How Is Cannabis Grown in Morocco and How Is Its Famous Hashish Made?

By: Kannabia Seed Company Culture

Moroccan hashish is particularly prized around the world. Despite the fact that many assume it is an ancient and traditional product, the truth is that the hashish culture in Morocco is a relatively recent phenomenon. Thus, we are spurred to ask a question: how is this hash made?

Talking about hashish is synonymous with talking about Morocco; specifically the cannabis plantations located in the Rif mountain range, in the north of the country, from which most of the hashish consumed in Europe is extracted. In fact, Morocco is the largest producer of hashish in the world, and it is estimated that there are between 300,000 and 400,000 families involved in the cultivation and processing of cannabis in the Rif zone.

Of this area’s five million inhabitants, about two million depend directly on the cultivation of this plant, which they manage to do thanks to the permissiveness of the authorities, who tolerate it, even though it is classified as a crime. Hashish trafficking is a daily reality in northern Morocco, and the tons produced there are transported to Europe via different routes, almost all maritime, across the Strait of Gibraltar.

The history of hashish in Morocco

Cannabis arrived in the Rif with the emigration of populations to North Africa during the Arab invasions between the 7th and 15th centuries. Because it thrives in the cold and dry climate of this mountainous region, its consumption took root in northern Morocco. The traditional way to consume cannabis in this area was by smoking kif (or kief), a mixture of cannabis flowers, leaves and stems mixed with leaves of the local tobacco, called taba. This well-dried and crushed mixture is placed in the small bowl of a traditional pipe called a sebsi.

Contrary to popular belief, hashish culture is, in fact, a fairly recent phenomenon in Morocco, compared to countries like Lebanon and Afghanistan. It was in the second half of the 1970s that foreigners brought trichome sieving techniques to produce hashish. These travelers, belonging to the counterculture arising in the early 1960s, were interested in traveling to distant countries, far from western culture, in search of alternative and exotic experiences.

Many undertook routes that included countries such as India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Lebanon, where hashish was traditionally produced. They learned these trichome sieving techniques, importing them to Morocco when they visited it. Until then, cannabis cultivation had been exclusively for the production of kif.

Marijuana fields in the Rif
Marijuana fields in the Rif

Traditional crop vs modernized crop

Traditional cannabis cultivation in Morocco is fairly simple. Marijuana Seeds from the previous harvest are dropped on the ground in large quantities to ensure sufficient germination to fill entire spaces with plants. These grow uncontrolled, without spaces established between them and with no distinction between male and female plants.

This lack of selection leads to massive pollination, resulting in production of lower quality. Crop soil was normally not prepared in advance, nor were nutrients added to the irrigation, which came from rainwater collected in tanks. During the harvest the plants were cut and stacked on roofs or patios to dry in the sun.

This traditional cultivation and drying process is undergoing unprecedented modernization because many Moroccans have opened their homes to Europeans, who have come to the country bringing new genetics and new extraction techniques, leading to an infinity of new types of hashish widely ranging in quality. Now the seeds are chosen for their varieties, and are usually feminized seeds; or, failing this, the males are eliminated once they are detected to prevent the formation of seeds.

Plants are also cultivated spaced out, for better lateral growth, thereby boosting production. In addition, nutrients are usually added to the soil via drip irrigation to ensure good nutrition. And the plants are not dried in the sun, but rather in the shade, or in drying rooms or areas, to better preserve their aromas and prevent the degradation of their cannabinoids.

How is Moroccan hash made?

After drying, the extraction process begins. The technique used is surprisingly simple. The container in which the trichomes of the flowers are gathered is a plastic bucket; the typical one used to wash clothes, over which a nylon net is placed and tied tight.

The dried plants are then stripped of their branches, leaving only the leaves and flowers, and these are placed on top of the tensed mesh. All this is covered with a thick plastic. The hashish artisans then continuously strike the thick plastic with two wooden sticks so that the trichomes pass through the mesh and are collected in the bucket.

The first batch – known as “double zero” –  is smooth and of the highest quality, yielding the fewest impurities. Although it is the best, it is the least productive extraction of all. The following extractions produce more, but contain more plant matter and impurities.

Moroccan hashish
Moroccan hashish

Once all the trichomes have been extracted from the plants, it is processed in different ways, depending on the quality of the product. Presses are usually used to form the famous “bricks,”  or they it is molded hand into “acorns” or “eggs”, which facilitates the conservation of the product as it passes through the Strait of Gibraltar.

The techniques used today in Morocco are many and diverse: dry sieving, hashish with ice water, rosin, oil and even BHO. It is clear that the production of hashish in Morocco, which remained unchanged for decades, has undergone a veritable revolution in the last 15 years, mainly thanks to the introduction of new strains, cultivation techniques and extraction processes, such that Moroccan hashish continues to enjoy a status as one of the best cannabis products in the world.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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