Hash Making: A Work of Love by Devon Gilliam

I’ve been working at Jar Cannabis since May of 2023, and it’s been nothing short of an adventure. Prior to coming to Jar, I worked as a budtender. What soon turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I ended up having to leave my budtending position, and was in search of another job. I […]

I’ve been working at Jar Cannabis since May of 2023, and it’s been nothing short of an adventure. Prior to coming to Jar, I worked as a budtender. What soon turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I ended up having to leave my budtending position, and was in search of another job. I knew I wanted to keep my foot in the door of working with cannabis, but I didn’t know where to go from there. “I saw an ad on Indeed looking for someone to make bubble hash,” my co-worker told me, “I think that sounds perfect for you.” I love cannabis in all its various forms, but there was always something about solventless concentrates—bubble hash, rosin, dry sift—that caught my eye. Don’t get me wrong, budtending was an amazing position, but where my passion lies is in being hands-on with the plant itself, whether that be cultivation, or post-harvest processing. So hearing that Jar was looking for an employee to take the position of “Hash Rosin Lab Technician,” as they so professionally worded it, was most definitely appealing, and way more in line with what I envisioned myself doing. I filled out the Indeed application, and nervously waited to be approved. Long story short, I found myself happily invited onto the Jar team with open arms and smiles. I was suddenly surrounded by more cannabis than I’d ever seen or worked with in my life, and enough rosin to give Godzilla couch-lock. I was paired with a single other employee, Justin, the manager of the hash lab. An amazing person, and a true artisan of solventless cannabis products. I say it all the time: there’s no one I’d rather work with.

Upon starting up at Jar as the new “wash guy”, I had been growing my own outdoor cannabis, as well as washing my own bubble hash, for the past six years. But I am utterly confident in saying that I washed more bubble hash in one month working at Jar than I did in my entire six year span of growing and washing my own harvests. Being familiar with the process and science behind making bubble hash, I easily understood the task at hand. But the main difference was that I was used to making bubble hash once a year with my little 5-gallon bubble bag set that I bought on Amazon, and was now surrounded with 30-gallon bubble bags, 20-gallon washing vessels, a 40-gallon collection barrel, and an entire array of parts, pumps, hoses, lines and fittings that I’d never seen before in my life. So with that said, it definitely took some getting used to.

My job as the wash guy was to take any material that came down the line—be it trim or fresh frozen—and turn it into a solvent-free isolation of trichomes (which just so happens to be what we love so much about cannabis.) What we love about cannabis—the taste, the smell, the high and medicinal effects—all come from the trichomes, which are those tiny little mushroom-shaped glands that cover the surface of the flower. They’re what gunk up your grinder and make your fingers sticky, and are responsible for releasing the explosion of aromatic essential oils that make every cannabis strain smell so distinct. With my job being to isolate these tiny little glands, I really get to see a first-hand look into the true profile and expression of this beautiful plant that we utilize.

As Justin once said to me, “Listen to the resin.” As a hash maker, you really see the uniqueness and diversity between all cannabis strains, especially when it comes down to the actual resin glands. Some strains have hard, heavy, sand-like trichome heads which are just waiting to fall right off the plant with the slightest agitation like a ripe fruit; those strains make wonderful washers, and are what we call “dumpers,” simply because of the incredible yield they provide. Other strains are so oily (which isn’t a bad thing), that the resin heads cling to the plant and are quite reluctant to fall off; these strains, although still delicious and suitable for flower smoke or other extraction methods, are not cut out to be washed. Other strains are even more oily still, that the trichomes themselves literally burst into the water during the washing process, creating a sheen of oil that, unfortunately, can’t be collected. So, in being a hash maker, there are simply just certain strains that we can’t work with.

To finalize this post, as to not tire you with the bottomless well of talking points that there is to cannabis, I want to share how I personally feel working with Jar, and why I enjoy it so much. As I stated earlier, there’s always been something attractive to me about solventless cannabis products, bubble hash in particular. I understand it to be the closest-to-home, most down-to-earth cannabis concentrate that you can achieve. I look at hash as the essence of the cannabis plant itself, something to be consumed mindfully with attention and love. Working with the material, soaking it in ice-cold water, running the trichome-saturated water through my bubble bags, collecting spoonfuls of beautiful, blonde hash onto the trays for freeze drying, smelling the aroma of each strain in particular as its terpenes are released into the wash room—all of these things make the hash-making process so fun, always new, and refreshingly interesting.

It is such a wonderful feeling to be providing consumers with a solventless, high quality product that was made with love, attention-to-detail, and an ever-growing curiosity to see what we as hash makers can do to step up our game. Thank you Jar for the opportunities that you guys make available, for taking me on to your team, and for putting out the fire that you do! And to all the consumers: thank YOU in particular; you are who this fire is for! 🙂

Devon Gilliam (Hash Maker for Jar Cannabis Co.)

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