Interview: Calihash Extractions Company Founder + CEO Michael Domecq

As the cannabis industry expands, there's a renewed focus on hash and its production

Hash, the concentrated form of cannabis, has a storied history. The product appears in literary works and anthropological studies as far back as the 16th century. It’s a complex form of the cannabis flower that’s surprisingly simple to produce—and exponentially more potent than smoking the dried flower on its own. The plant’s thrichomes (where the cannabinoids, or active components, are found) are separated from the cured flower through a variety of methods. Calihash, one of LA’s top recreational and medicinal hash producers and retailers draws theirs—whether it be pressed or raw—from California’s finest indoor-grown cannabis, and they extract it gently and without solvents, to both preserve the profile of the cannabis plant and ensure the full spectrum of components remain intact.

Their extraction method employs ice water and a series micron filters meant to separate excess plant biomass. Founder and CEO Michael Domecq ensures that sinking cannabis in ice water, and thus freezing the trichomes, proves most natural for the plant and best for the end consumer. On the contrary, hydrocarbon extractions—which are often done on the commercial level to make batches of product quicker and more consistently—often require harmful fuels like butane. Domecq launched Calihash with the intention of making hash (for consumption, infusion in pre-rolls, and beyond) at a commercial level without compromising flavor, composition or potency. We spoke with him to further understand the processes behind his brand’s selection.

Can you explain Calihash’s ice water extraction?

Ice water extraction is a relatively simple process that incorporates traditional methods of extraction with modern technology. It works by using ice-cold water to separate the trichomes of cannabis flower from the rest of the plant material. Trichomes are dense and waterphobic, so when placed in cold water, they separate from the plant material, fall to the bottom and are collected as cold water hash.

Why is this your preferred method?

This is the preferred method because it does not require high pressure or harsh solvents that disrupt the integrity of the trichome. Instead, ice water extraction is an extremely safe and gentle process that preserves the most useful cannabinoids within the trichomes without leaving behind the chemical residues associated with other extraction methods. This not only makes for a cleaner product with a robust profile, but it also revives the nature flavor and experience of hash.

What’s the primary objective of the method?

Preserving the trichomes is the main objective of ice water extraction in order to produce the highest quality, full-spectrum hash product without disrupting the integrity of the original cannabinoid profile. There are many benefits to making hash through ice water extraction, one of which is that it is an inherently safer way to extract trichomes using ice and water rather than harmful chemicals like Butane and Ethanol.

Is it fair to call hash an emerging category in both craft and consumption?

To say emerging would imply that hash has not been a large factor in the global cannabis market—which it has. The United States has just been lagging behind. Now, hash is finally growing in popularity in the US in both craft and consumption.

What are the primary methods of consumption?

Hash can be used in a multitude of ways. Ice water hash can come in a raw, granulated-like texture and can be pressed into a brick or a temple ball, that can be either smoked on its own to experience its full effects or mixed with cannabis flower to add a higher level of THC and create a slow burn effect for pre-rolls when mixed with flower.

For some, the final product transcends the visual expectation of cannabis. How do you explain it to someone who may have only experimented with flower or oil?

All cannabis lies on a spectrum of THC (and other cannabinoid) concentration. Cannabis flower lies lower on this spectrum while oils, rosins and other dab-able products are the highest—many advertise levels of THC over 80%. Hash is a happy medium on this spectrum and produces products that are higher in THC than most flowers yet lower than stronger oils. Being an age-old tradition within cannabis use, hash is for those who want to experience the full history and benefits of the plant.

Images courtesy of Calihash