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Hashishene: The Terpene Only Found In Hash

Francis Cassidy
Rif Mountains, cannabis, medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, hash, bubble hash, Morocco, terpenes, trichomes

Bubble hash, Charish hash, potent Royal Afghani hash, originate from across the globe but they all have this one thing in common.

Have you ever wondered what it is that gives hashish that distinctive medicated effect? It seems there’s a lot more to it than simply being a more potent trichome-infused medicine. Mother nature works in mysterious ways and here we investigate what happens to terpenes that oxidize in the sun as part of the drying process in hashish-making. 

Digging Deeper on Hashish

Ever wondered why those southern Europeans have that free-flowing spirit? They just seem to take life a little less seriously than the rest of us. Walk through any Andalusian village in the south of Spain and you’ll feel it pretty quickly. While most assume it’s solely the Mediterranean climate, there was something else that infiltrated the culture some centuries ago that may have influenced things.

The Spanish got a taste for Moroccan hashish. A steady supply made its way from the Rif mountains in northern Morocco through the port of Tangier, bound for Spain. The Spanish encouraged it to keep the peace, and it helped maintain the economy back in Morocco. And once in Spain, that Moroccan hashish began to spread throughout Europe.

Rif Mountains, cannabis, medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, hash, bubble hash, Morocco, terpenes, trichomes

The Rif Mountains in Morocco provided high-quality hash to the people of Spain.

Fast forward to 2014 when the French authorities confiscated some of that same Moroccan hashish. They gave it to academics at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. They were attempting to try and develop a device that could detect the presence of cannabis without canines. Instead they found something rather different — a new terpene. Their findings were published in a study detailing the presence of a new unpronounceable compound known as 5,5-dimethyl-1-vinylbicyclo[2.1.1]hexane. Large amounts of up to 14 percent were found in hashish samples. But, very little was found in dried flower.

Finding Hashishene’s Roots

As it was unique to hashish, they called it hashishene, and then began the search to uncover why it existed at all. That search would eventually lead them back to Morocco.

They found that the terpene beta-myrcene actually degraded to hashishene when exposed to light and oxygen. And it was the rooftop exposure to that strong African sun in the preparation process that helped oxidize the beta-myrcene.

The researchers were also able to conclude that many of the minor terpenes found in the cannabis plant are in fact oxidized versions of the principle terpenes. Examples of those principle terpenes include myrcene, pinene, linalool, caryophyllene, and humulene. Not a bad result for a study that started out with the intention of retiring canines!

Further studies shed more light on the picture. On average, myrcene is found in quantities of 16.3 percent in cannabis flower, but only 4.3 percent in hashish samples. While hashishene is found in quantities of 8.4 percent in hashish and only 0.36 percent in cannabis flower.

Rif Mountains, cannabis, medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, hash, bubble hash, Morocco, terpenes, trichomes

Trichomes hold cannabinoids and terpenes.

Hashish Revival 

The medicated effect experienced with hashish is generally a more clear, crisp mental experience. This often induces extreme relaxation and vivid thoughts. 

Hashish itself is derived from “kief,” or the dried resin of the un-pollinated female flower. These resin glands are known as trichomes and are the potent source of the plant’s medicinal compounds, as they hold the cannabinoids and terpenes. Hashish is produced by a variety of methods such as mechanically beating the plants to knock off trichomes. Alternatively, manufacturers can submerge the buds in icy water, and then use small sieves to remove the trichomes. This second method leads to what is known as Bubble Hash, a premium solvent-less concentrate, which is making a comeback.

Bubble Hash

When dried and cured bud is exposed to cold temperatures, like icy water, trichomes then detach from the flower. These are then filtered through a series of screens, leaving you with a potent concentrate.

The beauty of Bubble Hash is that the only solvent is icy cold distilled water. It’s a simple process, requiring only patience and some meditative labor! Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Gather up some bubble bags, ice, cannabis flower, a 5-gallon bucket, screens, distilled water, and a cheesecloth.
  2. Layer your screens (3 or 4) over the 5-gallon bucket.
  3. Place your high-quality cannabis inside before adding the ice. Use 4 pounds of ice for every ounce of cannabis.
  4. Add some distilled water to the mix, just enough to cover the cannabis.
  5. Get busy working, agitating the mixture together to dislodge the trichomes. Work it for 20 minutes if you can.
  6. Allow it to sit for a further 20 minutes.
  7. Begin scraping the contents from each of the screens and place them on the cheesecloth. The finer the screen, the purer the material, so keep them separate.
  8. Once complete, fold the cheesecloth over itself and press out the remaining water. You’ll then have varying grades of Bubble Hash equal to the number of screens used.
  9. The process can be repeated again with the source flower to extract even more of the trichomes from the original flower. When time permits, many find that the process can be repeated up to 4 times.

Consuming Bubble Hash

There are several ways to consume your Bubble Hash.

Edibles are a discrete way to medicate. Bubble Hash can be sprinkled on food or added to teas or chocolate. Just be mindful that it’s potent stuff and you shouldn’t need much.

Bubble Hash can also be smoked, whether in a pipe or bong, or perhaps added to ground cannabis flower in a joint. For those who really want to turn on the rocket boosters, then you can take things a step further and make moonrocks with your Bubble Hash.

Sometimes we forget the ease by which we can access that deeper, more tranquil existence within us. While we can’t all relocate to southern Spain, we can at the very least dip our toes into the world of hashishene, before sitting back and taking a breath to connect.

Francis Cassidy

Francis Cassidy is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics. With a particular focus on the cannabis industry, he aims to help ensure the smooth reintegration of cannabis back into global culture. When not writing, he's to be found exploring his new base in British Columbia, Canada. You can follow his other works including his photography on his blog thestrayphotographer.com

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