Hashish (hash) was originally defined in the Northern provinces between Hindu Kush and the Russian border as a tightly packed mass of a marijuana plant’s resin glands. The term hashish originates from the Arabic word for grass. Today, there are several different types of hashish.
Over the years hash has become an overarching term that many use to umbrella everything related to cannabis. So, what is hash? There is a popular misconception that hash is bud, kief, as well as wax and other alternative forms. Today, hash is lumped in among other synonyms of cannabis, like “grass,” “mary jane,” “herb,” and “nug.” Since it is encompassed amongst other nicknames, hash has lost some of its meaning.
The History of Hash
As early as the 12th century Hashish smoking had begun to rise in popularity in the Middle East. In the late 17th century, Hashish had become a major trade item between Central and South Asia. In the 18th century, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and other central and western Asian countries, hashish imports, usage, and importance began to fade because leading officials began to disapprove.
During the mid 20th century hashish use in Greece and India flourished again, and potent hashish strains from Afghanistan reached Western Europe and California. After years of heavy cannabis cultivation and hashish production in Afghanistan, in 1973 the Afghan government made hashish production and sale illegal. The qualities of hash dropped significantly in Lebanon, and in Morocco, the government begun to eradicate the usage of hash, making it harder to produce without punishment.
Current Definition of Hash
Today, the Middle East remains the leading hash producer in the world, yet it’s easy to make it independently, too. There are numerous processes that can be used to extract the active ingredient (THC) from the cannabis plant in order to make hash. Hashish is made from the gathering of resin glands, called Trichomes, on cannabis plants. Typically these Trichomes are removed from the plant, dried, and then condensed into tightly packed balls or blocks.
When plants are being trimmed by growers, powdery Trichomes are likely to fall off the plant, and are collected over a silk screen. Another simple way to collect this resin is through the usage of a grinder, which also has a screen for collection. Often called Kief (or Keef), this powdery, active ingredient can be heated and compressed to form hash. Kief itself is not officially a form of hash, unless further processed by heat or dry sifting.
Hash’s Physical Forms
The manner in which the resin-bearing Trichomes are collected also correlates to the name each form of hash is given. For example, bubble hash received its name because it is made using silkscreen bags and ice water to separate the Trichomes from the rest of the plant. The Trichomes simply are washed from the plant using water, leaving this form of hash with a gummy, bubble-like appearance. Made easily by filtering the product through screens, bubble hash is one of the safest and cleanest forms of hash.
Scissor or finger hash is another method of extraction that is harmless and clean. When collected, the Trichomes that are rubbed onto grower’s hands or scissors form a dark, sticky, and wet resin. Obtained through a more complex practice, called butane hash oil extraction, shatter and wax are hash in oil form. As cannabis extracts, shatter and wax are oils that concentrate THC and CBD. These oil-condensed forms are technically a type of hash, since they, too, are the product of obtaining the active and most potent elements of a cannabis plant.
Today, there are many forms hash can take, and while the process of creating hashish has evolved significantly, the desired active ingredient has remained the same. These oils and hash itself are both made to contain high amounts of active marijuana ingredient, yet there is a difference in appearance and how they’re extracted. Although commonly encompassed as another nickname for cannabis, hash is very rich in history, and should be distinguished from more recent forms.