The finest cannabis extracts come from makers of hash who isolate trichomes. Inside the trichome is everything you want and need from cannabis like cannabinoids and terpenes. By isolating the main therapeutic ingredients, patients can skip all the unnecessary extra smoke. It’s also a way for people that have high tolerances to get high like their first time. We’ll go over how to isolate trichomes and why it’s better than anything else.
What’s Inside a Trichome?
The trichome consists of two main parts: the stalk and the gland head. It kind of looks like a microscopic mushroom. The gland head is where THC, CBD, and terpenes are made. THC provides the high and many medical benefits. CBD balances out some of the possible negative side effects of THC like anxiety. Terpenes provide weed strains with distinct flavors, aromas, and various therapeutic effects.
Using different isolation methods hash makers are able to extract the best parts of the cannabis plant. These extracts provide more intense effects that can be felt in shorter time. This is great for patients or people with no patience.
Dry Sift Trichome Extraction
One way to isolate trichomes is using the dry sift extraction method. Dry sift is made using differently sized silkscreens with varying microns to separate trichome heads from the rest of the bud. A micron (u) is a microscopic unit of measurement. So, only the finest materials make their way into the final product of dry sift.
It is a meticulous process that results in small yields of straight fire. So be patient as you will need to gently sift your product through three different screens. It’ll be worth it because you get a pure product that never touched any toxic solvents like butane hash oil (BHO).
Starting with around a 165u screen you can gently shake cannabis until the smaller glands, stalks, and plant material fall. Use a stiff card to gently rub your weed over the screen to push more through. What you’re left with is far from trichomes alone.
Next, use a 100u screen and the card to gently push the material that made it through the first screen back and forth for 15 minutes. This material is still chock full o’ contaminants. You’ll need to gently card the material that made it through on a 70u screen to get close to the pure product.
30 minutes of carding should give you close to 90% purity. Further sifting is required to pass 95% purity. The result is a flavorful and potent product that can be dabbed or tossed on top of a bowl of greens.
Ice Water / Bubble Hash Extraction
Another way to isolate trichomes is with the bubble hash extraction method. Much like the dry sift method, bubble hash is made with no harmful solvents. You just need ice, ice water, or dry ice and a series of micron bags and a bucket.
The whole point is to agitate the trichomes off of the plant matter using the cold. So, you should freeze the starting material a few hours before extraction.
Trichome-heavy cannabis strains are recommended for this method. The same goes for just about any extractions: quality in, quality out. You will need several extraction bags in various sizes. This kit online comes with 8 sieves that fit a 5-gallon bucket including a 25, 45, 73, 90, 120, 160, 190, and 220-micron bag.
Start by putting the bags around the bucket lid. One on top of the other starting small with 25 and going up in size until the 220-micron bag is on top.
Pour enough cold water to cover the bottom of the bags (half a bucket). Add all the frozen buds or trimmings. Fill the bucket with ice until it is nearly full. You want to leave enough space for stirring without ice falling everywhere.
Stir the mix for about 20-30 minutes. Add ice to keep things cold because the best quality bubble hash comes from colder water. You can then remove one screen at a time allowing the water to fall into the next. Then, place the screens on top of a bowl stretching them out flat so you can easily scrape off whatever didn’t make it through.
The first and second screen will probably be mostly plant matter and things other than trichomes so they’re just a preliminary cleaning step. After the first two bags, you should label and what micron each run is from. You want to keep the less pure stuff away from your finest product. Try them all out and experience the differences between them.