Bubble hash is one of the most unique cannabis concentrates you’ll find. It’s an ancient product and yet a modern discovery. It’s easy to make and yet challenging to perfect. It’s wildly popular and yet often overshadowed by other extracts. So what exactly is bubble hash and why do people love it so much?
An Introduction to Bubble Hash
Bubble hash is a form of hashish that’s produced via ice water extraction.
Hashish, or hash, is a concentrated form of cannabis that’s produced when the plant’s trichomes—the sticky resin glands—are collected and compressed. It has existed for at least 900 years (our first known reference to hashish comes from an 1123 pamphlet from Cairo, Egypt), but modern innovations have paved the way for purer and more potent varieties.
There are different ways to extract hashish, such as with a screen box, with dry ice, or with ice water. When ice water extraction is used, the end product is referred to as bubble hash—or ice water hash. It gets its name from the bubbles that appear as the concentrate is heated.
Bubble hash typically has a light tan color and a sticky consistency. It breaks up easily when it’s stored in a cold environment, and it’s usually very dab-friendly as long as most of the plant matter has been removed. Good bubble hash may have a sandy consistency when frozen but will grease up almost immediately when exposed to room temperature.
How Bubble Hash Is Made
To make bubble hash, you need a few key items:
- Ice and water (although a chilled water skid can eliminate the need for ice)
- Cured or fresh frozen cannabis
- A washing vessel (like a bucket, clean trash can, or commercial hash washing machine)
- An agitation tool such as a paddle or mixing whisk
- A set of mesh wash bags (bubble bags)
- An RO system (crucial for producing clean hash)
- A freeze dryer (optional, but highly recommended as freeze dryers remove the maximum amount of moisture with little risk of contamination)
We’ve covered the fundamentals of how to make bubble hash in other articles, but the basic science works like this:
- Cannabis material is submerged in an ice water bath, where the buds freeze and become brittle.
- The ice water is agitated with a hand paddle or motorized paddle to agitate the cannabis and help separate the trichome heads from the buds.
- The resin glands break off from the buds and float to the bottom of the vessel, where they’re filtered through a series of mesh bags.
- The collected hash is removed from the vessel and dried. It might be air-dried, dried in a cold room, or placed in a freeze dryer for 24 hours or more.
The modern process of hash-washing was first developed by Sadhu Sam in the late 1980s. A few years later, the process was refined by Dutch cannabis icon Mila the Hash Queen, who introduced the inclusion of ice and bag filtration. “Bubble Man” Marcus Richardson later improved the ice water hash bags, marketed them as bubble bags, and popularized the method with the masses. That method remains the standard today.
Bubble Hash vs Traditional Hash
There are countless ways to make hash. Some people even make hash inside of their shoes (you read that correctly). But while there are plenty of simple and crude hash-making methods, the biggest alternative to bubble hash is still the dry sift method.
Dry Sift Hash
To make dry sift, you would use a pollen box or sifter box to separate the trichomes from the buds. Then you would collect the kief at the bottom and press it together into a solid block using a pollen press. For commercial operations, there are also professional-grade trichome sifters that can process large amounts of sift from start to finish.
One benefit of dry sift is that it’s slightly less labor-intensive than making bubble hash. However, it’s also more prone to contamination. In addition, bubble hash tends to have less unwanted cannabis plant material due to the precision of the extraction process. It’s possible to achieve full-melt sift that’s as good as bubble hash, but this typically requires complicated post-processing steps like static tech.
Dry Ice Hash
Another less popular method of making hash is the dry ice method. It works by using frozen carbon dioxide (-109ºF) to freeze and brittle the trichomes (at such low temperatures, the CO2 transforms from a solid to a gas). The trichomes break off easily with just slight agitation, and then they’re filtered through a mesh micron bag.
Although dry ice hash is regarded as a quick and easy method, it does come with some unflattering trade-offs. It tends to be less potent than bubble hash while maintaining more unwanted plant material. And then there’s the risk of ice burns. Also, dry ice hash isn’t a viable choice for commercial operations. At best, it’s a cool party trick.
Why Bubble Hash Is So Popular
When you compare it to the alternatives, bubble hash really is the gold standard.
- The ice water extraction method is the easiest way to achieve 5-star and 6-star (full-melt) hash. Full-melt bubble hash is essential if you want a dab-friendly cannabis concentrate.
- The ice water extraction method is safer. Unlike many other extraction methods that require highly explosive and volatile solvents, bubble hash simply uses water, ice, and filtration.
- Less cannabis plant matter means a more concentrated product—which means a more potent product. Bubble hash is known to contain up to 60% THC.
- Bubble hash can be made with fresh frozen cannabis, giving you a live bubble hash with almost the entire terpene profile intact. This is almost impossible with other forms of hash.
- Ice water extraction comes with a much lower risk of contamination than other hash-making methods, since the concentrate is entirely submerged in water.
- The name “full melt bubble hash” carries a level of prestige and can make a valuable SKU. The name is synonymous with quality, and that’s why many buyers will pay top dollar to dab or smoke bubble hash. Connoisseurs understand that high-end bubble hash can only be made from high-end cannabis. You can't just wash a turd and make it flame; it needs to have a great starting material, which helps keep the price up. Not everyone can grow great cannabis, which is why not everyone makes solventless hash.
- Bubble hash makes an excellent starting material for a rosin press. Hash rosin is one of the purest concentrates available, and once you have your bubble hash ready to go, the rest of the extraction process is easy.
In addition, bubble hash is experiencing a surge in popularity due to growing demand for solventless concentrates. Interest in solventless concentrates skyrocketed more than 1,400% between June 2021 and June 2022, and the market demand continues to increase. Bubble hash fits perfectly within this emerging trend.
See for Yourself Why Bubble Hash Is So Hot
The popularity of bubble hash comes down to three P’s: purity, potency, and production. It’s as pure as any hash product you’ll ever get, its potency never disappoints, and it’s one of the easiest concentrates in its class to produce.
Whether you’re just a passionate cannabis connoisseur or a business owner looking to dominate the concentrates market, you’ll want to make sure you familiarize yourself with bubble hash. You’ll be glad you did.