Long favored by the heady bro in your high school for its spicy taste and superior high—due to an increased level of THC—hash used to be a rare treat for stoner aficionados. As I recall, when I was a toking youngster we believed that it had to be smuggled in from Turkey, and came in meticulous brown bricks embossed with a golden seal of authenticity, a hypothesis supported by the rarity and mystique of the stuff.
That was a long time ago.
Now that marijuana is as common as any mass-market commodity crop, a new study shows hash is in both high demand and copious supply.
Traditionally made from the resin and particulates of the marijuana plant smushed together, hashish was a dark brown, sticky product, whose spicy flavor concealed a concentrated level of psychoactive connectivity guaranteed to send even the staunchest of stoners over the top into happy Buddha land. As availability of the base product—weed—has steadily increased, so have the entrepreneurial types seeking to improve hash and its derivatives. Perhaps in reaction to quickly mounting tolerances to THC, or perhaps, as the song says, in pursuit of that higher high, the race is on to perfect pot.
From water extracted bubble hash to waxes, resins, butters, and ultra pure oils; if there is a way to eke a more potent form of THC from the cannabis plant, garage scientists have found it. These extracts are gaining such notoriety in stoner circles that Google searches for them have more than tripled in recent years.
Honey oil, which can reach face melting purity levels of over 60 percent, is often created using butane fuel, a process not for the novice that can lead to the sort of explosive failures once reserved for meth labs. There have been 120 reported cases of hash oil explosions in the United States since 2011, a number likely to represent a fraction of actual incidents.
Due to this decidedly non-chill potential for death and destruction, medical marijuana vanguard California has banned the production and sale of BHO, and legal weed capitol Denver is looking at doing the same. Safety first, kids.
At the end of the day, whether you’re puffing brown schwag through a potato or delicately vaping the most bourgeois of boutique buds, the goal is the same: to get your high on. And now more than ever, that’s one thing canna-sseurs aren’t having any trouble with. The strength of their buds, and thus hash and derivatives, is steadily increasing.
A recent study shows that marijuana itself has risen in potency—that’s THC percentage—from less than 1 percent in 1974 to, amongst award-winning strains, a potential staggering 24 percent in 2008. Naturally, hash and hash derivatives have gained strength as well, more than doubling in intensity over the same period.
As the pot prohibition monolith slowly grinds itself down, and the drug gains even wider mainstream acceptance—58 percent of Americans now favor legalization—the race to make cannabis purer and stronger is just beginning. If there’s one thing that the drug’s tenacious subculture has proven over the years, it’s that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
At least until after that second hit.