The Ultimate Guide to Ice Water Hash

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Ice water hash goes by many names: bubble hash, ice hash, wet sift. But no matter what you call it, it amounts to one of the purest cannabis concentrates available. You can dab it, sprinkle it over your joints, or even use it to create edibles at home. If you’ve been making hash by hand the old-fashioned way, you might want to consider a few of the reasons why ice water hash has become so popular.

What Is Ice Water Hash?

Ice water hash extraction is a clean, modern method of making hashish. The traditional method of making hash involves using an herb grinder to separate the trichomes from the plant and then using a pollen press to compress the resin into a solid, dabbable substance. This is an easy way to make hash, but it’s also messy and imprecise. The end product usually contains a lot of added plant material and other contaminants.

With ice water extraction, the cannabis is submerged in ice water. The water is agitated to release the trichomes, which are then collected into different-sized filters—or bubble bags—and dried. When done properly, this extraction method results in much cleaner hash with little to no plant material or contamination. The highest-quality 5- and 6-star full-melt hash is typically created using ice water extraction.

Ice water hash can be made by hand or using specialized machinery. The simple method relies on buckets filled with ice water and a few bubble bags for filtration. This is an inexpensive way to make bubble hash, and it’s highly recommended for beginners. If you’re looking to create the purest full-melt hash, though, you’ll want to invest in some specialized equipment like a water extraction machine and a reverse osmosis system to purify the water.

Dry Ice Hash vs Bubble Hash

Ice water hash (bubble hash) is not exactly the same as dry ice hash, but the terms are sometimes confused with one another.

Ice water hash requires you to submerge your cannabis in freezing water. As the water is agitated, the resin separates from the plant and slowly descends through the water and into the waiting filters.

Dry ice hash relies on a water-free method of hash-making. Dry ice is created using frozen carbon dioxide and then combined with the cannabis. Because dry ice is so cold, it causes the trichomes to freeze and become brittle. The weed and dry ice are placed in a sieve and agitated so that the resin crumbles and falls into the appropriate filters.

Dry ice hash takes less time to create than ice water hash, but it’s a more expensive and potentially hazardous process. Dry ice is dangerous to touch with your bare hands, so you need to wear protective gloves at all times. Also, the lack of water can contribute to the kind of surface contamination common with dry-sift hash, so this method isn’t the purest.

Ice Water Hash Quality

Ice water hash is rated on a six-star scale. The higher the star number, the purer the hash. The purest hash will contain only trichome heads and no extra plant material. When there are no impurities in the way, the hash is able to melt and bubble to perfection, hence the name “bubble hash.”

Ice water hash minimizes impurities by using mesh filters that match the size of the trichomes. Most trichomes measure between 20 and 125 microns. The bubble bags are mesh-lined to suit various sizes within this range, ensuring that the trichomes are absorbed and that other plant material is left behind.

5 to 6 Stars – Full-Melt Hash

This is the highest-quality ice water hash, containing very few if any contaminants. Because it melts with minimal effort, this kind of hash can easily be dabbed using an e-nail. It has a smooth, earthy taste and a gentle inhale. This type of hash is typically produced using 70-120 micron sieves.

3 to 4 Stars – Half-Melt Hash

As the name suggests, half-melt hash typically melts about halfway. This is due to the higher concentration of impurities and plant material. Dabbing and vaping are more difficult with half-melt hash, which is why many users just sprinkle it over joints and blunts or load it into a pipe.

1 to 2 Stars – Cooking-Grade Hash

Cooking-grade hash has a lot of plant matter contamination and doesn’t melt well. Dabbing and vaping are off the table, but you can still sprinkle it over your joint, blunt, or bowl. This type of hash is most often used for cooking edibles.

How to Make Ice Water Hash

The bucket method is the simplest way to make ice water hash. You’ll need:

  • A bucket
  • Cannabis flower (fresh frozen works best, but dry marijuana works too)
  • 5 bubble bags of different micron sizes
  • A large stirring spoon

1. Line Your Bucket With the Bubble Bags

Layer the bucket with your bubble bags. The goal is to stack your micron filters on top of one another as though you were lining the bucket with several trash bags. Your smallest micron filter should go at the bottom, followed by the rest in ascending order. As the trichomes are separated, they’ll be absorbed by the filters one at a time.

2. Fill Your Bucket With Weed and Ice

Place a layer of ice over the micron filters. Then add a layer of cannabis flower. Continue this pattern until the bucket is filled to the top. The top layer should always contain ice. Don’t be afraid of using too much ice; you need as much as possible. The more ice you have, the more likely all of the trichomes will freeze.

3. Add Water

Fill the bucket with cold water. You want just enough water so that you can stir the bucket without anything spilling over. But don’t stir just yet. Wait about 20 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

4. Agitate the Water

Using your stirring spoon, stir the water gently. This is the step that requires a lot of elbow grease because you’ll need to stir continuously. As the ice starts to melt, increase your stirring speed. Whenever your ice runs low, make sure to add more. You always want equal amounts of water and ice in the bucket. Your total stirring time should be about 10 to 15 minutes. When you finish stirring, wait about another 10 minutes for all of the trichomes to descend to the bottom of the bucket.

5. Strain Your Bubble Bags

Lift the top bag above the bucket and allow it to drain until only the flower remains in the bag. Then set it aside. Do the same for each subsequent bag. Turn your bags inside out to collect all traces of rosin.

6. Allow the Ice Water Hash to Dry

Use a spoon or knife to squeeze the remaining moisture out of your rosin, and then break it up into chunks. This will make air-drying much easier. If you happen to have a freeze dryer, you can use it to dry the hash more quickly. Let the hash dry on a clean, non-stick surface for a couple of days before you use it. As with all cannabis products, you’ll want to store your hash in a cool, dark environment.

Tips for Making Full-Melt Ice Water Hash

While the above method is the simplest and cheapest solution, it’s not the most precise. To extract the most rosin and ensure the maximum purity, you need to maintain precisely the right ratio of water to ice and you need to agitate the water with just the right amount of force. This is very difficult to do by hand.

Thankfully, there are machines that will do it for you. With an ice water extraction machine like the Bubble Magic Washing Machine (available in 5 gallons or 20 gallons), you never have to guess about the optimal force or temperature, and most of the labor is done for you. Just insert the ingredients and filters, set the timer, and let the machine go to work.

The Bubble Magic Washing Machine is available at Trimleaf, and you can save 10% when you use our coupon code SAVELIGHTS10. You’ll also get free shipping.

In addition, we recommend using filtered water if you want full-melt ice water hash. This will ensure that your yield isn’t compromised by hard salts and other minerals. You can also insert a couple of CO2 pellets to keep your water ice cold at all times.

How to Smoke Ice Water Hash

There are numerous ways to consume ice water hash.

  • Dabbing: As long as your hash is at least 3-star quality, you should have no trouble dabbing. Quartz nails work especially well because they’re clean and they support extremely high heat. Any e-nail should do the trick, though. You may need to press your hash inside a folded piece of parchment paper to blend the trichomes and make the extract dab-friendly. If you don’t already have a dab rig, you can browse dab rig coupons to score a great deal.
  • Vaping: If you choose to vape, we highly recommend using a full-melt hash. Half-melt hash may clog your cartridge and make for an altogether frustrating experience, and cooking-grade hash should never even be attempted in a vaporizer. Make sure to use a vaporizer that supports concentrate use. The vape should be able to support temperatures between 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit or 260-287.78 degrees Celsius.
  • Smoking: You can load your bowl with hash and smoke it old-school. Just crumble a tiny amount (a few crumbs should do the trick) into the bowl. You’ll also want to place a fine-mesh screen over the mouth of the ignition chamber so that you don’t get an overwhelming rush of dry hash in your mouth.
  • Twaxing/Icing: This is by far the easiest consumption method, and it works with any grade of hash. Just crush the hash into small pieces and sprinkle it over your joint, blunt, spliff, or bowl. A couple of small crumbs should do the trick; be careful not to go overboard.

No matter how you choose to consume, remember that a little goes a long way. Because it’s a cannabis concentrate, hash contains a lot of THC, often up to 60%. So be careful, especially if you’re new to concentrates.

Benefits of Ice Water Hash Extraction

Although there are plenty of more potent extracts available, ice water hash remains the gold standard for several reasons:

  • It’s one of the purest cannabis concentrates available.
  • Unlike wax, shatter, and other butane hash oils, it doesn’t use solvents or chemicals.
  • The ice water extraction method preserves the full profile of cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • Anybody can make it at home—and it’s safe to do so.

If you want to experience the difference for yourself, try making your own ice water hash at home. If the DIY approach isn’t for you, you can ask your local dispensary if they carry bubble hash. Once you experience the unrivaled purity, you’ll never want to go back to dry sift hash.

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