“The secret of hashish lifts up the spirit,” wrote the Syrian poet al-Is-Irdi in the 13th century. But transforming the plant into resinous hash is wizardry that requires both precision and craft. Humboldt County’s hash artists have been making hash from cannabis grown in the hills for decades. Bubble hash is most exquisite when crafted from plants that are allowed to fully ripen and yield extraordinary resin. “Bubble hash shows off the farmer the best,” says cannabis farmer Sunshine Johnston of Sunboldt Grown.
The concept of bubble hash is simple: Plant material is placed in a container filled with water, ice, and mesh sieves. Through agitation (stirring), the heads of the tiny trichomes (the famous resin glands) become brittle and fall off the stalks. Once the material has been agitated and the trichomes have separated, incremental strainings with mesh sieves ranging from 40 to 120 microns yield different grades of hash.
Barron Lutz moved to Humboldt County in 2006 specifically to make hash. “I need to be close to where the plants grow to understand the seasons. I was in the food and wine world before, I know how important it is to source local ingredients,” he explains. Barron sources cannabis from local Humboldt county farmers, and today his company Nasha Extracts is California’s biggest hash producer. Choosing the right strain is key. “The best strains for hash produce trichomes that are dry and oily,” says Barron. “By dry, I mean the trichome heads fall off easily. By oily, I mean there’s high oil content in the heads.”
Craig Nejedly makes hash from the cannabis grown on his farm Talking Trees Farms (he also owns High Grade distribution and the Satori Wellness dispensary). For Craig, Humboldt is the best place to cultivate and make hash because of the culture and because of a supportive local government. Being able to control the process from cultivation to final product in the store enables him “to keep the integrity all the way down the line.” Check out their new video here.
Kiskanu is a vertically-integrated cannabis producer run by husband-and-wife team Jason and Gretchen Miller. In addition to their famous line of skincare products, Kiskanu also produces hash-infused pre-rolls, or as Jason calls them, “the Friday night joint.” As cultivators and extractors, they mix and match their flower strain with the strain used for hash. Jason likes Bubble Gum for hash making, as well as newer strains like GMO, Wedding Cake or Ice Cream Cake for their amazing terpene profiles. Because each person’s endocannabinoid system reacts differently to cannabis, it appears to be terpenes, more so than THC, that impact the experience. “It’s a personalized answer,” says Jason. “This plant doesn’t fit in a box.”
Erin Hamilton and her Husband Josh Vert own Royal Key and Suprize Suprize in Arcata which has placed first in the last two Emerald Cups. When I visited their facility, hash artists Sean and Bryce were taking out a tray of hash from the freeze dryer. The trays of hash are placed in the icy-cold dryer to remove the water that was used to extract the trichome heads from the freshly frozen flowers. From there, the collected trichome heads are separated by size then placed in fine mesh bags to be skillfully pressed between large metal plates. The warm plates and precise pressure cause the trichomes membrane to melt, releasing the cannabinoids, terpenes, and forcing them through the fine mesh bag which in turn filters the membrane skin and other undesirables leaving the purest form: Live Rosin. Each batch is unique and Bryce loves the crafting. "It's about how wet and melty it's going to be," he says.
Go to a licensed dispensary, ask for hash from Humboldt and let your spirits be lifted.