My phone beeps and flashes mid-morning. I swipe and tap on the screen until a text message from my mom pops up: “So.. is hash marijuana?”
A few weeks ago, I wrote the first TMMAMAW. I answered Deb’s question about the side effects of marijuana. I have to say that getting texts like this from my mom about sticky icky gets more exciting every time.
With the industry-wide debate about concentrates still raging on, specifically BHOs*, I think it’s a perfect time to share a short history of concentrated cannabis while we get this whole hash marijuana thing sorted out.
*Don’t worry ma, you don’t have to know what a BHO is… we’ll get there.
To quickly answer your question:
Is hash marijuana? Yes… kinda.
Hash probably originated in Morocco and has been produced there since the 15th century. And it’s been showing up in every nation and geographic region where cannabis has been grown ever since. China was into it at one time. The Persians were all about it. The Northern Indians are still stoked on it. And now… America has a legion of dedicated dabbers, torching up their oil rigs and saying things like “Imma dab my day away” (but that all comes later).
The word Hashish comes from حشيش in ye ole Arabic. And that word looks a lot more eastern and progressive than watching your roommate take hot knife hits on an electric stove. That shit’s just trashy.
One of the reasons that hash is so prevalent and has such a pervasive past is because it’s one of the most potent, profitable, and portable ways to convert your trim into product. And that shit’s just an alliteration.
In Colorado, trichomes look like this:
In Prohibition States, they look like this:
Those trichomes are as unremarkable as the DEA’s attempt to keep that brick weed out of this country. Zing!
The plant material is processed and discarded and the trichomes are isolated using a solvent or non-solvent process.
A non-solvent process means that you physically separate the trichomes from the plant material. This includes the ancient technique of rubbing buds in your hands until the hash is thick enough to scrape off of your palms and fingers. This “finger hash” is rolled into balls. Dry sieve hash and bubble hash also fall under this category.
While THC does not dissolve in water, it does bind to lipids (edibles), can be extracted using alcohol (tinctures) and reacts to chemical extraction using solvents. Hash Oil (Honey Oil) is commonly made using C02 or Butane. From what I understand, CO2 extraction is more expensive and an arguably cleaner way to make hash oil. It’s generally used in commercial settings. Most of the solvent-extracted concentrates on the open market are made by “Blasting” cannabis with butane, creating hash “Oil” “Wax” and “Shatter.”
We’re now entering the modern world of the dabber. The culture behind dabs is a phenomenon, and the process of making them really makes you wonder about stoner ingenuity. And while there’s enough pro-dab rhetoric online to make someone dizzy, it’s difficult to find much empirical evidence to back up claims made about the neo-hash that’s only really been around since the early 2000′s.
I realize that many will not like to hear what I have to say about this (somehow touchy) subject, and might feel defensive when reading the comparison of the BHO setup to a meth lab*. But, just hear me out. I’m not trying to be alarmist, and I think people should be able to do whatever they want. I just think that most people, my mom included, deserve to be informed about the aspects of butane extracted products that seem to get marginalized in this discussion. Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section (but remember, my mom reads this, so be nice and express yourself with dignity).
*An Easy Bake Oven version of a meth lab, but a meth lab nonetheless.
Butane is a neurotoxin: While most concentrate creators swear that their final product is purged completely of all butane, there are very few that undergo tests that would verify that claim. Most hash oil makers do so in their own kitchens with little more than a case of high grade butane, and a step-by-step tutorial from the internet.
It takes a
village meth lab: According to a popular forum on making BHO Shatter, you too can create an exiting, potentially explosive, Walter White-esque Hash Kit using common items from Bed Bath and Beyond…
Fracking like Battlestar?: The high quality butane that is needed for this process is rare and is derived from either oil or natural gas. Is it possible that the butane you’re using has been mined using ”unconventional mining techniques” like fracking? I’ve spent hours down the rabbit hole trying to find the data that may paint a more complete picture. I know that one of the least expensive, high grade butane products comes from Asia, specifically South Korea. I find it kind of interesting that we’re importing natural gas from a nation that is considered “energy poor” in the first place (natural gas is $14/gal there vs $2.50/gal here) , but doesn’t it seem a little ironic to use it to make a cannabis concentrate that, at best, has a 5-10% higher thc percentage per gram? To me, there’s a tinge of arrogance to it, like peeing in drinking water (which is that clear stuff in your toilet). There’s also a tinge of wtf, like being able to set your tapwater on fire (which is what happens when you frack).
I’m 100% positive that there are folks out there who are talented, experienced and intelligent enough to effectively purge all of the butane out of the final product. I’m positive. But… I’ve also seen online forums filled with people who have no idea what they’re doing, getting ready to take some dabs and make some wax to sell to the general public.
It’s not a popular stance to take in the industry, but when given the choice, I’ll pass on ze dabs. The argument that butane is in hairspray and cheap vegetable oil doesn’t really reach me. When I smoke cannabis, I’m never trying to reach the next high. I don’t need anything to knock me on my ass and I don’t want to ingest anything unless I’m completely sure of what’s in it. Call me a square, just don’t call me late for dinner.
Okay… it’s clear that not all marijuana hash is created equal, but it is always derived from the cannabis plant. The only type of hash is marijuana hash. And there you have it ma!
The Mayans and Aztecs were drinking bitter ground up cocoa powder in hot water for, like, ever.
But then ole’ whitey came and ganked it.
Then that cracker put some sugar in it.
And then he made a pouch, printed some little blue mountains on it, and stuffed teeny marshmallows inside.
And our childhood memories were born.
Interestingly enough, both the Mayans and Aztecs also reportedly used cannabis, for, like, ever. (If you’re a word nerd… here’s an interesting study of the word Marijuana and its connections to ancient cultures)
And today, my cracker ass can put weed it.
And then we can get all high and talk about the injustice of the European settlement of the Pan-American territories.
Freedom at last.
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“You’re special. You’re like a unique snowflake with an intricate pattern, doing a distinct dance. You special little snowflake, you.” –Wake & Bake: a cookbook
In the book, after I call you a special snowflake, I go on to tell you all sorts of cool stuff about your DNA. But I’m not going to do that here, because that would be plagiarizing.
However, speaking of snowflakes, I hear that most of the country is experiencing one of the coldest winters in history (or in awhile). I don’t know anything about that because in my little corner of Colorado, we’ve had creepily beautiful weather this winter, and I haven’t checked the weather in over a month. Same old sixty degree days. Sun keeps shining all of the time. I might break out into some mad John Denver if it keeps on.
I’m not trying to rub it in your face or anything, I’m just trying to stick with the theme of this blog post… which was???
[Hit "Continue Reading" to get back on topic and for the Recipe & Method]
That you’re special! And every winter is special! And my winter can be awesome, but that doesn’t make yours any less awesome, even if your shit is covered in 6 feet of snow and it’s 30 below… and I’m going hiking today.
Okay guys, maybe I am gloating a little. But give me a break. I spent 6 years in Fargo, North Dakota. SIX. years… in a place that people only make jokes about. And the only jokes are either wood chipper or winter weather themed.
It’s about time I know what outside feels like for more than three months a year. And I finally live in a place where people say things like “You’re so lucky to live there.” Shit yes I am.
But brownies were the first edible I ever ate in that cold, dark city, with its high train track mortality rate, and its unmistakable collective drinking problem. Fargo’s where I started smoking weed. It’s where I started writing.
Every day, I would get back from school, grab my beloved bong (Edna) out of the fridge, and write scripts for things like the feature film Stoner Zombies, and the Corinne’s Game Emporium commercial.
And those days, however shitty and wintery, however drunken and frostbitten, well, they were still special.
Here’s a recipe for some Special Brownie Bites. May your day be special, and may you eat these warm brownies straight from the oven and look back fondly on those old, cold and shitty times.
For extra Special Brownie Points: What was your first edible experience?
*This recipe is not intended for those who live in states and nations where cannabis is still illegal. Please support legalization efforts in your area. Always test the potency of your oil before incorporating it in these recipes. Remember to label your finished product and keep out of reach of children.