Knowing Your Weed Terms: What is Hashish?

Concentrated THC with a long history.

Blocks of hash (iStock / Stephen Barnes)

Cannabis use has been recorded for centuries, but the use of hashish, or hash, did not gain popularity until around the 11th century among Islamic societies, where it was first consumed as a food. While the Quran forbid alcohol, there was nothing specific related to cannabis use.

Hashish is a highly potent, concentrated form of cannabis that comes from the dried resin of a female cannabis plant. The resin is collected for its trichomes, the little appendages that contain the plant’s therapeutic cannabinoids. The French caught on to the powers of hashish in the early 1800s while they were invading Egypt. The troops brought cannabis back home with them, and hashish became a popular item at pharmacies.

Over the years, other European countries began to manufacture cannabis tinctures and formulas for medical use. By the end of the nineteenth century, the United States had joined. The twentieth century saw the decline in popularity of hashish, as pharmaceuticals began to take precedence over medical cannabis. Alternative-lifestylers in the ‘60s brought some love and awareness back to hashish for more recreational reasons. 

Modern hashish

Today, most hash comes from Morocco, though Nepal, Afghanistan, and others are all contributors. Western tourists in Morocco in the ‘60s and ‘70s are said to have contributed to the demand that drove the country to start mass production.

Hash is harvested by collecting trichomes by hand, or with a motor-powered sifter, a kief collector in a grinder, or by submerging plants into icy water and then removing and drying the trichomes (known as bubble hash). The residue is then pressed into compact blocks of highly-concentrated cannabis that can be smoked, vaporized, dabbed, or as my mother recommended from her glory days: hot-knifed.

hot knife

Hot knifing hash (iStock / madsci)

Consuming Hash

Hash is much more potent than regular flower, so it is important to be prepared mentally and physically before you consume it. Much like taking dabs for the first time, if you have no experience with hash, start with a small amount. It is much easier to consume more if you need it than it is to pull yourself out of a weed-induced frenzy.

Add it to an existing routine:

If you are already smoking, you can easily pick off some little pieces of hash and add it to your joint or spliff. Rather than sprinkling, you can also form a small, worm-like shape out of your hash and place it inside the paper along with your other materials. Using a pipe or bong can work too, but the hash will burn more quickly and it can be wasteful. Remember if you’re mixing weed with hash, the effects are going to be even stronger.

Vaporize it:

Some vape pens are designed to handle hash and oil, but be sure to consult your budtender if you are unsure if your vaporizer can support hashish. If it does, you will just have to follow the regular steps for vaping out of your pen.

Some types of hashish can easily be consumed by dabbing. You want hash that will melt fully when heat is applied in order to vaporize. You will need a dab rig or water pipe to get going. Then you can take dabs of your hashish as you would other concentrates.

Eat it:

You can melt your hash into various dishes as a way to consume. There are plenty of recipes for hash yogurt on the web, as well as user stories who prefer to swirl a little hash in with their chocolate. Or, as the “hashish eaters” in the 1800s preferred, you can make yourself a paste out of nuts, orange peel, butter, cinnamon, sugar, and hashish.

How to Make Hashish at Home

Once the resin has been collected, the hash can be formed. There are a few ways to do this, including using a mechanical press which shapes the hash quickly. If you don’t have a mechanical or hand-pumped press, you can still make hash at home in other ways.

Another easy and passive way to make hashish is to do the “shoe method.” This involves wrapping up a few grams of kief in cellophane or parchment paper and taping it securely shut. It’s important to use cellophane or parchment paper as plastic bags will cause the kief to stick and prevent it from compacting properly. Then, pierce a tiny pinhole through the wrapping to prevent it from popping with trapped air. Put the wrapped up kief in the sole of your shoe, and go about your day. It shouldn’t take more than an hour of activity before you find yourself a newly-formed slab of hash.

Small amounts can be pressed by hand without the use of any tools. You’ll need to stick at it for a while and get some heat and friction going, vigorously rubbing and pressing it until it changes consistency. It’s best to rub it between your palms and thumbs to get the most heat and friction. After ten minutes or so you should notice the material changing shape, and beginning to take form.

Hash can be made many ways, and most of the methods can be found online and DIY-ed. A few simple tools from the store can get you going, like a silk screen or even dry ice for extraction. If you don’t have the tools, you can get still make hashish from the resin left behind in your kief collector.

Knowing Your Weed Terms: What is Hashish? was last modified: by
Macey Wolfer
About Macey Wolfer
Macey is a freelance writer recently moved to Seattle, Washington. When she’s not writing articles, she is playing bass in her band or at a show. She also enjoys making poems and short stories, and helping friends with their creative projects.