What Is Brick Weed?


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Once upon a time, brick weed was the most popular form of cannabis on Earth. This may sound shocking to millennial tokers. But veteran cannabis users know brick weed all too well. We take a closer look at brick weed and some killer strains that deserve better than to be bricked.

WHAT ACTUALLY IS BRICK WEED?

In ordinary decent stoner terms, brick weed is simply compressed cannabis in the shape of a brick. Of course, brick weed is a loose definition of compacted marijuana in all shapes and sizes. Typically a standard street brick of weed weighed about 500g or 1lb; 1kg bricks were common too.

The heyday of brick weed was during the 1970’s and 80’s, although it was still popular right up until the early 2000’s in some parts. Prohibition created the cannabis black market. Before the home cultivation revolution, brick weed was the world’s most widely consumed form of cannabis. Brick weed was all over the US and Europe during the bad old days.

WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

Most of it originated in South America, Mexico, or Thailand and had a very long way to travel to reach the customers. Outdoor cannabis plantations were routinely harvested and promptly bricked using industrial presses in their entirety, solely for export to US and European markets. In this form, smugglers could carry more contraband cannabis, making it both easy to transport and pushing up profits margins thanks to it being compact.

Marijuana that was not in brick form was rare to the average western toker. Even the hashish that was available was brick-like. Deals were sliced off the standardised 9Oz/250g bar, which kind of resembled a really thick block of chocolate with rounded edges.

YOU REALLY NEEDED CONNECTIONS BACK IN THE DAY

Dirty adulterated “Soap bar” hash and brick weed were the only kinds of cannabis common street dealers had to offer. Occasionally some gourmet Indian charras, Turkish Cream, and Afghan squidgy black would be smuggled in by a few risk takers. But “Midnight Express” was still vivid in the recollections of both dealers and stoners to ensure this was a rarity. Unless you had a line to Howard Marks or the Brotherhood of Eternal Love you were smoking schwag and paying top dollar for it.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF BRICK WEED LIKE?

WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF BRICK WEED LIKE?

The quality of brick weed will always be less than if the weed had not been compacted. Bashing flowers with a press smashes trichomes and completely ruins the bag appeal of the bud. Usually, whole plants are bricked. Stems, seeds, leaves, and flowers are all flattened together to bulk out the bricks. Sometimes the crop is harvested and allowed time to dry in the hot sun, but most of the time farmers rip and press while the weed is still wet. Either way, it’s not going to be top-shelf stash.

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5% THC was about the average potency of brick weed. Naturally, some better quality batches closer to 10% THC would pop up every now and then. More potent brick weed would cost a little extra too. Varying potency was not the worst of the inconsistencies.

Brick weed could be so dry and brittle that it would crumble to powder in your fingers. Or it would reek of ammonia and be damp in the centre. It was always a gamble when buying brick weed. By today’s standards, it was all bunk.

HOW TO FLUFF UP YOUR STALE BRICK WEED

HOW TO FLUFF UP YOUR STALE BRICK WEED

So you find yourself down to brick weed for a stash. Here are a few tips to rehydrate that compressed cannabis. We know you can store fresh bud with over dry nuggs to fluff them up. But if you are considering fluffing up brick weed, you probably don't have a nice juicy fresh bud to add in.

1) USE A SLICE OF ORANGE OR LEMON

USE A SLICE OF ORANGE OR LEMON

First, break up your brick weed a bit; use scissors if you must. Then put the bite-size pieces into a glass jar. Put some tinfoil over the top of the jar and puncture a few holes with a pin. Insert your slice of citrus fruit and seal the jar with the lid. Let the jar breathe every day for 10 minutes and monitor progress for about a week. This should rehydrate your bud and give it a little flavour too.

2) USE A KETTLE (SMALL STASH)

USE A KETTLE (SMALL STASH)

Ok, so you’ve got a small chunk of brick weed and want to at least try to enjoy it. A simple and effective way to rehydrate a smaller piece of brick weed is to put it inside a clean sock and carefully steam it over a boiling kettle for 30-45 seconds. Don’t over-do it. Also be careful removing from the sock, turn it inside out and you will lose less. Let it air-dry on a kitchen towel for 4-6 hours before toking up.

3) USE A POT AND A STRAINER (LARGER STASH)

USE A POT AND A STRAINER (LARGER STASH)

Similar to the above method steam can be used to fluff up a larger stash of brick weed too. It still helps to break it down some, so if you have 28g or 1Oz break it into quarters approximately. You really need to eyeball this as really dry pieces can take 2 mins+.

Generally, 60-90 seconds is sufficient. Place your chunks of broken brick weed into the strainer and hold it above a boiling pot. Again be careful. Place the steamed slabs on kitchen towels to absorb any excess moisture and allow to air dry overnight before blazing.

DECLINING DEMAND

Here are some of the reasons brick weed has largely disappeared from cannabis culture.

1. Modern Cultivation Methods

During the late 1980’s demand for brick weed began its downward spiral. As indoor cannabis cultivation exploded a whole new breed of cannabis user was born. Cannabis connoisseurs demanded Sinsemilla. The advent of reliable feminised seeds during the 90’s took home growers to the next level. Advances in artificial lights, techniques from the SOG to the ScrOG methods, and hybridisation made it possible for the cannabis user to grow and become self-sufficient in 20%+ THC marijuana.

2. Legalisation

As cannabis legalisation continues to spread from nation to nation and perceptions continue to change, over time medicinal use of cannabis has crept into the mainstream. Recreational use no longer carries the stigma it once did. Cannabis clubs, coffeeshops, and dispensaries provide legal high-grade marijuana and concentrates that are far superior to any brick weed - lessening the demand for the black market.

DON’T KNOCK MEXICAN MARIJUANA (OR JAMAICAN OR THAI EITHER)

Most brick weed came from Mexico, Jamaica, and Thailand, yet don't dismiss the strains from these countries out of hand. It was the methods of whole plant compression that made things bad. These countries have produced strains that can get even the pickiest connoisseur giddy.

Here are a few of the top strains from these countries worth trying:

ACAPULCO GOLD

Acapulco Gold (Barney's Farm)

Acapulco Gold is a sativa legend from the Acapulco region of Mexico. Renowned for her golden nuggets of the finest head stash. This strain is still ranked amongst the most potent strain with THC levels up to 23% and the High Times Best Sativa award 2010 to back it up. Old school ganja farmers never had access to 100% females so don’t be surprised by the superiority of the modern incarnation.

MEXICAN SATIVA

Mexican Sativa (Sensi Seeds)

Mexican Sativa is a sativa-dominant hybrid derived from landrace Oaxaca, Durban Poison and Pakistani Hashplant. The latter indica added to reduce flowering time to a more manageable 8-10 weeks. She still grows like a vine and a little finesse with LST goes a long way toward controlling her height. Treat her right and that vintage sandalwood scented smoke of the 70’s with the clear head buzz can be yours.

CANNALOPE HAZE

CANNALOPE HAZE

Cannalope Haze is a connoisseur blend of Mexican Michoacán and original Haze genetics. This 21st-century edition has been fine-tuned to meet the demands of the 21st-century cultivator. High yields from Back to the Future sativa buds in just 8-10 weeks are to be expected. Sweet fruity aromas of melon and citrus flavours will make you want to fly high every day. Highly recommended daytime smoke.

Top-Shelf Grower

Written by: Top-Shelf Grower
Veteran cannabis cultivator originally from Dublin, Ireland and currently on the loose in southern Spain. 100% committed to Top-Shelf reporting until captured or killed.

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