Bubble hash, also called “ice water hash” or “water hash”, is refined hashish made without the use of solvents, and is one of the purest forms of concentrated cannabis available on the market today. The technique originally became popular around 20 years ago, and has become one of the safest extraction methods in use today for both medical and recreational users alike.
By using ice, water, and fine-mesh micron bags to extract the pure cannabinoids from the plant, producers are able to make pure and extremely potent concentrates. When heated with a lighter, this concentrate should bubble, hence the name “bubble hash”.
Depending on the method of extraction, bubble hash can come in several different forms. The bags used during the extraction process to strain and separate the purified trichomes from the plant material are also known as “bubble bags”.
Typically, between 3 and 7 micron bags are used to produce a batch of ice or bubble hash. Standard micron bags used in making bubble hash include the 25, 45, 73, 90, 120, 190 and 220 micron bags. Using a container of appropriate size, the micron bags are placed in sequence with the 220 bag being placed in the bucket last. The 220 micron bag contains the starting plant material and in traditional bubble hash extraction is considered the “work bag”.
The process for making bubble hash uses ice water to wash the plant material and freeze the trichome glands so they break off from the plant material. This can be done either by hand (using a wooden or plastic spoon, for example) or using a “washing machine” that gently agitates the plant matter. Many bubble hash makers believe that results are superior when gently agitating by hand, but this may not be practical for larger amounts of plant material.
Cannabis trichomes weigh more than water, so they automatically sink to the bottom of the container, while the plant matter floats to the surface. The water, now loaded with trichomes, is then further sifted and dried to evaporate leftover water and remove any residual plant material.
According to the starting material and the size of the micron bag, the producer can create a range of concentrates with varied effects and flavor profiles. Often, the “best” grades are the 90 and 73 micron, but the 120 and even 160 may be superior for some indica strains. Bubble hash can appear anywhere from yellow or green in color, to brown or black.
Its consistency can be smooth and creamy, powdery, crystalline, paste-like or solid. Extremely pure forms of bubble hash can even be gently pressed at low temperature with a hair-straightening iron and produce a form of shatter! Such high-grade specimens of bubble hash are often called “full melt”.
Different textures and colors don’t necessarily mean one is better than another. The best way to determine which form of bubble hash is best for your needs is to consult with someone knowledgeable, such as the staff at your local, trusted dispensary.