Thousands of years ago, the hashish revolution was born when humans learned that the marijuana plant's sticky resin glands contain the highest concentration of its active ingredients, called cannabinoids.
Fast forward to 2004. Most of the world's hashish is still manufactured using primitive methods that involve sieving or thrashing dried plants and collecting whatever falls off, but new processes and technologies have also developed.
In Holland during the last two decades, hashish heroine Mila created an automatic tumble-sieving device called the "Pollinator." She also created a water-bag extraction method based on earlier discoveries by hashish researchers.
An enterprising Canadian, Bubbleman, visited Mila in Amsterdam. Intrigued by water extraction, he began making and marketing "bubblebags" that contain different pore sizes through which resin glands filter after marijuana is soaked in ice water. The resulting "bubblehash" is potent, and it often bubbles when flame is applied to it.
Another modern innovation is using alcohol, chloroform, butane and other solvents to chemically extract cannabinoids. The extracted cannabinoids are often called hashish, but they are not hashish in the traditional sense of the word ? they are "cannabis concentrates."
Since the 1960's, solvent-manufactured cannabis concentrates have been available as "honey oil," "red oil," "jelly-butane hash," and similar concoctions. The cannabinoid percentage and purity of solvent-extracted products is almost always higher than that of hashish, but many solvent extract products are polluted by solvent residues. Also, making cannabis extracts with solvents can be a dangerous process.
The king of kind
A Canadian man named BudderKing has gone public with a bold claim: he says he has created a new, powerful and safe solvent-extract cannabis product.
"I make something called 'Budder,' and it's the strongest, cleanest, stoniest stuff in the world," BudderKing proclaimed when I met him at Da Kine cannabis caf? in Vancouver. "It's virtually all THC. There's nothing better than Budder."
BudderKing isn't the only person who claims to have created a uniquely potent new cannabis product. Tens of thousands of people manufacture solvent-extract cannabis products. Somewhere on earth, there could be a cannabis product that is stronger and purer than Budder. Still, people like Cannabis Culture editor Dana Larsen, who has sampled some of the best cannabis extracts from around the world, say Budder ranks at the top of the list.
"BudderKing gave me two hits at the 'Beyond Prohibition' conference in Vancouver, using his propane torch and hot knife in the parking lot on the hood of his car," Larsen recalls. "It hit me real hard. It was the among the very highest pot highs I've ever had. It was very clean, but I also almost felt like I was on a psychedelic."
In the Vancouver cannabis scene, quality imported and domestic hashish, waterhash, bubblehash, kif, and solvent-extracted products are always available, but Budder is causing a stir because of its appearance, taste, potency and superb high. The word on the street is that Budder is more potent than any other cannabis product.
According to Dr Paul Hornby, a chemist and plant analyst who runs a company (www.hedron.ca) that tests cannabis products for purity and potency, "Budder is the cleanest, most potent cannabis product I've ever tested."
Marijuana contains various cannabinoids, Hornby explains, with THC usually predominant. Hemp has barely a percent or two of THC. The best dried marijuana bud generally maxes out at about 27% THC. Sieved hashish averages about 45% THC. Bubblehash averages about 53% THC. Solvent-extracted products usually have more THC than bud, water hash or sieved hash, but none have tested as high as Budder, and Hornby says Budder is further distinguished because it does not contain any heavy metals, radioactivity, or other markers associated with inferior fertilizers used on source bud.
"The top Budder sample was 99.6% pure," Hornby explained, "which means if you had an ounce of it, only a tiny fraction of a gram would be anything other than cannabinoids. We also tested Budder for toxins, solvents, molds, diseases, heavy metals and other contaminants. There were none. It's essentially just pure cannabinoids. I've tested a lot of cannabis materials, but this is the most impressive."
Hornby's tests also found Budder contains 80 to 90% of its cannabinoids as THC. It contains much smaller percentages of two other cannabinoids: cannabidiol and cannabinol. Of these two, cannabidiol (CBD) is most important because it has medicinal effects and moderates the stimulative effects of THC.
After Hornby's Budder tests became public, some water-extract enthusiasts challenged his results, asserting that Hornby's test equipment, expertise, and objectivity are flawed.
"They don't know what they're talking about," Hornby said of his critics. "I've done test trials with other labs to check my results and calibrations, and my lab is spot on with other labs, including one of the biggest in the US. I test all kinds of plant products and provide specialized services that are respected by experts in industry, science and medicine."
Cannabinoids are tricky substances. In the cannabis plant, they exist in an "acid" form that has no effect on humans.
Internally, the plant uses one cannabinoid as a precursor to another. Externally, cannabinoids altered by temperature, light or other factors can molecularly mutate into different, possibly more or less effective cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids have to be heated or otherwise altered so they will produce psychoactive effects in humans. Depending on how plants are processed and ingested, individual cannabinoids can exist in different chemical forms, and can interact with each other to produce a wide range of effects.
Solvent extraction involves combining cannabis with alcohol, ethanol, acetone, chloroform, butane or other solvents that extract cannabinoids and other byproducts from raw marijuana. Then, the solvent, byproducts and cannabinoids are separated and further manipulated. The goal is to create a finished material that only contains essential cannabinoids, especially THC.
The processing of cannabis into concentrate often involves multiple steps, but at minimum the manufacturer must use temperature controls and/or "wash" the cannabinoid-solvent mixture to remove solvent and other impurities. Products containing traces of solvent cause negative health effects, and can be detected by testing, taste, and odor. The degree to which solvents are absent is a key factor in judging the quality of a cannabis extract.
The details of solvent extraction are voluminous and complex. The process usually involves heat, volatile chemicals, lab equipment, meticulous record keeping, safety vigilance, and patience. Careless or inexperienced experimenters have been injured or killed when their labs blew up or caught fire.
BudderKing says Budder is the result of a decade of research that began with the making of liquid cannabis honey oil. Later in the 1990's, he and his colleagues in Surrey, British Columbia (near Vancouver), carried honey oil manufacturing to new heights, eventually creating a product called "Glass."
"It was refined oil made with a multi-step alcohol process," BudderKing explains. "Then we took it further, and it hardened into something that looked and felt like amber. We liked it because it was very strong and easier to smoke than oil."
BudderKing continued to experiment with Glass and other extracts, seeking to make a purer, tastier product.
"It was hard work, trial and error, a lucky fluke that we discovered the Budder process," he said. "We found this way that made a crude kind of Budder, then we worked it, tooled it, baked it, over and over, until we had what we wanted."
The Budder process starts with choice varieties of marijuana specially bred by BudderKing. He uses Advanced Nutrients products to grow his crop; he avoids using insecticides, fungicides and herbicides because their residue could affect Budder's taste and quality.
"You only make Budder from kif, hash, or high-crystal organic buds like what we have bred," BudderKing said. "The bud has to be literally covered in crystal on top of crystal. Our favorite strain is a dark, short plant, almost purple, that comes from a Berry variety mixed with some Bubblegum and White Widow. Budder is strain-specific and base material specific. You can taste different strains of Budder, kind of like how you can taste in honey what flowers the bees used to make the honey."
Budder heart and soul
Water-extracted hashish existed before Bubbleman began marketing bubblebags, but most people credit Bubbleman with popularizing bubblehash and bubblebags.
The same kind of buzz is happening around BudderKing. Although hashish oils and other concentrates have existed for many years, nobody has been willing to publicly promote a solvent-extracted cannabis product. Until now.
When BudderKing first granted me an interview, he offered to have his face on the cover of Cannabis Culture, along with a huge plate of Budder. He says he's on a mission to "spread the Budder high across the world."
The high is uplifting and unique, he says, because Budder contains such a huge percentage of THC, and because a hit of Budder contains only pure cannabinoid vapor instead of the harmful byproducts of combustible materials found in a hit of regular marijuana or hashish. Indeed, when pot smokers inhale burned marijuana, part of the "high" they feel is actually not a high at all ? it's a set of unpleasant toxic effects produced by inhaling burned plant material along with cannabinoids.
"I didn't create Budder so I could make money; I created it so people could inhale pure cannabinoids," BudderKing explains. "I see Budder as a spiritual THC high and a harm reduction method. One Budder hit gives you two joints worth of cannabinoids all at once, and it's kind to your lungs."
BudderKing has been a marijuana cultivator for many years. He's fought police and prosecutors. He's lost tons of money and peace of mind because of his involvement with marijuana. Now that he is debuting Budder, he is finding that the marijuana industry can be vicious and overcompetitive.
"We've had people who have never seen Budder try to slag us on the Internet," he says. "People trying to guess how we make it. Some people who know us and who think they know how to make it are threatening to pirate our formula. People saying there's no way we've created something unique. But nobody else has the genetics we have, and nobody else has the process we have. When we meet people from around the world who are trying Budder for the first time, they all have the same reaction: 'This is the strongest. It tastes so good. I'm so high. I've never had anything like it!'"
Top of the mountain
After BudderKing saw test results indicating he'd created the purest cannabinoid product on earth, he set out to create a way for people to easily use the gooey stuff. Most people use Budder by placing a miniscule amount of it on a knife heated by a propane torch or stove, but this method is cumbersome and sometimes impractical.
BudderKing created a small hand-held butane-fueled device that heats up a tiny, attached surface on which Budder is placed and inhaled. This device will soon be commercially available.
BudderKing is also determined to make Budder on other continents. He wants it in Dutch coffeeshops. It's hard to make, he says: it takes an ounce of prime buds to make about three grams of prime Budder. Three grams of Budder provides about 100 hits, and each hit will get you as high as if you had just smoked a joint or two.
At Da Kine cannabis caf? in Vancouver, currently the only place Budder is commercially available, weed customers quickly switch over to Budder when they hear about it from Da Kine's staff.
"Budder makes more sense," says Carol Da Kine. "You inhale one tiny hoot of Budder and get super high without any the harmful byproducts of smoking a joint."
I met Da Kine customers who traveled to Vancouver because they read about Budder on the Cannabis Culture website. An electrical engineer named Jim, from Raleigh, North Carolina, agreed with other customers about Budder.
"I've never felt anything so nice," he said. "It put a big smile on my face, so I came back today. This is one experience you can't find anywhere else."
Budder, created and manufactured by BudderKing, Surrey, Canada, 2004.
Pure cannabinoids, mostly THC, solvent-extracted using alcohol.
Method of ingestion
Heated and inhaled.
Appearance and texture
Ranges from greenish-brown to golden in color; semi-hard, like putty. The blonder and smoother the Budder, the better it is.
May harden or liquefy, depending on temperature. Ideal storage temperature between 50-70?F (10-21?C).
Soaring, clear, cerebral, relaxing, glowing, very euphoric. Few body effects. Lasts four to six hours. Does not interfere with speech, social skills, coordination. No couchlock. Minimal hangover.
Smooth inhalation; does not produce coughing. One hit equals several joints of cannabinoids. Easy to transport. Great taste. Unique, empowering high.
Only available at Da Kine. Melts easily. Best inhaled off a hot knife, which creates problems for public use, safety and logistics. Dangerous to manufacture. Secret formula.
Budder creates an immediate rush that starts in mouth, face and sinuses, and then travels to legs and arms. The high is mildly psychedelic. Budder should be used sparingly, perhaps once or twice a day, at most. Hold inhalation at least 15 seconds. Novices should be sitting down when they take their first hit.
For more information:
? Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking: Methods for Preparation of Extremely Potent Cannabis Products, by D. Gold
? Cannabis Grow Bible: The Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use, by Greg Green
? Dr Atomic's Marijuana Multiplier, 2nd Edition, by Larry S. Todd
? Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics, Processing & Potency, by Michael Starks