Ice hash is one of the most potent, powerful concentrates you can make without solvents. The needed materials are minimal; a set of at least 5 bubble bags (silkscreen bags or filters of varying micron sizes), a bucket, fresh frozen or cured flower, and a large spoon or stirring tool. Fresh frozen flower is generally preferred for making ice hash, because the frozen trichome heads break off the stem and rest of the plant more easily. The ice hash-making process can be divided into the following steps:
The quality of ice hash is generally measured by how well it melts. Since measuring quality by micron sizes presents too many variables, hash makers use a star rating system to grade hash quality more accurately. While there is no universal system, the 6-star rating system is the most popular amongst hash makers.
Cooking grade hash is highly contaminated with plant matter. Commonly used to make edibles — hence the name — cooking grade hash is also suitable for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It consists of both low and high microns, and it doesn’t melt well, so it shouldn’t be used for dabbing.
The techniques used to make ice hash were first popularized by seed expert and industry pioneer Skunkman (aka Sadhu Sam or David Watson) in the 1980s. After learning that resin glands sink in water, Skunkman introduced the wider cannabis market to a hashish making process of stirring whole plant cannabis or sieved resin in water. He even took out an ad in High Times Magazine in 1987, offering secret tips for water extraction at home.
Fullmelt ice hash is the highest grade. It completely melts into a puddle, or oil, if it’s a 6-star hash. A 4-star halfmelt hash can technically be turned into a “true fullmelt.” A fullmelt ice hash is great for dabbing, and typically produced with 70-120 micron sieves. According to Bubbleman, “A fullmelt experience will start by watching solid microencapsulated glandular trichome heads liquefy as you heat them up into a golden oil that boils and bubbles and dances around your dish or screen.”
The central goal of making ice hash is to separate trichome glands from all other plant components. Trichomes are glandular appendages on the surface of the cannabis flower that produce and hold the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules. The purpose of ice hash is to remove all contaminant barriers between the user and the experience that trichomes provide.
The 1-6 star rating system is subjective, but it does provide a sufficient avenue to single out quality hash. The higher the rating, the better the bubble hash will melt. The lower the rating, the more plant contaminants the hash will have.
A lower-grade hash that usually only melts halfway, leaving residue and plant contaminants behind. Halfmelt is sufficient for sprinkling over bowls or in joints. It’s also well-suited for vaping. Similarly to fullmelt, halfmelt can also be heated and pressed into rosin .
That’s where micron sizes come in-the openings in a filter screen through which material moves are measured in microns. Using screens of varying micron sizes is how hash makers capture the trichome heads and separate them from the rest of the plant.
A cannabis concentrate formed by sifting the trichomes of the cannabis plant in the presence of ice water. Ice hash, (commonly referred to as ice water hash, bubble hash, or wet sift) is typically dabbed, but can also be used to add potency to flower.