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"Blonde" hashish

Hashish ( or ) (from Arabic: , lit. "grass", from hashsha "to become dry"; also hash) is a preparation of cannabis composed of the compressed stalked resin glands called trichomes, collected from the cannabis plant. It contains the same active ingredients but in higher concentrations than other parts of the plant such as the buds or the leaves. Psychoactive effects are the same as those of other cannabis preparations such as marijuana. It is sometimes believed that the effects are different, but those differences usually stem from variations between regionally different Cannabis specimens that are typically processed into hashish.

Hashish is often a solid or paste-like substance of varying hardness and pliability, and will soften under heat. Its color can vary from green, yellow, black, reddish brown, or most commonly light to dark brown.

It is consumed in much the same way as cannabis buds, combusted or heated by itself in a screened miniature smoking pipe, hookah, bong or bubbler, vaporizer, hot knife, or smoked in joints mixed with tobacco, cannabis buds, or other herbs. It can also be eaten.


It is believed that hash first originated from Middle East, as this region was among the first to be populated by the cannabis plant, although the plant itself is thought to have originated in the Hindu Kushmarker. More reliably, it may have originated in Northern India which also has a very long social tradition in the production of Hashish which is locally known as Charas. It is hypothesized by UCLA's Abu Usaybia that this Charas is the same plant resin burned in the ceremonial "booz rooz" of ancient Persia. (see Usaybia's "Notes on Uyunu al-Anba fi Tabaquat al-Atibba", Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965.) Cannabis sativa subsp. indica grows wild almost everywhere in the Indian sub-continent and special strains have been particularly cultivated for production of 'ganja' and 'hashish' particularly in Kerala, Rajasthan and the Himalayas. The earliest hashish was created without the use of sieves. The ancients would gently rub their palms and fingers on cannabis buds for hours while resin accumulated on their hands and then scrape that resin off. This sort of primitive harvesting is undertaken even today in the Cannabis growing farms of Manali, Naggar and Upper Himachal Pradesh.

Consumption of hashish saw an increase in the 20th century, in Europe and Americamarker, associated with the hippie scene which promoted pacifism and introspection. Hashish use declined significantly in the United Statesmarker starting in the 1980s for several reasons, including U.S. political pressures against Afghanistanmarker and the ensuing Soviet invasion, the Reagan-escalated War on Drugs, a huge jump in price, and the success of marijuana cultivators in North America with new growing methods for increasing THC production, such as growing marijuana indoors.

No reports of a statistical linkage between hashish and violent crime have been published in known scientific literature, instead it has been found to generally inhibit aggressive impulses.

Manufacturing processes

Hashish is made from cannabinoid-rich glandular hairs known as trichomes, as well as varying amounts of cannabis flower and leaf fragments. The flowers of a mature female plant contain the most trichomes, though trichomes are found on other parts of the plant. Certain strains of cannabis are cultivated specifically for their ability to produce large amounts of trichomes. The resin reservoirs of the trichomes, sometimes erroneously called pollen, (vendors often use the euphemism "pollen catchers" to describe grinders with screens to catch kief) are separated from the plant through various methods. The resulting powder is compressed into blocks of hashish aided by heat, which can be easily stored and transported. Alternatively, the powder consisting of uncompressed, dry trichomes is often referred to as 'kief' instead of 'hashish'.

Mechanical separation methods use physical action to remove the trichomes from the plant. Sieving through a fine screen is a vital part of most methods. The plants may be sifted by hand or in motorized tumblers. Hash made in this way is sometimes called 'dry sift'. 'Finger hash' is produced by rolling the ripe trichome-covered flowers of the plant between the fingers, rupturing the trichomes, and collecting the freed resin that sticks to the fingers.

Ice water separation is a more modern mechanical separation method which submerges the plant's leaves in ice and water and agitates the mixture, sometimes in a Washing machine. The low temperature solidifies the resinous trichomes. They become brittle, and the mechanical agitation breaks them off the leaves. The waste plant matter, detached trichomes, and water are separated by filtering through a series of increasingly fine screens or bags (with pore sizes ranging from 220 to 25 microns). The trichomes of various sizes are then dried and pressed into solid blocks of hash. Kits are commercially available which provide a series of filter bags meant to fit inside standard bucket sizes. Hash made in this way is sometimes called 'ice hash', or 'bubble hash'. This method produces valuable product from leaf matter that would otherwise be discarded (after the plant's "buds" are trimmed for sale). The advent of this process has made hashish much more readily available in North America.

Chemical separation methods generally use a solvent such as ethanol or hexane to dissolve the lipophilic desirable resin. The remaining plant material is then filtered out of the solution and sent to the compost. The solvent is then evaporated, leaving behind the desirable resins, called honey oil, "hash oil", or just "oil". Honey oil still contains waxes and essential oils and can be further purified by vacuum distillation to yield "red oil". The product of chemical separations is more commonly referred to as "honey oil".


The main factors affecting quality are potency and purity. Different cannabis plants will produce resins with unique chemical profiles that vary in potency. Some forms of hashish are described as producing a "body stone" while others are more of a "head high". This is usually due to whether it was extracted from a sativa or indica plant.

Tiny pieces of leaf matter or even purposefully added adulterants introduced when the hash is being produced will reduce the purity of the material. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of hashish usually ranges from 15–20%, and that of hash oil from 30–40%.

Fresh hashish of good quality is soft and pliable and becomes progressively harder and less potent as its THC content oxidizes to cannabinol and as essential oils evaporate.

Hash is generally said to be black, brown or blond. There is also hashish of greenish or reddish hue. A green tinge may indicate that the hashish contains a large amount of leaf material. Hashish color usually reflects the methods of harvesting, manufacturing, and storage.

Hashish by region


Hashish is traditionally produced in warm conditions. It is traditionally found in a belt extending from North Africa, Egyptmarker to North India and into Central Asia. The primary hash-producing countries are Iranmarker, Indiamarker, Afghanistanmarker, Pakistanmarker, Nepalmarker, Moroccomarker, Lebanonmarker and Egyptmarker.

Charas is the name of hashish that has been hand-rubbed directly from the cannabis plant. It is primarily produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to a smaller extent the rest of the subcontinent. Today, the word charas is common word for hash in a majority of the subcontinent, despite the fact that different methods may be used other than the hand-rubbed method.

The most popular and sought after form of charas is produced in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. Popular destinations include the tribal areas themselves as well as adjacent Pakistani states such as Peshawarmarker.

A visitor to the Rif Mountainsmarker and the town of Ketama in Morocco in December 1976 described the production of hashish. In unheated huts, each worker placed his hands and arms inside a fertilizer sack. The depths of the bag was filled with leaves of the cannabis plant. In the mouth of the bag was a plastic washing-up bowl, over which was stretched a sheet of "zero-zero" grade muslin. The worker rubbed the leaves of the cannabis plant against the muslin, resulting in a fine powder falling into the bowl. 100 grams of the powder would be wrapped in more of the same fine muslin, put onto a heated metal plate, and rolled down with a bottle. This process produces a slightly sticky solid brown mass in the form of a rectangular slab, quite a bit smaller than a paperback book and 5 mm thick. The block was then wrapped in cellophane. Sellers of this Moroccan hashish pointed to the imprint of the muslin on the surface of the block, and declared it proof that the product was "zero-zero", top quality.

In Afghanistan there is a method of making hash that resembles charas. First, cannabis resin is placed on a heated mortar about the size of a box, then the resin is threshed with a heavy object. The result is a very gooey, sticky black hash. This method is mostly used in villages around the Hindu Kushmarker mountain region.

Hashish is also produced in the deserts of northern Mexicomarker, and throughout the western United States and Canada.

Preparation and methods of use

Like ordinary cannabis preparations, hashish is usually smoked, though it can also be eaten (more commonly than cannabis plant) or vaporised.

Hash is sometimes prepared for smoking by heating it with a flame for a couple of seconds, sometimes producing some bubbling or sizzling as moisture and essential oils evaporate. It then softens and can be sliced with a sharp knife, crumbled into tiny pieces obtain maximum surface area when burning. The resulting lower burning temperature permits more THC to be released in its active form.


Used with hashish as with any cannabis, tobacco or other herb material, a vaporizer can volatize cannabinoids at temperatures as low as 140 °C, protecting against loss of this ingredient which occurs in burning, and eliminating carbon monoxide and other toxic combustion gases. Since hashish is solid, its surface area may be enlarged by cutting slices or breaking into small crumbs to achieve maximum cannabinoid vaporization.


Hashish may be smoked through a pipe, either alone or mixed with loose herb to aid igniting, with a screen to prevent small parts of burning hashish rushing in to clog the inner channel (colloquially 'shooters'). A hookah pipe or a bong provides water filtration, cooling the smoke for a smoother inhalation.

Semi-vaporizer technique

When using a screened long-stemmed glass or metal utensil, vaporization is achieved by holding a moderate (2-cm.) lighter flame for several seconds below the crater opening to heat the contents inside to around 385° F. but delay setting them on fire (410° F.), all the while continually sucking slowly through the drawtube.

Auxiliary herbs

Herbs may be burned alongside to assist vaporizing hashish. Hops (Humulus lupulus) flowers, previously ground to a fine particle size in a mesh-16 screen strainer, have a low combustion point, are delicate and mild, and interfere least with perceiving the taste of the hashish. Eucalyptus leaf adds a strong flavor, as does oregano. Mild species include basil, catnip (Nepeta cataria), damiana, dandelion, ginseng (leaf), lemon balm (melissa), marjoram, parsley, savory, tarragon, thyme, uva ursi (kinnickinnick), and various flowers.


A piece of hash may be ignited by cigarette coals or other means and placed inside a container, such as a plastic bottle. The smoke that collects inside can then be inhaled. "Dabous" or "Khabour", but most commonly "shisha" (glass in Arabic) is a North African technique. This technique is commonly referred to as "Bots" or "BTs" ("Bottle-Tokes") or simply "Ts/Tees" in Canadamarker. "Hash under glass" is for smoking with minimal equipment. A small ball of hash can be stuck onto a safety pin opened and inserted through paper. The ball is ignited and then covered by a drinking glass. Smoke collects in the glass and can then be inhaled by tipping the glass slightly.


As cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they dissolve in oils and fats, including butter. Finely crumbled or dissolved hashish can be used for cooking (see hash cookies and Alice B. Toklas brownies).

See also


  1. Shafer, Raymond P. et al. Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, Ch III. Washington DC: National Committee on Marijuana and Drug Abuse.
  3. Hashish

  • Starkes, Michael. Marijuana Potency. Berkeley, California: And/Or Press, 1977. Chapter 6 "Extraction of THC and Preparation of Hash Oil" pp. 111–122. .

Further reading

  • Hashish by Robert Connell Clarke, ISBN 0-929349-05-9
  • Artificial Paradises by Charles Baudelaire; first edition 1860
  • The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz Hugh Ludlow; first edition 1857
  • Indoor Marijuana Horticulture, by Jorge Cervantes, ISBN 1-878823-29-9; 2001, reprinted 2005

External links

Further history

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