[Editor’s Note: If you want to learn how to make extracts. This isn’t just a recipe, but it an equipment guide as well.]
With all the effort that goes into growing your own beautiful cannabis, it’s a shame to think that you might be throwing away your leftover plant material instead of making delicious hash.
While many of the extracts you purchase in stores are created using solvents and industrial grade products, a lot of high-quality hash on the market is made using age-old solventless techniques that anyone can do at home.
The concept behind creating hash has been around for centuries and simply involves separating trichomes from cannabis plant material. The process has become exceedingly complex over the last decade but there are numerous low-cost ways to create your own.
Here are some simple solventless methods and products to get you started on making your own terpene-rich hash.
Technology for rosin pressing has taken off in the last few years in a response to the growing concern for impurities and risks associated with solvent-based extraction methods like butane hash oil (BHO) or propane hash oil (PHO).
Instead of using flammable solvents to chemically separate trichomes from plant material, a rosin press utilizes heat and pressure to extract valuable resin from cannabis plant material or kief.
A primitive form of rosin pressing first came about when cannabis aficionados would use hair straighteners to apply heat and pressure to their favorite nugs to create a terpene-rich hash oil. Today, numerous companies use technology to create presses that allow consumers to customize temperature, pressure, and duration to get an ideal rosin product.
It’s common for people to use flower instead of trim when making rosin because it’s more difficult and time-consuming to extract quality results from trim.
If you are going to use trim, the workaround is to first make low-quality hash through the dry-sift method (discussed below) and then press that into high-quality rosin. Low-quality hash is high in impurities while high-quality rosin is low in impurities.
There are a few downsides to rosin pressing. It takes a lot of product to produce oil and consumers might not find the return worth the investment. Also presses can be expensive, but after the initial investment, you can have fresh rosin whenever you want.
Here are a couple presses that we recommend:
For the cannabis enthusiast, this tried-and-true press can apply 12 tons of pressure to your flower. Built with steel, the Nug Smasher has two 4” x 4” heated plates that can handle up to 14 grams of flower in one press, making it ideal for homegrowers who are processing a lot of product.
This manual press heats quickly and provides consistent results time after time and has a lifetime warranty.
One of the simpler and more affordable options out there, My Rosin Press is about the size of a coffee maker and only weighs 13 pounds, making it easy to transport if you want to take it to a friend’s house.
It has two 3” x 3” heated stainless steel plates that are operated with a manual lever, and it applies up to 6 tons of force on up to 1.5 grams of material. This press has a low input and is best for people looking to create small quantities of rosin with quality buds.
Ice Water Extraction
Using cold water, ice, and agitation, you can create a quality hash at a very low cost. Cold temperatures combined with agitation snap trichomes off of cannabis plant material, which then sink to the bottom of your container because they weigh more than water.
Because of the simplicity of the method, you’ll get a quality solventless hash with just a few screen bags, a bucket, and ice water.
The quality of the product produced with this method depends on the quality of the material used. When done properly, you can create full melt bubble hash, one of the cleanest and tastiest hashes out there.
It’s called “full melt” because it’ll turn to liquid when heated and won’t leave residue in your dab rig because of its low amount of impurities.
Best of all, supplies needed to make this kind of hash are basic, affordable, and easy to get. The downside to this method is having to handle cold temperatures. After a fall harvest, you won’t want to stand around and produce tons of this hash with ice water in the dead of winter.
Ice water extraction products can range a lot in price., but here are some good ones to start with:
Bubble bags allow you to separate trichomes from plant material by pouring the ice water mixture through a series of bags with finer and finer meshes. These simple pieces of equipment used to be quite expensive but are now readily available for as little as $30. Most kits come with at least four bags with different meshes, which is plenty sufficient.
Based off of compact washing machines, you can put bubble bags into this machine and let it do the stirring and agitation for you. No more ice cold hands stuck stirring your product, which will save a lot of time if you are trying to get through a large amount of product quickly.
Dry Sift Hash
This type of hash is produced when trichome heads are broken off and fall through screens as cannabis is sifted or handled. Considered to be lower in quality, dry sift or kief has a lot of contaminants, or more plant material.
Producing a high-end dry sift requires patience, knowledge, and skill in order to successfully isolate the trichomes and get a pure product.
The final product can be used as a powder that can be sprinkled onto joints or bowls or it can be pressed to form a brick of hash that is easier to handle.
Here are some products to help sift and collect your kief:
You can work your raw material—either flower or trim—into these framed screens to produce kief. Most kits come with a 149-micron screen and an additional, thinner 75-micron. Start with the bigger mesh and then work down to the smaller mesh. You can get good quality with two screens, but if you want to go for top-shelf results, use an additional finer-meshed third screen of 45 microns to sift out even more impurities.
A trim bin is excellent for catching trichomes while you trim cannabis. The tray has a 150-micron screen that will do a fine job of dry sifting for the first step, but you’ll want to process the collected kief through another screen or two with finer meshes for a higher-quality product.
Original Post: Leafly: The Home Hashmaking Buyer’s Guide
Terpenes—the aromatic compounds that give cannabis different scents—have quickly become a discussion centerpiece among growers, budtenders, and consumers alike. Produced in secretory cells found in the plant’s trichomes, terpenes are found amongst cannabinoids and other oils produced by the plant. These terpenes have been shown to work directly with THC and other cannabinoids to influence and enhance the effects of different strains. Not only that, it’s common for consumers to make a purchasing decision based on how good a strain smells to them.
As we learn more about their ability to enrich cannabis’ effects and benefits, many cultivators wonder how to best capture these delicate and fragrant terpenes for an even more flavorful harvest. Here, we’ll take a look at a few primary ways to increase the terpene production in your plants.
Choose High-Quality Genetics
Not all strains are created equal. The best growers in the world can’t make ditch weed look like Super Silver Haze! If you want a high-quality and fragrant strain, don’t skimp when it comes to buying seeds or clones.
Grow Your Cannabis in Soil
Whether you’re growing indoors or outside, raising cannabis in quality soil is known to produce a more flavorful product. Many associate this with the complex nutrient profiles that can be found in soils. Just like growing wine, food, or farming livestock, cannabis grown in specific soils in specific regions can take on unique flavors.
When growing flavorful cannabis, having good sun or light exposure is essential. If growing outdoors, make sure there is space between plants so that every cola is receiving as much lights as possible. Indoors, provide lights that offer a healthy range of spectrum.
Low Stress Training (LST)
A little bit of stress can go a long way in the production of trichomes and thus terpenes. There are numerous low stress training (LST) methods—as well as other more intensive methods—that can help you get smellier buds.
Training your plant by tying branches down or pruning lower branches during flowering will help direct energy to other flowers to produce more trichomes. You can also remove fan leaves around buds or expose your plants to colder nighttime temperatures.
As with any sort of training, you’ll need to pay close attention to the needs of your plants. If the process becomes too much for your plants, you may see diminished yields and quality.
Flush Your Cannabis Plants
Two weeks before harvesting, you should stop feeding your plants. Nutrients build up in the buds and overpower the beautiful, natural flavors they produce. By giving your plants a pure water source, all excess nutrients will slowly be washed out and leave you with a clean, aromatic end product.
Leaving your plants up for too long will result in trichomes breaking down, altering their chemical contents. Using a magnifying glass, you can observe the color and shape of trichomes which will help you determine when your cannabis is ready for harvest. Take a look at Leafly’s guide to harvesting cannabis to learn more.
Handle the Buds Carefully
Trichomes are fragile, and every time you handle a bud, you may be destroying some of these delicate trichomes. Prevent this by handling the buds gently and limiting how often buds are moved. Encourage trimmers to be gentle and hold onto a stem if possible.
Curing—or the slow process of drying your buds—is one of the most important ways to preserve and celebrate the terpenes of your most recent harvest. Keep temperatures low, lights off, and humidity consistently around 70%. With a proper cure, the chemical make up in the buds will change making your smoke tastier and more enjoyable.
Original Post: Leafly: 7 Ways Growers Can Increase Terpene Levels in Cannabis
Sustainability is a hot-button topic that’s become increasingly important as commercial cannabis farms scale up with expanding legalization. To be “sustainable” means you’re able to maintain a level of output continuously. With farming, this means providing the correct inputs for a healthy and thriving ecosystem as you take outputs from the land. Amending soil, introducing crop diversity, and sourcing water efficiently are all part of sustainable agriculture.
For an emerging group of cultivators, sustainable farming is not answering to the needs of our environment. That’s where regenerative agriculture comes in.
What Is Regenerative Farming?
Regenerative agriculture, defined by the regenerative design consultancy Terra Genesis International, is “a system of farming principles and practices that increase biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.” While regenerative agricultural practices have been around for centuries, many of these approaches have been replaced by those that favor commercial farms with large yields.
“Sustaining something that is failing is just not good enough for us as a community.”
Josh Sarvis, Dragonfly Earth Medicine
Cannabis offers an opportunity to re-address how we can support small farms with diverse, high-quality strains while meeting consumer needs. Regenerative farming provides a holistic approach to producing biodiverse cannabis that is grown consciously with the plant and the planet as top priorities. Like with wine vineyards, compassion for the plant is celebrated as farmers grow top-tier cannabis that holds unique characteristics specific to the earth it was raised in.
Regenerative Farming in Practice
To learn more about regenerative farming in cannabis, we met with Kelly Dunn and Josh Sarvis of Dragonfly Earth Medicine in BC, Canada. Dragonfly Earth Medicine is pushing a regenerative program called DEM Pure Certification among cannabis farmers, extractors, and vendors who all work towards the common goal of generating life in their communities.
“To us, regenerative farming goes beyond sustainable because we see our agriculture system as a failing system,” Sarvis said. “Sustaining something that is failing is just not good enough for us as a community. Regenerating life on earth is the goal.”
While there’s enough on regenerative farming to fill books, here are just a few of its core principles, according to Sarvis and Dunn.
Conscious cultivation is at the heart of regenerative farming. This involves not only giving the plant what it needs immediately, but also giving the plant what it might need. By looking at the cannabis plant as more than a crop, regenerative farms observe where the plant fits into biology and the ecosystem at large.
“Regenerative cannabis is seed-to-seed,” Dunn said. “That means you’re seeing the entire life cycle of the plant and also making your own seeds.”
While Kelly noted that some farmers might use cloning, the idea is to create your own cannabis genetics. By working with the plant in your unique environment, you establish a relationship that would change if it was grown in a different climate or by another farmer.
One of the most commonly recognized aspects of regenerative farming is the pursuit of biodiversity on your farm. Ways to improve biodiversity include using tools such as:
The idea is to grow plants to sustain yourself in addition to creating a habitat for pollinators and wild animals around your farm. This biodiversity is celebrated as a means to improve the land by hosting countless forms of life.
Closed-Loop Carbon Sequestration
By refraining from using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers, healthy soil food webs are created. Plants taking in CO2 use a portion of the carbon for photosynthesis (to create energy for plant) and root growth while also releasing some of the liquid carbon into the soil in an exchange for nutrients with the fungi, bacteria, and other microbes. The carbon that’s released is utilized by the fungi, bacteria and microbes and is turned into humus, a carbon-dense byproduct that successfully sequesters the carbon into the earth.
Sharing growing techniques and philosophies is an essential aspect of the regenerative movement. Dunn and Sarvis drive home the importance of sharing as a means to supporting your community and protecting the mission shared by all regenerative farmers. In an industry with rapid growth moving towards large-scale agriculture, education is key to keeping consumers and farmers aware of the options they have.
Dunn and Sarvis welcome discussions with indoor farmers about how they can be DEM Pure certified, and are eager to share techniques that improve cannabis and the earth it grows in.
“We need to have respect and honor for this plant,” Dunn said. “She has given us so much in the industry—not just money. Cannabis is the source for our inspiration to practice regenerative farming in the first place.”
Original Post: Leafly: ‘Sustainability Is Not Enough’: Why Cannabis Farmers Should Look to Regenerative Agriculture