Hashing Through An Abridged History of Dabbing

Concentrates have come a long way over the years, and so have the methods we use to consume said weedy goods.

These days, dabbing marijuana extracts is seemingly the go-to method, with regard to consuming cannabis.

As KINDLAND has previously covered:

“Concentrates [i.e. extracts/wax/hash oil/honey oil/etc…] come in many shapes, sizes, textures and consistencies. They vary based on the method of production and the intended consumer. There’s glass-like shatter, crumble that looks like honeycomb; buttery resins that resemble cake and cookie batter.”

As state-by-state legalization has widened access to cannabis, and dissipating stigmas surrounding the drug lose relevance, an increase in marijuana research has grown the field of cannabis concentrates. To be sure, extract oils are considered by industry speculators as representing the “future,” of retail recreational and medical products.

Still, from flavored distillates to crystalline cannabinoid compounds, concentrates have changed how, and for what reasons, people consume marijuana.

According to Leafly’s estimations, though, such cannabis oil first saw documented use in the 1940s:

“Confirmed and declassified World War II intelligence documents point to an agency, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), that incorporated a THC acetate ‘serum’ into its controversial biochemical interrogation program. The man responsible for this program, George White, used hash oil-laced tobacco cigarettes, along with LSD preparations, to interrogate various prisoners and unsuspecting persons. These controversial techniques would later be used by White throughout the ’50s and into the ’60s under the the highly publicized CIA program ‘MK Ultra.’ . . .”

And the vaporization technique has enabled users to take a measured dose of cannabis concentrates––either for an especially strong, potent, immediate high; or in smaller doses in order to elicit specific effects. The modus operandi otherwise resembles the ritual of how one might consume harder drugs. One such intake method was dubbed “hot knifing.”

It’s a mystery as to who first discovered the crude, yet effective hash-smoking technique, but hot knifing certainly came into being as a result of the demand to consume the drug, but a lack of requisite tools and materials with which to do so.

To break down the process: Hot knifing hash involves the user taking the tips of two hot knives, which are predominantly heated on a stovetop, then placing a nugget of weed, or dollop of hashish in-between the heated tips of the knives, pressing the utensils together, and quickly inhaling the resulting vapor through the top half of a plastic bottle, funnel, or even a drinking straw.

Hot knifing, which is arguably dangerous, and requires full command of one’s hand-eye coordination, and motor skills; in conjunction with the growing popularity of hash, hash oil, and cannabis concentrates––eventually led to consumers engaging in further DIY research and development, with regard to new ways in which to get down on the weedy goods.

Ultimately though, it was the emerging use of solvent-extracted hash oil, over traditional hash––which can more easily be rolled into joints or cigarettes––that really made hot knifing seemingly obsolete.

The world got its first taste of the novel, sweet, potent weed derivative, and there was simply no turning back.

Through trial and error, and curious experimentation, the post-counterculture group known as The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who worked to increase the relevance of marijuana and LSD in mainstream society throughout the 1970s, is another set of pot pioneers said-to-have discovered the cannabis concentrate product that would become known as “butane honey oil,” or BHO, according to thehash.com. Even after the refinery that supplied the Brotherhood with its oil, exploded––an unfortunate and accidental event that simultaneously halted production, and alerted the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to the Brotherhood’s operation––there was no slowing the roll, and subsequent popularity-surge of shatter, honey oil, and other solvent-based cannabis extracts. The world got its first taste of the novel, sweet, potent weed derivative, and there was simply no turning back.

As such, the Swing Skillet was the next step that experimental marijuana consumers took toward modern-day dabbing, as concentrate-consumption became more common among the cannabis-keen demographic. This methodology, which employs a pre-heated, flat metal surface on which to put the hash, made inhaling the substance much more streamlined, conducive to avoiding injury, and maximizing weed’s psychoactive or therapeutic effects. Though the process required one to clean the skillet surface in between hits, lest the residual plant and wax matter would burn, and ruin the taste for the next toke. And if you know where to go, whether a nondescript head shop with an appreciation for old school goods, or on the Internet, you can still find and purchase skillets, though the popularity of the paraphernalia, in weedy circles at least, is at an all-time-low.

From there, the craft continued to evolve and see increased innovation. The next-to-come-into-being, nail and dome method presented users with a cleaner way to consume concentrates: Instead of a flat, metal surface, this method favors a nail-like tool, which has an indentation, or bowl on top, inside of which the marijuana extract is placed. Nails can be made from quartz glass, ceramic, titanium, among other materials. Suction and resistance necessary for a significant pull of vapor to go down, are created via a glass “dome,” which sits on a joint, connected to the bong-inspired dab rig, pipe. Eventually, this method was upgraded with the introduction of “domeless nails,” though it is up for debate, and open to individual preference, as to which variation could be considered to be better, or yield a more pleasing experience.

Now, with technology and the demographic of to whom marijuana is appealing, on the rise, there are several ways to dab. E-nails, or electronic nails, use conductor-coils in order to be heated up electronically, thus eliminating the need for blowtorches. These contemporary (and sometimes portable, wireless) enable more precise temperature control, effectively making possible low-temperature, terpene-highlighting, flavor-quality-preserved dabs.

A class of products that combine the best elements of the vape pen, with those of dabbing, make the practice possible for the on-the-go cannabis enthusiast.