Opinion piece: The content of this article contains the thoughts and beliefs held by Michael Blais. Make sure to consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner before consuming any medical cannabis product.
What is hashish?
My cannabis provider recently expanded their product list to include dry sift hashish. Many North Americans are unfamiliar with this powerful cannabis format due to expense, availability, and competition from the powerful strains of cannabis flower medicinal cultivators are producing to help mitigate mental and physical conditions. Historically, hashish has been utilized for medicinal purposes across the Middle East, Northern Africa and throughout Asia for thousands of years. Hashish is created by collecting and condensing cannabis trichomes into blocks-loafs by hand or by using various presses. Historical hashish are divergent in strength, psychological impact, colour, and scent depending on the geographic origins of the cannabis plants and the methods local populations used while processing the trichomes to create the final product. Each cannabis strain has its own unique characteristics, and when rendered into hashish, reflect in distinguishing colours from the various shades of blonde, red, and greens common to Africa and the Middle East to the gleaming bricks of black resin produced in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.
Can you use hash in a vaporizer?
I have, in accordance with a pain specialist’s direction, been dosing with cannabis every day for several years. Through time, I have come to dislike the “buzz” factor inherent with certain high THC cannabis variants and consciously temper my use throughout the day via topical applications, the ingestion of CBD oils, and micro-dosing via a vaporizer with various strains of dried flower. I use a PAX-3 when travelling and a Volcano digital desktop vaporizer when at home. By setting the temperatures at the lower end of the THC boiling spectrum, I have found one can attain relief from pain without being “baked’, a term I shall use to define that level wherein the couch potato mode kicks in. Cannabis is a wonderful medicine and with proper dosing, can mitigate your levels of pain and potentially negate the use of alternative pharmaceutical-based medications that have clearly identified adverse side effects and the high potential for unhealthy addictions.
Vaping hashish is certainly a new experience, one which I initially disfavoured due to inadequate temperature settings. As with all forms of cannabis, due diligence is required if one is to attain the maximum medicinal benefits. When exploring the diverse range of cannabis products that have become available, it is vital the patient understands the optimum temperatures required for the product. For example, I enjoy milled buds at temperatures between 320 and 350, depending on levels of pain. At these temperatures the volcano bag is translucent and the vapours lack the unwanted heat that can scorch your mouth or the back of the throat. It is also much easier on the lungs, ergo, safer for you as a method of ingestion. This is particularly true when compared to the extreme temperatures of burning a blunt or using a pipe. All drugs, including cannabis, have an adverse reaction if used improperly or unsafely, and the key to maximizing the medications is finding a safe method of ingestion.
What temperature should hashish be vaporized at?
These low temperatures were ineffective when I attempted to vape hashish at temperatures commonly used for dried flowers. The vapour was nearly invisible in the bag, and while I could taste the essence, the impact was not what I expected from a product boasting over thirty percent THC and had proven very effective on neuropathic pain when I sampled it with a small pipe. Google time! I was surprised and a tad put off discovering the optimum vaping temperatures for hashish were well beyond any temps I have ever used since I purchased my Volcano a decade ago. I am 65 and dislike the heat orientated consequences smoking joints, bongs or pipes have on my lungs. Furthermore, certain strains of Sativa, while effecting in mitigating pain, created an allergic reflex of burning eyes and persistent dry mouth, runny nose and postnasal throat issues. These adverse side effects were greatly reduced by using a vapourizer set to a much lower temperature. Equally important, the effects on the mind are much more enjoyable in respect to suppressing pain and avoiding the “Whew, I’m baked” syndrome.
Wary, I set my trusty Volcano Digital on warp, ie, 210 degrees Celsius/390 Fahrenheit! The vapour was light, certainly present, nearly tasteless. Yet, after five prudent, deliberately measured inhalations, the analgesic qualities could be assessed by the time I felt the need to recharge the bag five minutes later. Pain dictates, eh? I am pleased to note levels of neuropathic pain stabilized then, by the time I finished the second session and read a couple of articles on my tablet, retreated to an inconvenient tingle. The buzz factor was enjoyable, light, refreshing and motivating as I completed morning ablutions and a segment of my daily therapy program without distress.
What are the medical benefits of using hash?
Hashish is an excellent format for micro-dosing due to its high potency and, when you have the proper tools, ease of use. The Pax 3 proved to be an excellent platform albeit I found the high temperatures required superheated the vapours and bothered my throat if I did not rinse and swallow some cold sparkling water between inhalations. I have also kept a small ice cube in the corner of my mouth to cool off the smoke before inhaling.
Another benefit of hashish is the lack of skunk stink invariably associated with possessing or smoking cannabis. Many, as do I, prefer to be discreet when medicating and find the smell of burning cannabis a deterrent when inside the house or in public areas. The scent from vaporized hashish is more subdued and can be easily cloaked.
There are many benefits of consuming your medicine through a vaporizer and it is important to remember, that without combustion, carcinogens are eliminated. Furthermore, the effects, unburdened by smoke or other cannabinoids that may diminish the medicinal effects of TCH, are more pronounced and expedient. This is an important facet to consider when micro-dosing for chronic pain or breakout moments. With hashish, however, there are guidelines that must be considered when choosing a vaporizer; the primary being the temperature required to evaporate the compressed trichomes are much higher than what would be required for milled buds. Hence, you must choose a vaporizer that can attain these temperatures and maintain them through the evaporation process. Set your vaporizer between 210 and 230, but not higher for fear of rendering the products into CBDN, a sedative cannabinoid effective for those suffering from sleep deprivation. Of course, if you are dealing with insomnia or an inability to sleep due to pain issues, it may be beneficial to increase the temperature at the end of your session and finish your product in a newly altered state.
Good luck. Medicate responsibly.