Bubble hash has been one of the most popular methods of making cannabis concentrates for decades. New forms of concentrate have stormed the market but bubble hash is still a favourite to many. But what is it and how is it made? This article should clear things up a little.
Bubble hash is a solvent-less concentrate made by using ice cold water to extract the trichomes from cannabis flowers and/or trim. Special micron screen bags are used to filter the water and catch the trichomes, which are collected, then left to dry.
To make bubble hash, the cannabis has to be reduced to extremely low temperatures and agitated over a period of time to effectively remove the trichomes. Buds and trim are often frozen before starting as it can help to preserve flavour. The result is a potent cannabinoid product that used no chemicals during the extraction process.
Making bubble hash is easy and has been performed at home by countless growers and hash enthusiasts for many years. It requires just some basic materials such as ice, the bubble bags and your favourite bud.
The quality of bubble hash varies a lot. Of course, most of it depends on how well the strains used to make it were grown, as well as how it was made. Without using top shelf weed, the bubble hash tends to have a lower quality with less appealing look and flavour.
Fresh-frozen cannabis buds tends to produce the tastiest bubble hash.
The size of the trichomes is different on every cannabis plant, so it is hard to say if bigger or smaller is better. This is why we use multiple screens; to collect and sample each trichome size individually.
Good quality bubble hash bubbles as it is heated. 'Full melt' bubble hash is the highest quality you can achieve, and will leave no residue after vaporization. That means it's completely free of any contaminants or plant matter.
Hash makers use bubble hash filter bags of different micron sizes to separate the trichomes into levels of quality. The more levels the set has, the more accurate your extraction will be. Microns are measured in 'μ'.
The best quality bubble hash tends to come from screens with a micron size of 73-90μ, but if you want to experiment, choose a set of bags with more layers. The smaller the micron size, the less material is able to pass through.
|Plant matter can start to pass through
|Usual size of wash bag
A wash bag (220μ) is used to place the plant material inside before rinsing/agitating it in the ice cold bath. It is best not to overfill it and leave enough space for the material to move around inside the bag as it's being washed.
Most small scale growers use only their trim and popcorn buds to make bubble hash, but the best quality comes from the buds. The buds are where most of the cannabinoids and terpenes are and therefore will be much more diverse in terms of their effect, flavour and aroma.
Trim can of course be used to make bubble hash as there is still plenty of stickiness to strip off, especially on sugar leaves or popcorn buds.
While trimming your cannabis, it can help to separate frosty leaves from those that have not been somewhat covered by resin.
There are a few ways to make bubble hash. Every hash maker eventually finds their own technique, but the bubble bags are essential. The method explained here uses a mini washing machine (basically designed for camping/caravanning).
Before getting started, gather your materials together and make sure you have plenty of ice to get the water as cold as possible. Ideally, your buds/trim should have been frozen for at least 24-48 hours prior to performing the extraction.
Materials needed to make bubble hash:
Bubble bags come in different sizes too. Depending on how much plant material you need to process you may want to scale things up. A minimum of 1-5 gallon buckets is recommended so the bags have enough space to drain properly.
Tip: If possible, raise the washing machine onto a table so you can easily drain out the solution between washes.
Usually, around 1 gallon of water to 1-2 ounces of buds or trim is a good balance for a standard hash making washing machine.
Steps to make bubble hash:
Mixing ice and trim directly in bubble bags by HomeGrownFamz from GrowDiaries.
The wash bag with the plant material can be rinsed multiple times. Add more ice and cold water to the machine if necessary, let it run again for 10 minutes, and strain the water until no more bubble hash is accumulating in the bags.
Tip: It is best to turn off any fans so there is less chance of dust or hairs ending up in your bubble hash.
Freeze dryers are quite expensive so unless you invest in one, you need to leave your bubble hash in a dark place for at least a week to air dry.
With a freeze dryer the bubble hash can be ready in less than 24 hours and the process is much more consistent. Well recommended if you make ice extractions regularly.
Once dry, bubble hash can be consumed in almost any way one would normally consume cannabis. That means dabs, bongs, joints, blunts, pipes, and vaporizers. Don't forget to consider that bubble hash is a concentrate and therefore stronger than buds. THC levels tend to range between 30-50%.
There are also methods of processing bubble hash into many other cannabis products. It can be pressed into hash or rosin, or even made into edibles. The possibilities are endless.
'Bubble Hash', Cannabis Culture Magazine. - Brady, P (2003)
Cannabinoids: Extraction Methods, Analysis, and Physicochemical Characterization. - Ramirez, Cris & Fanovich, Maria & Churio, Sandra. (2018).
Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential, - Russo, Ethan (2013).
Stability, transfer and absorption of cannabinoid constituents of cannabis (hashish) during smoking. Acta pharmaceutica Suecica. - Agurell, S & Leander, K. (1971).
The preparation and analysis of enriched and pure cannabinoids from marihuana and hashish. Lloydia. - Davis KH Jr, Martin NH, Pitt CG, Wildes JW, Wall ME (1970).
This article was updated November 2020.