Hash vs Weed: What’s the Difference?
If you’re new to the world of cannabis, it can be difficult to understand the jargon used by people who have been on the scene for longer. Even seemingly-simple concepts like the difference between weed and hash or concentrates, or how to establish the quality of your hash, can be baffling to the uninitiated.
At its simplest, weed is the dried, unprocessed flowers of the female cannabis plant, while hash (or hashish) is the resin of the female cannabis plant that’s been separated from the plant itself via mechanical or chemical means.
Does hash give you a different high? Is it stronger than weed?
Smoking hash vs. weed can have different effects. Well-made hashish generally has a stronger effect than the plant it came from. This does not apply to all hashish though, as some lower-quality forms may contain copious amounts of ‘filler’ material which can include sand, henna, plastic, oil, or even animal hair or dung.
But as a general rule, hashish is a more concentrated form of the plant it comes from. In fact, it became the primary means of utilizing cannabis in many countries because local outdoor cannabis was relatively low in cannabinoid concentration. That means a significant amount has to be used in order to achieve a noticeable effect.
The high of both hash and weed is influenced by the strain of cannabis that was used. Just like weed, the psychoactive elements of hashish should mirror that of the parent plant, though there does appear to be some degree of subjective difference in the nature of the effect compared to weed. For example, many people consider hashish to have a clearer, more cerebral effect, even if the plant itself induces a more relaxed, soporific effect in the user.
The taste may differ as well. Many people consider the taste of hashish to be earthier and less floral than the parent plant, although this can depend greatly on the extraction method and how much plant material remains in the hashish.
How is hash made?
Traditionally, mechanical separation has been the primary means of extracting the resin from the flowers. It’s either dried or sieved (dry-sifted) before being shaped and pressed into blocks, or by using the hands to rub the fresh plant so that the resin adheres to the skin and must be scraped off.
Dry-sift hashish is by far the more common in global terms. Several large producer countries including Morocco and Lebanon produce only dry-sift hashish. Even in Afghanistan (along with Morocco, the world’s largest hashish producer), the bulk of hashish destined for export is dry-sift. However, Afghanistan is part of the geographical region that is traditionally known for producing hand-rubbed hashish; it still produces significant quantities of hand-rubbed hashish, along with India, Pakistan, and several other South Asian countries.
Modern extraction techniques
In the last few decades, new techniques have been developed for extracting resin from the plant while minimizing the extent of leaf material that remains. Many of these techniques can be termed chemical separation, such as use of butane gas to “blast” the resin from the flowers. Such extracts are often of unparalleled potency, with reports of up to 90% of THC. In comparison, traditional hash-making methods typically yield finished products that contain 15-40% THC.
Another form of extraction that is difficult to classify as chemical or mechanical is ice-water extraction. Technically, this process (whereby cannabis is steeped in ice water to freeze the resinous trichomes and agitated to snap them off the plant) is primarily mechanical. But the water has a greater role to play beyond just freezing the trichomes. Ice-water extraction can be performed in various ways. Sometimes this requires fairly expensive equipment, but it can also be done in a bucket with a hand-mixer.
Weed is the dried flower, hash is resin. Both come from the female cannabis plant and each slightly differ in effect. But there's so much more to know!