Why Smoking Reclaimed Cannabis Resin Isn’t a Good Idea
Cannabis is quickly becoming legalized in many areas of the United States, and many newly introduced people are curious about the preparations of this psychoactive plant.
Cannabis resin, or reclaim, is a byproduct of smoked cannabis. It’s commonly found on the inside of smoking tools.
Although seasoned users may be familiar with reclaimed cannabis resin, many are still unaware of the potentially harmful effects of using this cannabis byproduct.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the different forms of cannabis resin, what reclaimed cannabis resin is, and what you need to know about smoking reclaimed cannabis resin.
Cannabis resin is a substance that’s naturally produced in the trichomes of the cannabis plant.
This natural substance contains many of the active compounds that cannabis is known for, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
What are trichomes?
Trichomes are exterior growths on plants that protect them from dangers, such as fungus, pests, and ultraviolet rays.
The resin found in cannabis plants appears as either a sticky secretion or a powdery substance and can present in a variety of colors.
Cannabis resin can be extracted directly from the plant or from the tools used to smoke the cannabis plant. This resin has different names depending on how it’s extracted.
Some of the most common cannabis resin preparations include:
- Hashish. Also called hash, this is cannabis resin that’s extracted from the plant and dried into a pressed powder.
- Rosin. This is cannabis resin that’s extracted from the plant using heat and pressure.
- Resin or reclaim. Also called weed tar, this is cannabis resin extracted from tools, like a pipe or dab rig, after smoking.
When discussing cannabis resin, it helps to understand the distinction between the various types of resin, what they’re called, and how they’re used.
Hash and rosin
Hash and rosin aren’t usually called “resin” because they’re extracted directly from the plant.
Preparations like these are a popular choice for people who are looking to smoke or vape something more concentrated than dried cannabis leaves.
Hash and rosin are often stronger and have a longer-lasting high than traditional preparations.
Leftover resin or reclaim
Leftover resin, or reclaim, is often simply called “resin.” People usually only smoke it to avoid wasting any cannabis that may be left over in the pipe.
In fact, most people dispose of the reclaimed resin when cleaning out their tools rather than smoke it.
Cannabis resin or reclaim is the sticky byproduct that can be found cannabis pipes or dab rigs. Unlike fresh resin products like hashish and rosin, reclaimed cannabis resin is a harsh product that can irritate the throat and lungs. Learn about the side effects of smoking cannabis resin.
How is cannabis resin made?
Well that depends on what kind of resin you after? Charras? Cream? Temple ball? Bubble hash? Kief?
The truth is that there are as many different kinds of hashish out there as there are varieties of bud, and it’s the way that they are made that makes them different.
What is hash? Hash is made from the resin that coats the leaves steams and buds of the cannabis plant. Under magnification (or with the naked eye if you’ve got good weed!) the resin looks like a field of tiny glass mushrooms. These are called trichromes and are what get you high. They contain the THC and the cannabinoids. Making hash is the extraction of these resin crystals. Depending on how successful you are at separating the trichromes from the plant material will have a lot of effect on the strength and flavour of your hash.
You can make it fresh from a standing plant. – Hand rubbing.
This method only works on a live, fresh plant; it’s too late once it’s cut and dried. This is a traditional method from up in the Himalaya’s. The thinner atmosphere up there means more U.V radiation. More U.V radiation has caused the indigenous strains to evolve to produce more resin, coating their leaves and flowers protecting themselves from burning (just like sun cream).
Making hash this way is a pretty simple idea but takes a master to do it quickly and efficiently. Basically you walk up the side of the mountain at sunrise as the plants begin warming in the sun.
Then you rub your hands all over the lovely sticky nugs until they are coated in oily, greasy, beautiful ganja resin. The tricky bit comes in getting the stuff back off your hands. With practice and experience it is possible too press and roll a patch of oil into a small ball. This ball is then pressed and rolled onto rest of the uncleaned hand lifting small patches with it as it moves, growing in size like a snowball. It’s a tricky task. Your other choice is to heat the blade of a knife and scrape it over the surface of the skin of your hand. The heat from the blade softens the material making it easier to remove.
The resulting product should be a soft dough like material ranging in colour from greenish brown, to jet black.
This is refered to as cream, temple ball or hand pressed, amongst a hundred thousand other pseudonyms.
(Note – You don’t need to be in the Himalaya’s to make hand pressed, you just need fresh weed covered in crystals)
You can make it from dried plants in two ways- both are basically sieving the crystals out of the plant. There is a wet and a dry method.
Dry production produces charras, kief, Moroccan, Afghani and other such styles of hash.
The plant is cut and hung to dry. Once dried the leaf and bud is usually removed from the stem (this isn’t to suggest that the stalks are without THC- they will be covered with it they just take more breaking down and it is often easier to do them separately- or in harsher times?) Traditionally after that the plant is placed in a sack with a screen over the opening and beaten through. Leaving powdered plant material and trichromes in one sack, and large seeds stalks and twigs in the other. This process will be repeated over and over again through progressively finer screens. The finer the screen the more concentrated the THC dust and the less plant material there is contained in it. There are hundreds of products available to help you screen out the THC, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
The sieved crystals should look like flour, ranging from brown to gold in colour. If it’s still green keep sieving!
This is the raw product for making hash- there are a hundred different ways of proceeding from here and every person and culture has their own favourite.
You can smoke it out right. Pack it in a pipe or bowl and light it up, or mix it with some tobacco and roll yourself a spliff.
You can just press it straight away. A little liquid (water or tea) and you can work it into a ball in your hand with a lot of pressure and time. Or you can buy or improvise a press, wrap your powder in cling film and squash the fuck out of it. ( I saw a most impressive improvised press made out of a car jack and a metal box frame!- or you could find some kind of metal tube fill it and wedge a chair leg in on top of a few coins and take turns sitting on it?)
In Morocco they seal the powder in thick plastic bags and beat the shit out of it with massive wooden clubs until the friction, heat and pressure cause it to clump together (I believe this was traditionally done inside goat skins?)- Then send it to the press.
In Afghanistan they use large rocks heated in a fire to press and heat the powder into a bubbling goo, which is then poured into block molds and left to cool.
The wet method- this produces what is known as bubble hash. It is basically a series of bags, placed one inside of the other, that are made of progressively narrower gauged screens. You put the bubble bags in a trash can and fill the bag with your buds and a shit ton of ice, topping it off with water. Then all you have to do is stir. The cold temperature causes the crystals too freeze and become brittle, they then snap easily away from the plan. THC is not soluble in water. As they are stirred the trichromes fall off the plant and sink down through the layers of screens in the bubble bags. You remove the first bag containing the wet plant material (putting it aside to be used for a second and third pull). You remove each layer of the bubble bags one at a time. The screen will let the water pass through but not the plant material and THC. Each layer will contain a small pile of THC crystals at the bottom. The last bag should only contain pure THC (if you bought a good bag set?) Scrape it out of the bag and leave it to dry. It probably won’t even need pressing from the bottom bag. Just smoke it. Careful though. It’s strong as fuck.
Hash oil – This is a form of hash that is nearly liquid. There are two ways of preparing it.
The first is kind ‘a dangerous as it’s a little prone to explode. You take your raw hash powder and dissolve it in a solvent or into a high percentage alcohol and mix it until it forms a thick, gritty brown paste. You then place the pan into a heat bath and keep stirring in powder until no more will dissolve. Then very slowly evaporate the liquid out (this is the bit that may explode as you are evaporating a flammable substance into the air over a heat source – smart! – probably best to go outside if possible or use an extraction hood?). You reduce it down until you are left with runny black/brown oil, like melted chocolate.
The second way is not quite as dangerous but it still may explode. It is done using pressure from butane gas. A tube packed with dried plant material, sealable at both ends. One end has several small holes out of which your oil will run; these should be half the size of your gas nozzle. At the other end is a single hole drilled to receive the nozzle from your gas cylinder of choice. Remember your gona be smoking this so choose you chemicals accordingly, and use a solvent which can be left to evaporate out or heated out as above. Seal your tube and apply your pressurised gas. The pressure inside will liquidise the THC and it will run out of the small holes at the other end. I would recommend a smooth surface which can be heated to receive your oil as this will make it far easier to remove. Such as glass or metal.
Smoking this stuff can be tricky. I have found the best thing to do is to heat the thin end of a tea spoon and dip it into the oil. This will make the oil become softer and more liquid as well as sticking it to the spoon. You may need to heat it gently again to get it back off the spoon as it cools and hardens quickly. You then smear it onto whatever you are going to smoke. You can paste a steak down the side of a cigarette and smoke that. Slap some on a bud n chuck it in your bong. Or paste it on the inside of your paper or wrap of choice before you roll.
If this sounds like a lot of hassle, that’s because it is. Why would anyone bother then I hear you ask? Because it is strong as FUCK. Seriously, like the bubble hash this is pretty much just pure THC. I like a smoke, and those two never fail to knock me on my arse for a little while. They’re also giggly as fuck in my experience. Followed by a nice long think.
You don’t have to use high grade bud to get high grade hash either if your methods are sound. Sticks, stalks, sun leaves and trimmings all have THC on them and can be used to make fine hash. You will obviously get a much smaller yield then you would from using the same amount of bud.
Any woo that’s hash- I got a little blim of Burmese hand pressed that a friend gave me in my stash. I was saving it for just this moment apparently.
Here’s a useful blog about the pressure/butane method
These two Strain hunter documentaries have a lot of useful information about traditional hash production in India and Morocco.
How is cannabis resin made? Well that depends on what kind of resin you after? Charras? Cream? Temple ball? Bubble hash? Kief? The truth is that there are as many different kinds of hashish