Solventless Extraction Showdown – Bubble Hash vs. Dry-Ice Hash!

Published Dec 15, 2018

by Sirius Fourside

Table of Contents

 


 

Introduction: What’s the Best Way to Make Hash at Home?

Hash is a collection of the extracted resin glands (trichomes) from a cannabis plant. The effects of hash are typically much stronger than straight cannabis flowers because trichomes contain concentrated amounts of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. The two most common types of hash made at home may be bubble hash and dry-ice hash. After releasing tutorials on how to make your own Bubble Hash and Dry-Ice Hash, we received quite a few emails on the subject of hash. Everyone seems to love extracts in all forms, but there were two distinct opinions that kept showing up over and over again.

The results of making dry ice hash out of an ounce of cannabis

An animation showing dry-ice hash being collected in a first person view

One group feels the dry-ice hash is the only way to go because bubble hash can be time consuming and doesn’t always get great yields.

The other group thinks bubble hash has the best potency/effects, and that dry-ice hash is an easy-to-make but less valuable extract.

Hash is basically the collection of trichomes from a marijuana plant. It’s much more potent than typical cannabis!

Example of dry ice hash. Hash is basically a collection of trichomes from a marijuana plant

Honestly, I think they’re both great! But today, that’s not enough. Both types of hash are getting judged on certain attributes and we’ll figure out if one really is better than the other! In this experiment, the process of making bubble hash and dry-ice hash will be judged by these criteria:

  • Appearance
    • How pretty does it turn out?
  • Difficulty
    • How hard is the technique?
  • Yield (per ounce of material used)
    • How much extract per ounce of weed?
  • Perceived Potency
    • How strong is it?

Alright, let’s get to the comparison!

 

Dry Ice Hash vs Bubble Hash: The Process

If you’re not familiar with how to make Bubble Hash or Dry-Ice Hash, don’t worry. Here’s the general gist of what you need to know before going any further:

Weed/Trim + Cold + Agitation = Hash

There are ways to make hash that don’t involve cold temperatures (like with dry sift, Gumby hash or hand-rolling) and there are ways to make hash without cold temps or agitation (a rosin press uses pressure and heat), but Bubble Hash and Dry-Ice Hash both use the (cold + agitation) formula to create their respective end products. If you want to learn how to make these types of hash before continuing, check out the following links for the complete tutorials:

Full Tutorial: How to Make Bubble Hash

Scraping up some delicious bubble hash

Full Tutorial: How to Make Dry-Ice Hash

Example of dry ice hash that has just been extracted - click here for the full tutorial!

 

Differences Between the Types of Hash

There are minor differences in the way they’re made, but these solventless extracts are very similar.

Bubble Hash requires you to combine some weed/trim with freezing cold water. The super-cold mixture is then agitated which causes the resin (good stuff) to fall off the weed and into the cold water. That weedy-water is then filtered with a sieve and the hash is left over in the process.

Dry-Ice Hash skips the water altogether but keeps the agitation. Dry ice is made out of frozen CO2, and turns into a dry vapor as it warms (instead of water like regular ice). Dry-ice is so cold that it gets the resin glands to freeze, making them easy to break off. The dry-ice and weed are placed in the same type of sieve you would use for Bubble Hash and agitated until resin falls out onto a surface where it’s collected.

 

Our Test Process

To make the test fair, I wanted to start with the same weed for each test. I took 2oz of flowers from an Ultimate Auto #1 plant and ground it all up to ensure similar consistency. Next, I mixed up the ground-up weed and split it into 2 containers and weighed them to make sure everything was equal. We got 2 sets of the same Bubble Bags and made both types of hash using 1 ounce of weed for each test. We processed the Bubble Hash by chopping it up and drying it overnight and put the Dry-Ice Hash in containers since it doesn’t need further processing. Then came the weigh-in!

This is the 2 ounces of bud we used for this test. It was some of the larfiest buds from the harvest, but covered in trichomes. Perfect for hash-making!

A white bowl containing 2 ounces of cannabis

And this is the same bud after being ground up before we split it into 2 groups

2 ounces of ground-up weed - this is what we used for our hash experiment.

Note: When making hash, there’s no benefit to grinding your bud/trim this fine. This was done strictly for the test.

This isn’t a super scientific test, but it should give you a good idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of making either of these two hashes. Although there are many other common types of extract (shatter, RSO, etc.), these two are the most common for home growers since they’re the easiest to make and don’t use solvents.

 

The Results of Our Test

Appearance

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. It might be a cliche sentence at this point, but it’s still true. When it comes to whether or not you find something attractive, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. That being said, I feel there’s an obvious hierarchy here. Although both hashes are great, Dry-Ice Hash is just plain prettier. Check them both out and see what you think.

Winner: Dry-Ice Hash

A closeup of the Bubble Hash we made

Close-up on some 73 bubble hash

A closeup of Dry-Ice Hash from the same starting cannabis matter. You can actually see the individual trichomes!

A closeup of some 73 dry-ice hash

 

Difficulty

Honestly, neither one of these two hashes is particularly hard to make, especially with the right equipment. In fact, if you haven’t already, I’d encourage to try making both types at home. You can get a feel for the difficulty of each, and as a pretty sweet bonus, you end up with two different types of hash to use!

Part of the difficulty with Bubble Hash is that it can be messy to make since it involves lots of water. There is also one step when making Bubble Hash that can greatly affect the level difficulty: the mixing! Bubble Hash can go from being pretty intensive (when you mix the ice water and cannabis by hand) to moderate (using a hand drill) to pretty-easy-but-wet when you use a mini-washer (aka Hash-Machine, shown below). With the mixing out of the way, it’s just a bit of scraping, drying and chopping before your hash is ready.

A mixing machine make the Bubble Hash process a lot easier, but you still have the mess of dealing with tons of ice and water

A washing machine makes the process of making bubble hash a lot easier!

Once the ice water and cannabis have been mixed together and agitated for several minutes, the mixture is poured through special bags (called bubble bags), and the hash is collected with a spoon. You repeat the process multiple times.

Example of scrapping marijuana bubble hash from a bubble bag

Dry-Ice Hash takes much less time to make. The main drawback to Dry-Ice Hash is, well…the dry-ice! Dry-Ice can be harder to obtain than regular ice depending on where you live and it definitely costs more. Additionally, you shouldn’t touch Dry-Ice. It’s inherently more dangerous since prolonged contact can give you a mean “burn”. Still, even with those issues, Dry-Ice Hash is incredibly easy to make and if you follow a few easy safety guidelines like wearing oven mitts, the dry-ice won’t cause any problems and ends up being easier to make overall.

Making dry-ice hash. After mixing your cannabis bud or trim with dry-ice in a bucket, you put the mixture in the same type of bubble bags and shake the hash onto a table.

A short animation of dry-ice making vapor

Winner: Dry-Ice Hash

 

The Yield: Amount of Extract per 1 oz of Cannabis

Each hash-making process produces multiple “grades” of hash. I weighed each grade separately and added the results together to get the total yield from each method.

Bubble Hash Yield from 1 Ounce of Buds

Here are pictures of the weigh-ins from the bubble hash.

Bubble Hash (decent quality) – 1.52 grams

Weighing 160 micron Bubble Hash

Bubble Hash (good quality) – 0.25 grams

The 25 micron Bubble Hash

Bubble Hash (best quality) – 2.64 grams

Bubble Hash on a scale

Total Amount of Bubble Hash per 1 Ounce: 4.41 grams

Percentage of Weight Returned as Hash:15.6%

 

Dry-Ice Hash Yield from 1 Ounce of Buds

Here are pictures of the weigh-ins from the dry-ice hash.

Dry-Ice Hash (decent quality) – 2.47 grams

Dry Ice Hash (160 micron)

Dry Ice Hash (good quality) – 3.65 grams

Dry-Ice Hash being weighed in

Dry-Ice Hash (best quality) – 6.21 grams

Amount of Dry-Ice Hash per Ounce: 12.33 grams

Percentage of Weight Returned as Hash: 43.5%

 

Winner: Dry-Ice Hash by a landslide! Even I was shocked by this discrepancy!

 

Potency (Perceived Potency)

What’s the difference between “measurable” potency and perceived potency? Both terms are talking about the same thing – how strong the cannabis is – but they’re different in how each one is measured.

A closeup of the trichomes on a live cannabis plant. All types of hash are made out of these mushroom-shaped resin glands.

A closeup of trichomes on a live cannabis bud - these mushroom shaped resin glands are what all types of hash are made out of

“Measurable” potency (or just “potency”) talks about how strong cannabis is in terms of objective measurements. This is the scientific way of determining potency. If you went to a dispensary and purchased cannabis, it would tell you the amount of THC/CBD/CBN the product contains to give you an idea of how strong (or “potent”)  it is. Those numbers are measurable potency.

“Perceived” potency describes how strong something feels to the person using it. This means that perceived potency is totally subjective since it’s based on peoples feelings and can’t be measured. However, there are times when perceived potency is a better indicator than measurable potency, and we think this is due to the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is a way of describing how there are compounds other than THC in cannabis that can change the effects of what we experience using cannabis (such as terpenes or numerous less well-known cannabinoids). THC by itself has certain effects, but combining it with CBD, for example, can reduce certain negative effects some people experience with cannabis. We’re still learning what all plays a part in what makes good weed, but we definitely know that it’s not just up to THC.

This is relevant to our test because Bubble Hash seems to grab a few more friends into its entourage when it’s being made. Dry-Ice Hash is just trichomes; if you look at them really close, you can tell there’s nothing else there. On the other hand, Bubble Hash just comes out different. It’s possible that there’s a water-soluble compound that gets added in, or it could just be the structure of the hash itself. Either way, after some lengthy testing, Nebula and I fully agree that Bubble Hash just plain feels stronger.

Winner: Bubble Hash

 

Final Judgment

All this talk about hash has reminded me of how much I love each type. Before I render a final judgment on who wins the showdown, let me make a case for why each one deserves to be in your house.

Bubble Hash: Old-school cool with some great potency. A little Bubble Hash goes a long way, and it’s one of the best ways to use up your trim.

Dry-Ice Hash: It’s good, easy, and you get a lot of it. Nuff said!

Winner: Dry-Ice Hash

This hash won our contest

This was a close one. Bubble Hash brings so much perceived potency that it should almost be an automatic win. Almost.

Dry-Ice Hash is a tough act to follow. It’s insanely easy to make and it’s just as fun to make as it is easy. Dry-Ice Hash might not feel as potent per gram as Bubble Hash, but it’ll get the job done and you get a lot each time you make it. It’s less messy to make Dry-Ice Hash, and since dry-ice sublimates (turns from solid directly into a gas) nothing gets wet and your hash is ready to use as soon as you collect it. As long as you’re careful with the dry-ice, making Dry-Ice Hash is almost too good of a deal!

Still, if you learn to grow enough weed, you can always just have both…

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