What is bubble hash? How do you make it?
In pursuit of heightened potency, many cannabis enthusiasts have started trying out concentrates as an alternative to flower. In particular, amongst the many options out there, stoners have found themselves using bubble hash, aka ice wax. Along with being quite potent, you can also make it at home! We whipped up a simple guide to show you how.
For stoners around the world, especially those in Europe, there's no better sight than a beautiful brick of hash. It's not hard to see why, either. It's potent, it's convenient to carry around, and, for cigarette smokers, it blends well with tobacco. If you're always getting it online or at a shop, though, it can get pretty expensive over time. The people making it need to pay the bills, after all, so they have to mark up the price.
What if you were the one making it, though? While many concentrate recipes require expensive technology and dangerous practices, we can show you a way involving far less headache. Think you're ready? If so, we'd like to introduce you to our good friend, bubble hash.
WHAT IS BUBBLE HASH?
Bubble hash, like other types of hash, is a cannabis concentrate made from the trichomes found on cannabis buds. Diving into the science, these trichomes are what produce and store the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids we love cannabis for. They're separated from cannabis flowers through the use of ice water and screens (which we'll explain later), and appear as a mound of fine gold-brown particles. This trichome mound is eventually enjoyed as bubble hash. One lit, it'll reveal the reason behind its name, bubbling as you take your hits.
ICE WAX VS BUBBLE HASH
"Wait, that sounds pretty similar to ice wax. Is there a difference?"
Despite the difference in name, ice wax and bubble hash refer to the same type of cannabis concentrate. So don't get confused when someone offers you some ice wax; it's bubble hash all the same. If you have any doubts, it never hurts to clarify.
IS BUBBLE HASH WORTH IT?
Although you may not have been familiar with bubble hash itself, you’re probably quite familiar with the material used to make it.
You know the nicer grinders that have a bottom chamber below a mesh screen? If so, you’ve likely noticed how a brown powder piles up in that chamber over time. Many of us know it as kief, but another name for it is, well, hash! Dry sift hash, specifically.
So, if you only need some weed and a nice grinder to get a simple form of hash, what's the point of bubble hash?
PROS OF BUBBLE HASH
• Unlike dry sift hash, which contains significant plant matter, bubble hash is refined enough that mostly trichomes are present.
• Since there's little plant matter getting in the way, bubble hash is usually more potent, while dry sift hash is slightly more akin to smoking regular flower.
• Cold temperatures promote total trichome-plant separation. As such, the bubble hash process obtains more trichomes than dry sifting the same amount of weed.
CONS OF BUBBLE HASH
• Dry sift hash, as we mentioned, only requires weed, a grinder, and working hands. On a larger scale, it might require a simple screen setup. Bubble hash, on the other hand, requires various pieces of equipment that can cost you a couple hundred dollars/euros/pounds.
• Get enough weed, and you can make massive piles of kief in an hour or two. Bubble hash, however, is a lengthier process, and the end product can take a few days to dry.
• Pretty much anyone can make kief and dry sift hash. Making bubble hash is fairly simple, too, but there's a bit more of a learning curve.
HIGH-RESIN STRAINS FOR MAKING BUBBLE HASH
Feeling like you want to make some quality bubble hash? The first thing you'll need is some quality bud. In this case, the mark of a strain's quality will be its ability to produce lots of resin. As that resin comes from the trichomes, these strains also contain high amounts of THC and assorted terpenes.
Certain iconic strains, like 8 Ball Kush and ICE, fit the bill perfectly. You shouldn't only look at the celebrities, though, as many strains perfect for bubble hash aren't as popular as you'd expect. If you want to see what we mean by that, check out our top 10 list of strains to use for concentrates.
HOW TO MAKE BUBBLE HASH
Once you've acquired your strain of choice, you'll need to gather a few more things before you're ready to go. The supplies below equate to about 9–12 grams of bubble hash.
• Two buckets (4 or 19l each; 1 or 5 gallon)
• 4.5–7kgs of ice (10–15 pound)
• 85g of cannabis (3 ounces)
• Set of extraction bags, sold as "bubble bags"
• Cheesecloth (or micron pressing screens)
• Stirring stick
Get all that together, and be prepared to focus for the next couple of hours. Then, keep in mind that you won't be able to try the fruits of your labour for a few days, as you'll have to let it all dry.
BUBBLE HASH — A FEW SIMPLE STEPS
As complicated as it seems at first, there are only a few simple steps between you and delicious bubble hash. Let's go through them one by one!
1. Before you even start the process itself, freeze your buds overnight. This will give you a strong head-start and ensure your trichomes separate perfectly. Make sure the area you’re working in is cold as well.
2. Lay some towels down under your buckets, and begin lining one with the bubble bags. Start with the smallest size (the one with the largest micron) and layer the next largest one on top. Continue until every bag is lining the bucket.
3. Add in your cannabis, followed by half a standard bag of ice. Pour eight cups of purified water on top of that, then mix it all together.
4. Continuously stir and mix (slowly and carefully) for 15–20 minutes, then let it settle for 20–30 minutes.
5. Once that’s done, take the top bag out and let the water drain out of the bottom, going into the next bag. You can shake it a little if you want, but avoid squeezing if you can.
6. Put that first bag in your second bucket.
7. Take the second bag out, let it drain if needed, and scrape out all the material on the bottom with a spoon. Set this material onto a cheesecloth, and pat yourself on the back for making your first bit of bubble hash! It’s not the purest form, but it’s hash regardless.
8. Repeat this process with the next bags, scraping the material out and dropping it on the cheesecloth as you go. As you continue, you’ll notice the hash getting lighter and less filled with plant matter.
9. Once you’ve gathered all the bubble hash, lightly fold the cheesecloth over it to get rid of the leftover water.
Just like that, you’ve got four or so grades of some excellent bubble hash!
HOW CAN I TELL WHEN MY BUBBLE HASH IS DRY?
As pretty as it may be coming straight out of the bucket, you’ll need to dry your hash before you smoke it. Besides drying with the cheesecloth, you should also place the hash on cardboard in a cool, dry, and dark place. Leave it there for about a week, and it should feel notably more solid to the touch. Once it feels right, it’s ready to be enjoyed!
CAN BUBBLE HASH BE DABBED?
“But how should I enjoy it? It’s a concentrate, so I should be able to dab it, right?”
Well, that’s where it gets a little complicated. See, as we mentioned before, the hash in those first few bags will have some plant matter in it. There isn’t very much, but it is present. If you try to dab that, you’ll end up getting ash in your rig, and the vapor/smoke will be harsh.
If you only focus on getting the purest hash, though, you could obtain a “full-melt” end product. In short, that means it’ll dissolve completely when heated up. It won’t be plentiful, since it only includes the hash in the last bag, but that quality is worth it.
Unless you’re a natural, you’ll need some experience making hash, along with the proper equipment, before you obtain a significant haul of full-melt hash.
HOW TO PERFECT YOUR BUBBLE HASH TECHNIQUE
“Experience and equipment? I can do that! So, what do I need to do?”
First, you’ll need the nicest water filter you can find. From there, you can use the filtered water to make your ice cubes, rather than buying some from the store. Use that filter for the actual water involved in the process as well. With this consistent water purity, you can ensure nothing is dirtying up your hash.
Secondly, how comfortable are you with the cold? Well, get more comfortable, as you’ll need your hash-making space to be as chilly as possible for maximum quality. Cool down the temperature in your house daily, and get used to spending lengthy periods of time in the cold.
Speaking of the cold, a freeze-dryer will take your hash operation to the next level. Instead of leaving it on some cardboard for a week, you just throw it in the dryer for 24 hours! Aside from getting your hash ready in less time, it sharply decreases the risk of contamination. They’re pretty expensive, of course, but the professional method almost never comes cheap. As long as you follow the other instructions, getting a freeze dryer will have you well on your way to full-melt bubble hash!
Lastly, proper storage is key when you want to maintain bubble hash quality. Airtight glass containers are your best option, as they’ll ensure continued freshness and lack of contamination for weeks. You can also freeze them if you need to store them longer, but there are some factors you should consider first.
Enjoy your bubble hash!