What Is Hash? Marijuana vs Hashish

Cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years, and its popularity continues to grow worldwide. Two of the most popular forms of cannabis are marijuana and hashish, each distinguished by its concentration of active ingredients.

Hashish, also known as hash, is a concentrated form of cannabis that has been used for centuries for its psychoactive effects. The marijuana plant, also known as cannabis, pot, weed, Mary Jane, and ganja, has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes for thousands of years. The cannabis plant contains a variety of compounds, including cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a range of effects.

While they both come from the same plant, they have a few distinct differences.

What Is Hashish?

Hashish is made by collecting the sticky resinous trichomes that cover the cannabis plant’s flowers and leaves, and compressing them into a solid, paste-like form. This sticky resin, fundamental in the hashish production process, results in a product that is typically darker in color—ranging from dark brown, green, to dark blonde—than traditional marijuana and boasts a higher concentration of THC, the compound responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects.

Hash-making processes have been around for centuries and more recently the “bubble hash” method, involving ice water, is gaining in popularity. Hash does not need solvents to be produced, however, solvents can be utilized for creating various forms of derivates such as hash oils and waxes. Using more modern extraction methods can significantly enhance the potency of the substance. The potency of hash oil is comparable to that of one marijuana joint. Regardless of the method of preparation, hashish has strong psychotropic effects on users.

Common Names for Hash

Hashish, also known as “hash” has many other names. Its Arabic translation is “grass”. In text exchanges or on the Internet it may even be denoted by the hashtag symbol (#). Other street names for hashish include, but are not limited to:

  • Hasheesh
  • Shish
  • Hemp
  • Dab or Dabs 
  • Kif, Keef, or kief
  • Boom
  • Gangster
  • Charas

Differences Between Marijuana and Hashish

As mentioned, cannabis has been used for both recreational and medicinal purposes for centuries. Marijuana and Hashish have even been reported to be the most widely used illicit drugs in the world. But in what ways are they different? Both are derived from the cannabis plant but marijuana and hashish are extracted differently. Most cannabis preparations – marijuana and hashish – are either smoked or taken orally after being mixed with other substances but there are other chemical differences that make the effects and potency of these two substances different.

Hash is produced from the resin of the cannabis plant. The resin of cannabis plants contains high levels of cannabinoids, with THC being responsible for its primary psychoactive effect. Hashish is generally more potent than marijuana due to its higher concentration of cannabinoids.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is composed of the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant. It contains a lower concentration of cannabinoids than hashish, although the exact composition can vary depending on the strain and method of cultivation.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana (cannabis) is one of the most used drugs in the U.S. A survey found that 35.4% of young adults aged 18 to 25 (11.8 million people) reported using marijuana in 2021.

Is Hashish Consumed Differently Than Marijuana?

Hashish is often smoked, similar to marijuana. Both forms of cannabis can be used either through consumption or ingestion. Hash is typically used in the following ways:

  • Used in teas or other consumable items
  • Smoked through a pipe or water pipe (bong)
  • Rolled into a joint or blunt
  • Dabbed (ingesting marijuana concentrate)

Hash is commonly mixed with tobacco when burned, as it tends to be more difficult to ignite on its own. The popularity of dabbing has increased due to the concentrated form of cannabis products, such as hash oil, wax, budder, or shatter (a hard resinous substance), which can provide high amounts of THC.

Marijuana Consumption

According to a 2020 survey, 49.6 million people reported using cannabis in the previous 12 months; of those, 5.1%, or 14.2 million people, were diagnosed with a cannabis use disorder. Here are the methods commonly used for marijuana consumption:

  • Smoking: The classic method for consuming marijuana is to smoke it by rolling it into a joint or blunt, smoking it out of a pipe or water pipe (bong), or in a more concentrated form with a dab rig.
  • Vaping / Vaporizers
  • Edibles (gummies, cookies, brownies, and candies)
  • Tinctures/Topicals
  • Other marijuana products

Marijuana laws are increasingly being legalized across the United States, and this appears to be having an upward influence on usage. Hashish contains higher levels of THC than smoking or ingesting cannabis and, as such, may present additional concerning health risks.

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What Are The Potential Effects of Hashish Use?

The use of hashish, a concentrated form of cannabis, can lead to a range of short-term and long-term effects on users. While some individuals use hashish for its psychoactive effects, extended use may increase the risk of physical and psychological harm.

Short-Term Effects Of Hashish

  • Increased appetite: Often referred to as “the munchies,” this is a common effect where individuals experience heightened hunger.
  • Anxiety: Users may feel nervous or anxious, especially in unfamiliar situations or if they consume a high dose.
  • Increased heart rate (Tachycardia): The heart rate can significantly increase shortly after using hashish, which can be dangerous for people with heart conditions.
  • Increased blood pressure (Hypertension): Alongside an increased heart rate, blood pressure may also rise, posing risks to those with pre-existing hypertension.
  • Impaired coordination: Motor skills may be affected, making tasks that require precision, such as driving, dangerous.
  • Attention and problem-solving problems: Users may find it difficult to focus or solve complex problems, affecting academic or work performance.
  • Paranoia: Feelings of paranoia, where users unjustifiably suspect others of trying to harm them, can occur.
  • Delusions and hallucinations: In high doses, hashish can lead to experiencing delusions or hallucinations, where users see or hear things that aren’t there.

People who consume hash that contains contaminated substances may experience other effects. Dealers may add unknown substances to hashish to increase the drug’s volume to charge higher prices for it. Some of these added substances include carcinogenic solvents, barbiturates, and ketamine which may pose serious health risks when ingested.

Long-Term Effects Of Hash Use

While short-term effects of hashish use are well-documented, it is important to understand the potential long-term effects as well:

  • Dependency and addiction: Regular use of hashish can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making it difficult to quit.
  • Respiratory issues: Smoking hashish can harm the respiratory system, similar to smoking tobacco, including chronic bronchitis and lung infections.
  • Mental health risks: There is evidence to suggest a link between chronic hashish use and the development or exacerbation of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and panic attacks, schizophrenia or depression, especially in those predisposed to these conditions.
  • Cognitive impairment: Long-term users might experience impairments in brain function

Mental Health Effects of Hashish

At high doses, an individual can experience negative mental health effects including amnesia, hallucinations, altered perception of reality, and minimized concentration. When hash is regularly inhaled/smoked, it may also increase the risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. As mentioned previously, hashish comes with an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and also cannabis “amotivational syndrome”- a condition characterized by apathy and one’s diminished ability to carry out long-term plans.

Cannabis can also be harmful in the way it alters the brain’s reward system, increasing the likelihood of addiction or dependency developed from the need to consume more of the substance in order to get the same effects one once initially felt.

What Is Cannabis Use Disorder?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10% of individuals who use cannabis could have a cannabis use disorder. Frequent consumption of cannabis or hashish is associated with an increased risk of developing cannabis use disorder. It is surprising to learn that, despite being thought of as a non-addictive substance for years, marijuana has been shown to be addictive. In recent years, marijuana has been found to have increased levels of THC, which can have a greater effect on the brain and a higher potential for addiction.

These may indicate the presence of a disorder:

  • Constant cravings
  • Unable to quit using marijuana on your own 
  • Engaging in risky actions or behaviors while intoxicated 
  • Neglecting essential life activities and/or responsibilities
  • Consuming marijuana regularly and in larger quantities than intended 
  • suffering from withdrawal symptoms
  • Difficult relationships with family and friends

Recreationally, cannabis is associated with decreased anxiety, increased sociability, and alleviation of stress. And although there is no evidence to support physiological dependence on cannabis, psychological dependence is possible. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) suggests that hashish and marijuana can both facilitate the development of cannabis use disorder.

Getting Help for Cannabis Abuse and Addiction

Riverside Recovery of Tampa offers a full continuum of care for addiction treatment in Florida. 75% of our staff are in recovery and have experience going through the recovery process themselves. Our facility provides medical detox, residential treatment, day/night treatment, intensive outpatient, and outpatient therapy

Continued hash use can lead to an addiction that can make it difficult for individuals to cease using, even with undesirable outcomes. Physical dependence is a potential side effect. If you stop consuming hash, withdrawal symptoms may occur, such as:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability 
  • Increased cravings for hash
  • Anxiety 
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation 
  • Loss of interest in activities

If you or your loved one struggles with cannabis use, our team is here to help. Riverside Recovery provides a variety of substance abuse and addiction treatment options to help you get back the life you love.