Stalked head trichome.

As the Cannabis plant starts to flower, it begins to produce trichomes. These trichomes will develop and ripen throughout the life of the plant until they over ripen and fall off their stalk naturally. A metaphor for this action can be found in fruit trees. 

For example, let’s consider a lemon tree producing lemons during its growing season. First flowers are pollinated and begin to produce fruit. This is the same as in the early stages of the cannabis flowering stage when early resin production is seen. The trichomes at this stage are small, short and often clear. Indicating that the trichome is immature. The fruit is anchored to the plant with a strong stalk that is delivering all the nutrition it needs to produce a lemon, making it almost impossible that the developing fruit would fall off naturally.

As the lemon develops, so does the concentration of sugars and terpenes that are indicative of the fruit being a lemon. The same idea is true with the resin forming on the leaf surfaces of the cannabis plant while in flower. As the flower develops the trichomes develop and become larger, increasing the concentration of precursor cannabinoid and terpenes found in that head. The colour will also start to develop from clear to opaque to rusting as the trichomes develop and swell with an increase in the concentrates in cannabinoids and terpenes.

As the Cannabis plant matures the trichomes begin to darken and the stalk holding the heads becomes weak. This is similar with our lemon tree. As the fruit develops into a ripe fruit it becomes heavy and the stalk holding it to the tree becomes weak in relation to the fruit it holds. The lemons are also a bright yellow colour indicating the ripeness of the fruit and the concentration of sugars and terpenes found within the fruit and in its skin. Humans and other animals then pick the fruit at this stage and consume the lemon as a sour but sweet lemon. The same is true with the trichome heads in cannabis. This is a sweet spot for “picking” trichome heads just like there is with picking fruit from a tree. We want to pick the trichomes when the largest number of trichomes are ripe and ready to be picked.

Anything more and we will have fruits that are over ripe and not a true representation of the plant it was collected from. Anything less and the heads will be underdeveloped and not as sort after as ripe fruits and again not a true representation of the plant.

When making Hash we are looking to sift for heads that have started to ripen to heads that are on their way to over ripening. This spectrum is vast due to the vast diversity of genetics in the gene pool. However, in a lot of the traditional producing countries and in the USA. Many of their genetics show trichomes ranging in size from about 50-500 micrometers in diameter.

For this reason the earlier companies went with 2 lower end bags, a 25 Micron bag to collect the finest immature heads possible and a 45 micron to include all of the potential sizes of heads found in their cultivars. This was over 20 years ago and was primarily linked to research done on cultivars grown in the USA. 


There are many different trichomes and many different growth phases for each. Each serve a specific purpose for the plant but for the Hash Maker we are generally only interested in one type of trichome – the Capitate Stalked head trichome.

In cannabis the trichome glands are believed to be produced by the plant for a number of possible reasons. 

Some of the potential reasons are as follows:

  • Creating an abrasive surface, the deters insects and other organisms from walking over or infecting the forming buds.
  • Catching and holding onto pollen that drifts through the air. As the STIGMAS? Blow over the resin heads covered in pollen they become pollenated and produce seed
  • Protecting the plants surface from harsh excess UV light exposure, especially at higher altitudes where the UVB and UVC exposure is often higher.
  • Creating micron climates between the leaf surface and the underside of the resin glands that allows for a semi-regulated micron climate to maintain transpiration rates through VPD (vapour pressure deficit).
Let’s discuss different separation method

When agitating material with Ice water we are shaking the tree with ice cold water that sweeps over the leaf surface removing the heads from their stalks and suspending them in the water for later filtration. 

With dry sift we are using a tumbling effect and gravity separate trichome heads from the bulk of the plant material. As plant material is tumbled, the heads will separate from the stalks which then fall through sieves which is later collected.

Rosin is different in the sense that the trichome heads are heated to the point where their contents becomes liquid. Pressure is then used to force the liquidifed heads from the bulk of the plant material leading to a distinct separation between the oils and the bulk of the plant material.

Collection methods

Why a 38u over a 45u for the SA market? 

Many of the Southern African Cultivars produce high densities for resin coverage over the leaves and flowers of the Cannabis plant. However, the resin glands produced in these regions tend to be smaller on average when ripe than much of the homogenous Cannabis we see grown in commercial setting. 

The difference is likely due to evolution as a result of environmental factors like the level of light exposure, pest stress, heat and humidity experienced by the plants which through partly artificial and partly natural section has evolved a complimentary relationship between  the soil it grows in, it’s environment and level of light exposure it receives in different regions around the world.

The lower altitude land race cultivars in South Africa tend to be a high majority of tall, thin leave varieties that will rather yellow towards the end of flower than show a wide diversity of colour. The flower formation tends to be less dense and often density covered in resin glands with smaller trichome heads.

How Water Hash Works

How Water Hash Works

All ice water hash methods use water, ice, and agitation to separate resin glands from the plant material. In its most basic, ice cold water and plant material are placed in a bucket that has been lined with filtration bags, which are arranged in an ascending order from the finest to the most course. This is similar to the arrangement and composition of screens used in the production of dry sift hash or kief. Like those screens, the filtration bags filter the resin glands by micron size, separating the loose resin gland (hash) from the trash or plant material. A micron is one-millionth of a meter, or .001 millimetres. Which is incredibly small considering the diameter of human hair being on averages from 17 micrometres to 180 micrometres.

The material is stirred/agitated to wipe the resin glands off the surface of the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Once separated, the resin begins to sink to the base of the extraction vessel because the glands themselves are heavily than the water they are suspended in. The plant material is generally lighter than the water used to extract and therefore floats to the surface of the extraction vessel. This allows for the separation and ultimate isolation and removal of fully intact resin glands from the extraction vessel which are collected and concentrated into hashish.

Pre-made systems use multiple bags that sort the glands by size allowing for a much finer assortment of resin. This is unlike dry sift kief making where the material used is agitated and the resin is separated all in the same step. This is in relation to ice water hash production which isolates these two phases into two distinct steps. The agitation step and the separation step. This allows for a high degree of refinement of the resin glands based on size. Ice water hash, when done correctly, does not put a lot of strain onto the plant material itself which allows for multiple agitations before the material begins to contaminate the final product. In most extraction techniques the material is processed once to gain the highest refinement possible without contaminating the sifted material with broken or damaged plant material.

As with all extraction methods, cold temperature is the key element to success. The ice keeps the water and material very cold so the glands remain brittle and snap off when the material is agitated. After the material is agitated in the ice water, it’s allowed to settle to the base of the extraction vessel. Then filtration bags are used to separate the glands removed based on their size. After the water hash is dried, it’s ready to smoke but further refinement can be used to distinguish the hash produced from maker to maker.

Ice water hash varies in colour, flavour and texture and can be many shades of white, brown, red, even purple. When extracted from the finest-grade material, the potency of water hash can test as high as many solvent hash products, with up to 80% cannabinoid content making it some of the most potent full plant extract on the planet. This level of refinement is unique and is only made possible by attention to detail by the extractor and the farmer. Quality material leads to quality hashish, that’s the bottom line. Hash makers are simply people that help express the full spectrum of the cannabis plants resin by removing and concentrating it into a substance that mirrors the original plant source but on a much higher level.

A Brief Look at the History of Bubble Hash

A Brief Look at the History of Bubble Hash

Hashish – also referred to as Hash is considered to be the original cannabis concentrate. Humans have been producing, using and consuming it for centuries all over the world, with a few countries standing out as producing countries because of their unique cultivators, climates and cannabis expressions that make some seriously good Hash. 

According to “Cannabis: A History” (written by Martin Booth and first published in 2003), the earliest published mention of the term “hashish” is found in an Egyptian pamphlet from around 1123 – almost a 1000 years ago!

The history of Hash or Hashish is diverse and unique to a number of “producing countries around the world”. From places like Morocco, Egypt, the Persian Empire and the whole of Europe. But the so-called “historic hash” is most famously produced in the mountains of India and Nepal, where it is called charas

Charas is Hash made by rubbing the live Cannabis buds right at the end of their flowering cycle. The sticky plant resin sticks to the hands of the Hash maker as they rub from flower to flower collecting layers of resin on their hands as they go. Once this layer is thick enough it will be removed from the hand by collecting the resin on a finger and slowly peeling it off to form one mass. 

This mass of resin is often then heated to activate the resin before it is prepared for storage and curing. In India and the mountains of Nepal, a famous means of preparation for storing and curing resin is a temple ball which a spherical mass of resin that is left to cure often for years.

The curing process is said to give the resin a mystical effect that is not seen or felt in young uncured and unpressed resin but the effect has not been isolated and defined in it entirety.

The Charas is primarily consumed by smoking it. Either by mixing it with Tobacco and rolling it into a “Spliff” or even more effectively – in a Chillum. Charas can also be consumed by eating or drinking preparations like Bhang (a yoghat cannabis infused drink) or by chewing the resin and swallowing pieces.

So how did Hash get from its places of origin and into the culture as we see it today? According to a study done by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in the early 2000’s, hashish first began to move to countries like Europe when colonizers returned to their home nations from countries like India, Egypt and Morocco. The first mention of hash can be found in European texts by German botanist, Johann Gmelin in 1777.

As you can imagine, Hash gained traction in many European countries fairly quickly. Realization and interest in the medical benefits of Hash grew in the U.S. toward the end of the 19th century. Interestingly, Hash was most commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as depression, nausea, diarrhea and appetite loss which are still some of the conditions treated with Hash today – along with an incredible array of newly discovered treatments and remedies for common and uncommon conditions in humans and other animals.

Today, “Hashish” exists in a galaxy of colours, textures, smells and effects. The most popular of which is referred to as Bubble Hash. Bubble Hash is made by agitating cannabis in Ice water. The mixture of ice water and agitated material is then filtered through a series of micron sieves that remove the plant materials from the very small resin filled trichome heads found on the leaf surfaces of buds, leaves and trim.

Hash is also made using dry sifting techniques which employ a similar technique as is found in many producing countries. Dry plant material is agitated over a poros mesh screen that is course enough to allow trichome heads to pass through it while at the same time holding back the majority of unwanted plant material contaminates. 

The sift material is then collected and processed further using a variety of methods from Rosin to hand pressing or left as is and consumed as desired, when desired.


Defining Cannabis Terroir in SA and appellation Hash production from specific regions around the country

Defining Cannabis Terroir in SA and appellation Hash production from specific regions around the country

Terroir is a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop’s specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.

Although the word Terroir was developed for the wine industry as a way to help define producing regions as a way to define quality. The word resonates throughout the Cannabis community as a honourable goal to achieve.

South Africa is known for all the wines produced in different regions of the country. These specific regions impart a uniqueness to each bottle that is distinct and enough to express the differences from bottle to bottle.

The idea that Cannabis cultivation and grapevines can draw parallels may be amusing to some but the effect is similar. Cannabis produces oil filled glandular trichome heads on the surfaces of its leaves and flowers. These are considered by many to be the fruits produced by the plant.

Water Hash Basics

Water Hash Basics

All gland-bearing regions of the cannabis plant such as the leaf, trim and buds or any combination of the three can be used to make ice water hash. It is more popular to use the trim from flowers freshly harvested as the material would usually be wasted. However, with the gaining popularity of ice water hash around the world many extraction artists distinguish themselves by producing Ice water hash that is on par with solvent based extracts and this can only be achieved by using the same material. Full, fresh frozen plant material. This said, ice water hash and in fact all hashish can be made from either fresh or dried material. 

When making ice water hash it is important to keep the plant material and the environment you are extracting in very cold. Heat is the enemy when extracting the resin glands from the cannabis plant. Low-temperature water is essential to make the trichomes brittle enough to snap off during the agitation process. The low temperatures also limits the volatile terpenes from vaping off the material, allowing for a truer representation of the original material used to extract. 4°C is optimum and should be a temperature that is actively maintained throughout the extraction process. 

At 4°C, RO water is at its thickest consistency allowing for the most active agitation of the resin glands. Below 4°C, the water starts to become buoyant as it prepares to freeze. This lowers the viscosity of the water and lowers the overall agitation capability of the water. Temperatures higher than 4°C can lead to a decreased ability to separate resin from its herbal source. This is because the resin starts to become pliable rather than brittle which leads to a morphing of the heads rather than a clean break. Once the heads have morphed, they can no longer be separated effectively based on their size. 

Once removed and collected the resin needs to be dried to avoid moulding and nucleation of the resin. Now there is a lot on each of these topics and we would like to keep the blog posts separate to emphasis their importance. To view the full blog post on Moulds and Hash, please click here – “Moulds and Hashish: The good, the bad and the suprb” where we look into the spectrum of cured cannabis resin.  Nucleation of cannabis resin at its most basic refers to a consistency. This consistency is also referred to as sugaring and is caused by the presence of water retained in the final product. The water limits the combining capabilities of the resin and leads to a consistency that is graining and a hash that can be harsh to consume. For this reason, humidity is also a factor to consider when making ice water hashish. To avoid the nucleation of resin make sure the resin is completely dry before storing and avoid humid storage conditions. 

This can be achieved by freezing the mass of resin collected, microplanning or grating the resin onto a wicking surface and allowing the remaining water left behind to be wicked from the resin as quickly as possible. To accelerate the wicking process, spread the finely grated material over a large surface area that is capable of wicking the moisture out of the resin. This could be a piece of cardboard or a large wicking screen placed on top of a desiccant. Leave the resin to dry for 18-36 hours depending on the humidity present in the drying environment. The material at this point is very fine and sand like and can easily be blown away for bumped and lost. To ensure all the resin collected is retained after the drying process it is ideal to dedicate a space to the drying process that is out of direct light, wind and daily activity.

It’s crucial to treat the cannabis delicately to preserve all of the glands and keep them on the vegetation. Take the utmost care when preparing your flowers and material. Remove the stems and large fan leaves and avoid damaging the material through excessive trimming or grinding as this will remove the resin glands before the extraction process has begun and will contribute to lower yields and potentially high contamination levels in your final product. Coarsely chopped cannabis is most convenient. It is important to remove and twigs and stems before beginning the extraction process because they can tear the mesh screens of the filtration bags.

Whether using a pre-made bag system or materials from your kitchen, the basic principles of making ice water hash are the same. There are slight contributions by technique, patience and proficiency, but what primarily determines the quality of the hash you produce is the calibre of the plant material used and the quality and size of the micron filter mesh employed in your set of filtration bags.