Dabbing 101: How are dabs made Part 2
How are dabs made Part 2
The term “dabs” is often used as a catch-all for something that can be dabbed—that is, a cannabis concentrate that will melt when it is dabbed onto a hot surface. And with concentrates other than oil, that becomes the question, Will it melt?
There are dab-able concentrates which are not produced with a chemical solvent, instead using mechanical extraction methods. These include dry sift, bubble hash, and rosin. These products are not technically “oil” and are more appropriately termed “hash.”
Only the highest grades of bubble hash and dry sift will melt. They are generally as much or even more expensive than high-grade BHO because of the low production yields.
Dry sift is traditional hash which has not been pressed to create logs or patties. In this process, trichomes are removed from plant material using a screen or other mechanical device, like a tumbler. Dab-able quality generally appears as a clumped beach sand consistency. Some hash makers, like Frenchy Cannoli (IG @FrenchyCannoli), still practice traditional hash-making methods—producing forms like Charas, Temple Balls, and others—but these will not dab as well as dry sift produced specifically for dabbing, like that from the well-known hash maker Cuban Grower (IG @CubanGrower).
Bubble hash (or “ice wax” as the dab-able variety is often known), is produced using ice and water as physical elements to knock the trichomes off cannabis, usually whole-plant fresh frozen (WPFF) flowers or dry trim. When dabbing is the intended use, the hash is generally either sieved with a microplane or freeze-dried to eliminate moisture which can precipitate mold.
Ice wax and dry sift is often referred to using a “star” format for quality—indicating the level of melt and the amount of char that will be left on the nail (char is the residue of the waxy part of the trichome head). Most people use a 5 or 6-star system, in which only 4 stars or more are recommended to be dabbed. Some hash makers have begun to make “rosin” out of no-melt 2 and 3-star bubble hash.
Rosin is the latest extraction form to make become popular in the modern cannabis marketplace. Made popular by Phil Salazar, (IG @Soilgrown_Solventless), rosin is produced with a combination of heat and pressure. Originally made with a hair straightener, extractors have since modified t-shirt and pneumatic presses to be able to produce commercial quantities of rosin. Rosin is generally produced from either flower or “no melt” hash (1-3 star rating). Flower rosin is generally lighter in color and more flavorful, but is also more expensive.
As wholesale cannabis costs continue to decrease, we can expect an increase in the availability of non-solvent concentrates if consumers continue to demand them. Whether or not there is anything inherently unsafe about solvent-extraction, traditional organic processes will always have a market—and once commercial production is more standard, it will not be so cost-prohibitive for businesses to produce large quantities of melt-y hash.
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.