What is Hash?

Bag of Hasj Powder
20 augustus 2020

What is Hash?

Hash, also known as hashish or hasjiesj in Dutch, is a pressed form of pollen separated from the cannabis plant. This makes for a unique and sweet tasting product, producing a generally more uplifting experience than the actual flower/bud. In the past, hash was used for multiple reasons. In certain religious practices, hash has been found useful to some practitioners to gain insight with an influenced state of mind. Cultural festivities have seen their fair share of hash too, mostly in North-Africa, the Middle-East and West-Asia. In the past century, hash was made widely popular in both modern and traditional smoking circles. To spot good hash, it is good to know about the origin and methods used of the hash in question.

maroccan hasj field worker

How is hash made?

One traditional method of making hash is by beating female and male cannabis covered and bedded in a pantyhose type of cloth with two sticks, placed on top of a large container. This way, every time they beat said cloth, the pollen will fall through, gathering at the bottom of the container. This process is important, because here the quality of the hash is determined. The first beating on a new batch of dried herbs should be done softly. When done properly, there will be next to no plant material mixed into the pollen, giving rise to especially pure hash. You can repeat this process. By increasing strength per hit with each repetition you can get most pollen covering the buds. In turn, the pureness will diminish, resulting in a lesser quality hash. This is done in batches to separate the pure with the lesser hash. After sifting enough powder, it is pressed into a uniform and condensed shape, finally reaching the familiar state we recognize today.

Old women working on a hash field

A more simple and modern version is by using the dry sifting method. This is where you take a large sifting screen with a sizable container underneath, to then move and pat the plant material on top of the screen with your hands. The pureness of the end product is explained in a similar way as the one mentioned above. Where it turns from simple to more complex is where you add dry ice to the process. The ice freezes to the touch, allowing for pollen to separate easier from the plant. And then there is pressing. To form a block of hash heavy pressure is required by hand or machine. The amount of pressure has an influence on the colour of hash, light hash means less pressure has been applied and dark hash respectfully more.

Where does hash originate from?

While the exact origin of hash is debatable, people agree it was in the middle-eastern/west-asian area. The oldest found sample of cannabis was found in china, but the preservation of this sample could be caused by lucky circumstances, so this too is unclear. Afghanistan is the most likely country to be one of it’s originators. And old way to make a form of hash is Charas. It is different because the pollen are collected from a life plant instead of a dried on. With both palms farmers rub the life plant slowly forming a layer of charas on their hands. Then, they scrape off the built up residue using a hot knife, resulting in Charas. Charas is still enjoyed today.

Hash has had it’s influence on our language too, the word “Assassin” is a derivative from Hashishin, literally translated to “Hash Eater”. Back in the 11th century, these cunning killers were followers of the Nizari branch of the Isma Iliyya sect of Shiite Muslims. The Hash Eaters used hash to meditate and reach such a state they could overcome fear and find the courage to commit the acts they did.

Lemon Haze Hash Hasj Amsterdam

Now we return to modern times, where you can get more varieties of hash than ever before. Most hash in the Netherlands is imported from Morocco, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now you know more about hash, would you like to try? Then visit one of our establishments in Amsterdam!

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Written by
Peije Steinz

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