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What Is Hash and How Is It Different From Weed?

Hashish, or hash, as it is commonly known, is a psychoactive compound derived from the female Cannabis sativa plant. Hash has become a more widely used drug globally as new product derivatives have made it popular for medicinal and recreational use. While the name hash is sometimes used to describe other types of marijuana (weed) products, it has important differences in its potency and effects on users of the drug.

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

What Is Hash?

Hash is a resin extract from the glands of cannabis plants. The glands are called trichomes and are found on the plant’s surface, and, the resin once extracted and processed, takes on a concentrated paste form. Hash has dark green or brown coloring and is typically sold in bricks or balls that contain the resinous substance.

The processes to make hash have been around for centuries, although a more recent ice water “bubble hash” method is being used widely. Unlike newer kinds of cannabinoids, hash production does not require solvents, although solvents are used to produce a variety of derivatives, such as popular hash oils and waxes. More contemporary forms of extraction processes can dramatically increase the strength of the substance. A single drop of hash oil has the same impact as one joint. No matter how hash is produced, it has powerful, mind-altering effects on people who use it.

How Does Weed Differ From Hash?

Marijuana, also commonly known as weed, ganja, pot, grass, and Mary Jane, is made from the dried parts of the Cannabis sativa plant — flowers, buds, and stems — not the resinous glands like hashish. It has a greenish-gray color and a dry, loose texture and is not the stickier composite form of hash. Resin is still present in the dried pieces of the plant but does not require the same extraction methods.

Most often, when people refer to marijuana or weed, they mean the flowers or buds of cannabis, not hash. Even so, people tend to lump the common names of these substances together, making it difficult to differentiate which is being discussed. Part of the confusion may stem from the original Arabic word “hashish,” which when translated means “grass.” It is essential to make the delineation between hashish and weed, though, because hash provides a different type of high than weed and should never be used in the same amount.

What Is the History of Hash and Weed?

Hash has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt and is believed to be the earliest recorded concentrate from cannabis. The hash people know today has its roots in India when cannabis plants being harvested were rubbed together by hand to release a sticky sap that was rolled into a ball and put in religious temples. Its first early use as an ingested substance was after the introduction of tobacco to which the resin was added and smoked. As colonization occurred, this substance made its way throughout Europe, and, eventually, to the Americas.

The roots of weed arose from the continent of Asia, where the hemp plant had multiple purposes, including herbal medicines, clothing, and food. Weed came to America by way of the early colonists growing hemp for making materials and ropes. People often associate today’s use of hash and weed products with those of other cultures at other times. However, the original intent of cannabis production was not to create a high, whereas contemporary uses have exploded into this area of recreational and routine use.

How Are Hash and Weed Similar?

Both hash and weed are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis has over 400 chemical compounds, and an important one for recreational purposes is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The level of THC-9 in a cannabis product is responsible for how potent it is and the high it will cause.

Obviously, the higher the chemical makeup of THC, the greater chances for a mind-altering experience. Both hash and weed have THC-9, but hash has considerably more intense psychoactive effects because the extraction process specifically removes only the concentrated resin paste.

How Do the Uses of Hash and Weed Differ?

Hash

Hashish is frequently smoked, much like weed. Both types of cannabis can be consumed or ingested. Here are the primary ways hash is used:

  • Smoked in a pipe or water pipe (bong)
  • Rolled into a joint or blunt
  • Dabbed (ingested marijuana concentrate)
  • Used in teas or other consumables

When hash is smoked, it is frequently combined with tobacco because it is harder to burn on its own. Dabbing is becoming increasingly popular because the concentrates, such as hash oil, wax, or budder or shatter (hard resin), offer high quantities, sometimes dangerously so, of THC to the user.

Weed

The market for cannabis products continues to grow. Interestingly, while there is considerable demand for non-THC products used mainly for medicinal purposes, the desire for products with higher levels of THC is equally robust. In a 2020 survey that identified 49.6 million people who used cannabis within the previous 12 months, 5.1% (14.2 million) of those persons reported having a cannabis use disorder. These are the primary ways weed is used:

  • Pipes or bongs
  • Joints or blunts
  • Vaporizers
  • Edibles (gummies, brownies, candies, and cookies)

As more states adopt laws legalizing marijuana use, it appears this consumption trend will remain on a worrying upward trajectory. It is important to understand that while smoking or consuming weed can deliver reasonably high levels of THC, using hashish is still more concerning when it comes to detrimental health issues.

How Is Hash Potency Different From Weed?

The powerful effects of hash on the brain’s chemical processes are why the drug is highly sought by the medical community for treatment purposes and casual users who want an intense experience. Under medical direction, the effects can be regulated for desired outcomes. With regard to recreational use, frequency, amount, product strength, and personal tolerance are important contributors to an individual’s relative safety.

While hash and weed both contain THC-9, the concentrations in hash leave individuals much more vulnerable to serious reactions when hash is consumed inappropriately. However, even when people responsibly use hashish, they may still experience severe reactions. A new synthetic derivative, tetrahydrocannabinloic acid, is sold in state-licensed retail shops and boasts the highest amount of THC found in hash products. It is also sold in illicit markets, and the possibility of serious harm from overdose is great.

Weed has varying degrees of potency but is not strong as the resin paste that produces hash bricks or hash oils. The THC level in weed has risen over the years with the advent of new types of consumables, but it remains less harmful than the physical effects of hash.

What Are the Possible Physical Effects of Hash Use?

Hashish, like other substances, has short-term and long-term effects on users. The level of physical harm may be amplified by years of use. This is no reason to think that a bad outcome is not possible from a single event, as individuals could have health issues that complicate their ability to safely use products or may experience bad reactions.

Short-Term Effects

These are possible short-term effects of hash use:

  • Anxiety
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Hypertension (increased blood pressure)
  • Ataxia (poor muscle control affecting balance and coordination)
  • Attention and motivation problems
  • Panic episodes
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Individuals may need emergency medical treatment for these effects if the symptoms are serious during an event.

Long-Term Effects

These are some of the troublesome long-term effects of hash use:

  • Increased respiratory-health issues
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Heightened risk of cardiovascular problems
  • Changed brain functions (effects on concentration, attention, memory, learning, problem-solving, and overall cognition)
  • Escalated risk of mental health issues (anxiety, panic attacks, and depression)

Many outcomes could result in life-changing health issues that impair your quality of life.

How Are the Effects of Weed Different From Hash?

A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans are closely split on the overall societal benefits of marijuana. Yet more U.S. citizens now smoke marijuana than cigarettes with 16% of persons reporting they are smokers. The largest group of smokers is younger adults. While marijuana does not have the same deleterious effects as hash, it does have significant side effects.

Short-Term Effects

These are common short-term issues with weed use:

  • Psychomotor impairment
  • Inability to focus or perceive time
  • Heart rate increase
  • Anxiousness
  • Memory gaps

Individuals who have other physical or mental health issues often have an exacerbation of symptoms with weed use.

Long-Term Effects

These are common long-term issues with weed use:

  • Compulsive use issues (cannabis use disorder)
  • Judgment issues
  • Altered perceptions of physical spaces
  • Airway and pulmonary injury
  • Increased risk of chronic or acute bronchial problems
  • Memory loss and dysfunction
  • Behavioral changes
  • Anxiety issues that persist

Marijuana edibles are taking the market by storm. While the effects of smoking weed are felt immediately, edibles take longer to be absorbed in the system and deliver effects, so the chance for overuse is great. Moreover, the THC in food products is nearly impossible to measure which further elevates the risk of bad outcomes.

What Are Potential Dangers Associated With Hash and Marijuana Products?

As cannabis products are more legally available to the public in a growing number of states, there is a common misperception that the products are safe for everyone’s use. Dispensaries can make it appear that there is a highly regulated network of manufacturers under the strict oversight of production processes. Unfortunately, there is no centralized supervision over quality control. Even so, more people are taking advantage of products on the market. This is especially true for all kinds of knock-off marijuana consumables found in convenience stores.

With hash, even in controlled conditions under the direction of legal producers, knowing how much THC is in a given product is problematic. For instance, hash oils may contain THC levels from 15% to 60%. The problems arise because processing isn’t standardized for the ever-expanding number of manufacturers.

Purity is another major concern with street-level cannabis purchases. Both weed and hash are exposed to lacing when drugs are sold outside of legal means. Pure ingredients are rarely found on the street because drugs are mixed with other substances to increase the effects of a high. This is a serious concern with hash, as illegal manufacturers of illicit drugs add cheaply produced and undetectable fentanyl. Unregulated substances may lead to a critical health event or even death.

Is Cannabis a Gateway Drug?

There are ongoing discussions in clinical and research circles about cannabis being a gateway to the use of other forms of illicit drugs. While the science is not definitive on a specific link, there are significant chemical factors that suggest a relationship between the regularity of cannabis use and polysubstance abuse. The strength of cannabis products can also play a part, as users seek the initial intoxicating effects that are lost over time. Hash is a much stronger substance, and its cumulative effects on the brain likely make it more addictive overall than weed.

Whether psychological or physiological in nature, addiction processes appear in both hash and weed users who chase a consistently more dramatic high. Often, individuals will begin by mixing substances, and this is where complications become increasingly detrimental. There is no way to determine how a particular person’s system will react to drug mixing. Moreover, what may appear non-threatening on one occasion may lead to a health crisis at another time.

What Are the Legal Issues Related to Hash and Weed?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states and 2 territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes. This move has opened the doors to all types of manufacturing and sales across states that have implemented these changes. Yet, according to federal law, marijuana still remains a Schedule I controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse. There is still much to be known about the increased potential for dependency from using cannabis.

What Is Cannabis Use Disorder?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10% of individuals who use cannabis are likely to develop a cannabis use disorder. People who consistently partake of weed or hash are equally vulnerable to a cannabis use disorder. This is a startling fact when, for years, weed was thought to be a non-addictive substance. In recent years the levels of THC in marijuana are rising, which means a more intense effect on the brain and a greater likelihood of dependency on the substance. These are signs of you may have the disorder:

  • Using marijuana regularly and in larger quantities than planned
  • Having constant cravings
  • Being unable to quit using on your own
  • Experiencing problems with relationships because of use
  • Failing to participate in essential life activities (work, social or familial)
  • Engaging in risky actions or behaviors while high
  • Continuing use despite apparent mental or emotional issues
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms
  • Needing more marijuana to achieve the same high

For people with cannabis addiction, learning, memory, and attention may be affected by prolonged use. Researchers continue to study the long-range effects on the brain, especially where high levels of THC are involved, and, thus far, the list of potential health problems is significant and concerning.

What Are the Personal Risks Associated With Cannabis Dependency?

Hash and weed addictions carry a big price and affect every area of life. These are five important risks associated with cannabis use disorder:

  1. Familial and other personal relationships become strained
  2. Financial problems come with ever-increasing use
  3. Employment issues
  4. Legal issues (driving while impaired, using illicit drugs)
  5. Daily life activities disrupted by consistent use

Additionally, the possibility for polysubstance abuse grows with cannabis dependency. This multiplies the likelihood of serious personal risks.

Why Is Seeking Treatment Essential for Wellness?

Addiction is a complicated issue to manage alone. By seeking help for cannabis dependence, you can take control of your life. These are ways a holistic treatment approach improves your quality of life:

  • Allows you to safely detox
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Improves your outlook on life
  • Helps you rediscover your identity
  • Supports your physical and mental well-being
  • Provides the opportunity to repair relationships
  • Gives you tools to rebuild your life in all areas

Treatment saves lives. The road of addiction can be perilous as the need for substances increases over time. What may start as casual use can quickly get out of control. If this sounds like where you are, it’s time to get help. You deserve the life you were meant to live, and treatment helps you get on track. Our program offers treatment options that fit your needs as an individual.

Get Help For Cannabis Addiction

Clean Recovery Centers offer a full spectrum of addiction and mental health services to support you throughout the recovery process. We believe that individuals require holistic services that consider physical, mental, social, and spiritual health to be successful in reaching their goals.

Our three-phase recovery flow provides a treatment approach that meets you where you are and considers your individual needs. Recovery is a personal journey, and we are here to help you get where you want to go next in life. Call us at 888-330-2532 to get started today.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
  • https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-marijuana
  • https://www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-marijuana
  • https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-scope-marijuana-use-in-united-states
  • https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/addiction.html
  • https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-hash-stay-in-your-system-80261
  • https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Marijuana-Cannabis-2020_0.pdf
  • https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/polysubstance-use/index.html
  • https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling
  • https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx
  • https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/DIR-008-21%202020%20National%20Drug%20Threat%20Assessment_WEB.pdf
  • https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/alcohol-drugs-and-addictive-behaviours/drugs-psychoactive/cannabis
  • https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/cannabis-marijuana
  • https://news.gallup.com/poll/396893/americans-not-convinced-marijuana-benefits-society.aspx
  • https://www.cleanrecoverycenters.com/addiction/hallucinogens/

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