What Is Bubble Hash?
Bubble hash (also known as ice hash or ice water hash) is a type of hash that’s made using ice-cold water. Ranging from a light golden blonde to a dark greenish brown, bubble hash gets its name from the way it bubbles when it’s heated. Like traditional hash, bubble hash is made from cannabis trichomes, the resin glands that cover the flower.
Bubble hash is created by agitating trichomes with cold water and ice in special bags referred to as “bubble bags.” When the material is agitated through consistent stirring or mixing, the fresh frozen trichomes fall off the flower and are sifted through a series of screens in the bags and ultimately form bubble hash.
Whether you’re a consumer, or an entrepreneur in the cannabis market, knowing everything you can about different extracts and concentrates like bubble hash is key to fine-tuning your processes and operations for the best results.
A Brief History of Bubble Hash
Before the rapid rise in popularity of other concentrates like wax and shatter in the mid-2010s, bubble hash was one of the most commonly-used cannabis concentrates. Compared to traditional hash that’s been used for centuries, however, the use of bubble hash is relatively new.
In the early 1980s, California cannabis enthusiast Sadhu Sam (aka Skunkman Sam) discovered a new extraction technique using ice water. In 1988, he published an advertisement in High Times that explained how to perform this extraction. By the early-90s, the popularity of bubble hash had expanded and the first two-bag filter bag separation system was created by Mila Jansen. In the late-90s, Marcus “Bubble Man” Richardson introduced an improved bubble bag filtration system, which is still used in processing today.
While the use of bubble hash slowed down when concentrates like wax and shatter became increasingly popular, bubble hash has made a comeback in recent years as the demand for solventless concentrates continues to rise.
How Bubble Hash Is Made
Similar to extracts such as rosin, bubble hash is made without using any solvents. Solventless extracts are considered purer than concentrates made with solvents like butane, propane, ethanol, or other solvents.
At the most basic level, all that’s needed to make bubble hash is cannabis, ice, water, and filter screens or bags. This mixture gets sifted through various bags with different micron screen sizes, and the resulting product is an extract made entirely of cannabis trichomes that were gently agitated off the flower.
When bubble hash is made correctly with high-quality cannabis, the result is one of the purest and most powerful solventless extracts available. Keep in mind, however, that a low-quality cultivar will result in low-quality bubble hash, as some strains are better suited for extraction than others. When creating bubble hash, consider the idea of “quality in, quality out,” and commit to choosing strains that are best suited for washing.
Characteristics of Bubble Hash
Appearance and Texture
While traditional hash is typically pressed into a brick or rolled into balls, bubble hash isn’t pressed or rolled. Instead, the ice water extraction technique used to make bubble hash lends to a somewhat crumbly consistency. This solventless concentrate is typically softer than traditional hash and other concentrates like wax and shatter. The consistency of bubble hash is closer to a sticky powder or paste compared to the solid, brick-like consistency of traditional hash.
The color of the bubble hash typically denotes its quality. High-quality bubble hash is often a light blond to golden yellow hue, while dark greenish-brown colored bubble hash is usually indicative of a lower-quality product.
Aroma and Flavor Profile
Because cold temperatures are used to extract aromatic terpenes from the plant material, quality bubble hash contains a strong flavor and aroma profile. The aroma and flavor of bubble hash are largely dependent on the terpene profile of the strain that was used to create it.
OG Kush, for example, contains a high concentration of myrcene and caryophyllene, which contribute to the strain’s extremely powerful and potent earthy profile. Bubble hash made from high-quality strains of OG Kush will contain the same strong notes of citrus and earthy tones that the strain is known for. This is an indication that trichome preservation was successful during the extraction process. If bubble hash contains little to no aroma or flavor, it’s most often a sign of a lower-quality product.
Potency and Effects
Bubble hash offers a higher potency than even the strongest flower, but doesn’t contain the overwhelmingly strong effects of other cannabis concentrates such as shatter or wax. High-quality bubble hash can contain up to 60% THC, whereas stronger concentrates can contain up to 90% THC and higher.
Because the potency of bubble hash is much stronger than flower (which is typically around 20% THC), consumers can expect the effects to be much stronger than when smoking flower. The effects experienced from using bubble hash are dependent on the strain that was used to create it. While bubble hash has stronger effects than flower, it is not considered one of the strongest cannabis concentrates, making bubble hash an excellent introduction for individuals who are new to concentrates.
Shelf Life and Storage
Like other cannabis products, properly storing bubble hash can help maintain its quality and potency. When stored properly, bubble hash will retain its quality for six months up to a year or even longer. When it’s not properly stored, the quality of the bubble hash can start to degrade quickly. Bubble hash and other solventless concentrates are free of additives and preservatives, meaning these pure, chemical-free products can be affected if they’re not stored in the most ideal conditions.
Contrary to the idea that cannabis products don’t expire, all products made from marijuana or hemp have a shelf life. All cannabis products with rich terpene concentrations will begin to deteriorate when exposed to air. That said, when it comes to bubble hash storage, air exposure is one of the most important things to consider and avoid.
The container that bubble hash is stored in also plays an important role when considering the best storage practices. Glass is ideal, as plastic, silicone, and parchment paper are all porous, which can contribute to the degradation of the product. It’s best to store bubble hash in a Mason jar out of direct light in a cool, dark place. High-quality, full-melt bubble hash should be kept frozen if possible, which will help preserve the product longer than when refrigerated.
Keep in mind, however, that while high-quality bubble hash can potentially last years, cannabinoids will begin to degrade over time, and THC will convert to CBN. The only way to safeguard product quality is to ensure proper storage techniques are implemented.
Different Grades of Bubble Hash
Not all bubble hash is created equal, and its quality is typically rated by three different grades on a star system of 1–6 stars, with 6 being the best. As with any solventless cannabis product, the starting material largely determines the quality of the final product.
Full melt is considered the highest-quality bubble hash. When heated, full melt bubble hash produces tiny translucent bubbles for which the concentrate was named. Full melt hash is produced with the highest-quality flower and filtered in a way that preserves trichomes for maximum purity and potency. After it’s heated, full melt hash dissolves completely, leaving no trace of material, which is why it’s referred to as “full melt”.
Half-melt hash could be comparable to mid-grade cannabis. It’s not as pure and potent as full melt hash and will leave small traces of extract after it’s been heated up.
No melt bubble hash refers to the lowest-quality bubble hash. It’s produced with lower-grade cannabis flower or trim, contains more impurities than full or half-melt bubble hash varieties, and leaves behind a residue after it’s heated. No melt hash is typically darker in color with some dark green hues from the plant material that is still contained in the final product.
Uses Of Bubble Hash
Bubble hash is one of cannabis’ more versatile products. Not only can it be consumed using a dab rig, vaped in a concentrate vape pen, or smoked in a bowl or joint, but it can be easily blended with other cannabis products. Bubble hash is often sprinkled on top of flower in a pipe, joint or blunt and can also be used in the creation of edibles.
Bubble hash can also be used to create other concentrates and is commonly used in a rosin press to create high-quality rosin. Rosin created from bubble hash sells for a higher price point than bubble hash itself, and this increase in profit margin is why some professionals choose to press their bubble hash into rosin.
Because it’s more potent than flower but not as strong as other concentrates, bubble hash is often used medicinally by individuals seeking relief from pain, anxiety, and inflammation. Because bubble hash contains higher levels of cannabinoids, such as THC and others compared to flower, it could be especially beneficial for pain management. Medical patients also turn to solventless extracts like bubble hash because of their unparalleled purity.
When exploring the world of cannabis concentrates, it’s vital to have a solid understanding of what bubble hash is, including its unique characteristics, how it’s made, and more, so you can make the best decision for you or your customers’ needs.
Bubble hash is a solventless extract created with ice water that’s extremely popular with cannabis consumers, especially those interested in potent, pure products made without the use of any potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also an excellent option for consumers interested in something stronger than traditional flower but not quite as potent as some of the other concentrates on the market.
If you’re in the business of cannabis, whether a grower, producer, or dispensary owner, and are interested in producing high-quality bubble hash, we invite you to contact us today to see how Mobius can help.