Hashish is arguably the simplest of all cannabis concentrates, but if you want hash that truly stands out, you have to learn how to make bubble hash. Bubble hash—sometimes referred to as ice water hash, ice hash, or ice water extract—allows you to achieve maximum purity with minimal post-processing. When you find a hash product that’s labeled “full melt,” it’s almost always a bubble hash product. But making bubble hash is actually less complicated than you may realize.
How to Make Bubble Hash the Easy Way
The concept of making bubble hash is simple. You take cured or fresh frozen cannabis and submerge it in an ice water vessel, and agitate the ice-cold water in the vessel to separate the frozen trichome head from its stalk/plant material. Then you agitate the ice-cold water in the vessel to separate the frozen trichomes from the plant material. The trichomes are non-buoyant in water, which allows them to sink to the bottom and drain out where they are then collected, cleaned, and dried.
For the casual hobbyist, very little financial investment is required to make and consume bubble hash. You’ll need to buy the mesh wash bags, but you can use a bucket as your primary wash vessel and a hand paddle or mixing whisk to agitate the ice water.
- Line your bucket with a 220µm wash bag and fill it about halfway with ice and water.
- Add your cannabis material.
- Use your paddle to stir the ice water for about 20 minutes, adding additional ice whenever needed. You want to maintain a consistent temperature of about 34°F when washing.
- Remove the mesh bag and pour the contents into a second vessel (or the same vessel) lined with a series of bubble bags. You want the highest micron size at the top and lowest micron size at the bottom, going in descending order.
- Remove the bags one at a time and collect your wet hash.
- Dry your hash (more on that later).
If you just want to make your own bubble hash and impress your friends, this is a perfectly reasonable method. However, it’s not going to give you professional-quality bubble hash. For that, you’re going to need a few specialized tools.
Pro Tips for Making Premium Bubble Hash
For the entrepreneur, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between making bubble hash and making top-shelf bubble hash that’s actually SKU-worthy.
Hash has been around for at least 900 years (probably much longer), but it has made tremendous strides just since the 1980s with the introduction of water—and later ice water—extraction. New methods, technologies, and techniques continue to raise the bar, and serious processors know what it takes to achieve the best.
Pro Tip#1: Opt for Commercial Hash Washing Equipment
When you upgrade from buckets to commercial hash washing equipment, you’re essentially entering the big leagues: greater throughput, faster wash times, less labor/less risk of injury, a higher caliber of safety/sanitary conditions, and a gentler wash. That last one is especially important.
A professional system should allow you to easily add, drain, and reroute your water. It should automate the agitation process according to your desired specifications. It should allow for temperature control, speed control, and the ability to set custom recipes. Only this type of technology allows you to achieve consistent results every time.
The most important things to look for in commercial hash washing equipment are a gentle designed impeller that isn’t going to shear trichome heads, stainless steel construction to avoid microplastics in the extract, and some kind of baffle system to disrupt a vortex to allow for a homogeneous even mixture.
Shameless plug: The Osprey has all of these features and many, many more, at an extremely effective price point. It was designed by Hashmakers for Hashmakers, and it also has other state-of-the-art features like a lockable, food-grade Plexiglass lid to prevent leakage and a washdown-rated PLC Smart Controller that lets you achieve precise, consistent results every time.
Pro Tip #2: Make Sure You Have a Quality Starting Material
Quality in = quality out. If you want a good yield and a good end product, start with quality genetics bred specifically for hash production. It’s not just the strain that matters, either. The phenotype and growing conditions can make a big difference, as can the handling and storage conditions, so you have to be discerning when choosing your starting material.
Certain genetics do lend themselves to concentrates particularly well. Some of our top recommendations include Grape Cream Cake from Bloom Seeds, Sugar Shack from Farmhouse Studio, GMO from Mamiko Seeds, Papaya from Nirvana Seeds, and Wedding Cake from Jungle Boys. All of these genetics are high yielding, and many of their crosses also wash well.
Pro Tip #3: Use Fresh Frozen Cannabis for Best Results
Many of us Cannabis Enthusiasts absolutely adore the scent, aroma, and essence of a full bloom flowering cannabis plant. Its juiciest, most exotic features are fully expressed at that point, whether it's gassy terps, fruity terps, or earthy terps. There's little in this world that compares, and many of us wish we could just smoke, vape, or dab that aroma.
However, this isn't the case. That cannabis must be processed in some form or fashion to be consumed. It can be harvested, dried, and cured, which truly changes the essence of that material from its peak bloom aroma.
Fortunately for us, Fresh Frozen Cannabis can be washed via ice water hash and gets us as close as we can get to capturing that aroma of a full bloom flowering cannabis plant.
Pro Tip #4: Freeze-Dry Your Bubble Hash
There are different ways to dry your bubble hash. The most cost-effective way is to air dry it. Move your hash immediately from the wash vessel to the freezer and let it freeze completely. Then use a sieve or microplane to break down the bubble hash into a sand-like consistency. Finally, let your hash air dry in a cold room of about 40 to 50 degrees F until all traces of moisture are gone.
But while the air-drying method might be cheap, it’s also imprecise. Moisture commonly gets left behind, creating a breeding ground for mold and fungi. The best way to dry your bubble hash, by far, is to use a freeze dryer. Freeze dryers eliminate all traces of moisture in as little as 24 hours—and with better terpene retention and color preservation, both which massively affect the commercial value of hash (especially if you plan to press it into rosin). You won’t find a simpler or cleaner way to dry your hash.
Pro Tip #5: Remember That It’s Not Just About Micron Size
When filtering your hash, don’t make the rookie mistake of assuming that smaller micron size automatically equates to higher-quality hash. A good set of bags will capture pretty much everything that’s there. To get the best quality without sacrificing yield, find a strain that works well and subject it to multiple washes to eliminate the most plant material.
Ideally, you want to find a strain of flower that yields 3-4% or more to dry bubble hash. Primo hash is often found between 120µm and 72µm, and 90µm tends to be a good middle sweet spot. However, there are exceptions to this rule in specific environments (i.e. NorCal Greenhouses) with master growers and the perfect genetics that allow for the best resin heads to even be available in the 160um range! So focus on finding the right strain, grow it to its fullest potential, and then give it just the amount of filtration it needs.
Don’t Compromise With Your Bubble Hash
It takes a little extra investment to make premium bubble hash, but it’s always worth it—especially if you want to produce consistently high-quality hash at scale. From there, you can even transform your hash into rosin or other refined concentrates and take your product to the next level.
If you’re just looking to have some fun and smoke bubble hash at home, you probably have almost everything you need to complete the entire process right now. But if you want to compete in today’s competitive cannabis market, you’re going to need more than just a bucket and a paddle.