I consume marijuana in various forms, including whole buds, (smoked or vaporized) bubblehash, solvent-extract concentrates, oral tinctures and oils, butane honey oil, and marijuana mediles.
But recently my favorite form of marijuana is one of the easiest to process, concentrate, and use. It’s called “live resins,” or “dry sift,” and it’s becoming as popular as butane honey oil and other cannabis concentrates.
Compared to icewater-processed bubblehash, or most solvent-extract marijuana concentrates, dry sift is different because it contains more of the many compounds that cannabis plants manufacture.
Bubblehash and most solvent extracts contain THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, but many of these types of concentrates lack the full range of terpenoids and other substances contained in whole bud.
Dry sift has more of those “live resins,” and that’s why dry sift fans say it has better taste, a more natural high, and more medical benefits than other types of marijuana concentrates.
Dry sift is made by sieving and sifting whole bud over screens so resin glands fall through and are gathered into a powdery concentrate.
It differs from bubblehash because the dry sift process doesn’t wash the buds with icewater to make the resin glands fall off and go through screens.
Instead, the buds are agitated mechanically during sieving and sifting, and the resin glands fall off.
The most effective way to prep your marijuana material to make dry sift is to first deep-freeze your cured whole buds for several days, and then dry sift the material in a cold room, or outdoors during the winter when the temperature is at or below freezing.
The cold makes the resin glands easily crack off the buds and fall through your screens.
Dry sifting is very simple. You put freeze-dried buds (and sugar leaves, if you want to use them) on a micron screen, similar in pore sizes to the micron screens in bubblehash kits.
If you have a dry sift “box,” it has one or more screens inside it, and at the bottom a flat, non-porous surface, similar to a polished mirror.
Most boxes have a cover, which is a smart idea, because it keeps the dry sift from floating away as you agitate your marijuana material.
The buds are agitated, sometimes using a sterile flat tool, sometimes a plastic card, sometimes by shaking the dry sift box or screen back and forth.
You do this for as long as you can. The more you agitate, shake, stir… the more glands fall through the screens and the less impurities are in your final product.
As with making bubblehash, the quality and purity of your dry sift endproducts depend on your technique, the pore size of your screen(s), whether your bud was frozen and dry ahead of time, and how well you refine the material.
Refining means that you continue to “card” the material after the original sift (watch the embedded videos and you’ll see exactly what I mean).
This process pushes only resin glands through your screens (as you use smaller pore size screens) and removes more and more green plant material and resin gland stalks that managed to get through on the initial sift.
If you do enough refining, you end up with only resin gland heads (often called “headies”), which means your dry sift is at the purity of “full-melt” bubblehash.
This is at the level of as much as 74% cannabinoids by volume. When your dry sift is that pure, it often bubbles and melts like bubblehash.
The advantages of dry sift are that you don’t need solvents, icewater, buckets, bubblebags, or other infrastructure or equipment associated with making bubblehash or solvent marijuana concentrates.
Dry sift contains a very small amount of plant material, so it doesn’t give you anywhere near the amount of toxic combustion byproducts or toxic butane or alcohol you’d get by inhaling combusted whole marijuana or inferior solvent marijuana concentrates.
It retains the taste and smell of whole marijuana, but a couple of grams of dry sift material contains as much potency as a quarter ounce or more of whole marijuana, so it’s more convenient to carry than whole marijuana.
Dry sift can be dabbed, put on top of coals, mixed in with joints, vaporized, used in bongs. It’s versatile, tasty, strong, and easy to stealth-transport.
Be sure to use freeze-dried, very low moisture marijuana material when you make dry sift. This is one way to prevent mold, which can be a problem for people who make bubblehash and dry sift.
Dry sift hashish can be stored in the top part of your refrigerator. For longer-term storage, store your dry sift in the freezer. Store only in stainless steel or glass airtight containers.
Check your dry sift every week to ensure no mold has developed.
In the upper part of a refrigerator, dry sift loses about 3-10% of its potency every month. In a freezer, it loses about 2% of its potency per month, but I’ve noticed that my dry sift tends to lose flavor and potency within 8 months, even when freezer-stored.
If you decarboxylate dry sift cannabis concentrate by heating it to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, you can use it as an oral or mucosal insertion drug. This can have aphrodisiac effects that enhance your sex life (read here to find out more).
Dry sift is healthier for you than solvent-extract dabs like butane honey oil, because it’s an all-natural product.
One disadvantage of dry sift is that it takes quite a bit of time to complete the process; it’s a labor intensive process unless you buy a dry sift machine that automates your sifting.
One interesting thing about dry sifting is it shows you the relative percentages of resin glands from strain to strain.
For example, I grew Pineapple Express and Jack Herer marijuana, and then did dry sift runs for each.
Although the Jack Herer had a super Haze smell and wicked Haze high, and it looked and felt sticky, the Pineapple Express consistently produced two or three times more dry sift than did the same amount of Jack Herer.
After you dry sift your buds, the buds are broken down mechanically but still have cannabinoids. I use them to make oils and other marijuana products.
The dry sift high is cleaner and lighter than solvent extracts or whole marijuana. It’s similar to the high you get from quality bubblehash, and the inhaling experience is kind to your throat and lungs.
Please watch the videos embedded in this article before you make dry sift, and use our site search function to look for articles on other cannabis concentrates, such as butane honey oil, bubblehash, and budder.
Our hope is you’ll soon master the art and the science of making dry sift live resins hashish—and enjoy this very tasty, potent, all-natural marijuana concentrate.