how to dab bubble hash

More About Ice Hash

Ice hash is a solventless concentrate made up of trichomes that are sifted through a series of screens in the presence of water and ice cubes. Ice hash is also known as bubble hash, ice wax, and water sift. These terms are used to describe different forms of ice hash, but there are only subtle differences between the four.

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 History of Ice Hash

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.

Skunkman’s water-extraction methods paved the way for the first automated sieving machines In the 1990s, as well as new techniques for ice-water extraction. Around this time, Canadian cannabis entrepreneur and activist Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson entered the scene, eventually revolutionizing the hash world with the Bubble Bag extraction system.

Throughout the ’90s, Bubbleman was active in medical cannabis advocacy, cannabis macro photography, and the development of cannabis extraction and decontamination. He popularized the water extraction method with the first multi-bag filtration kit in 1999 — designing three bags that would filter glandular trichome heads for the sake of, in Bubbleman’s own words, “harm reduction, finding the best way to deliver cannabinoids, and exploring the limits of pot purity .”

How to Use

Ice hash is a fairly versatile concentrate. There are several different ways to use ice hash, though some are generally preferred over others. Different methods of use may also suit different needs. Some users may prefer a sprinkle of ice hash over their bowl for an extra potency boost, while others may prefer to dab with ice hash for the full effect.

Sprinkle on a bowl

Sprinkling hash over a bowl is one of the simplest and most reliable ways to boost a bowl’s potency. “Icing” dry flower with a sprinkling of ice hash can produce a high that’s more pronounced without being overpowering. If you’re looking for a milder, more manageable introduction to ice hash, sprinkling some on a bowl might be the method for you.


Dabbing with ice hash delivers potent effects, but it also takes a bit more effort than sprinkling over a bowl. To dab with ice hash, press your solventless concentrate inside a piece of folded parchment paper. The heat from your hand should be enough to blend the trichome glands together. Once your ice hash is pressed within the parchment paper, separate the pressed sheet into “dab-ready” sections. Remember that it’s best to store your hash in a dark, cool environment, and wait to press it when you’re ready for a dab session.

Titanium nail

Titanium dab nails are valued for their durability and lower outgassing rates than other metals. Unlike most metals, titanium doesn’t release harmful gases when heated beyond certain temperatures. If you want to avoid the potential contaminants of metal screens or dab beds, a titanium nail will do the trick.

Handheld Vaporizer

Handheld vaporizers with a concentrate pad option are also becoming more common as dabbing grows in popularity. Using a handheld vaporizer for ice hash may not provide the purest effect, but it’s certainly a helpful option for beginners or anyone looking for a simple, efficient method of use. If you choose to vaporize ice hash, seek out vaporizers that get hot enough to make ice hash bubble — between 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, or 260-287.78 degrees Celsius.

Melt Quality

When making ice hash, the goal is always to isolate the trichome glands from the cannabis plant. Any plant material that is not removed reduces the ability to bubble and therefore reduces the quality of hash.

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.

Trichomes range from 20-125 microns. Filter screens or bags designed to make bubble hash are made to correspond with the bags of varying micron sizes that are used to make bubble hash. If a concentrate has the micron listed on the package, this number indicates the micron size of the bag used for that particular fraction of water hash.

The larger micron sizes are used to capture the entire capillary stalked trichomes (90- 120 microns), while the smaller micron sizes (20-40 microns) are typically used to isolate the glands from the stalks. While some terpenes and cannabinoids can be found in the stalk of the trichome, the majority are found in the top gland where they are stored. Some connoisseurs see this as the purest form of ice hash and prefer the smaller micron bags to the larger microns that will remove the entire trichome but also have a higher chance of pulling in plant contaminants.

It’s also important to remember that trichomes don’t always conform to micron screen sizes. In fact, trichome sizes are cultivar-dependent. Some cultivars will produce thicker trichome heads, while others will have small heads. Plant maturity will also affect the size. However, the right combination of filter screens and micron sizes can reliably produce quality hash. Most water hash equipment consists of several filtration bags of varying micron sizes.

The Star Rating

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.

1-2 Star: Cooking Grade Hash

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.

3-4 Star: Halfmelt

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 .

5-6 Star: Fullmelt

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 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.

How to Make Ice Hash

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:

1. Line the Bucket

The first step is to line the bucket with your micron filters or bubble bags. Start with your smallest micron filter and line with the rest of the bags in ascending size order, so your largest micron-sized bag is on top.

2. Fill the Bucket

Fill the bucket with a layer of ice, then flower, and follow this pattern to the top of the bucket. It’s usually recommended to fill your bucket with as much ice as possible. The colder your mixture, the more likely trichome heads are to freeze and break off. It’s also best practice to make sure the top layer is ice and not flower. Once all layers of ice and flower are in the bucket, fill it with water, preferably just high enough that you can still stir without spilling over.

3. Stir the Bucket

Allow the water to sit and chill, then gently stir your mix for a few minutes. The time and force used to agitate while vary depending on your starting material. Once the ice starts to melt, you can also gently increase your stirring speed. Add ice periodically to keep the water cold. The ideal ice-to-water ratio throughout your stir is about 1:1.

4. Strain and Repeat

Once your stir time is completed, lift the top bag with the plant material and strain the liquid into the bucket until only ice and flower are left in the first bag. As you repeat the strain through successive bags, observe the traits of what’s left on the screen. Depending on your needs, various micron filters offer different melt levels. Bubble bags between 73 and 90 microns are assumed to produce the finest resin. To collect the remaining concentrate, turn each bag inside out after draining.

5. Dry Your Hash

The final step is to press all excess moisture out of your hash. Drying is arguably the most important factor in ensuring the quality of your final product. Gently press the excess moisture out of your ice hash and then use a butter knife, or razor blade, to break it down into small pieces. If you do not have access to a freeze dryer, the smaller pieces will make it easier for the hash to dry out.

Spread the small pieces of ice hash over a piece of parchment paper and place in a cool and dry environment. Some hash makers choose to place the hash in the freezer and once frozen, use a microplane zester, to break the hash into smaller pieces to ensure the quick removal of all moisture.

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.

How to dab bubble hash

Next Saturday, Jan. 31, Brandon Parker from the Mendo-based extraction crew “3rd Gen Family” is leading a day-long solvent-less hash making demo at medical marijuana dispensary Wonderland Nursery in Garberville. “Day-long” means 10 a.m.-4 p.m. And heads up…! Wonderland Nursery is directly behind the Renner Station on Bear Canyon Rd.

This is a “come all show all seminar,” where attendees will see “how to wash, zest and dry bubble hash.” (Quotes from the 3rd_gen_family Instagram.) Parker is demonstrating his personal technique from start-to-finish, and he’s “holding nothing back.” You do not need a medical marijuana recommendation to go check out the demo.

Parker makes award-winning solvent-less extracts (a.k.a. cold-water or bubble hash) that you can dab. This is precisely what’s fresh about this demo — he’s making bubble that you can dab. You gotta know, dabbing isn’t restricted to solvent-derived extracts, like BHO. You can dab bubble too, but it has to have the right consistency. Parker will show you how to get there. (I will vouch for Parker’s hash — it’s bomb.)

I caught up with Wonderland Nursery Director of Operations Sarah Hartsoe the other day to learn more about the upcoming demo. Hartsoe’s been in the medical marijuana biz for the past five years. According to her, the popularity of bubble hash in that time has been “nonexistent — pretty much no one asks for bubble hash,” she says.

However, Hartsoe says that lately there’s been a surge in the popularity of bubble hash because extract artists like Parker are coming out with “full melt” bubble. “Full melt” refers to hash that can be dabbed on a glass rig or an electric nail without leaving any residue or ash. In other words, the hash disappears when you hit it, just like a solvent-derived dab. “So it’s nice and clean,” she says, “especially with glass-on-glass.” (She’s referring to dabbing on a quartz nail.)

“The makers of [solvent-less extracts] have really stepped up and made it full melt, and that’s where they filled in the gap. People are stopping the BHO and CO2 extractions completely and going back to bubble hash. It’s cool again,” Hartsoe says. “It went from being something you sprinkled on cannabis or rolled in a joint to something you can dab.” And it’s a dab you can do with out having to worry about ingesting residual solvents.

Parker’s goal is to show that making good-quality, “full melt” hash like this is doable, but please bear in mind that this is a day-long demo. If you want all the ins and outs of his process, show up at 10 a.m. and plan to hang out till 4 p.m. He’ll start with “fresh frozen whole plant” material (quote from his 3rd_gen_fam Instagram), and he’ll end with full melt solvent-less concentrate.

Hartsoe says the best solvent-less extracts are made from fresh bud, not trim, and certain strains are superior for bubble hash making as well. “You would still want to test your cannabis for mold, fungus and mildew beforehand,” she says, but as far as testing for residual solvent, well, that’s just something you don’t have to worry about with bubble — there’s nothing to purge.

In terms of equipment, some people use straight up washing machines or specially designed hash-making machines (like the Bubble Now) and/or bubble bags (like Boldt Bags). You also need lots of good quality ice and/or dry ice. (Like, if you want to make good beer, you gotta use good water…). Parker’s demo will involve both bubble bags and a machine.

“I think it’s important for people to know that instead of blasting or using butane or CO2 to make a concentrate,” Hartsoe says, “you can do it in a safer, more affordable way. It is healthier and it is safer for the environment. There is less of an impact… There are no cans to dispose of.” At the demo, Trim Scene Solutions will have a display of everything you need to make bubble hash, so you can check out some merch. Plus, Pearl Moon from 707 Cannabis College is doing a hand-saving “water demo” for trimmers. Apparently, if you take regular breaks from trimming to dip your hands in super cold or hot water for certain lengths of time, you can prevent strain. Moon will fill you in on the deets.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome, but to make a purchase or to become a member at Wonderland Nursery you need a California doctor’s 215 recommendation and California ID. And Hartsoe wants to remind people that Wonderland Nursery is still giving away free CBD clones to patients, so “they can utilize the free clones and start preparing to make a CBD-rich solvent-less concentrate of their own.”

For more information, Wonderland Nursery can be reached at 707-923-2175.

How to dab bubble hash Next Saturday, Jan. 31, Brandon Parker from the Mendo-based extraction crew “3rd Gen Family” is leading a day-long solvent-less hash making demo at medical marijuana