Is white ash the same as cannabis? Leafly asked the experts
We are probably all familiar with the belief that cannabis flowers that burn to “white ashes” indicate that they were properly grown or are otherwise a good bud. Similarly, we are probably all familiar with the old belief that holding a hit gets you higher (“If you cough, don’t get out”), which research disproved over 30 years ago.
So, if the long-held belief that holding hits gets you higher isn’t true and yet persists, what about white ash?
Is there anything about Bud that burns to white that does it better than Bud that burns to black?
Leafly reached out to a team of cannabis experts, researchers, breeders, and patients to find out the truth behind the beliefs about white ash.
Common theories about white ash
Before reaching out to the experts, Leafly wanted to know what people were saying on social media about the white and black ash debate.
We saw three main answers:
People who felt a growing step called “flushing” were the cause of white ash and a sign of a good bud, people who felt this was a measure of the moisture in the bud (too moist bud = black ash) and people, who criticized the whole premise.
“A properly grown bud that has been flushed with water for the last 10 days of growth with nutrients will give you a white ash when the bowl is cashed in,” said Jake Sassaman.
“I used to think this was the case, but I have learned that this may not indicate residual salts, complete healing, or in any other way, ”said Demetrius Daniels.
“My layperson understands that this is a rough measure of the remaining water content, ”said Jay Reynolds.
“For us old hippies, white ash doesn’t matter. Smoke to the last hit – as long as we get up it’s good, ”said Janet Benaquisto.
Some 2020 Supreme Diesel unrinsed sunglasses burn to white ash and are super tasty. How do you even wash sunglasses? (David Downs / Leafly)
Thanks diplomat and Netflix ‘Cooking on High star Ngaio Bealum said, “I’ve noticed that white ash tends to indicate a better bud.”
Tappié Dufresne, a longtime cannabis patient and advisor who previously worked in the historic early collective CHAMP, added: “White burning ashes (from anything that burns) indicates a clean burn. You can think of bonfires that you might have seen. When the wood is green, it leaves a chunky charcoal. “
The “flushing” controversy is swirling around
While there is some disagreement about what white ash means, there is quite a broad consensus on the importance of a weed breeder’s standard practice called “purging.”
Indoor hydroponic growers “flush” the plant for the last 10 days before harvest by feeding only water instead of a nutrient mixture.
Dufresne compared rinsing cannabis with water to fasting for humans: “It forces all stored nutrients to be consumed by the plant and triggers a burst of ripening.”
While helping with the rinsing, Dufresne also remarked, “Even well rinsed flowers that are thrown through the drying and curing process don’t burn perfectly.”
But what does research say about flushing?
Flushing Science is thin
Dr. Robert Flannery (Dr. Robb), an expert on cannabis biology, said, “There isn’t a lot of research to support this concept,” referring to a master’s thesis that found that flushing was “significant in removing a Amount of cannabis ineffective is nutrient from the bud. “
Dr. Robb is co-author of the Cannabis Grower’s Handbook with Ed Rosenthal and Angela Bacca, which will be published this September, which takes an in-depth look at flushing, how it’s done, and whether it actually makes a difference.
It specifically points to a lack of “double-blind studies conducted to test the effectiveness of flushing” but notes that despite the lack of research, “the vast majority of cannabis producers flush”.
Josh Wurzer, the president and co-founder of SC Labs in California, said he personally “can taste a bad blush when you smoke flowers.”
Why wet weeds don’t burn white
While the majority of cannabis growers do the flushing, and it’s a problem for some consumers, others wonder if black ash is due to too much water rather than not enough.
Although SC Labs’s Wurzer could taste the difference between reddened and not rinsed flowers, he knew that “black ash is a sign of incomplete combustion” and added, “I don’t know of any plausible explanation that this could be a cause of bad ones is burn would be a bad flush. “
Wurzer listed the possible reasons for an incomplete burn, such as:
too much moisture in the flower (as is the case with poor drying and curing), a poorly rolled joint, or a really resinous flower.
Wurzer said the taste, not the ash color, is “probably a better indicator” of a good bud.
Made of shells and black ashes
White ash may not have so much to do with the bud itself, but with how it’s smoked, especially in a joint or a blunt.
SC Labs’ Wurzer explained the science behind Joints That Burned More:
“Joints / blunts also heat the material to be burned and vaporize both the resin and moisture in that part of the bud, meaning two of the main culprits in inefficient burn – and therefore black ash – are removed from the equation or at least reduced before that part of the compound even burns. “
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In addition, Wurzer found that “the airflow for efficient combustion in a joint is much better optimized compared to a bong or bowl”.
This is why pipes tend to burn black while grout burns white.
It really comes down to whether you like the smell, taste, and high – not the ashes as it seems.
White ash alone is an insufficient indicator of quality. There are too many other factors at play. (I mean, cigarettes burn pure white and no one shows their camel lights.)
So if it burns white and you like it – great! If not, that may be okay too.
What do you think of the white and black ash debate? Leave us a comment and join the conversation.
Mitchell Colbert is a freelance journalist who has written for Cannabis Now, Hemp Magazine, Green Flower Media, High Times, the Wine Industry Advisor, and other cannabis and alcohol-focused publications. He heads the political strategy firm Full Spectrum Strategy, where he supports cannabis vaporizer companies in making products more sustainable. He is also a lecturer at Oaksterdam University teaching everything from business management to admission methods.
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Show article by Mitchell Colbert