Hashish

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1.5 grams American pressed hashish
One gram American "bubble melt" Cannabis indica hashish

Hashish, often known as "hash", is a cannabis preparation composed of compressed and/or purified preparations of stalked resin glands, called trichomes, collected from the unfertilized buds of the cannabis plant. It contains the same active ingredients—such as THC and other cannabinoids—but in higher concentrations than unsifted buds or leaves.

Hashish may be solid or resinous depending on the preparation; pressed hashish is usually solid, whereas water-purified hashish—often called "bubble melt hash"—is often a paste-like substance with varying hardness and pliability, its color most commonly light to dark brown but varying toward green, yellow, black or red.[1] It is consumed by being heated in a pipe, hookah, bong, bubbler, vaporizer, hot knife, smoked in joints, mixed with cannabis buds or tobacco (the latter being more common in Europe and Africa), or cooked in foods.

Hashish use as a medicine and recreational drug dates back to at least the 3rd millennium BC. Hashish is currently illegal to use or consume nearly everywhere in the world.[2] See Legality of cannabis.

Contents

History

It is believed that hashish originated in the Middle East and Western Asia, where the cannabis plant was widely available.

Northern India has a long social tradition in the production of hashish, known locally as Charas, which is believed to be the same plant resin as was burned in the ceremonial "booz rooz" of ancient Persia.[3] Cannabis sativa subsp. indica grows wild almost everywhere on the Indian sub-continent, and special strains have been particularly cultivated for production of "ganja" and "hashish" particularly in West Bengal, Rajasthan and the Himalayas.[citation needed]

The earliest hashish was created by gently rubbing palms and fingers on cannabis buds for hours to accumulate resin, which would then be scraped off the hand. In more technologically advanced areas, modern hashish is now made with more advanced technologies by compressing and/or refining or purifying a great quantity of trichomes harvested from Cannabis sativa plants using such processes as ice-water separation, also known as "bubble melt", producing "bubble hash" or "water hash".

Manufacturing processes

Récolte de la résine de cannabis, Uttarakhand, Inde.ogv
Making cannabis resin, Uttarakhand, India.

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 screened kief-grinders in order to skirt paraphernalia selling laws), are separated from the plant through various methods.

Mechanical separation methods use physical action to remove the trichomes from the plant, such as sieving through a screen by hand or in motorized tumblers. The resulting powder, referred to as "kief", is compressed with the aid of heat into blocks of hashish. Ice-water separation is another mechanical method of isolating trichomes.

Chemical separation methods generally use a solvent such as ethanol or hexane to dissolve the lipophilic desirable resin. Remaining plant materials are 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". This oil is not really hashish, as the latter name covers trichomes that are extracted by sieving, hence leaving most of the glands intact. The reason hash oil is fluid, is that the resin glands have been broken, leading to what is called a Bonani.

Quality

Tiny pieces of leaf matter may be accidentally 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 comes in wide ranges from almost none to 70%, and that of hash oil from 30–90%.[4]

Fresh hashish considered to be good quality is soft and pliable and becomes progressively harder and less potent over weeks and months as its THC content oxidizes to other cannabinoids and as essential oils evaporate. Hashish color usually reflects the methods of harvesting, manufacturing, and storage. Hash is generally said to be black (Afghanistan), brown or blonde (Morocco); there is also hashish of greenish or reddish (Lebanon) hue. A green tinge may indicate that the hashish contains a large amount of leaf material.[citation needed]

Ash after burning should be white and soft; hard, dark, cinder-like shapes may indicate impurities.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Red Leb". http://deephousepage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206734. 
  2. ^ Why is Marijuana Illegal?, drugwarrant.com, http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/, retrieved 2012-07-18 
  3. ^ Usaybia, Abu; Notes on Uyunu al-Anba fi Tabaquat al-Atibba, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965.
  4. ^ Inciardi, James A. (1992). The War on Drugs II. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. p. 19. ISBN 1-55934-016-9. 

Further reading

External links