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How and why ice-water Hash works

160 μm ice-water Hash (2*) on wicking mesh. Photo captured by ODI

All ice-water hash methods use water, ice, and agitation to separate resin glands from the plant material. In its most basic, ice-cold water and plant material are placed in a bucket that has been lined with filtration bags, which are arranged in ascending order from the finest to the most course. This is similar to the arrangement and composition of screens used in the production of dry sift hash or kief. Like those screens, the filtration bags filter the resin glands by micron size, separating the loose resin glands (hash) from the “trash” or plant material. A micron is one-millionth of a meter or .001 millimetres. Which is incredibly small considering the diameter of a human hair being on average 50 micrometres.

Holy Dawg flower close to the end of its life cycle. Photo captured by ODI

The material is stirred/agitated to wipe the resin glands off the surface of the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Once separated, the resin begins to sink to the base of the extraction vessel because the glands themselves are heavy than the water they are suspended in. The plant material is generally lighter than the water used to extract and therefore floats to the surface of the extraction vessel. This allows for the separation and ultimate isolation and removal of fully intact resin glands from the extraction vessel which are collected and concentrated into hashish.

The agitation process at its most simple, ice, water and material being agitated by hand. Photo by ODI

Pre-made systems use multiple bags that sort the glands by size allowing for a much finer assortment of resin. This is unlike dry sift kief making where the material used is agitated and the resin is separated all in the same step. This is in relation to ice water hash production which isolates these two phases into two distinct steps. The agitation step and the separation step. This allows for a high degree of refinement of the resin glands based on size. Ice water hash, when done correctly, does not put a lot of strain onto the plant material itself which allows for multiple agitations before the material begins to contaminate the final product. In most extraction techniques the material is processed once to gain the highest refinement possible without contaminating the sifted material with broken or damaged plant material.

70 μm isolation once sifted through multiple filtration bags has produced a superior quality resin (3*). Photo by ODI

As with all extraction methods, cold temperature is the key element to success. The ice keeps the water and material very cold so the glands remain brittle and snap off when the material is agitated. After the material is agitated in the ice water, it’s allowed to settle to the base of the extraction vessel. Then filtration bags are used to separate the glands removed based on their size. After the water hash is dried, it’s ready to smoke but further refinement can be used to distinguish the hash produced from maker to maker.

Heat pressed full-spectrum 38 μm – 120 μm Holy Dawg ice water hash (3*). Photo captured by ODI

Ice water hash varies in colour, flavour and texture and can be many shades of white, brown, red, even purple. When extracted from the finest-grade material, the potency of water hash can test as high as many solvent hash products, with up to 80% cannabinoid content making it some of the most potent full-plant extract on the planet. This level of refinement is unique and is only made possible by attention to detail by the extractor and the farmer. Quality material leads to quality hashish, that’s the bottom line. Hash makers are simply people that help express the full spectrum of the cannabis plants resin by removing and concentrating it into a substance that mirrors the original plant source but on a much higher level.

Holy Dawg flowers towards the end of their life cycle. Photo captured by ODI
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