Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Some people call it “connoisseur grade”, a high-end "luxury product", or “boutique-bud”, but I just call it hash. Hash the way hash is meant to be made. I call the rest of what's bought and sold in today's market, largely the mid-grade results of corporatism, sucking quality right out of Cali's recreational cannabis market and it's endless bureaucracy. And with the high price investment of closed-loop butane extraction labs and equipment, brands have dug their heels in and resisted the solventless revolution. But this is not another trend, its cannabis hashish the way its meant to be and consumers should demand nothing less. Gone are the days when vastly different priced butane extracts made sense. They all fail to compare with the quality and amount of cannabis flower necessary to produce modern solventless hash. Instead, BHO should sell for half its current cost, with a standard price range that doesn't vary so much from brand to brand. As demand increases for solventless hash so will the supply. The increased demand will force brands to go solventless or sink, and provide consumers more for less.
The idea of ice-water hash is to isolate and preserve only the very tip or "head" of each cannabis trichome as seen pictured below:
This process was made possible by freezing cannabis immediately after harvest to preserve as many terpenes as possible, which naturally degrade over time. This technique was developed for hydrocarbon B.H.O. (butane hash oil) extracts to make live resins, but allowed solventless hash to reach new heights. Borrowing the fresh-frozen technique, raw cannabis is submerged in water and ice. The cannabis is gently mixed in the water as trichomes break free from the plant material. In theory, only the round heads of each trichome will break free, leaving their stems and everything else behind. Thanks to the non-water solubility of cannabis trichomes, the heads remain suspended in water until filtered out. Using mesh screens, often referred to as "bubble bags," they are stacked in descending order allowing the finer material to pass through the first few larger sized micron screens, but are caught before falling through the finer micron screens toward the bottom. The trick is to isolate only the round trichome heads, filtering out all the plant material including trichome stems. The valuable trichome heads contain a full-profile of terpenes and cannabinoids in the same ratio as Mother Nature intended.
Some cannabis varietals, or strains, develop bigger trichome heads than others. Getting to know their genetic library allows producers to understand and gauge the average size of trichome heads for different strains or varieties of cannabis they grow. This means that some varieties of cannabis retain the greatest amount of trichome heads in the 120u micron size screen, while others produce better from the 90 micron sized screens.
Next time you see a tray or a jar of white, sand-looking, cannabis hash, you can know you are looking at tens of thousands of isolated trichome heads piled on top of each other. Despite looking like loose sand in the jar, these trichome heads bond to one another in a surprisingly firm and stationary extract. From there, you can scoop and dab, or elect to press the hash between parchment paper in order to better gauge the amount or size of each dab. After pressing the hash in parchment it can be cut into small squares, called "flags", which are then dabbed as normal.
Regardless of how it is consumed, there is no better extract made anywhere on Earth. Ice-water hash is the pinnacle achievement in hashish, combining generations of information to achieve full-melt, 6-star, ice-water hash. Below is a perfect example of ice-hash naturally turning to an oil as it reaches room temp: