Ice water extraction has taken over the hash making game with its unparalleled purity, potency, and yields. However, it’s a complicated process that requires both a large amount of equipment and know-how to complete, and for many, water extraction remains a mysterious technique. So, for the uninitiated: Let’s break down the method and explore its many benefits.
WHAT IS WATER EXTRACTION?
Ice water extraction is a modern hash making technique that strips the plant of its trichomes. It’s these trichomes that contain all of the magic of cannabis—not the plant materials—and collecting them is the essence of hash making. While traditional methods rely on dry-sifting cannabis to achieve this, water extraction, on the other hand, uses ice cold temperatures and water as its medium. Cannabis flower is submerged and shaken to release its trichomes, which are collected and dried to produce a cleaner and more potent hash than would otherwise be possible.
WATER EXTRACTION: THE PROCESS
Firstly, a container is lined with a number of micron filter bags. Fresh cannabis is placed inside this, and then a mixture of water and ice is added over the top until the cannabis is completely submerged. Then, the mixture is gently agitated for 15 to 20 minutes to release the trichomes from the plant materials, and as trichomes are heavier than water, they sink, and are collected in the filter bags. Finally, the collected trichomes are removed from the bags and dried thoroughly to produce a finished hash. While the process can be completed with a rudimentary setup, top level ice water hash makers use specialized equipment such as hash washers and freeze drying machines to both speed up production, and improve potency and yields.
BENEFITS OF WATER EXTRACTION
FLAVOR AND AROMA
The principal benefits of water extraction come from the use of cold temperatures. Trichomes are incredibly delicate, and warmer temps will damage and degrade them, especially terpenes which are responsible for the flavor, aroma, and many of the effects of cannabis. Therefore, water extraction results in a more flavorful and aromatic hash thanks to increased terpene retention.
PURITY AND POTENCY
Water extraction also provides improvements to both purity and potency. The micron filtering not only prevents unwanted plant materials from contaminating the hashish, but they also make it possible to cream off the finest trichomes to produce five and six star full melt hashes.
Lastly, the process results in higher yields compared to dry sifting. Water extraction can almost entirely strip cannabis flower of its valuable trichomes leaving very little to waste. Ultimately, much more is collected than with other methods, and that’s why water extraction increases yields.
That’s our breakdown of ice water extraction and its benefits. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out our knowledgebase and blog, which covers every aspect of the process in great detail and much more.