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.

Solvent Free vs Solvent based extraction – A Brief introduction

Solvent Free vs Solvent based extraction – A Brief introduction

On a theoretical level, both Solvent based and Mechanical extraction techniques can yield Solvent Free herbal extracts through the appropriate execution of three distinct processes:

  1. First the resin is to be liberated from its herbal source through the use of an environmental and/or chemical stimulation.
  2. Once liberated the crude resin solution is collected.
  3. It is then purified, leaving behind a herbal extract free of any residual solvents used in its extraction.

The act of liberating herbal resins from their sources can be easier to achieve through Solvents and solvent based extraction techniques as the use of Chemical solvents can greatly increase the solubility, and ultimately, the remove-ability of resin from its plant source. This is because the family of compounds used in solvent based extraction techniques and the compounds contained within the resin glands of many herbal varieties are similar and thus soluble. Once collected, the solvent must be removed from the extracted solution before it can be considered as a solvent free extract. This is where things tend to get tricky and without some skill and a little know how it can be difficult to achieve.

On the other hand, Mechanical extraction techniques do not require the use of any chemical solvents during their extraction process. This is because mechanical extracts are produced through the controlled manipulation of the hermetic elements. These elements, in combination with variability in temperature, pressure and movement, create an environment on and around the leaf surfaces of plants that are conducive to the dissociation of resin from its origin.

Once dissociated, the resin is then suspended in a solution of these forces, which readily dissipate leading to a herbal resin extract void of the mechanism used to extract it. This kind of extract is referred to as a Solvent Free extract because the mechanisms used to extract the resin are no longer present in the concentrated solution. Mechanical extraction techniques lend themselves to safer and more practical means of creating Solvent Free herbal extracts allowing for creative problem solving, making the mechanical extraction process more of an art form than a science experiment.

This is an ever changing area of extraction with a wide spectrum of techniques that enable specific outcomes. This is where the art comes in and really lots of time and patience learning how to produce a material that you value enough to vaporize or burn. This leg work can be exciting but it doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Get in touch with us. Full Melt Filtration is here for the ride and always excited to talk shop.

Give us a call or drop us an email with any questions or concerns you may have with regards to out products, its manufacture or preferred extraction techniques and we will be happy to assist. We also offer bulk pricing as well as custom filtration mesh sizing on all of our products.

To find out more, drop us an email at jayden@FullMeltFiltration.com, WhatsApp or call +27 82 316 5125 and we will be happy to discuss options that will suit you and your situation comfortably.

Have a look at our FullMelt Filtration product pages to view our product range. This is also where you can find the manufacturing and product specs of all of the products we offer.

Also have a look at our resources section for video and other tutorials on how best to operate the equipment and how to get the most out of the experience of collecting your very own herbal extracts.