Space Blog Episode 3: Ice Water Hash Explained
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
The exciting evolution of modern ice water hash has put new life into cannabis. For many life-long consumers who were turned off by the use of chemical solvents to process extracts from cannabis, the tides have turned.
Ice Water Hash is changing everything cannabis related and the simplicity of ice and water extractions is truly astonishing. In theory, it's as simple as filtering cannabis trichomes that break free from the plant while submerged in water and ice. By combining the oldest hash making strategies with modern advances, solventless extraction, (a.k.a. ice water hash) is the epitome of quality in the cannabis community.
There's a saying among the concentrate and dabbing community that goes something like "fire in, fire out." This means that solventless hash is only as good as the flower it is extracted from. For edibles, a product is only as good as the extract it is made from. With ice water hash dominating the concentrate industry, the method of extraction means everything to cannabis edibles. Aside from being vegan, organic, and absolutely delicious, Space Gem products are always made from single-source, 100% solventless, ice-water hash.
Sifting and Straining
Previous generations have used solventless extraction techniques to make hashish for thousands of years. Some older techniques forego the use of water and instead dry sift to filter cannabis through increasingly finer metal screens. Simple agitation like shaking cannabis buds on metal or mesh screens, allows the trichomes to break free from the plant and be collected underneath.
Original Bubble Hash
The 1960's and 70's introduced bubble-hash to American's, utilizing the same basic concepts of solventless filtration that are being used again today. While solventless forms of hashish were standard for decades, the use of ice and water was an effective and more efficient technique than dry-sifting the plants or flowers alone. This kind of dark brown bubble-hash that Baby Boomers are privy to, uses the exact processes we are again using to make ice-water hash. Cannabis has improved so much over the years of medicinal and recreational use that bubble hash was bound to improve. The only difference in technique from the 60's and 70's bubble hash to today's ice water hash, has to do with how we harvest the crop and the methods used to dry the hash.
For so long we attempted different forms of extraction and all kinds of chemical solvents, meanwhile overlooking how we harvest the plant. Rather than allowing cannabis to dry out and lose many of its valuable terpenes, cannabis is now flash-frozen immediately upon harvest. Freezing the plants at harvest has proven to have a wealth of benefits for both chemical extraction and solventless techniques. By freezing the crop it becomes easier to extract and isolate cannabis trichome heads that break free from the plant in water.
This Fresh-Frozen method also delivers a product vastly superior in its terpene and cannabinoid profiles, since it preserves them at their peak state of ripeness. Right off the plant flavor and love. No other extraction technique delivers a full-spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that contribute directly to the Entourage Effect, like Ice-Water Hash infused products. For those that missed our article, the Entourage Effect is when cannabis is most effective, propelled along by a variety of different cannabinoids and terpenes working in unison to determine the quality of effect.
Ice Water Hash
Once frozen, the cannabis plants are put in a mesh bag and submerged in a bucket of Ice and water. The cannabis, ice, and water are manually stirred for a bit, before the bulk of cannabis material is removed. What remains suspended in water are whole trichome heads.
The agitation under water causes the frozen trichome heads (as seen below) to snap-free from their stems. Any trichome stems that do break off the plant are filtered out, along with any remaining plant material until the only thing left is round trichome heads like those pictured below. Freezing the cannabis first allows these round trichome heads to break free from the stems they sit on. Being non-water soluble (meaning they won't dissolve) the cannabis trichomes are suspended in water until being poured through mesh screens to filter them out.
Numerous mesh screens or "bubble-bags" as they are commonly known, are stacked within a bucket in descending sizes, which the trichome rich water is then poured through. Large debris, any plant material, and even the trichome stems are caught and filtered by the first few mesh screens, while the finer screens below capture entire trichome heads.
As each mesh bag is removed, the quality of hash underneath improves. Once the material is rinsed, each mesh screen will contain trichome heads that are scraped or spooned off (as pictured below) and set aside to dry.
Once the hash is spooned onto trays, modern methods of sublimation help to quickly remove water from the hash without the use of heat. Once the hash dries and hardens, it is shaken in a regular kitchen sieve, like a fine strainer, to create the look of loose white sand. This sand-looking material is tens of thousands of individual trichome heads, like those in the jar of ice water hash below:
The mesh screens or "bubble-bags" used to filter trichomes from the water, have micron counts, referring to the number of holes per one square inch. Higher number microns will contain smaller trichome heads, while lower number micron screens will contain the bigger and juicier trichome heads. Producers differ in how they elect to sell their ice water hash products, with some brands selling hash in different micron counts. Space Gem uses only the premium material captured between the 50 to 150-micron range. This provides the fullest spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes available to consumers anywhere on the edible market.
Ice-water extraction techniques have all but perfected the process to not only extract the cannabinoids and terpenes without using harsh chemical solvents, but it also maintains the correct ratios of terpenes and cannabinoids as the plant determines. Solvent-based chemical extractions immediately tear down these trichome heads to remove certain cannabinoids like THC and CBD, thereby altering genetic profiles and greatly reducing any Entourage Effects.
Ice water hash respects genetics, removing, isolating, and preserving the whole trichome head that contains over 200 different cannabinoids and countless terpenes. There's truly no better way to experience cannabis and its full psychoactive effects than by consuming only solventless products that are extracted with water and ice. Space Gem products are made from single-sourced, sun-grown, Humboldt County Love. Talk about a hand-made process and product that keeps its consumers first.
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