Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Ice water extraction is the art of removing trichomes from the cannabis flowers on which they grow using only cold water and a set of nylon sieves called bubble wash bags. Trichomes are tiny appendages that contain high concentrations of therapeutic compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes that cannabis is known for. The heads of these trichomes are the best of the best, and the ultimate prize of solventless extractors and hash makers.
Cold water makes the trichomes brittle enough to cleanly break free from the cannabis material, while also remaining in-tact as effective carriers of the valuable oil contained inside. Warmer water softens the protective membrane around trichome heads, making them more liable to rupture and release the precious resin inside. Ice has been the input of choice for hash makers to keep water cold during the soaking and agitation phases of ice water extraction.
But times are changing and new techniques are emerging, as they tend to do in the wonderful world of solventless extraction.
Ice doesn’t come without its downsides. Specifically, ice can be brutal against the cannabis material while hash makers mix water and cannabis material together in order to release the trichomes. Ice has a tendency to grind against the soft flowers, bringing the potential to pulverize the plant material and release the main form of contamination when making hash: chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the natural plant compound that turns hash green, and is a sign that the purity of the hash is compromised.
Ice is great for keeping water cold, but it’s not so great when it beats up the material. Fortunately, a new method for washing hash is coming to light, and it allows hash makers to leave the ice behind.
What Is No Ice Tech?
No Ice Tech is a method of washing hash without adding ice. Ice has been a key ingredient since the first iterations of washing hash, playing a major role in chilling the water and cannabis inside the mixing vessel. This has applied to both hand washing with a paddle and automatic washing with a washing machine. Cold temperatures are still the key to the whole process, but this is attainable even without the use of ice.
We’ll look at some ways to achieve the ice-cold temperatures that ice water extraction requires, even without using actual ice cubes while mixing. But first, what are some benefits to leaving the ice behind?
Benefits of No Ice Tech
The main benefit to No Ice Tech is the reduced likelihood of releasing plant and chlorophyll contamination while mixing water and cannabis. As mentioned previously, ice can be exceptionally rough on the cannabis during agitation, and it’s the main culprit in making green hash (green being a clear signal of subpar hash). Ice cubes act like shears as they rub together, cutting and tearing plant material that gets caught in between.
But there are other reasons why washing hash without ice is beneficial.
Washing without ice can reduce the overall cost of each wash, remove the extra steps involved in adding fresh ice to every round of mixing, improve efficiency by allowing more cannabis to fit into any given size of mixing vessel, and simplify cleanup.
How To Incorporate No Ice Tech
No Ice Tech is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The water still needs to be kept at near-freezing temperatures, so how can we achieve this without ice?
Water Chillers or Pre-chilling Water with Ice
Water chillers are like refrigerators for holding water. They’re reservoirs that maintain cold temperatures before the water is moved over to the mixing vessel. Clean water can be pumped into the water chiller, where it’s brought down to near-freezing temperatures and held in this ideal state. Then, the cold water can be pumped or drained from the chiller into the mixing vessel as it’s needed.
An alternative to an electronically-controlled water chiller is a simple reservoir that holds water and enough ice to keep it near-freezing. You can install a grate or filter inside the reservoir to hold back the ice while the water is drained into the mixing vessel.
Insulators are a great way to maintain ice-cold temperatures inside the mixing vessel without the use of ice. Insulators are like thermal jackets that keep ambient heat from entering the mixing vessel while at the same time keeping cold temperatures locked inside. Check out these Insulator Wraps from The Press Club.
The lack of ice inside the mixing vessel does impact the dynamics of the vortex created through spinning the water and cannabis around in a circle. The vortex within the water is a main driver of gently releasing trichome heads from their stalks. Modified hand-mixing paddles are useful to compensate for the absence of ice and it’s positive contribution to the fluid dynamics in this regard.
Without ice to keep the water cold while mixing, cold temperatures in your hash lab are even more critical to success. 60 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler is the target. The colder the better, but don’t give yourself hypothermia!
Learn how to build a cold room in our article How To Build a Cold Room for Washing Bubble Hash.
No Ice Tech is the future of solventless hash making. While cold temperatures are integral to ice water extraction, the ice itself doesn’t have to be. There are distinct advantages to washing without ice, namely a reduction in the likelihood that you could end up with some green in your hash. Using a water chiller, modified paddle, insulators, and washing in a cold room are techniques to improve your chances of success with the iceless approach.
Have you ever washed hash without ice? Let us know in the comments!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is No Ice Tech?
No Ice Tech is a method of washing bubble hash without adding ice to the water and cannabis for agitation.
Why do people use ice for washing bubble hash?
Hash makers have traditionally used ice to keep the water at near-freezing temperatures during ice water extraction. Cold water is necessary to effectively separate and isolate trichome heads from cannabis material.
What is a modified hand-mixing paddle?
A modified hand-mixing paddle compensates for the lack of ice in the mixing vessel by improving the fluid dynamics created during mixing.
Do you have to use ice for washing bubble hash?
No, it’s not 100% necessary to use ice for washing bubble hash. But if you’re not using ice, it’s a good idea to use a water chiller, modified hand-mixing paddle, an insulator for the mixing vessel, and to wash inside of a cold room.
What are the benefits of No Ice Tech for washing bubble hash?
No Ice Tech can reduce the likelihood of releasing chlorophyll contamination into the water, lower the overall cost of each wash, remove the extra steps involved in adding fresh ice to every round of mixing, improve efficiency by allowing more cannabis to fit into any given size of mixing vessel, and simplify cleanup.