Definitions

hashish

hashish

[hash-eesh, -ish, ha-sheesh, hah-]
hashish, resin extracted from the flower clusters and top leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and C. indica. Hashish, called charas in India, is the most potent grade of cannabis and is obtained from cultivated plants grown in hot, moist climates. Marijuana, a cheaper and less potent substance, is usually obtained from the cut tops of plants grown in cooler climates. Like marijuana, hashish is usually smoked, but in a pipe or water pipe; in N Africa it is also eaten. Hash oil is an extract of hashish that can be smoked or added to the tobacco in a cigarette. Hashish is an intoxicant, producing euphoria and exaggerations of sensations. It is an illegal substance in the United States with no accepted medical use. Like marijuana, its active ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

Hallucinogenic drug preparation derived from resin from the flowers of hemp plants. Marijuana, a product of the same plant, is far less potent. Hashish is smoked or eaten. The active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), makes up 10–15percnt of hashish.

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Hashish (from Arabic: حشيش , lit. "grass"; also hash) is a preparation of cannabis composed of the compressed trichomes collected from the cannabis plant. It contains the same active ingredients but in higher concentrations than other parts of the plant such as the buds or the leaves. Psychoactive effects vary between types of hashish but are usually the same as those of other cannabis preparations such as marijuana. Hash is prohibited to the same extent as all other forms of cannabis.

Hashish is often a solid or paste-like substance of varying hardness and pliability, and will soften under heat. Its color can vary from green, black, reddish brown, or most commonly light to dark brown.

It is consumed in much the same way as cannabis buds, used by itself in a billy with tobacco,or a [smoking pipe (non-tobacco)|miniature smoking pipe]]s, vaporized, hot knifed, smoked in a bong or bubbler, or smoked in joints mixed with tobacco, cannabis buds or other herbs.

It can also be eaten alone (pure hash is described as having a spicy or peppery flavor) as well as used as an ingredient in food (baked into cookies or cakes, or added to stews and chocolate). Sale of hashish is illegal in most parts of the world; it has been decriminalized to some extent in a few countries, such as the Netherlands.

History

It is believed that hash first originated from Central Asia, as this region was among the first to be populated by the cannabis plant, which may have originated in the Hindu Kush. More reliably, it may have originated in Northern India which also has a very long social tradition in the production of Hashish which is locally known as Charas. Cannabis sativa subsp. indica grows wild almost everywhere in the Indian sub-continent and special strains have been particularly cultivated for production of 'ganja' and 'hashish' particularly in Kerala, Rajasthan and the Himalayas. The earliest hanish was created without the use of sieves. The ancients would gently rub their palms and fingers on cannabis buds for hours while resin accumulated on their hands and then scrape that resin off. This sort of primitive harvesting is undertaken even today in the Cannabis growing farms of Manali, Naggar and Upper Himachal Pradesh. The earliest use of hashish was most likely from farmers scraping resin off of their hands after a day's harvest of commercial hemp and at that time hashish was normally eaten, not smoked.

The word assassin may have been derived from the Arabic word حشّاشين (haššāšīn), or "Hashshāshīn". The Hashashin were allegedly inspired to commit murder under the influence of hashish. Hashish is also said to have been derived from the notorious Hussein Ghanem El Sabbah, an Egyptian hash smoker, living in Sabbah City. Date of Birth: unknown. The legend of hashish-eating assassins began with a vague mention by Marco Polo, and was embellished by 19th century French and American writers, fascinated by orientalism and eager to present hashish as a menace. The legend gained great popularity especially by Charles Baudelaire in his Artificial Paradises of 1857. Others argue that the term could have been created due to political reasons, in order to discredit the sect. It has also been suggested that if hashish were in fact consumed, it had been adulterated with stronger materials, the effects of hashish being well-known and easily recognizable at that time and place. No reports of statistical linkage between hashish and assassins or terror have been published anywhere in the last century.

Consumption of hashish saw an increase in the 20th century, in Europe and America, associated with the hippie scene. Hashish use declined significantly in the United States starting in the 1980s for several reasons, including U. S. political pressures against Afghanistan and the ensuing Soviet invasion, a huge jump in price, and the success of marijuana cultivators in North America with new growing methods for increasing THC production, such as growing marijuana indoors.

Manufacturing processes

Hashish is made from tetrahydrocannabinol-rich glandular hairs known as trichomes, as well as varying amounts of cannabis flower and leaf fragments. The flowers of a mature female plant contain the most trichomes, though trichomes are found on other parts of the plant. Certain strains of cannabis are cultivated specifically for their ability to produce large amounts of trichomes. The resin reservoirs of the trichomes, sometimes erroneously called pollen, are separated from the plant through various methods. The resulting concentrate is formed into blocks of hashish, which can be easily stored and transported. Alternatively, the powder consisting of uncompressed, dry trichomes is often referred to as kief instead of hashish.

Mechanical separation methods use physical action to remove the trichomes from the plant. Sieving over a fine screen is a vital part of most methods. The plants may be sifted by hand or in motorized tumblers. Hash made in this way is sometimes called dry sift. Finger hash is produced by rolling the ripe trichome-covered flowers of the plant between the fingers and collecting the resin that sticks to the fingers. Yet another means of harvest is effected by having workers bustle through the cannabis fields wearing specially designed leather aprons, upon which the trichomes collect and adhere. Trichomes and resins can also be collected passively through cleaning of scissors that have been used to cut the plant, or containers like a kief-box used to store it.

Ice water separation is a more modern mechanical separation method which submerges the plant in ice and water and stirs the mixture. Trichomes are broken off the plant as the ice moves and the low temperature makes the trichomes so brittle they break off easily. The waste plant matter, detached trichomes, and water are separated by filtering through a series of increasingly fine screens. Kits are commercially available which provide a series of filter screens meant to fit inside standard bucket sizes. Hash made in this way is sometimes called ice hash, or bubble hash.

Chemical separation methods generally use a solvent to dissolve the desirable resins in the plant while not dissolving undesirable components. The solid plant material is then filtered out of the solution and discarded. The solvent may then be evaporated, leaving behind the desirable resins. As THC is fat-soluble, it also dissolves in butter, which can then be used for cooking (see hash cookies and Alice B. Toklas brownies). The product of chemical separations is more commonly referred to as honey oil, hash oil, or just oil. Some believe that hash oil is best avoided, due both to the dangerous nature of its production and the fear of residual chemicals left in the oil by the solvent. By using the proper cooking and evaporing methods it is even possible to turn this oil into crystal form.

Quality

The main factors affecting quality are potency and purity. Different cannabis plants will produce resins with unique chemical profiles that vary in potency. Some forms of hashish are described as producing a "body high" while others are more "cerebral." This depends on the genetic strain and relative amount of different cannabis plants used as well as the manufacturing process involved.

Tiny pieces of leaf matter or even purposefully added adulterants introduced when the hash is being produced will reduce the purity of the material. The THC content of hashish usually ranges from 15–20%, and that of hash oil from 30–40%.

Fresh hashish of good quality is soft and pliable and becomes progressively harder and less potent as it oxidizes.

Hash is generally said to be black, brown or blond. There is also hashish of greenish or reddish hue. A green tinge may indicate that the hashish is impure, has been cut with low-quality leaf or contains high quantities of chlorophyll. A yellow tint can indicate presence of cannabis pollen, which has a sandy color.

Low quality forms of hash often contain adulterants used as cutting agents added to exaggerate the value of hash through increasing the mass or including other cheaper drugs. Such forms usually possess a low potency, may have an unpleasant strangeness in taste and feel, and produce hard, dark "cinders" in the ash which should be soft and white. Adulterants in hash may range from waste material from the cannabis plant (generally not harmful) to products such as food oils and soap, hence the name soap bar. (although some say soap bar is so called due how it is pressed into large, 9 ounce bars, and resembles a large bar of soap- it is often cut with henna oil) The low quality may lead one to smoke more to get the same effect, increasing exposure to carbon monoxide and adverse effects upon the lungs.

A general rule of thumb is that good hashish produces effects which should be rapidly, unmistakably apparent, even with experienced users who have developed tolerance to THC; being unsure of the effects or wanting to use more within a short amount of time means the hashish is either very weak and/or, more likely, adulterated.

Some users have started boiling their hash in water for a few minutes and then drying it before smoking. This is thought to remove all water-soluble adulterants while the psychoactive cannabinols remain intact as the temperature is not sufficient to destroy them and they are not soluble in water.

The smoke and ashes of burnt hash should be light gray or white in color. Dark, acrid smoke and poor ease of inhaling smoke signify that the material is contaminated. It is always best to compost any such unacceptable hashish rather than continue using it in hopes of achieving a high.

Hashish by region

Production

Hashish is traditionally produced in desert conditions. It is traditionally found in a belt extending from North Africa, Egypt to North India and into Central Asia . The primary hash-producing countries are Morocco, Afghanistan, Nepal, Lebanon , India and Egypt.

Charas is the primary product. Charas, a substance that is hand-rubbed directly from the cannabis plant, is generally produced in Nepal and India. Today, the word charas is common word for hash in a majority of India, despite the fact that other methods may be used than the hand-rubbed method.

A visitor to the Rif Mountains and the town of Ketama in Morocco in December 1976 described the production of hashish. Workers rubbed the leaves of the cannabis plant over fine muslin fabric. In unheated huts, each worker had his hands and arms inside a regular one hundredweight (50 kg) plastic fertiliser bag containing twigs and leaves of the cannabis plant. In the mouth of the bag was a plastic washing-up bowl. Stretched over the bowl was a sheet of "zero-zero" grade muslin. The worker rubbed the leaves of the cannabis plant over the muslin, resulting in a fine powder ending up in the bowl. When 100 grams of the powder was collected it was then wrapped in more fine muslin, put onto a heated metal plate, and rolled down with a bottle. This process produced a slightly sticky solid brown mass in the form of a square slab, around half the size of a paperback book and about ½ cm thick. This block was wrapped in cellophane. Sellers of this Moroccan hashish pointed to the imprint of the muslin on the surface of the block, and declared it proof that the product was "zero-zero", top quality.

In Afghanistan there is a method of making hash that resembles charas. First, cannabis resin is placed on a large heated mortar, then the resin is threshed with a heavy object. The result is a very gooey, sticky black hash. This method is mostly used in villages around the Hindu Kush mountain region.

Hash is also produced now in the deserts of northern Mexico; however, the demand for it and thus amount produced is insignificant compared to that for "fresh" Mexican marijuana, especially into the lucrative North American market.

Consumption

Hashish was always the variety of preference in Europe (although this preference is slowly changing towards the buds of the plant), it is basically the exclusive form of THC in the Middle East and was widely available in North Africa and parts of Asia. It is less preferred by cannabis users in the US and other producing nations. Hashish is more compact than marijuana, it keeps better, and is easier to smuggle than marijuana. When it has been smuggled by amateurs, it often suffers from long periods of bad storage, so the quality can vary considerably. Older hashish can easily be recognized as it is hard and has no smell (heating with a lighter is a common test).

By the 1990s, the use of marijuana in the developed world was increasing, as more potent versions were being grown. The Cannabis Cup held every year in Amsterdam attempts to evaluate the quality of the latest varieties.

In France and the German- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, this is known as Marocain (Maroc meaning "Morocco" in French). In Germany it is known colloquially as "Piece". In Spain it is called Costo, Chocolate, Grifa or Hachís. In Great Britain, hash, resin,"draw" 'solid In the Netherlands, this is called Hasj or Assi (although coffee shops will maintain a wide variety of types, i.e.: Polm, Blond, Tempel Bol, Isolator, Zero-Zero or Waterwerks, generally relating to either the method of production, country of origin or type of marijuana used.). In Brazil, it is commonly called haxixe. Also, there is a branch of nearly white powder hash (pollen or kief hash) that is the result of not stamping the raw material for the more common compressed hashish.

Soft hash is usually dark brown to black in color and goes under the name black in France, squidgey or soft black (named due to the color and properties of the hash) in Great Britain. The very potent Paki Black is so named because it originates in Pakistan. Soft, dark hash in the Netherlands is normally referred to as Afghan. Common Kashmiri brands are Citral and Fungus.

Hashish use is experiencing a resurgence in parts of North America (especially the Pacific Northwest) with the use and commercial availability of ice-water extraction kits.

Preparation and methods of use

Like ordinary cannabis preparations, hashish is usually smoked, though it can also be eaten or vaporised.

Hash is sometimes prepared for smoking by heating it with a flame for a couple of seconds, producing some bubbling or sizzling. It then softens and can be crumbled into tiny pieces or formed into shapes to obtain maximum surface area when burning. Heating may cause more THC to be released in its active form.

Vaporization

Used with hashish as with any cannabis, tobacco or other herb material, a vaporizer can extract cannabinoids at a temperature of 350°F./150°C., protecting against loss of this ingredient which occurs in burning, and eliminating carbon monoxide and other combustion toxins. Since hashish is solid, its surface area is enlarged by the user, for a maximum cannabinoid vaporization.

"Hot Knives"

Hash can be placed on very hot pieces of metal and the resulting vapor inhaled. "Hot Knives","spots", or "knife hits" is a method that involves heating up knives on a stove, crushing a little ball of the hash between them and inhaling the released vapor through a tube or straw. Hash cones is a method where a piece of hash is attached to a pin or metal wire and then heated.

Single-toke utensil(Semivaporizer technique)

The next lowest temperature to a vaporizer is achieved with a narrow-diameter mini-pipe such as the traditional kiseru or midwakh, preferably with a mesh-40 (i.e. having 1/40" or 0.6-mm. windows) screen nested snugly in the crater, permitting the user to draw air slowly and control the burning temperature, whereby the cannabinoids in any part of the hashish have time to vaporize out by being heated by an already burning adjacent part of the hashish. For this purpose a razor knife may be used to cut very thin slices of which about 25 mg. worth are then combined in the crater for a single serving. Such prevaporization is also achieved by holding a lighter flame near the outside of the (metal or glass) crater on various sides, eventually heating the contents of the crater prior to their catching on fire, while continually sucking slowly (an art akin to yoga). Of herbs, if any, to use as an aid to this minimal burning technique, hops (Humulus lupulus) flowers, ground to a fine particle size, are the most delicate and interfere least with perceiving the taste of the hashish.

Dabous

A piece of hash may be ignited by cigarette coals or other means and placed inside a container. The smoke that collects inside can then be inhaled. Dabous or Khabour, but most commonly "shi-sha" (glass in Arabic) is a North African technique. In Canada this technique is commonly referred to as "Bots" or "BTs" ("Bottle-Tokes").

Mixtures

Often hash is mixed with tobacco, hops, cannabis or another herb, and the combination rolled up into a cigarette or burned in a large pipe by users. The high burning temperature results in loss of THC. Smoked by itself, hash usually creates a stronger psychoactive effect on the user.

See also

Further history

Further reading

  • Hashish by Robert Connell Clarke, ISBN 0-929349-05-9
  • Artificial Paradises by Charles Baudelaire; first edition 1860
  • The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz Hugh Ludlow; first edition 1857
  • Indoor Marijuana Horticulture, by Jorge Cervantes, ISBN 1-878823-29-9 ; 2001, reprinted 2005

References

  • Marijuana Potency, Michael Starkes, 1977, And/Or Press Berkley California, ISBN 0-91504-27-6 Chapter 6 "Extraction of THC and Preparation of Hash Oil" pages 111-122.

External links

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