Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
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Hashish, also called hash, is a potent concentrated form of cannabis. Derived from kief (a collection of loose cannabis trichomes or resin), hashish has much more powerful effects than “ordinary” marijuana. Hashish is often shortened to “hash.” Other names include “dry herb” or “hay,” but these depend on locality. Hashish has been used for centuries and historically appears under different names, including bhang and charas.
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What Is Hashish?
Hashish is an Arabic word, as this potent form of cannabis originated in the Middle East and was outlawed under Islamic prohibition for centuries. Hashish is made from the sticky resins of plant material that form on the buds of cannabis plants. Also called trichomes, these sticky resins contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and are responsible for the potentially intoxicating effects of hashish.
THC is the active ingredient in hashish products and all cannabis products. This powerful psychoactive ingredient can lead to a euphoric experience, or a troubling one, depending on your THC tolerance levels and other factors. Be aware that THC levels can reach up to 80% in hashish concentrates. This figure is four times higher than a typical THC amount (20%) in non-concentrated cannabis.
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- Bubble Hash (sometimes referred to as ice water hash)
- Shatter (hard substance)
- Wax (soft substance)
- Dry sift hash
- Honey oil or butane hash oil (BHO)
What all these types of hash share in common (in addition to their potency) are fragrant aromas and intense flavors. The trichomes of the cannabis plant not only hold all the most powerful cannabinoids but also contain the most aromatic and flavorful terpenes and flavonoids.
As for what makes these forms of hash different, it is usually due to one or both of two things:
- Their production method (e.g., bubble hash separates trichomes from plant material using ice water, whereas dry sift hash is just compressed kief).
- Their purity (e.g., honey oil contains the least plant material and is the most concentrated form of hashish).
Potential Health Benefits and Uses
Since hashish contains higher concentrations of THC than non-concentrated cannabis, it may be especially helpful in treating pain. Studies have shown that THC-rich cannabis may benefit people dealing with many types of chronic pain, including neuropathic (nerve pain). In addition, using hash may benefit your system in combating these ailments:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Eating Disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Autoimmune diseases and disorders
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
If you have been diagnosed with one or more of the above medical conditions, speak with your primary care physician before using hashish products. Be sure to inform your healthcare provider of any over-the-counter or prescription medications you are currently taking.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Hashish use comes with several potential risks and side effects. These possible risks and negative side effects are similar to those that non-concentrated cannabis carries but intensified. Fortunately, as with “regular” cannabis, there has never been a documented fatality due to hash use. But you should still consume hash in moderation and caution to avoid unwanted side effects.
Here are some side effects that may occur if you use hash oil, bubble hash, or any other hashish products:
- Confusion, paranoia, and other mental effects due to high levels of THC
- Increased appetite
- Impaired motor control
- Irregular heartbeat and/or heart palpitations
- Distorted sense of time
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Anxiety (and, in some cases, panic)
Large doses of hash consumed in a short period make the above side effects more likely. Consult with your doctor before partaking in recreational use of hash to ensure the safest possible experience.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is hashish addictive?
Cannabis is generally not thought of as an addictive drug in the way that cocaine and opioids are. However, hashish is a powerfully concentrated form of marijuana and could lead to dependency in some people. Furthermore, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) points out that hashish is derived from the cannabis plant and therefore classified as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level.
What are Schedule 1 drugs in Australia?
Schedule 1 drugs in Australia are classified differently from Schedule 1 drugs in the United States. In the U.S., a Schedule 1 substance has been deemed to have a high potential for drug abuse and a poor safety profile even under medical supervision. (This classification is why cannabis advocates continue to fight to get marijuana off the Schedule 1 list, as the plant has an excellent safety profile compared to other Schedule 1 drugs like heroin and LSD). In contrast, in Australia, Schedule 1 drugs are drugs that are not currently in use.