You have probably heard about dabs, and maybe someone vaguely explained to you how concentrates are made at one point, but you’re still a little fuzzy on the specifics. We’re here to help!
Think of cannabis concentrates as an isolation (or distillation) of the beneficial cannabis compounds from the plant—the goal being a pure, therapeutic combination of cannabinoids and terpenes without excess plant material.
Interested in taking your Dabbing Experience to the next level? Click here to find the Best Dab Rigs of 2022.
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What are Cannabis Concentrates?
In layman’s terms, this means your final product is 90-100% THC, whereas cannabis flower is more like 15-20% THC. This concentration of beneficial compounds allows the user to consume a far smaller volume to achieve the same effects. This article discusses the different extraction techniques used to make cannabis concentrates.
Cannabis concentrates are incredibly diverse, but are popular because they help users harness the full medical potential of the plant. Plus, concentrates are often a bit more conservative, helping smokers save money in the long run.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
Many people refer to concentrates by their consistency, i.e. shatter, budder or wax. However, the consistency of a concentrate alone does not indicate which extraction technique was used. The same extraction method can deliver a variety of final-product consistencies, depending on a number of factors.
The method of extraction and the starting material is far more important than the concentrate’s final consistency, as there are several variables that manipulate the consistency; some are in control of the extraction artist, while others are not. The reason for this distinction is that extraction practices dictate the healthiness of the concentrate, while the consistency is largely preference-based from a consumer standpoint.
For instance, many people debate shatter vs. budder; but shatter can be converted to budder by simply whipping the concentrate on a hot plate. Furthermore, you can derive a buddery consistency via BHO, PHO, and CO2 extraction. It’s the solvent (if any) and starting material that matters. Starting material can range from dry trim to cured buds to fresh frozen whole plants. It’s your responsibility as a thoughtful consumer to inquire from your budtender about the starting material and extraction process used in your favorite concentrate.
Shatter is one of the most popular forms of cannabis concentrates made through a butane-based extraction and is considered a form of Butane Hash Oil (BHO). The process involves taking dried cannabis flower and using butane to separate the trichomes (which contain all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes) from the plant material. The trichomes are then processed into shatter, which carries highly concentrated amounts of these cannabinoids (like THC) and terpenes.
The resulting material is hard, but brittle, with a semi-transparent, amber color that gives it an appearance similar to thin peanut brittle. Shatter can be easily broken (hence its name) so that small portions can be used with a dab rig or other vaporizing device, or pieces can be placed inside a joint or blunt when smoking.
Shatter provides fast-acting effects that are long-lasting, and many people prefer shatter to some other concentrates because it often contains at least 85-percent THC. Concentrates in this form are also well preserved and won’t degrade as quickly as softer concentrates and oils.
CBD Living sells a great example, Dabz Shatter, that comes in a variety of flavors.
Wax is another form of BHO and is sometimes called Budder, named after its soft, waxy consistency and golden color. This form of concentrate often offers high potencies just like shatter, but degrades more quickly and isn’t considered to be as stable as hard-form concentrates. Therefore, wax needs to be used soon after purchase, as opposed to some concentrates that may hold their potency for months or years.
However, the soft consistency of wax makes it easier to work with for many users, since it can be easily separated into doses as needed (as compared to shatter, which is hard to portion because it breaks into unpredictable pieces). The strong, immediate effects are comparable to shatter and other BHO products.
Live resin is one of the newest forms of cannabis concentrates and is also considered to be a form of Butane Hash Oil. It differs from other forms of BHO (and most concentrates) in multiple ways that make it more appealing for some users, especially those hoping to reap the many medicinal benefits associated with the cannabis plant.
Unlike other concentrates, which are generally processed from dried cannabis flower, this concentrate is made using nearly the entire plant immediately after harvest. Making it requires expensive, high-quality equipment (which need to be operated by professionals), so it isn’t the type of concentrate you can make at home.
To make live resin, the stalk, leaves, stems, and flower of freshly harvested cannabis plants are cryogenically frozen, and then blasted with Butane at temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The butane-based extraction process removes all of the trichomes from the plant material, which includes the “full spectrum” of the plant’s cannabinoid and terpene profile.
The collected material is then dried in a vacuum chamber at low temperatures, which allows sensitive terpenes (like Myrcene) to be better preserved. The resulting material is a concentrated, full spectrum cannabis product that contains more terpenes than many other concentrate formulation.
Because the product is made from a fresher source (frozen, not dried cannabis) and contains the full spectrum of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, many people consider it to be more “pure” and of higher medicinal value than other products.
An isolate is any concentrate that has been ‘isolated’ to a single cannabinoid. Naturally, if the cannabinoid is THC, it’s an extremely potent way to inhale cannabis. Did you know you can achieve the same fast-acting results with CBD dabs?
CBD concentrates and isolates can be used in any dab rig or dabber to provide high doses of pure CBD for intensive symptom relief in minutes. Derived from organic, non-GMO, sustainably-grown hemp and batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency, CBD isolate is exceptional and effective.
Budder refers to cannabis extracts with a creamy, buttery consistency. It is also called crumble or cake batter. The consistency is comparable to soft wax and is much more forgiving to work with than shatter. Perhaps the only downside to budder is that it is less visually appealing than some other consistencies.
Budder can be vaped, dabbed, twaxed (inside the joint or blunt), smoked, or used in edibles. Once again, make sure to activate the wax prior to combining with your oil or butter if you’re going to be using it for edibles.
Sap is a term used to describe the soft, viscous, sticky consistency of cannabis concentrates. This consistency is typically pliable, oily, and relatively easy to work with, albeit quite sticky. We recommend storing sappy concentrates in parchment paper or a non-stick silicone container. Sap maintains the glossy visual appeal of shatter with a more forgiving consistency and is equally suited for use both at home and on the go. It can be dabbed and vaporized with ease, and because sappy extracts are pliable, they are easy to spread around your joints and blunts. Saps can also be incorporated in edibles once decarboxylation has occurred.
Snap n’ Pull
Snap n’ pull refers to concentrates with a consistency somewhere between shatter and sap (the two extremes). If you’ve ever made hard candies or taffy at home, you might be familiar with the consistency. It can stretch or snap when pulled based on ambient temperature and amount of force used. More abrupt motions will cause the concentrate to fracture, while gentle movements will cause it to stretch.
This is one of our favorite consistencies to work with, as it is visually appealing, manageable to handle, and not quite as sticky as sap. Because snap n’ pull shares qualities of both shatter and sap, it is one of the most versatile consistencies discussed. It is the best consistency for wrapping clean, visually appealing snakes around joints or blunts when twaxing. It could even be turned into budder/wax if desired. It can be consumed inside or outside, in nearly every fashion: dabbed, vaporized, smoked, or used in edibles.
Resin is a blanket word referring to several forms of the same thing. The most common way to hear this word used is in reference to the resin found in the bowls of pipes and bongs after smoking. This thick, blackish substance is a concentrated collection of trichomes that evaporate from the bud while smoking.
Technically, the term resin refers to all of the trichomes and sap-like material that covers the flower and sugar leaves of the plant. This resin is responsible for protecting the plant through its flowering phase to help the cannabis plant reach maturity, but it also contains all of the active cannabinoids needed to produce medicinal effects.
When resin is collected from dried cannabis flower, it’s called kief. Fresh resin (aka trichomes) can be used to make solventless concentrates, like dry sift or ice water extraction hash (pictured above).
Additionally, resin in the form of kief can be added to bowls, joints, or blunts to boost the potency. Some users even scrape and smoke the resin from their bongs in order to utilize every bit of the THC from their stash.
Rosin is one of the only forms of cannabis concentrate that can be safely made at home. Rosin refers to a concentrated cannabis solution that is formed when dry flower is processed with a combination of pressure and heat.
Many people press rosin at home with a hair straightener, but some dispensaries offer a rosin pressing station where people can opt to use some of their freshly purchased flower to make rosin. Rosin is a thick, waxy substance that can be used on a dab rig or with some vaporizers.
Step-by-step instructions on how to make rosin at home can be found further down in this article.
Cannabis Concentrate Extraction Types
Cannabis concentrates can be divided into two main categories: solvent and solventless extractions. A solvent is a substance that dissolves a solid, resulting in a liquid solution. When we talk about cannabis concentrates, popular solvents include: butane, propane, CO2, and alcohol.
Although water is technically a solvent (“the universal solvent,” if you remember your high school chemistry class), ice-water extractions are typically classified as non-solvent extractions in the cannabis world. Solventless extractions do not introduce any foreign substances (except for water).
Solvent-Based Cannabis Extraction Methods
Solvent-based extractions typically produce concentrates that are known as oil. If made properly, this means the concentrate will be free of plant matter (also known as contaminate). These oils will melt and vaporize to nothing—meaning very minimal residue will remain on the nail if dabbed, for instance.
The consistency of solvent-based cannabis concentrates varies greatly based on a few factors: strain of cannabis, growing conditions, curing environment, extraction technique, the solvent used, purging process and equipment used all play a role in the final product.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
Cannabis concentrate derived from a butane-based extraction is referred to as Butane Hash Oil or BHO for short. BHO is by far the most popular concentrate of late as a result of its potency and varying consistencies; shatter, budder, sap, and snap n’ pull can all be derived from butane extraction.
Although dangerous to make at home, sophisticated machinery has made commercial production safe and effective. BHO should be produced by a reputable extractor who understands how to properly purge each run to avoid unpleasant aftertaste or harsh residual butane.
Perhaps the best analogy for how it works is an espresso machine: As the water passes through the puck of ground coffee beans, it strips them of their oils (which contain the caffeine, flavor, and aroma) into a filtered, highly concentrated solution. For cannabis, the extractor places plant material in a column with a filtration screen at the end, and as the butane passes through the column it strips the plant material of its cannabinoids and terpenes.
The solution containing both butane and beneficial cannabis compounds is then placed in a vacuum oven in order to evaporate, or purge, the BHO of its butane and any other foreign contaminants.
There is almost always a trace amount of butane in the oil produced by these extractions, so try to minimize your risk by purchasing lab-tested BHO. Some legal states have begun to place maximums on the amount (PPM) of residual solvent allowed in BHO sold in dispensaries.
Make sure your oil is properly purged! Purging BHO oil can happen in a variety of ways. Typically, people opt to use vacuums to reduce the boiling point of the oil and prevent burning or oxidation. Removing gas from the oil helps to make the dab more enjoyable.
Propane Hash Oil (PHO)
Concentrate derived from a propane-based extraction is referred to as Propane Hash Oil or PHO for short. Although others are possible, the consistency of PHO is typically budder.
The process of propane extraction is very similar to butane extraction, the primary difference is simply swapping butane for propane. Propane extractions run at higher pressures, stripping different ratios of plant waxes and oils than butane which, depending on the strain, can deliver fewer residuals and higher levels of terpene preservation.
Propane has a lower boiling point than butane, which allows for a lower purging temperature for PHO and results in the buddery consistency as opposed to shatter. Note that some extraction companies utilize a blend of propane and butane.
CO2 oil is the golden liquid used in almost every pre-filled vaporizer pen cartridge. CO2 oil is substantially safer than propane and butane-derived extracts. CO2 oil is a clean, dab-able product once removed from the extraction machine with no harmful residuals or risk of toxicity.
Another upside to CO2 extractions is that it kills any mold or bacteria present in the plant material. Although safer to consume, in my experience, CO2 oil lacks the flavor profile (terpene content) present in BHO and PHO. CO2 oil is commonly used in edibles and can be purchased in its activated form.
CO2 extractions almost always produce a viscous oil (color can range from amber to dark) that is typically delivered in an oral syringe. However, secondary refining processes can bring CO2 extractions to a stable, shatter-like state.
Supercritical or subcritical carbon dioxide extractions involve holding the CO2 at high or low pressures, respectively; the process involves extremely expensive extraction machines. The CO2 passes through the cannabis material and strips the plant of its oils, waxes and other matter. By adjusting certain parameters, the extractor can save more cannabinoids and terpenes in order to preserve purity or strip more unessential material like chlorophylls to increase yield.
Concentrates can also be created by soaking ground cannabis in alcohol (either isopropyl or Everclear). A short soak is all that is needed to isolate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the starting material. A longer soak will also dissolve undesired plant materials like chlorophylls and waxes.
Alcohol-based concentrates are safe to make at home and are safe to consume, assuming the solution has been filtered and purged. Purging, or evaporating, the alcohol requires precise temperature control and patience.
This type of concentrate, also known as Rick Simpson Oil, is typically consumed orally or via tincture. This type of concentrate is generally purchased for medical application due to its potent cancer-fighting properties, as opposed to recreational use.
Distillation, also known as isolation, is a form of extraction and refinement that separates full-spectrum plant oil into its individual constituents–meaning you can isolate the THC, CBD, and terpenes individually from a batch of full-spectrum oil. This allows the extractor to achieve extremely potent concentrates that only contain one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Although it is generally accepted that full-spectrum extracts provide higher medical efficacy, isolate is useful because it gives people access to specific cannabinoids (like CBD) in higher quantities than can be found in flower. For instance, CBD isolate typically contains 99-percent CBD, indicating a very pure product.
Another benefit to CBD isolate is that it can be shipped all over the U.S. because it doesn’t contain any THC. As an industrial hemp product, it is federally legal to ship to all fifty states.
A couple of our favorite CBD isolate powders are from CBD Living ($40 per gram) and CBDistillery ($30 per gram).
Solventless Cannabis Extraction Methods
Solventless extractions are considered to be the most enjoyable, highest quality, and most unadulterated form of cannabis extracts. Even better, all the solventless extraction techniques can be performed at home with relative ease. With the exception of rosin, the goal of solventless extracts is pure glandular trichome head isolation, as the heads contain the coveted cannabinoids and terpenes.
For these reasons, solventless extracts are our recommended and preferred concentrate despite the extra steps needed to press it into dabs. Pure isolated trichome heads in either the dry sift or ice water hash form are known as full melt.
The term full melt is used to describe the highest grade of solventless extractions that melt fully, leaving behind little to no residue, indicating very little plant matter in the product.
Dry sift involves using a series of taut silk screens with varying microns to separate the trichome heads from the stalk and plant matter. A micron is a microscopic unit of measurement used to identify the size of the holes in a sifting screen. It is the most natural and unobtrusive way of producing concentrates, but it also happens to be a meticulous process that results in low yields.
For this reason, quality dry sift is difficult to find and extremely expensive, even in legal states, as commercial growers see significantly higher returns on solvent-based extractions. Nonetheless, it’s arguably the most flavorful concentrate because it retains the most volatile terpenes and preserves the richest aromas.
There are different grades of dry sift ranging from kief, which contains a mixture of trichome heads, stalks, and plant material; to full melt, which contains just the glandular trichome heads. Expert hash makers can ‘clean’ lower grades of dry sift, refining the material further to improve quality.
As the name indicates, full melt dry sift leaves little to no residue when dabbed and is considered to be the ultimate connoisseur grade hash. Its starting material is typically of the highest quality, which results in an incredibly pure concentrate that does not introduce any foreign substances during the extraction process. This type of concentrate typically looks like beach sand and can be pressed into a dab-able sheet with light heat and pressure.
Ice Water Hash
Ice water extraction is very similar to dry sift; however, the process incorporates ice and water to break the brittle trichome heads off of the plant material. The agitation can be performed either by hand or with the help of a washing machine.
The solution containing the water and trichomes is then filtered through what is known as a sieve stack, or a series of filtration screens of varying microns. The purpose of the screens is to remove any contaminate (plant material) and to isolate the glandular trichome heads.
The final step in the ice water extraction process is to break down the hash into smaller pieces using a microplane or metal strainer so that it can properly dry. Some commercial hash makers skip this step and opt to utilize a freeze dryer instead. Once the ice water hash is free of moisture, it is typically placed in an air-tight glass jar to cure; the longer the better.
Like dry sift, there are varying grades of ice water hash. Quality ice water extractions also take on the consistency of beach sand and can be pressed into dab-able sheets.
Cannabis extracts produced using this technique have a variety of names; bubble hash, ice-o-lator hash, full melt, solventless wax, ice wax, etc.
The newest trend in cannabis concentrate production is referred to as the ‘rosin tech’ or ‘solventless hash oil’ (SHO). Rosin is great as it provides consumers a safe alternative for making oils within the comfort of home with easy-to-access starting material: All you need is a cannabis bud. This process utilizes heat and pressure to extract the essential oils from the flower or hash.
The consistency, yield, and flavor profile of rosin will vary based on strain and the specific amount of heat and pressure utilized; but as a general rule of thumb, lower temperatures and higher pressures result in the least adulterated, most terpene-rich extracts.
This can be performed using a simple hair straightener, or an industrial press if you’re getting fancy. The rosin tech typically produces a glassy, stable oil that takes on a shattery consistency; but like most concentrates, you can find it in a variety of consistencies.
The rosin tech can also be used to extract the essential oils from lower grades of ice water hash or dry sift; effectively turning your trash into treasure! Depending on the starting material used, the product will be labeled as either ‘flower rosin’ or ‘hash rosin.’
Rosin Tech: How to Make Dabs at Home
From the depths of Instagram to the top shelf of the dispensary, rosin is the hottest trend in cannabis concentrates.
But there is a lot of confusion regarding the stuff—is it effective? Does it yield? Is it flavorful? Can I vaporize it? Will it be stable? What will the replies to these questions even mean?
We will help you understand the answers as well as provide step-by-step instructions for making rosin at home. Also referred to as rosin tech, the process utilizes heat and pressure to extract the essential oils from the cannabis flower or hash. This can be performed using a simple hair straightener or a rosin press.
Because the industrial rosin presses are very expensive and intended for commercial production, we will explain how to make rosin hash at home with a basic hair straightener as the primary piece of extraction equipment (with the option to use a bar clamp to increase pressure). Once your rosin hash is ready, we can show you how to smoke dabs as well!
Step by Step Guide to Making Rosin Dabs
First, Get the Necessary Items for Pressing Bud:
What you’ll need:
- Cannabis buds
- Hair Straightener/Flat Iron—This one on Amazon has a nice wide surface area for pressing. If you’re getting serious, you can also use a heat press machine like this one.
- Press, vice, bar clamp, etc. (optional)—You can get one here for less than $15.
- Quality, Unbleached Parchment Paper
- Dabber or wax carving tool. This set is perfect for dabbing.
Extra Items when pressing hash:
- Low-grade ice water hash, kief, or dry sift
- Pressing/Rosin Screens
1. Preheat the Iron
The first step is to plug in your iron, turn it on, and set it to a temperature ranging from 240°F to 300°F. If the temperature settings on your iron do not go low enough (ours don’t), simply select the lowest temperature.
We deal with the higher temperature setting by unplugging the iron just prior to pressing. Feel free to play with the temperature settings as it can impact yield, flavor, consistency, and color.
2. Prepare Material
If pressing flower, select a medium sized bud, about the size of a quarter. The area of the bud should not be larger than the area of your pressing surface (hot plates on the iron). Make sure to remove all visible stems!
If your starting material is less dense or ‘leafy,’ you can squish it into a small ball, about the size of a quarter, prior to pressing. Take the bud and place it into a sheet of parchment paper that has been folded in half.
If pressing ice water hash, dry sift, or trim, we recommend packing the material into a screen pouch prior to squishing. This will eliminate the risk of any plant material finding its way into your concentrate.
Remember, the goal here is to extract the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes while leaving behind the plant material itself. There are several companies that make pouches specifically for this purpose—you can find a nice variety on Amazon.
The best results can be seen when the screen and material have been folded into a pouch that is just smaller than the area of the iron’s plates. Place the pouch between a folded piece of parchment paper so that the extracted material can be collected.
3. Squish Firmly and Hold
Now the fun part; smash the starting material in the iron! It is generally easiest to set the hair straightener on the ground and orient the pressing surface so it is parallel to the floor. If your iron runs hotter than the optimal pressing range, now is the perfect time to unplug it.
Take the folded parchment and place it in-between the two flat heating elements such that the bud or hash is centered on the iron’s surface.
PRESS AS HARD AS YOU CAN! Some people step on the iron, others have created DIY presses to exert even more force on the hair straightener.
Increased pressure results in higher yields! We recommend pressing for five to 10 seconds (the perfect length for you will depend on your specific temperature and pressure parameters). By adjusting the length of each press, you can impact yield, flavor, consistency, and color.
Recently, we have been using a high-pressure bar clamp for added pressure and the outcome has been great. Want to upgrade to 600 lbs of pressure? You can buy one of these on Amazon for less than $15! There is no right or wrong here, just do the best you can with your budget or the items at your disposal.
4. Clean and Collect
The next step in the process is to clean the rosin of any contaminant (plant matter), if necessary. When pressing flowers, a pistil or two typically manages to find its way into the sticky concentrate.
These bits of plant matter are easy to remove with the help of a dabber or tweezers. The pressing screens are very effective at preventing plant material from even coming into contact with the rosin—the downside is they absorb some of the essential oils, resulting in slightly diminished yields.
Once the rosin has been cleaned, you can collect it using a dabber or similar tool. It is typically easiest to collect the solventless oil by gently rubbing the dabber back and forth across the parchment paper.
Leaving the ball of rosin at the end of the dabber while scraping is helpful as the oil sticks to itself, making for effortless collection. Once the rosin has been collected, it can be placed in parchment paper or a non-stick silicone container for storage.
5. Re-Press if Needed
Depending on the effectiveness of your first press, there may be some essential oils remaining in your starting material. It never hurts to give your hash or flower another press in the hair straightener to ensure that all cannabinoids and terpenes have been extracted.
One of my favorite applications of the rosin tech is using it to extract the essential oils from lower grades of ice water hash, or kief/dry sift; effectively turning your trash into treasure!
Tips to Remember
- Better starting material = higher yield
- More pressure = higher yield
- Lower temperature = better terpene retention (more flavor)
FAQ for Rosin Tech
Can I Vape Rosin?
Yes! Rosin works great in a ceramic vaporizer pen.
What is the consistency of Rosin Tech concentrates?
The rosin tech typically produces a glassy, stable oil that takes on a shatter-like consistency. It can also be whipped into a budder consistency for those who prefer wax over shatter. Depending on certain variables like strain, temperature, and pressure, the rosin may have a snap n’ pull consistency.
How do I consume rosin?
Rosin, regardless of its consistency, can be dabbed, twaxed, vaporized, or made into edibles with ease. Then you can load up your empty vape cartridge. To learn more about how to smoke dabs, click here.
Is rosin flavorful?
Many people worry that because the extraction process involves heat, it inherently results in lost terpenes, the compounds that give cannabis its flavor and aroma. However, you may be surprised at the flavors retained in quality rosin; especially considering that the initial product being pressed may have been riddled with plant material.
Although, the answer to this question is largely based on the specific heat levels used in the extraction process. As a general rule of thumb, lower temperatures and higher pressures result in the least adulterated, most terpene-rich extracts. You can maximize the flavor of each rosin dab with a few simple adjustments.
Does the rosin tech yield well?
Yields with this extraction method can range from less than 10 percent to upwards of 30 percent, which is in the range of other popular extraction techniques like BHO. Don’t expect to be hitting the high end of this range with just a hair straightener and flower.
Yield percentages can run higher with hash because it’s already concentrated, but the primary variables impacting yield are strain, potency, and temperature/pressure used in extraction.
One thing you can do to increase your yields with certainty is to use a press, bar clamp, etc. to exert more pressure on the iron than would be possible with just the human body.
Is rosin better than BHO?
This is a difficult question to answer as it is largely preference based; however, there are some marked differences between the two concentrates. Rosin hash is great as it provides consumers a safe alternative to making solvent-based extracts, like BHO (a dangerous process), within the comfort of home. This is especially helpful for those who lack access to safe, quality solvent-based extractions.
Additionally, rosin is inherently safer to consume than concentrates made with butane, propane, or alcohol. No more feeling like your lungs are going to collapse after taking a large dab! Have you wondered why your lungs hurt after dabbing? That unpleasant sensation in your respiratory system is caused by the residual solvent (generally butane) remaining in the concentrate.
Do they sell rosin in dispensaries?
Yes! Depending on the starting material used, the product will be labeled as either ‘flower rosin’ or ‘hash rosin’.
How To Press Solventless Dabs
When first getting into connoisseur-grade solventless extracts like ice water hash and dry sift, we couldn’t figure out how to turn the golden beach sand into the slab-style sheet we were used to dabbing.
With some pointers from friends and lots of trial and error, we have successfully determined how to achieve the perfect press every time. With light heat, pressure, and some finesse, you can grease your full-melt hash into beautiful looking, dab-ready sheets with ease!
How to Smoke Ice Water Hash & Dry Sift
1. Cut and Fold Parchment
The first step is to prepare the parchment paper. This will require cutting the parchment paper into a manageable square or rectangle that will be folded in half. You can orient the crease such that it prevents the parchment paper for rolling in on itself.
2. Add the Solventless Concentrate
Hold the folded piece of parchment so that it creates a trough with the crease at the bottom. Carefully sprinkle the powdered hash or sift into the crease. You can disperse the extract into a thin line or keep it thicker depending on your tolerance and size of dabbing surface.
Once you have arranged the concentrate in the crease of the parchment paper, use your fingers to press the hash or sift together—the goal here is to pre-press so that it holds its shape prior to performing the actual press. Set the folded parchment with the concentrate down on a table in preparation for the next step.
3. Heat your Pressing Tool
As mentioned above, you can use a variety of tools to press hash: dabbers, ash catchers, bowls, carb caps, and even hash presses made specifically for this purpose. In this example, we will be using a dabber and carb cap combo to press out the ice water hash.
Use a torch, the same kind you would use to heat your nail, to lightly heat the surface of the pressing tool. The key here is low heat, as too much heat can degrade terpene and cannabinoid content which will result in a loss of flavor and potency. Heat the tool to a point where you can just touch the pressing surface without burning your hand.
Temperature control will take a bit of practice; it’s better to go too low and reheat/repress than to burn your precious hash with an overheated tool.
Once again, if opting to use a hair straightener or flat iron instead of a manually heated pressing tool, make sure that the heating elements are no more than warm to the touch to avoid incidentally rosining your starting material. We find that pressing with a hair straightener is riskier and less forgiving than using a tool like a heated carb cap.
4. Press out the Dry Hash or Sift
Use the heated tool to press out the hash or dry sift through the parchment paper. The amount of pressure you apply will determine how thickly or thinly the sheet of concentrate is pressed. Pressing the hash or sift thinly will yield a semi-translucent sheet, whereas a thicker press will result in an opaque sheet.
5. Let it Cool
Before unfolding the parchment paper, we recommend waiting for it to cool or placing it in the refrigerator for a few seconds to chill. This will help the pressed hash or sift separate from the parchment paper. If the ice water hash relentlessly sticks to the parchment paper, it likely wasn’t properly dried and still has residual moisture.
6. Cut into Portions
The final step is to cut the sheet into dab-ready portions. The size will depend on your personal preference, tolerance, and the size/type of nail you use. You can use a dabber or knife to cut the hash, or you can apply some heat to the tip of a dab tool and slice the sheet.Once you’ve created the appropriate portion size, press your dabber into your selected piece of hash. Now you’re ready to dab!
7. Slowly Drop the Concentrate on the Nail
For optimal long-term storage, it is best to leave your hash or sift in a dark, cool environment (like a refrigerator) and wait to press your hash until you are ready to consume it. The primary benefits to pressing out hash and dry sift are ease of handling and dosage control.
Although easier to handle, it isn’t necessary to press hash into these sheets, as quality solventless extracts can be dabbed in their unadulterated form. In fact, really high-grade solventless extracts will ‘grease’ up, effectively turning into a semi-transparent, oily consistency.
The terpenes act as a solvent, further dissolving the glandular trichome heads. You can increase the likelihood of your hash or sift greasing up by keeping the concentrate in a warmer place like you pocket (also called a pocket cure).
- Keep your solventless hash in the fridge until you’re ready to dab
- Use very low heat to press your hash
- Your carb cap is a perfectly reasonable pressing tool
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