🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
Water is one of the key components of Ice Water Extraction, also known as washing hash. While there are other ways to make hash, such as Dry Sifting, mixing ice cold water and cannabis is generally seen as the most efficient way to create the highest grades of solventless cannabis concentrate.
Making the best hash requires premium cannabis material, a set of high quality Hash Washing Bags, and cold, clean water. Ice water is used to knock off trichome heads from the tiny stalks that hold them to the cannabis plant, then Hash Washing Bags are used to filter those trichomes from the ice water slurry. Since water is central to the process, it's critical to use the best quality water if you're aiming to create full melt bubble hash.
The best water for making hash is cold, clean, and pure. While tap water can do the job of separating resin glands during Ice Water Extraction, there's a risk of leaving behind chlorine and fluoride that's common in treated water. To prevent tainted hash, we need to do better than just using tap water.
Options for Water
Aside from tap water (which we know contains trace amounts of chemicals that can end up in our hash), other options include basic filtered water, filtered water, distilled water, and Reverse Osmosis, also known as RO Water.
While tap water may be a tempting choice for washing hash, due to its ease of accessibility and general acceptance as a clean source of drinking water, it is chemically treated and can leave behind trace amounts of chlorine and fluoride in your hash. In fact, residual levels of these chemicals can be high enough to actually taste the difference.
Depending on where you live, tap water may be an okay option, but it's best to test it first if you'd consider using it for washing hash. Home test kits to test PPM (parts per million) of various contaminants are available. Either way, there are better options than tap water.
Regular filtered water like you'd get from a Brita water filter pitcher at home is one step better in quality than tap water, but it still contains trace amounts of chemicals and contaminants. For drinking, regular filtered water is better than tap water, but it's still not as clean as we can get for washing hash.
Systems like Brita commonly use coconut-based activated carbon to filter out contaminants, but it's not as thorough or precise as other options.
Distilled water is the purest form of water. Distilled water is purified water that has had both contaminants and minerals removed through the process of boiling and then collection of the condensed steam.
Although distilled water is pure H20, it's not the best option for use in Ice Water Hash Extraction.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water
RO Water is the top choice among commercial producers of the finest full melt bubble hash. It's also very accessible to the home hash extractor, since an in-home Reverse Osmosis filter can easily be installed underneath the kitchen sink. And it doesn't even have to break the bank either.
What is RO Water?
Reverse Osmosis water is an ultra-filtered water, purified through a process that removes foreign contaminants, solid substances, large molecules and minerals from water by using pressure to push it through specialized membranes. It's much cleaner than even regular filtered water you might get from a Brita water filter or similar system.
The process of reverse osmosis adds some basic minerals back to the water, which are actually healthy for human consumption and beneficial to growing cannabis as well. Regarding the hash washing process, these minerals can even be beneficial in helping to strip away contaminants like lipids and waxes during the wash.
This makes RO Water the better choice than even distilled water, which is technically more pure than RO.
How To Get RO Water
Basic RO filtration systems can be installed at home under the kitchen sink for under $500. Aside from providing clean and healthy drinking water, RO systems are a great addition to your solventless extraction set up.
You can also use the RO water for the production of clean ice, which together are used in the Ice Water Extraction process. RO systems are central to building the ideal hash washing room.
RO water is the best solution to avoid contaminating your solventless hash, and as such it's the top choice among professionals. An RO filtration system is also a great choice for your in-home extraction lab, and it will also provide clean and healthy drinking water.
When washing hash just remember, RO is the way to go!