Get more from your harvest!
After all the hard work you're finally done: you have grown your very own cannabis. Now you not only have a good stash of smoking material, but you can also make kief, hash, hash oil, Rosin or ice hash from it. I will explain the different operations and then you can decide on your own what you feel like doing.
Kief is the name of the THC crystals (trichomes) from the dried, ground and sieved tops and/or crystal-rich leaves of the cannabis plant. Kief is a basis for many other processes. It can, for example, be used to make hash by pressing it warm and consumed in different ways: smoked (in a joint, bong or vaporizer) or it can be used in a recipe and eaten (for example in a space cake). After you have dried the leaves, you would have to achieve the same amount as the total weight of the buds. It, however, depends on the cannabis strains you grew. Some plants produce more leaves than others and white strains or strains with higher THC production will grow more crystal-rich leaves. Only collect leaves that obviously contain THC. In general, they are the bigger leaves and the leaves surrounding the buds. The easiest way is to do this before or during trimming. If you add leaves with little or no THC, you lower the quality of your hash. It is also important that the leaves dry properly. This usually takes longer than drying the buds. The leaves need to be so dry that they crumble when you rub them between your fingers. THC crystals come off well-dried leaf material more easily. The drier the leaves, the better and bigger the yield will be.
Suzy’s Tip: Only gather leaves that have a lot of THC on them otherwise your kief and also your (ice) hash will be of lower quality.
The dried leaf material can be processed in many ways but it always has to be sieved. These sieves come in different micron sizes. One micron is one-millionth of a meter. A sieve of 220-micron lets through bigger crystals than a sieve of 38 microns. For sieving material that has been grown outside, you need a finer sieve than for leaf material that has been grown inside.
You can spread the material over a sieve and then shake it. The sieve should be fine enough to separate the leaf material from the crystals.
Mills contain a small sieve that keeps the crystals in a separate container. As a result, you lose fewer crystals than when you sieve by hand.
If you have to process a large amount of leaf material you need a tumbler sieve. A tumbler sieve is a machine that uses the rotation of a tumbler, with a mesh around it, to separate the crystals. You place the leaf material in the tumbler and a motor makes it spin. The leaf material is being shaken up and down, which separates the THC crystals from the lead material. This takes 30 to 40 minutes. The powder you get after sieving in a sieve, mill or tumbler sieve is the kief, which still needs to be pressed. This enhances the flavour and the odour and makes it more easy to use. The better the quality, the less force you need to use to press it. You can smoke it or process it further and make hash with it for instance.
Hash is made by pressing the sieved leaf material warm. Make a small bag out of cellophane and fill it with the sieved material. Close the bag by folding it. You can stick it together by making it a bit wet. Wrap the package in 5 to 6 layers of newspaper and moisten it with water. Before you can press it, you need to heat it. This can be done in several ways: on the stove, in the oven or on a coaster on a gas or electric hob. Heat the package until it is dry on the outside. The best pressing temperature is 70 °C. You can press the package with a vice or bookbinding press. You have to press the package quickly and then cool it down quickly and then your hash is ready.
The newest method of production is ice hash. I will never forget the first time I made it. The final result is magical. You use ice cold water to separate the crystals from the leaf material. Making ice hash requires a bit more work than regular hash but the quality you get is very special. An ice hash set consists of two or more bags in which sieves of different sizes (micron) have been sewed. Every sieve has a different mesh size so that one sieve lets through crystals that another would not. With the various sieving bags, crystals of different sizes are collected separately. Instead of one big pile of crystals in one bag, you get different qualities in separate bags. Because the crystals in every bag are different, the effects and the flavor of the final ice hash will differ. You need a bucket of 20 liters in which you put the special mesh bag. The lower bag is the bag that will collect the crystals and only lets through the water. The higher bags collect a bit of leaf material and crystals of a certain size. Fill the bucket with ice cold water (around 3 °C). The colder the water, the more easily the crystals will come off.
Suzy’s Tip: If the temperature of the water is not low enough you can add ice cubes or freeze bottles and use these.
By using a food (mixer), the leaf material is beaten, which makes the crystals come loose. Don't use the mixer at full speed because you do not want to reduce the leaf material to a pulp. Leave the mixer on for 20 minutes, leave it off for 5 minutes and then let it mix for 20 minutes again. Repeat this process for about one hour and a half. Make sure that the mixer stays in place, so the mash bags are not damaged. When the water turns golden/brown/yellow, the ice hash is ready. Because you use water extraction to make hash there's a lot less pollution in your final product, which improves the quality and purity of the hash. Ice hash also has a different and intenser effect than a regular hash.
Beware: Not all cannabis strains are equally suitable to make ice hash because some lose part of their flavor.
If you want to make ice hash in an easy way, you can use the Bubbleator. The Bubbleator looks like a small washing machine, but it's a mixer you can fill with ice cold water and a mesh bag consisting of seven different sieves.
Rosin has become the name for the end product, as well as the name for the extraction method. The extraction method is mainly based on pressure and temperature, where the end product is a pure (non-solvent, therefore without solvent) cannabis concentrate, without any form of plant material.
You can start very simple with a hair straightener and if you want to get serious, there are various Rosin presses available to order online.
From the stems you will find in your buds, you can make tea. Simply gather them over time and when you’ve gathered enough, add them with a tea-egg (or spoon) to your tea. Make sure to add either fatty milk or butter because THC does not dissolve in water. It does, however, dissolve in fat.
Even the roots can be used. On the internet, you will find plenty of recipes how to make a balm from your cannabis’ roots.
Space cake is a cake to which cannabis is added. After eating space cake you get a strong stoned or high feeling. So be aware, take a small piece first to try.
Ingredients for a space cake:
- 200 grams flour
- 200 grams soft butter
- 8 grams cannabis
- 3 eggs
- 1 bag of baking powder
- 1 bag of vanilla sugar
- pinch of salt
- splash of milk
Crumble the cannabis and take out the bigger leaves and branches. Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer. Finally, add the cannabis. Mix until you have a light mixture. Cast the mixture into a greased cake tin and place in the oven for one hour on 180 °C. Let the cake cool, get it out of the tin and enjoy!
Beware: It can take up to twenty to ninety minutes before the space cake kicks in!