How to Identify Primo Hash, According to the Expert Dank Duchess

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Lead
image
by


Inti
Gajardo 

In
the
West,
most
folks
prefer
to
smoke
flower.
But
in
the
East,
and
across
much
of
Europe,
people
there
prefer
to


smoke
hash
.
In
fact,
in
Central
Asia,
most
tokers
only
smoke
hash,
as
blazing
flower
there
is
seen
as
a
crude,
low-brow
practice.

However,
the
art
of
making
high-quality
hashish


is
alive
and
well

in
the
US.
And
while
many
of
us
can
identify
awesome
flower
just
by
looks
and
smell
alone,
most
American
cannabis
consumers
aren’t
as
well
versed
in
identifying
great
hash,
simply
because
it’s
not
as
readily
available,
or
popular,
as
bud.

To
find
out
how
the
average
consumer
can
identify
excellent
hash,
MERRY
JANE
spoke
with
the


Dank
Duchess

during
a
video
call.
Dank
Duchess,
or
just
Duchess
for
short,
is
a
student
of
the
legendary


Frenchy
Cannoli
,
one
of
the
most
influential
and
famous
hash
makers
alive
today.

Duchess
first
met
Frenchy
in
June
2014
during
a
cannabis
competition.
Since
then,
she’s
gone
on
to
become
a
professional
consultant
for
California’s
weed
industry,
though
she’s
recently
traveled
to
Mexico
to
teach
residents
there
how
to
make
their
own
hash,
too.

Duchess
specializes
in
making
pressed
hashish,
which
is
basically
the
heads
of
cannabis
trichomes

also
called
“sugar,”
“crystals,”
or
“kief”

pressed
into
condensed
bricks
or
balls
that
resemble
rich
fudge.
The
process
she
describes
here
is
known
as
bubble
hash
,”
where
plant
material
is
mixed
with
ice
and
water
to
produce
a
clean,
solventless
concentrate.


This
interview
has
been
edited
for
length
and
clarity.

1579297645390_DSC_1038(1).JPG


Photo
by
Sam
Hutchinson 

1579297964947_2016-05-0819.16.50.jpg


Photo
by
Dank
Duchess


MERRY
JANE:
Can
you
briefly
walk
us
through
your
hash-making
process
to
start?


Dank
Duchess:

You
“wash”
hash
by
first
choosing
the
right
plants.
Then,
ice
and
water
to
process
it,
which
is
fairly
easy.
It
uses
a
standard
washing
machine.
You
can
do
it
by
hand,
but
I
don’t
have
good
shoulders
for
doing
it
by
hand.
You
just
add
ice,
weed,
and
water,
and
agitate.
What
that
does
is
it
removes
the
heads
off
the
trichomes. 

Trichomes
look
like
a
stalk
with
a
head.
You
don’t
want
the
stalk;
you
just
want
the
head.
Agitation
knocks
the
top
part
off.
Then,
you
use
a
system
of
bags,
to
sieve,
to
collect,
specific
sizes
of
resin
[through
tiny
holes
in
the
bags].
Different
sized
trichome
heads
have
different
flavors.
73
microns
[a
micron
is
one-millionth
of
a
meter] is
the
sweet
spot,
where
you
get
all
the
“melt,”
but
you
can
have
a
73-micron
hash
that’s
actually
pretty
crappy
and
a
45-micron
that’s
much
better.
They’re
just
different
sizes.
However,
the
73-micron
and
90-micron
sizes
are
generally
where
you
get
the
best
stuff.

After
you
dry
it,
some
people
will


dab
it
.
I
press
my
hash
instead,
in
the
Frenchy
style,
which
is
pressing
the
hash
with
a
hot
water
bottle
to
create
a
mash.
There
are
a
few
reasons
for
using
the
hot
water
bottle,
and
one
is
that
it
partially


decarbs
the
resin
.
Most
of
what’s
in
the
plant
is
THCA.
It’s
when
heat
is
applied
to
THCA
that
it
converts
to
THC,
which
is
what
gets
you
high. 


What’s
the
best
way
to
dry
it?

One
of
the
best
ways
to
dry
hash
is
to
use
a


freeze
dryer
.
I’ve
been
using
a
freeze
dryer
since
2015,
but
sometimes
you
don’t
have
access
to
a
freeze
dryer,
so
you
have
to
air-dry
it,
making
it
appear
darker.
So,
this
heady
idea
that
light
hash
makes
for
better
hash
isn’t
always
true.

1579297666189_small-4585(1).jpg


Photo
by
Chris
Vee 


What
are
the
advantages
to
consuming
hash
over
smoking
buds?

Smoking
is
actually
a
rather
inefficient
way
of
taking
in
cannabinoids.
The
thing
is,
when
you
take
dabs,
the
dab
lands
on
the
banger,
yes,
it
gets
heated
up,
yes,
the
THCA
gets
converted
[to
THC],
however,
it
doesn’t

happen
fast
enough
.
The
entire
dabbing
process
takes
about
15
seconds.
But
for
full
decarb,
we’re
talking
21
minutes.
So,
when
I
press
my
hash,
some
of
that
THCA
has
converted
to
THC,
and
the
value
of
that
is
that
it’s
more
bioavailable
for
me
as
soon
as
I
smoke. 

People
that
smoke
pressed
hash
will
tell
you
that
the
feeling
that
you
get
when
pressed
hash
hits
you
is
so
much
more
powerful
than
when
you’re
smoking
some
of
the
finest,
single-micron
stuff.
I’m
not
anti-single-micron.
I
love
the
beautiful
flavor
and
everything,
but
when
I’m
choosing
for
meltability,
flavor,
effects,
and
how
my
entire
body
is
going
to
feel,
no
question
about
it:
It’s
going
to
be
pressed
hash. 


Are
there
any
advantages
to
smoking
or
dabbing
hash
as
opposed
to
dabbing
hydrocarbon
extracts
like
BHO
waxes?

I’m
not
going
to
hate
on
BHO,
but
the
truth
of
the
matter
is
that
solventless
hash
has
no
issues
with
worrying
about
whether
there
are
chemicals
in
it.
You
don’t
have
to
worry
about
whether
someone
off-gassed
the
BHO
or
PHO
enough. 

Now,
CO₂
doesn’t
have
that
issue
at
all,
about
off-gassing,
but
let
me
just
tell
you:
CO₂
isn’t
even
in
the
conversation.
At
all.
CO₂
is
something
you
put
in
your
vape
because
you
need
to
make
it
through
the
airport,
and
you
might
land
somewhere
where
you
absolutely
can’t
have
any
THC.
But
no
one’s
ever
like,
“Omigosh,
I
want
that
dank
CO₂!”
And
I
worked
with
CO₂!
In
fact,
the
first
hash
I
ever
made
was
with
CO₂. 

The
value
of
smoking
hash
over
regular
cannabis
comes
down
to
two
things:
efficacy
and
concentration.
If
you’re
a
person
who
needs
to
smoke
three
regular-sized
joints
to
feel
some
pain
relief,
you
may
be
able
to
take
two
dabs,
and
you’re
done.
And
two
dabs
of
whether
it’s
BHO
or
bubble
hash
or
rosin

my
preference
is
bubble
hash
over
everything.
With
bubble
hash,
it’ll
get
you
just
as
high
and
last
way,
way
longer. 

1579297695009_20170221_163754.jpg


Photo
by
Dank
Duchess


Is
hash
color
a
reliable
way
to
distinguish
good
and
bad
hash?

People
often
want
to
know
if
it’s
dark,
is
it
bad?
If
it’s
light,
is
it
good?
That
doesn’t
apply
to
bubble
hash.
That

sort
of

applies
to
BHO,
because
often
hash
that
is
dark
has
been
made
from
trim,
but
that
doesn’t
necessarily
apply
to
bubble
hash.
Bubble
hash
will
turn
darker
when
exposed
to
oxygen
and
heat. 


What’s
your
method
for
testing
high-quality
hash?

Hash
comes
in
all
types
of
textures.
You
can
have
sandy
hash;
you
can
super,
super
sticky
hash;
you
can
have
glass
hash;
you
can
have
hash
that
just
feels
kind
of
like
a
rock.
But
all
good
bubble
hash
can
be
tested
in
this
way:

Put
the
hash
in
the
palm
of
your
hands.
With
the
thumb
on
your
other
hand,
press
hard
into
it.
The
98
degrees
between
your
palm
and
your
thumb
is
more
than
enough
heat
to
melt
it
slightly.
As
long
as
there’s
oil
content,
it
will
melt,
to
a
degree,
meaning
it
will
either
coalesce
together,
or
that
resin
that
was
hard
like
glass
might
soften
on
one
side.

The
next
test
is
the
melt
test.
It’s
been
done
for
who
knows
how
long,
and
it’s
easy.
Just
take
a
piece
of
resin,
and
apply
fire
to
it.
You
want
to
bring
the
flame
as
close
as
you
can
[to
the
hash] without
necessarily
catching
fire.
If
it
doesn’t
melt
at
all

nothing
happens

that
hash
gets
scaled
as
a
0
to
2.
But
if
it
melts
a
little
bit
but
also
chars
up,
that
might
be
a
3.
If
it
melts
a
whole
lot
more,
but
there’s
still
some
discoloration,
it’s
a
4.
If
it
melts,
and
it’s
just
falling
all
over
the
place,
that’s
a
5.
And
the
top
value
is
6,
if
it
bubbles
all
over
the
place
and
melts
to
near-zero. 

1579297737994_IMG_5294(1)(1).JPG


Photo
by
Dank
Duchess


You
mentioned
earlier
that
your
hash-making
process
starts
with
a
good
plant.
What
goes
into
good
plant
selection
for
hash?

So,
the
qualities
of
good
buds
for
sale
and
the
qualities
of
weed
for
making
good
hash
are
completely
opposite.
When
you’re
selling
good
weed,
you
want
that
weed
where
all
the
calyxes
[the
flower’s
sepals,
the
part
you
break
off
of
the
stem
to
smoke] are
on
top
of
one
another,
and
everything
is
nice
and
dense.
But
they’re
terrible
for
making
hash!

When
making
hash,
you
want
free,
easy-to-access
resin.
Dense
buds
do
get
broken
up
in
the
[bubble
hash
making] process,
but
that
doesn’t
really
happen
until
the
third
run,
maybe
fourth.
That’s
not
helpful.
But
if
you
have
airy
buds,
then
all
surfaces
can
be
agitated
at
the
same
time,
right
at
the
beginning. 

Buck-for-buck,
though,
the
best
thing
to
wash,
consistently,
are
sugar
leaves.
Just
the
baby
leaves
that
were
right
around
the
buds,
that’s
sugar
trim.
The
ones
that
are
so
covered
in
trichomes
that
some
people
may
not
even
want
to
trim
them
off. 

Sugar
leaves
give
the
nicest
yields
and
the
best
quality.
Of
course,
sugar
leaves
cost
more
than
regular
shake
per
pound.
Typical
shake
may
cost
about
$45
a
pound,
but
a
bag
of
good
sugar
can
go
for
$150
a
pound.
But
that’s
opposed
to
a
pound
of
nugs
that
may
be
$1,500.
And
you’ll
get
the
same
kinds
of
yield

and
maybe
even
better
yields

if
you
go
with
the
sugar.

1579297748533_2tFjRJcv.jpeg


Photo
by
Dank
Duchess


For
dispensary
customers
who
can’t
perform
melt
tests,
how
can
they
distinguish
quality
hash
from
the
bottom-shelf
stuff?

That’s
the
only
problem
there,
darlin’:
Unfortunately,
you
don’t
know.
There’s
a
lot
of

not
good

stuff.
Let
me
put
it
like
this,
if
it
looks
like
Grape
Nuts,
it’s
not
good
stuff.
With
bubble
hash,
honestly,
the
best
stuff
you
can
get
is
not
on
the
shelves.
Not
even
the
top
50
percent
of
the
best
stuff
can
be
found
on
the
shelves.

All
the
people
who
make
the
phenomenal,
heavy
stuff
just
don’t
have
the
money

myself
included

to
become
licensed.
I
decided
not
to
go
back
to
the
traditional
market,
but
I
decided
to
do
consulting
for
people
who
have
licenses.
But
for
a
lot
of
people,
this
is
a
straight,
under-the-table
situation.
We
still
have
seshes,
and
people
sell
their
resin
at
the
seshes,
or
most,
probably,
through
known
brokers. 

How
a
person
can
really
tell?
At
this
point,
it’s
by
reputation.
For
example,
Tony
Verzura
of


Blue
River
Terps

is
always
doing
cutting-edge
stuff.
And
this
is
because
the
California
regulations
don’t
let
you
take
out
the
hash
and
hold
it
and
smell
it.
Customers
basically
need
to
do
research
to
see
if
a
product
will
be
good
for
them.
It’s
a
hard
road
for
the
consumer.

1579297825058_IMG_8300(1).jpg


Photo
by
Chris
Vee


Any
closing
thoughts
you’d
like
to
leave
with
our
readers?

Cannabis
is
a
global
affair.
Every
day,
we’re
hearing
about
a
new
country
or
province
coming
online.
The
West
Indies
is
finally
coming
online,
and
some
countries
in
sub
saharan
Africa,
too.
It’s
pretty
amazing.
These
countries
also
coincide
with
a
general
poverty
level
that
is,
in
my
opinion,
unacceptable.
Often,
the
people
who
have
the
least
power,
in
this
situation,
are
women.

My
vision
is
to
bring
a
few
educators

just
three
or
four
of
us

to
these
burgeoning
cannabis
communities,
to
teach
women
second-tier
services
like
hash-making
and
rosin-making
so
they
can
bring
those
skills
to
their
cannabis
industries
from
the
beginning.
I
want
to
actually
leverage
my
name
and
what
I
know
and
teach
it
for
free.
Teaching
women
these
skills
will
make
them
invaluable
in
these
burgeoning
industries. 

Education
will
free
us.
That’s
what
I
can
bring
to
the
situation
that’s
both
philanthropic
and
will
fulfill
my
dream
where
everyone
can
take
care
of
their
own
health.
Because,
at
the
end
of
the
day,
that’s
what
I
feel:
We
should
all
have
agency
with
what
we’re
consuming
and
how
we’re
taking
care
of
ourselves. 

I
can
show
the
average
person
how
to
buy
the
right
hash,
but
in
all
honesty,
for
a
relatively
small
amount
of
flower,
someone
can
make
their
own
hash.
Got
a
hundred
grams
of
sugar
leaves?
You’re
set.


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Dank
Duchess
on




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.
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can
also
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