Anyone who has been smoking cannabis for long enough knows that before shatter, wax, and other modern concentrates took over the scene, it was hash that commanded a preeminent status. By sprinkling a little hash on your bowl, you could dramatically elevate potency and enjoy incredibly rich cannabis flavors.
The first hash makers date back over 1,000 years with hash itself possessing a deep, global history. Although terminology has changed over time, the original name for hash comes from the Arabic word ( حشيش ), which means grass. Hashish making is an art form that has been passed from artisan to apprentice for centuries, originating from Asia and the Middle East.
Many smokers from the 60’s and 70’s will fondly remember authentic Turkish hash, Thai sticks, and all other manner of old school hash products that are either non existent or comprise only a tiny portion of the market today. With BHO dominating the cannabis market, the art of hash making had taken a backseat until recently. That is changing quickly however, thanks to two new major developments: rosin presses and freeze dryers.
Traditionally hash had been made either by hand with pressure and heat, or more recently, with the advent of specialized hash washing machines. It’s speculated that many ancient hash making techniques have been lost to the sands of time, however the vast majority of hash artisans today employ methods that are completely different than the ways of old.
Modern hash making machines closely resemble clothes washers, except they work by using a slurry of ice and water to separate the trichome heads from the cannabis flowers or trim, which are then filtered through various micron-width mesh bags. This type of hash is specifically known as bubble hash.
After the soaked trichomes are collected, they are graded, separated, and dried. An air drying process, similar to how cannabis itself is dried, has been the primary method used to remove moisture from hash. Properly drying bubble hash has typically been the most difficult and time consuming part of the process, requiring precise temperature and humidity control.
When the hash is finally dry, it ends up in a variety of different qualities based on the individual micron bag it was collected from. The most prized and sought after of these grades is known as “full melt” which means that those trichomes literally melt on a dab rig the exact same way shatter or wax would. Full melt is highly desirable because it is the original cannabis concentrate. When old school tokers wanted something special they reached for the hash. Pressing that hash into rosin is just the next step that people are now taking.
Two key advances in hash making have come to the fore recently and have breathed new life into the practice.
First, utilizing modern freeze dryers, the hash drying process is as simple as pressing a few buttons and waiting 24 to 36 hours, whereas with air drying it can take 5 to 7 days or longer in a highly controlled environment, requiring immense skill and care.
Secondly, with the invention of rosin presses, all of the non-full melt grades of hash can now be easily made into full melt extracts of a variety of textures (including shatter, budder, wax, and so on). Whereas commercial rosin presses are a recent development, freeze dryers have been around for much longer.
Historically freeze dryers have been a key piece of equipment in many pharmaceutical laboratories and also have been frequently used for dehydrating food items for longterm storage. With the ease of use a freeze dryer offers, the hardest part of making great, terpene-rich hash (drying it) is now considerably less labor intensive. A few clever hash makers figured out that they are the perfect machines to dry hash with, and now with the addition of both machines used in conjunction, a revolution is taking place.
While the demand for rosin has grown dramatically over the past year, hash rosin’s reputation in particular as the ultra premium concentrate is also making major headway among true connoisseurs.
Due its truly solvent-less profile, hash rosin is frequently regarded as the purest full melt concentrate right alongside full melt hash itself. With BHO and solvent-based extraction, you can blast low quality material into golden shatter, however with rosin, there’s no way to remove impurities — so what you see is what you get.
Terpene content is also consistently excellent with hash rosin, which many cannabis aficionados consider to be the cardinal quality concentrates. With proper equipment and techniques, the terpene content of hash rosin can naturally reach and exceed 10% weight by volume.
This is evidenced by modern testing results, such as a sample of some “Banana Split” hash rosin, made by Denver’s own The Proper Extracts. This banana split hash rosin won highest terpene content at Chalice’s 2017 competition and was dried using a scientific freeze dryer.
We got a chance to catch up with Manny, the owner of Fox Cannabis and The Proper Extracts, to get his opinions on how freeze drying makes a difference. He said,
“Freeze dryers are a game changer, you can decrease dry time and processing from days to hours, while preserving the peak trichome and terpene profile of the hash.”
It’s important to note that your standard food dehydrator won’t cut it for drying hash. Freeze dryers work by a process called “Lyophilization” which, through various cycles of extremely cold temperatures and subsequent warming in a vacuum environment, remove moisture from the hash, thus drying it to be ready for consumption.
More technically, this process is known as sublimation, where water in the form of ice goes directly to a gas, skipping the liquid stage. A variety of freeze dryers are available to the public that anyone can use, even at home. Most serious hash makers demand the elevated control that only a scientific-grade freeze dryer can offer through its customizable freezing and warming cycles.
Freeze dryers, when combined with a high quality rosin press, can help a hash maker produce some of the best rosin available, especially given that hash rosin is derived without the use of any harsh solvents.
The best of the best rosin is known as “live rosin”, which means that fresh frozen plant material is first washed into hash and then pressed into rosin to produce a product on par with live resin, sans butane. It’s typically known as “full spectrum” because when hash is derived from freshly frozen cannabis it offers a full complement of cannabinoids and terpenes.
As a result, many solvent-based extractions can’t claim “full spectrum” because so many terpenes and cannabinoids can be lost in the process. Virtually anyone can now start washing hash, quickly dry it in a freeze dryer, and then profitably sell both the full melt grade while pressing the remaining grades into rosin. Top quality, fresh frozen rosin can retail as much as $100 per gram given its often unmatched terpene profile.
Given that making hash and hash rosin are both solvent-free, a number of business have started up due to the low startup costs of making hash and pressing rosin together. Without the burden of a tightly-controlled laboratory that BHO or other closed-loop solvent-based extraction systems demand, it’s now more straightforward than ever to make incredible solvent-less hash and hash rosin.
As with all things cannabis, it truly starts in the garden. A movement in the industry paralleling the farm-to-table food ethos has already begun; with each passing day demand is growing for boutique genetics and rare terpene profiles. More and more consumers are demanding not only potent cannabis products, but ultra high quality, contaminant free ones too, right alongside truly solvent-less concentrates.
This is where rosin fits in long term, and especially hash rosin for its unmatched quality. Against a flooded market of low quality BHO and questionable vape pens, rosin’s popularity is expected to increase sharply given its small batch, labor-of-love style of production. If you ask any true cannabis lover what they’re always on the lookout for, chances are they’ll rank hash rosin right next to or above live resin.
Despite consumption of hash having been in a mild decline for a number of years, these evolutions in consumer tastes are once again bringing hash making to the forefront of cannabis.
Famous hash makers such as Bubbleman, Nikka T, KennnWall, Matt Rize, among many others first staked their claim as celebrities in the cannabis world by producing incredible solvent-less hash, long before shatter was in everyone’s dab rig.
There are now even growers who consider themselves “resin farmers” — meaning that they aren’t just growing for the flowers themselves, but for the trichomes and resins, which are the true fruits of the cannabis plant. It’s always been a labor of love for these elite hash makers, making their products in small batches for true connoisseurs.
Now virtually all hash makers are also pressing rosin and many of the best commercial hash labs have learned that freeze dryers provide superior terpene preservation along with dramatically reduced drying times.
It’s now more straightforward than ever for individuals to get involved in the concentrate-production business by acquiring a rosin press, hash making equipment, and a freeze dryer, thereby skipping the $50,000+ closed-loop methods entirely.
Of course starting a business is certainly a tall task, so if your local dispensary isn’t stocking hash rosin or full melt hash, it’s high time you asked them to!
If you’ve ever taken more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it’s often because more is needed. Maybe you’re suffering from the flu and need to break a fever, or have an especially bad headache. Most painkillers, prescription or over-the-counter, work in this way: more medicine means more relief.
One of the largest learning curves when it comes to cannabidiol is that it’s biphasic: more CBD does not necessarily mean more relief. It means different relief. The science of cannabinoids is still developing and there’s a lot of trial-and-error for patients and caregivers. The ratio of CBD to THC is also important rather than a straight dose of CBD. Researchers are unclear as to why small amounts of THC bring out the benefits of CBD, but they do. I’ve noticed a pattern that suggests the higher the ratio of CBD to THC, the better it works for medical conditions that are difficult to treat.
Multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and Dravet syndrome are diseases CBD can potentially treat when conventional methods have failed. MS an\d fibromyalgia occur often enough in the population that pharmaceutical companies have devoted resources towards developing new treatments, but Dravet syndrome is more rare. It presents in children less than a year old and is devastating to their quality of life. Treatments for epilepsy in general requires heavy doses of tranquilizing drugs, and this can cause long term harm to a growing child. CBD’s potential to treat Dravet syndrome is significant enough that pharmaceutical companies have taken notice and are studying CBD in full scale clinical trials.
I was curious if an 18:1 ratio could work for my seasonal affective disorder. Luckily, southern California has very few cloudy days, but those days can stop me in my tracks. Care by Design’s collection of CBD sprays has been great for my pain and IBS symptoms in lower ratios, but I didn’t notice any antidepressant qualities. During a rainy week, I tried their 18:1 sublingual spray.
Having used Care by Design’s sprays before, I knew 3-4 sprays works well for me. For reference, I’m 5’11” and height and weight should be considered when determining a proper dose. The company suggests 1-2 sprays and that is an excellent place to start for a full grown adult. While I’ve heard patients sometimes mix the spray into a drink or food, I would not recommend this when you’re relying on this medicine for acute conditions. I find the taste of the sprays to be very mild, but “chasing” the spray with water will all but eliminate the cannabis flavor after you’ve used the spray.
On a typical cloudy day, normal tasks require a lot of motivation for me. I have to force myself to get up, make coffee, read my email and so on. Each step feels like my mind and body are saying “NOPE.” After three sprays in the morning, it felt like a totally normal day. Compared to typical antidepressants, I noticed a change rather quickly. I also noticed when it tapered off in the afternoon, so I took 3 more sprays around 4pm. With a week’s worth of El Niño weather, I was able to see what daily use was like. It was a nice feeling to know that the spray works as needed and doesn’t linger in my system. I’m not opposed to long-term therapies at all, but I am opposed to taking something when it’s not necessary. As soon as the sun came back, I wanted to go back to my normal routine. Even when I was using the spray, it felt like my normal routine. I didn’t feel “high” or even a reduced amount of anxiety (there are other ratios and other cannabis products I would use for that effect). I simply was able to function normally without the heaviness that depression brings to the mind and body.
One of the great aspects of CBD, and cannabis in general, is that I experience no withdrawal. While there is anecdotal evidence that suggests marijuana withdrawal exists, I personally have not had that experience, nor have I with any CBD product (in contrast, my caffeine withdrawal symptoms might be the worst withdrawal I’ve ever experienced!). That can’t be said for prescription antidepressants, some of which can lead to seizures and comas when stopped abruptly. Because of this, antidepressants in general require a significant time commitment to see if they work, and more time to taper off should they be ineffective or produce unwanted side effects. For those who experience temporary depressions, this could be an option in dealing with those situations. Depression is a complicated illness with many causes and even more treatment options, and this product is unique among those options.
In choosing a CBD treatment, dosage is critical. Care by Design thoroughly tests their products, and I’m confident that I’m getting what I pay for when I choose their products. CBD products are an investment and Care by Design has taken steps to establish trust with patients by being transparent about their manufacturing process and their testing. I will continue to search for their products when looking for a reliable CBD medication.
Photo credit: Care By Design
Whenever I bite into a piece of delicious chocolate, I always find myself dreaming about what that chocolate would taste like if it had cannabis in it. Combining delicious sweets like chocolate and bits of toffee can only be ameliorated by one thing: a top-shelf marijuana hybrid.
Incredibles have created a staple in the edibles world with this powerhouse of flavor and potency in their tastiest offering yet- the Boulder Bar. This sugary delicacy is well-known for being enjoyed by athletes for its active high and uniform infusion locked into each piece. Having never had the pleasure of tasting a Boulder Bar, I decided to dive right in.
The unsullied slab of milk chocolate comes prepared with an overall infusion of 100mg of lab-tested THC. For the edibles novice- or anyone that wants just a “tickle” of medication- one 10mg chocolate square is recommended. Knowing that I have a bit of a high tolerance, I started with two squares right off the bat and waited impatiently like a kid on Christmas for the effects to kick in.
The child-proof packaging itself is a work of ingenuity on this bold bar. With a fun sliding mechanism that took me longer to figure out than I’d like to admit, I eventually got it open to reveal a dark treat tucked away inside. The lustrous sheen of the milk chocolate bar was immediately noticeable and upon closer inspection, demarcated and stamped into 10mg pieces of breakable deliciousness.
Taste & Texture
A strong whiff of cannabis and chocolate emanated from the packaging, so I prepared my palette with a quick smacking of the lips and bit into the first square. Right away I could taste the potency packed into just this one bite of infused chocolate, but the unexpected crunch of the scrumptious toffee soon conquered my taste buds.
The texture is smooth as silk and doesn’t melt in the hand right away like some chocolates. If you have the foresight to make a munchie-run before indulging, I highly recommend picking up some fresh strawberries to compliment this goodie.
20mg of THC was plenty enough to oscillate my body for a solid 6 hours. I first noticed the effects kicking in right behind my eyes after about an hour. Wondering if I needed to eat more, the nice mellow body buzz soaked into my extremities with each passing minute. After only 90 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not glued to my couch like many edibles seem to do, but rather energized and ready to spring into action. For a cannabis veteran like myself, two small squares were more than enough to keep me relaxed and feeling fantastic on a cold Colorado day.
Incredibles’ Boulder Bar was a real mouth pleaser that supplied my body with a long-lasting body tingle and motivating head high. Even through several rounds of munchies and a three-course meal, the uplifting elevation remained and left me with absolutely zero doubt that I would be returning to Incredibles to explore their other offerings.
image credit: Incredibles
They say big things come in small packages but nothing could have prepared me for the stony trip I was about to take after eating an entire Cheeba Chews “quad dose” chocolate taffy. Hailed by High Times as “America’s favorite edible”, Cheeba Chews is known for their consistency of both quality and reliability.
With eleven different tasty edibles in its product lineup, three Cannabis Cup awards and over 800 stocked dispensaries, Cheeba Chews started in Colorado over six years ago with the goal of producing consistently potent edibles for patients in need. I never had the pleasure of trying a Cheeba Chews before this review, so when I was handed the 70mg medical hybrid taffy my eyes lit up like DEA bonfires in the California mountains.
Cheeba Chews sells its medibles in eight different selections including 70mg taffy indicas and sativas, the hybrid (featured here), a “Deca Dose” 175mg THC monster, gummies, caramels, and pure CBD varieties as well. After eating the entire 70mg dose myself, I can’t even imagine what the “deca dose” might do to an unprepared mind.
The hybrid taffy comes in a small green package about the size of a business card with a child-proof plastic container that took me longer than I’d like to admit to get open. The first clue that this product means business is the “CAUTION: EXTREMELY POTENT!” disclaimer right on the front of the packaging.
The taffy itself has more of a homemade Tootsie Roll appearance to it than taffy; slightly shiny, chocolate colored and modest. At first glance, this piece would feel right at home next to the chocolate-coated toffee pieces you find in one of those Valentine’s Day assortments.
Taste & Texture
My first whiff of the taffy detected no presence of THC. The first bite revealed how soft and moist this piece of hybrid taffy was, yet still no hint of the 70mg of THC packed into each piece. It wasn’t until after I had swallowed it whole that the cannabis made its mark and lingered on my palette well after I was done chewing.
While I tried to savor every last bite, it was down the hatch faster than it took me to get the packaging open and I was left wanting about 10 more of these to chew on. Luckily, this was my only piece because I might have eaten a few more before waiting for this one to kick in; and I would have been utterly destroyed.
I took the entire 70mg dose on an empty stomach and waited patiently for about 25-30 minutes before wondering whether it was going to have any effect. Five minutes later, my eyes started sagging and I became wholly aware that I had just eaten a “quad dose” of THC! The effects slowly crept down into my body and I could feel a fantastic buzz throughout my extremities. Over the course of the next six hours, the sativa battled the indica to keep me off the couch and staying active before it finally wore me down and the sleepiness settled in.
Cheeba Chews hybrid chocolate taffy offers one of the best and most enjoyable highs that I’ve encountered in such a small edible. The hybrid version should certainly be your first choice if you’ve got aches and pains but still need to get things done. Both delicious and potent, this is one chocolate taffy you don’t want to miss out on.
Photo credit: Cheeba Chews
Perfectly suited for a summertime hike or a long road trip in the passenger’s seat, Wana’s hybrid sour gummies include five tasty flavors that make these potent fruit treats almost too easy to eat. As one of Colorado’s leading innovators of edibles, Wana Brands has come up with an incredible line-up of artisan and made-from-scratch products for the discerning cannabis consumer.
Wana believes that eating an edible should be a treat and not just about forcing the medicine down. With just one bite of their popular sour gummies, it’s easy to tell that they’ve perfected the taste and effects of these treats down to a science.
Wana sour gummies come in both medical and recreational packages, with the recreational doses topping out at 100mg. The sour gummies hybrid medical bag comes with 10 pieces per package with 200 mg of total THC, or 20mg per piece. It’s recommended to start with just one piece and go from there, so I quickly ate the first one my fingers touched and waited patiently.
The medical packaging is displayed in a clean white child-proof plastic bag with a mouth-watering image of fresh fruits on the cover. Once I broke inside, the gummies appeared square and rich in the vibrant colors of their respective flavors. Lightly coated in sugar and “flavor oil” to keep them from sticking together, these have a certain resemblance to the square Jolly Rancher hard candies that we all know and love.
Taste & Texture
Resisting the urge to eat an entire handful of these things, I started with the green apple gummy and popped it into my mouth. The flavor was spot-on and easily covered up the taste of the potent tincture. Unlike many gummy edibles that lack in the texture department, the Wana gummies are incredibly soft and chewy with only a minor stickiness that can be easily tongued off the teeth.
After trying the other flavors later on, I discovered that I could only taste the THC in one or two of the pieces. Otherwise, I couldn’t really tell that there was any tincture in them until after I had swallowed each piece and the fruity flavors dissipated.
I started with only one 20mg piece of gelatinous goodness and after about 30 minutes I was feeling a mellow, lazy type of body high. Over an hour in and I had a great body buzz going that made handwriting notes a little more difficult than usual.
Starting behind the eyes and sliding down into the body over the first hour, the total high time exceeded 5-6 hours even after eating a full meal of steak, pizza, and Jell-O. After 6 hours, the Sandman paid me a visit and the gummies subdued me into a power nap on my comfy couch.
Hands down, Wana’s hybrid sour gummy edibles easily have the best fruit flavoring that I’ve tried in this category. Coupled with their passion for infusing the highest quality of ingredients into their products, it’s easy to see why these gummies are one of Colorado’s most popular choices in the edibles market.
Photo credit: Wana brands
If you like microdosing — consuming low dose THC — then pay attention to Lucid Mood’s brand new line of four disposable vape pens and sippers. Rather than deliver a psychedelic THC high, Lucid Mood harnesses the power of aromatic compounds called terpenes to elicit specific mood-based experiences.
With Lucid Mood, you can vape yourself into Bliss, Focus, Relaxation, or Energy, and count on a consistent experience every time. For the purpose of this review, we’ll focus on the Bliss Sipper.
The first blissful thing about Lucid Mood? They’re smaller than almost every other pen out there—about the size of a cigarette. Next, the vapor exhaled has a familiar clove-like scent, easily passed off as a flavored tobacco should you be questioned. I was not when I whipped mine out at a cafe in Philly (I took the pen in my carry-on via airplane, another testament to their discretion).
Crafted in Colorado by a team of Boulder-based scientists, each pen comes with a mild one-to-one THC to CBD ratio formulated to ease consumers into a subtle high, which is then guided by the pen’s powerhouse pack of terpenes. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, is known to buffer the psychoactive effects of THC, and no matter how many times I puffed, I never felt more than slightly high.
The trick to Lucid Mood is to sip. The shorter the puff, the more concentrated the sweet, clove flavor and the smoother the pull.
Like most intoxicants, effects depend on your surroundings. I tried Bliss to calm me down as I was stressed over a deadline. Bad move—I rely on stress in those situations, and had to work twice as hard to finish. However, sipping on Bliss right after work? It was just as effective as a beer. Bliss-ing before a massage? Yes, oh dear god, yes. Using bliss vapor while banging out monotonous paperwork? I merrily typed along with quite a stupid grin on my face. But the true test? Getting Blissed throughout Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time I could stomach being in a room with Trump supporters! Could Bliss be what gets us through the next four years? I’ll be keeping mine handy.