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. 


Ice water Hash: The basics

Ice water Hash: The basics

Ice water hashish, also known as bubble hash or full melt hash are terms used to describe resin that has been collected from the cannabis plant using ice-water and gentle agitation. The agitation in this medium releases the resin glands from their bond form on the plant and allows resin collectors to separate and collect this resin into a concentrated form, expressing the full spectrum of the material processed. 

Ice-water hash production is a highly valued methodology for making cannabis concentrates and is employed all over the world. Its name comes from the ice-cold water used to extract cannabis resin from the leaf surfaces of the trim, leaf, and the buds of the cannabis plant. On a fundamental level the process works because the cannabinoids contained within these resin glands are not water soluble, allowing them to retain their shape and not degrade in the presence of water and ice.  

Ice-water hash is either retained as loose heads after the extraction process, which resembles a sandy or granular texture, or the grains are pressed into traditional hashish. High-quality (4* – 5*) granular hash can easily be pressed into traditional hashish using nothing more than the heat from the palm of one’s hand and some light, brisk friction, applied using the thumb of the other hand.  Whereas lower quality hashish (1*-3*) may not readily melt into a mass through the application of heat and pressure. Loose or pressed, ice-water hashish still captivates even the most experienced consumers due to the unique and full-spectrum experience of this potent natural product.

Ice-water hash can be made in small or large quantities, allowing for a wide range of quality, texture and experience. Pre-made extraction systems can be purchased to simplify the process as the leg work of sourcing and manufacturing sifting equipment can be challenging. It is also possible to make ice water hash using tools around the house but with inexpensive kits available the savings are often negligible. 

Pre-made extraction systems offer increased precision and efficiency during the ice water hash production process which is becoming more and more attractive as the market move towards precision isolation of resin based on gland size and ultimately ripeness. The availability of pre-made systems has contributed significantly to a surge in the popularity of ice water hash around the world.

It’s also near to impossible to seriously injure yourself or anyone else making ice water hash, because the process doesn’t involve any flammable chemicals or potentially explosive machinery which makes this technique a safe and viable means of extracting resin in one’s home. This allows more and more people to engage with the production of hashish and to increase their understanding of the plant and its sticky resin that we all know and love so much.