How To Make Bubble Hash Without Butane
It’s easy to forget about bubble hash with prevalence of dab culture and butane-extracted hash oil but a resurgence in “solventless” concentrates has been creating a greater and greater demand for very fine bubble hash and what some refer to as “rosin.” While some prefer the flavor / the piece of mind knowing there are no additional chemicals in the final product, the real advantage to bubble hash is that it’s 100% safe and easy to acquire the necessary materials without running the risk of being caught up on “drug lab” charges (as is the case with chemically-extracted concentrates).
Though bubble hash is frequently referred to as “water-extracted” hash, the THC resin is actually not “extracted” so much as it is “separated” from the leaf matter (THC is actually insoluble in water which is why this process is referred to as “solventless” in the first place). The whole concept behind making bubble hash is that the resin-filled, stalked trichomes on marijuana leaves are heavier / more dense than water which causes them to sink. Trichomes become very brittle and are easily broken off leaves at freezing temperatures so by submersing leaf matter in freezing water and agitating it, we allow trichomes to break off and sink to the bottom of our container– that’s where the bubble bags come in.
“Bubble bags,” once produced exclusively by “Ice-o-lator” has come to mean any set of mesh-bottom bags that can be used for bubble hash making. The bags tend to come in sets of 5 or more with a gradually decreasing mesh size so that hash can be separated by size (grade) with smaller mesh sizes tending to produce finer, blonder product. To get started making bubble hash, you’ll need the following materials:
- Bubble bags (preferably with a mesh range from 45-220µ)
- ~12-15 lbs of clean, solid cold ice (reverse osmosis water preferred)
- A few gallons of clean, cold water (reverse osmosis preferred– any impurities in your water will end up in your hash)
- A 5 gallon bucket (two will make life easier)
- A wooden spoon / something to agitate the mixture
- High quality, fresh-frozen trim
It is of the utmost importance that you make sure your water/ice and trim are of the highest quality possible as both will greatly affect the quality of the final product. Leaves should be handled gently, especially once they’re frozen, so as to preserve the delicate and brittle trichomes on their surface.
Preparing The Bags
Arrange the bags from smallest mesh to largest and then place them inside your bucket such that the smallest mesh size is on the bottom. Secure bags by snugly fitting the tops over the sides of the bucket. If you have two buckets, its preferable to give the 220µ bag (the largest screen size) it’s own bucket for the initial leaf-trichome separation.
- Carefully layer ice and leaf material into your 220µ bag leaving at least a few inches from the top to allow for agitation without making a mess
- Add your cold water and allow the mixture to sit and homogenize for 2 minutes.
- Once the ice-leaf-water slurry has come down to temperature, gently agitate to facilitate seperation of the trichomes. Over-mixing can break and force leaf matter through the screen so the best technique is to use a light touch and run the material twice rather than trying to collect all the trichomes in one go. 2-3 minutes should be sufficient.
- Lift the 220µ bag out of the bucket and gently shake it to help water pass through the mesh, you may also gently squeeze the sides of the bag above the mesh. If you used a separate bucket for this step, you should have a golden brown liquid in the bottom (it will be green if you agitated too much).
- Slowly and carefully pour this liquid through the center of your other mesh bags to avoid any spilling on the sides which can cause a loss of product (if you didn’t use a separate bucket for your 220µ bag then you’re bound to lose some product to the sides of the other bags).
- Pull each bag out, one by one, and drain it carefully into the remaining bags. Each progressively smaller screen will contain finer and finer bubble hash! Scoop the product out with a spoon and place it on a surface to dry.
- The best product is generally obtained from the 45-120µ size screens and many people don’t bother with the 25µ screen because it takes a long time to drain and mostly contains fragmented trichomes.
Important Last Step:
Rosin traditionally comes from coniferous plants and is essentially resin that has been heated to remove the volatile terpenes. Even though its been widely accepted that terpenes contribute to the flavor and entourage effects of most cannabis concentrates, cannabis “rosin” lends itself very well to dabbing while still remaining “solvent free.” To convert your bubble hash into rosin, you need to apply heat and pressure to the trichomes causing them to break open releasing essential cannabis oils. Luckily on a small scale, a hair straightener will more than suffice! Just place your bubble hash in some parchment paper, heat, press and release! You will see the rosin collecting in droplets around the heating site.. it doesn’t take much! Since this process degrades terpenes, its best to use only your lowest-quality bubble hash.