COMMON NAMES: Afghani, black oil, cherry leb, honey oil, Indian oil, oil, red oil, smash, son of one, the one

If hashish is the Mercedes-Benz of the cannabis world, then hash oil has got to be a slick, high-flying, Rolls-Royce. An intense high produced by two or three puffs of hash oil keeps the smoker soaring above the stratosphere for about an hour.

Hash oil is a manufactured, extracted by-product of hashish or marijuana, It is produced by boiling hash or marijuana in a solvent, usually. alcohol or vodka, and then filtering out any sediment or waste. This process results in a thick, gooey liquid that can be clear, yellow, dark brown, or black in color. 'The most potent oil available on today's market tends to be yellowish-red to the eye.

Hash oil's incredible potency is due to its very high concentration of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis preparations that gets one stoned. Where average grass has about 1 percent of this ingredient, and potent hash maybe 8 to 14 percent, oil is loaded with 15 to 30 percent THC, and that's bound to do something serious to the smoker's equilibrium.

Predictably, it takes one fifteen times further away from reality than the usual joint. The feelings of marijuana's spacy headiness-and sensual, distortion are all exaggerated, with energetic mini-tripping a definite possibility (see Hashish; Marijuana). As some people find the degree of sensory input and confusion too much to take, those who find hash too heavy for them should certainly avoid ail. _

Drop by drop, it can be applied` to joints, cigarettes, or other smokables to enhance potency. Oil is often smeared on the inside of rolling paper, then used to roll up whatever is handy. It has no distinctive telltale odor of its own. A little bit goes a long way, so only a few drops need be applied. The most economical method of using hash oil is by smoking it in an opium pipe. A small amount is smeared on the inside of the pipe bowl. The Poker holds a match about a quarter of an inch below the bowl, slowly inhaling when the smear starts to bubble and emit smoke. Evaporation of the oil will be too rapid if direct flame is applied to the pipe bowl. Hash oil's overdose potential is increased when ingested orally, so extreme caution is advised when it has been mixed with such things as coffee or wine.

The result of an overdose is a paranoid or delirious panic that will be over, fortunately, when the high wears off. The aftereffects: a deep, coma like sleep lasting up to fourteen hours. The smoker wakes up a bit groggy, but healthy, and, one hopes, wise enough not to overindulge again.

Hash oil is a nontoxic substance' that causes neither drug tolerance nor drug dependence. It has not been shown to have any deleterious physical effects, and the worst one can experience is the previously described "overdose," which will leave no permanent injury. Used medically in the United States since the early nineteenth century for treatment of a range of problems from menstrual cramps to migraines (prior to becoming illegal), it is still used therapeutically in Asia and the Middle East today.

Most domestic oil is refined from imported hashish in underground laboratories across the United States. It is usually sold in tiny glass vials containing anywhere from 1 to 5 grams of the expensive liquid. Considering that one gram can get perhaps fifty people high, its cost-about $25 to $60 for a gram at current market prices-is not considered prohibitive. Hash oil has also been' refined into a white crystalline extract, sold as "THC," and packs a walloping 60 percent of the stuff in its powder. Not only is it minimally available, and often mislabeled, but its cost is as astronomical as its reputed effects-$20 to $30 per dose. Hash oils must also be kept refrigerated to avoid rapid deterioration and loss of potency. Failure to do so can result in oil that is weaker than the common joint.

Don't get so lost in oil's purported magic you forget that it is illegal in every state of the Union and all foreign countries as well. The penalties in America are similar to' those for simple marijuana or hashish possession--anywhere from six months to three years for a first offense.