How is Bubble Hash Rated? The 6-Star Rating Scale Explained
Published on 11/24/22
Bubble hash is back! This old-school concentrate first gained popularity in the early 90s and 2000s when it was one of the purest cannabis products around. Thanks to renewed interest in solventless products, it's making a comeback.
Known for its trademark frothy bubbles, some claim that bubble hash results in a "cleaner" cannabis experience. After all, consumers don't have to worry about harsh chemicals crashing the party. However, not all bubble hash is created equal.
Bubble hash falls on a 6-star rating scale based on how well it melts. The higher the rating, the better it is for smoking and dabbing. Read on to learn what separates different types of bubble hash on the scale.
What is Bubble Hash?
Bubble hash is a solventless cannabis concentrate made from the plant's trichomes - the tiny, waxy "hairs" that contain cannabinoids and terpenes. A high-quality bubble hash contains only the trichomes with little to no leftover plant matter. This leads to a more potent experience than smoking traditional flower.
Bubble hash routinely contains 30-60% THC. Compare that to regular weed, which contains an average of 18-23% THC, depending on the strain. Granted, concentrates like rosin can have up to 80% THC. But there's more to a concentrate than THC content alone.
Bubble hash also contains high terpene content. Terpenes are responsible for the overall taste and smell profile of cannabis. They may also influence how cannabinoids affect your body in a process called the "entourage effect." In other words, their presence helps bubble hash smell, taste, and feel good.
How is Bubble Hash Made?
Unlike solvent-based concentrates, bubble hash doesn't involve chemicals in its extraction process. Instead, it relies on cold water.
To make bubble hash, first, the plant matter takes an ice bath. When the ice water is agitated, the trichomes freeze and break off. Since they're rich in oil, they sink to the bottom of the container, where they pass through a series of filters (bubble bags).
As the trichomes pass through bubble bags with finer and finer microns, most of the unwanted plant matter gets filtered out. This leaves behind only the pure trichomes and stalks. After that, the only thing left to do is dry them.
The result is a brown sugar-like substance. It's free from harsh chemicals and full of THC and terpenes.
How and Why is Bubble Hash Rated?
Generally, the more refined a hash, the better it melts and bubbles. But not all bubble hash lives up to its name.
Leftover plant matter or contaminants impact bubble hash's ability to melt. The larger the filters used during extraction, the more contaminants mix into the hash. This is why manufacturers developed a 6-star rating system to distinguish water-based hash.
The rating system isn't an exact science, but it is still a helpful guideline. With it, you have a basic quality benchmark and know what to expect from your hash.
The Bubble Hash Rating Scale
5- and 6-star bubble hash is the cream of the crop. Known as "full melt hash," top-tier bubble hash should contain only trichome heads and stalks. It's effectively free from contaminants and other plant matter. These hashes usually have a pale blonde color indicating their purity.
6-star hash should bubble away into nothing and leave no residue behind. It's a smooth and clean experience, making it the hash best suited for dabbing. But that extra refinement comes with a price.
5- and 6-star bubble hash prices are higher than their mid-tier counterparts. The extra expense is worth it to experience full-melt hash in all its glory.
Sometimes called "half melt," 3- and 4-star bubble hash has a high level of refinement, resulting in considerably less leftover plant matter. As the name implies, the hash melts about halfway and leaves behind some residue.
3- and 4-star bubble hash is excellent for enhancing your smoke and can complement flower in a bowl or joint. While you can dab it, you won't get the same smooth experience as you would with a 5- or 6-star hash.
At the low end of the rating spectrum is bubble hash rated 1-2 stars. This hash is the least refined, meaning it contains the most contaminants and leftover plant materials. In some cases, it may contain up to 50% plant matter. As a result, 1- and 2-star hash doesn't melt well, which means it isn't best for dabbing or smoking.
1- and 2-star bubble hash works beautifully in edibles. It's why it sometimes goes by the name "food-grade hash." This hash is usually darker in color than other hashes and can have a greenish tint due to the leftover plant matter.
What Grade is Your Bubble Hash?
Not sure where your bubble hash falls on the 6-star scale? The "bubble test" could help you figure it out.
The bubble test involves taking a piece of hash and applying a flame. A full melt hash should burn clean, produce plenty of frothy bubbles, and fully melt away on a quartz nail. If your hash leaves behind residue, it's not a full-melt; thus, it's not top-tier.
Remember: if it doesn't bubble, it's not worth the trouble.