Cannabis How-Tos

How to Smoke Hash

With a long history that spans continents, hash is typically consumed through inhalation. Discover more recent hash products, such as infused beverages and edibles, explore how hash is made and get some safety tips for consumption. 

Doigts pinçant une bande de hachage d'un paquet de bandes de hachage tenues dans une main

Humans have consumed hash for over 1,000 years, making it the world’s original cannabis concentrate. Debuting in written history in ninth-century Iraq, hash has maintained its place in global popular culture ever since. Napoleon’s troops brought it back to France after their failed invasion of Egypt. Hash-infused fudge was one of writer Gertrude Stein’s favourite treats, and French writers Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire and Honoré de Balzac even formed a club dedicated to exploring its effects.

In Canada, hash became a legal recreational cannabis product in 2019. It’s now found in many forms: pressed into bricks, balls and strips; powdered and bubble hash; and infused into beverages and edibles. Let’s look at how hash is made and the many ways to consume this traditional concentrate.

What is hash?

Hash is made by sifting kief, the sticky, resinous crystals produced by a cannabis flower’s trichomes, into a fine powder and pressing it into a brick or ball (either by hand or in a mechanical press). Sometimes called sift, dry sift or dry sieve, kief is the most concentrated part of cannabis, containing more cannabinoids and terpenes than buds, leaves, stalks or stems.

What is chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a natural pigment responsible for the green colour of plants, including cannabis. It plays a pivotal role in plant growth, helping transform sunlight into energy in the process of photosynthesis. In cannabis, chlorophyll contributes a grassy, potentially bitter flavour, which can be undesirable. Curing, distillation, extraction and other production methods all help remove chlorophyll from cannabis.

Hash’s aroma and appearance depend on the cannabis plant it’s made from and the techniques used to process it. Because it contains less chlorophyll than cannabis, hash has a richer, earthier scent with fewer fresh or grassy notes. Its colour can range from light golden amber to dark brown or black and may show hints of green.

Different types of hash

Hash is an ancient product, and over time and around the world, people have invented various ways to produce and consume it. The types you’ll commonly find at Authorized Cannabis Stores in Ontario tend to fall into three categories.

Pressed hash

When you think of hash, you likely envision pressed hash: refined kief that’s been compacted by hand, mechanical press or heated press into a cube, a ball or strips. Heat and pressure rupture the kief’s resin glands, changing the composition from ​a ​loose, sticky powder to a solid substance. Typically, a hash brick will have a darker outer layer and lighter interior. Temple balls are a particular form of pressed hash that are rolled by hand.

Powdered hash

Powered hash is sometimes classified as kief. Both terms refer to hash that hasn’t been pressed into a solid form yet. Powdered hash is also sold as sift, dry sift and dry sieve, names that indicate that it has been — you guessed it — sifted.

Bubble hash

Bubble hash is a newer product produced by washing the trichomes from cannabis and filtering them through screens. The refined kief is then collected, dried and pressed. Instead of burning, bubble hash bubbles when flame is applied, hence the name. Bubble hash is graded on a six-star scale, and the highest quality — full-melt or six-star bubble hash — will “melt” or disappear when heated.

How is hash made?

Hash is a solventless concentrate traditionally made by scraping the sticky bits off cannabis harvesters’ hands. Some ancient methods of hash-making like this are still in use today, while others were developed in the past half-century. Here are some ways hash is commonly made for Ontario consumers.

How hash is made by hand

There are a limited number of hand-rolled hash products on the Ontario market, but making hash on your own is as simple as removing kief from a bud and rolling it into a pleasing shape. Some grinders even contain screens designed to collect the kief that falls off when you grind flower, and scrapers to collect it. Once you’ve gathered enough, roll it into a ball with your hands, and presto — you just made hash!

How hash is made by sifting

Dry sift hash is made by passing buds through a series of screens, each one finer than the last and then gathering the kief. Hash makers use brushes to pass the kief across the series of screens and into a collection container. Some Licensed Producers use specially designed tumblers fitted with screens or mesh shaker bags to achieve the same results, and some may freeze the cannabis with ice or dry ice first so the trichomes break off more easily. From there, the kief is typically pressed and heated into the desired shape.

How hash is made with ice water

Compared to other methods, straining trichomes through ice water and screens is a relatively new procedure, gaining popularity in North America in the late 1990s.​ ​This process can also be achieved using hash-washing machines. The resulting product is bubble hash.

How is hash consumed?

Hash can be inhaled as smoke or vapour or ingested through hash-infused edibles and beverages. However it’s consumed, hash is quite potent. The high THC content means it’s a good idea to take breaks between inhalations and gauge how you feel before inhaling again.

Ways to smoke hash

Smoking hash on its own in a pipe, bong or joint isn’t all that different from smoking dried cannabis in the same devices, although it can take longer to light hash when compared with flower. You can add pressed hash or kief to dried flower, too — it helps it to burn more evenly but increases the potency of each inhalation.

How to consume hash with a pipe

Required supplies: Pipe with fine mesh screen, lighter, dried cannabis (optional)

  1. If consuming pressed hash, use your fingers or a cutting tool to break the pressed hash into small pieces, roughly one to two millimetres wide.
  2. Place a small amount of the kief or hash pieces into the bowl of a pipe, either on its own or on top of loosely packed ground cannabis.
  3. Hold a lighter to the bowl of hash with one hand while holding the stem of the pipe to your mouth with the other. Inhale as you hold the flame to the hash, continuing until the hash turns red hot and smoulders.

How to consume hash with a bong

Required supplies: Bong (water pipe), water, lighter, dried cannabis (optional)

  1. Fill the bong with enough water to completely submerge the downstem (the piece that connects the bowl to the bong’s main chamber).
  2. Place small pieces of pressed hash directly into the bowl of the bong, or add loosely packed dried cannabis and top it with pressed hash pieces or a sprinkle of kief.
  3. Place your lips inside (not around) the mouthpiece, holding with one hand to get the right angle. Using your other hand, hold a lighter or hemp wick to the bowl. Remove the flame once the bowl is lit, inhaling to fill the chamber with smoke.
  4. Just before your last inhalation, grasp the bowl and pull it up, removing the downstem from the bong. This will push the smoke in the chamber toward your mouth so you can inhale it.

How to consume hash in a joint

Required supplies: Hash-infused joint, lighter

  1. Purchase a hash-infused pre-roll, or roll your own ​by sprinkling​ tiny pieces of hash or kief ​evenly into a cannabis joint. ​
  2. Light the end of the pre-roll with a lighter, inhaling to get it burning. Then inhale as you wish, taking breaks between inhalations to gauge how you’re feeling.

High-quality full-melt or six star bubble hash can also be consumed through dabbing.

How to vaporize hash

Vaporizing is a smoke-free way to consume hash on its own, but you’ll need a concentrate-specific vaporizer or concentrate-specific accessories. (You can vaporize kief and milled flower in a regular flower vaporizer if you layer it carefully, starting with dried flower — placing kief on the bottom can leave messy residue.)

Required supplies: Concentrate-specific vaporizer or vaporizer with concentrate accessories

  1. Add small pieces of pressed hash or a pinch of kief to the concentrate chamber.
  2. Adjust the vaporizer’s temperature and airflow settings​,​ and turn it on.
  3. Inhale through the mouthpiece.

How to ingest hash

Hash can be consumed by eating or drinking a hash-infused edible or beverage in your preferred potency. Keep in mind that it can take 30 minutes or more for you to start feeling effects and at least two hours for full effects to appear.

You can also add kief to homemade edibles. Just be sure the recipe includes a form of oil or fat and will be heated to decarboxylate (or activate) the THC and CBD.

Is hash high in THC?

Hash is potent, containing up to 60% THC. For comparison, the very strongest cannabis flower contains up to 30% THC. As with any cannabis product, read the label to understand the potency. Start low, go slow and avoid combining hash with tobacco, alcohol or other substances.

How to Use a Bong