Charas! What is it? Where does it come from?
Ask most Western experts and aficionados and the answer you’ll get is that it’s hand-rubbed Cannabis resin from the Indian and Nepali Himalaya. For dope fiends in the West, the consensus is that any other traditional resin—which essentially means all of it, be it Lebanese, Moroccan, or Afghan—should more properly be called hashish. According to experts Robert Clarke and Mark Merlin, this is the final truth:
‘“Hashish” is the proper Arabic term for the agglutinated Cannabis resin product originally produced in Central Asia. Chopra and Chopra (1957) described the technique used by Muslim residents of the Chinese Turkestanian Yarkand region (presently in Xinjiang province, China) to produce hashish: “The female ﬂower heads are ﬁrst dried, then broken and crushed between the hands into a powder which is passed through sieves so that it obtains the ﬁneness and consistency of sand or sawdust.” The Sanskrit word “charas” is traditionally used in Hindu India for Cannabis resin. Charas refers more accurately to resin collected by hand-rubbing the ﬂowers of living or freshly harvested plants.’
Clarke’s Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany is an essential read. But it’s not without its inconsistencies and inaccuracies. There are parts where the authors use the terms hashish and charas interchangeably, which is fine if the context is resin. But the index reasserts what’s clearly their final position: charas ‘more accurately’ means the hand-rubbed stuff from the Himalaya. Many readers will take this as the last word, and with good reason, these authors being among the highest anointed authorities on all things Cannabis. But for a book with ‘ethnobotany’ in the title, it has to be said: On ethnobotanical grounds, Clarke and Merlin have got this wrong.
Any Afghan or Pakistani readers will, I know, be nodding along to this in agreement. Whereas I suspect by this point there will be Westerners—old-timers among them, no doubt—who have already given up reading and decided that they know best and I have no idea what I’m talking about. This belief—that charas is what comes from Manali, Parvati, and so on, and all other traditional resin is ‘hash’ —is heavily ingrained in cannabis culture outside Asia, and it’s this that Clarke’s inaccurate claim seems to play to. More than anything, such mistakes reflect how few travelers have made it to the Hindu Kush and northern Afghanistan in recent decades, and indeed how unreliable the received Hippie Trail wisdom about these crucially important regions can be—not just with respect to resin, but also botany.
But let’s stick to resin. Any Afghans or Pakistanis, and anyone who has been lucky enough to spend any time in their countries, can tell you the preeminent word there for resin is ‘charas’. Not hashish. In practice, chars. A chronic resin smoker, in the Hindu Kush as in India, is hence a ‘charsi’. If you still don’t want to take my word for it, have a look at this recent popular Pathan (Afghan) song from Peshawar that celebrates the charsi life. It’s from the film Khandani Badmash, which means something like ‘Clan of Rogues’. The verse… well, enough said…
Now that’s cleared up, the question is where do the ‘rights’ to the name charas ultimately belong, north or south of the Indus, with sieved or with hand-rubbed resin? According to the Pharmacographia Indica (Dymock, Warden & Hooper 1893), a British Victorian compendium:
‘Charas is only mentioned in comparatively recent medical works. The word is said to be derived from the Sanskrit [for] a skin, but it occurs in Persian with the primary signification of a piece of leather or cloth, the four corners of which are tied up so as to form a wallet, such as beggars carry; in Hindi it signifies a leather bag for holding water, &c. The Charas collected in Central Asia is stored in leathern bags by the cultivators.’
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Sanskrit may be part of what confused Clarke and Merlin into thinking that the name charas ultimately belongs to so-called ‘Hindu India’. Yes, the term charas, as with many in languages anywhere from Ireland to Assam, no doubt has relatives or roots in Sanskrit. But to think this puts the primacy on India or Hindus is an etymological fallacy on several levels. Not least, if we’re talking roots, Sanskrit has its ultimate origin somewhere to the north of the Black Sea. More importantly, Dymock is clear that use of the term charas for Cannabis resin is ‘comparatively recent’. By ‘comparatively recent’ he means recent relative to ancient texts like the Atharva Veda (the last of the Vedas, dating to perhaps 1000–800 BCE based on its late Sanskrit and reference to iron). The rise of ‘charas’ as a Cannabis word belongs to a much later age than these canonical Hindu scriptures—some two millennia later, at very least. All the currently available evidence suggests that the association of ‘charas’ with Cannabis resin belongs to the era of Persianate Islam and the Cannabis culture and techniques of Central Asia. With all that, there may perhaps be a hint from these Victorian Britishers that charas culture involved people who they refer to as ‘beggars’…. more on them later…
‘Charas’ is what linguists know as a metonym, a ‘word, name, or expression used as a substitute for something else with which it is closely associated.’ For example, ‘the Crown’ is a metonym for the British monarchy. Clearly, the name charas is most closely associated with the type of resin which is stored in leather. That’s not the hand-rubbed Himalayan stuff but the sieved or sifted form that Clarke and Merlin seem to believe is best referred to as ‘hashish’. In practice, the high water content of typical freshly-rubbed Himalayan resin means that farmers most often store it in loose drawstring bags of cotton or silk. By contrast, sieved resin is produced from dried plants and is stored, or more specifically cured, in leather. You can see this still today in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan in the Tribal Areas and Peshawar. Often a goat skin is used…. Point being, it’s north of the Indus, with the dry-sieving technique and the farmers of the desert oases of Central Asia, that this name charas ultimately belongs.
For ‘ethnobotanists’, there’s more yet that can be said about leather bags, so-called beggars, and this culture of sieving, storing, curing, and carrying cannabis. In modern minds, the area of Afghanistan most closely associated with resin production is the Hindu Kush. But, what little historic evidence there is suggests that the centre of gravity of the sieving technique lies further north, beyond these mountains. The first European record of charas is from Jean Baptiste-Tavernier, who observed the practice of smoking resin with tobacco in circa 1630s Persia and stated that the custom was introduced from Central Asia by Uzbeks. The broadest term for the region from which the product charas most probably originates is Turkestan, the tract of Central Asia which runs from the eastern shore of the Caspian right through to Xinjiang, Northwest China. During the late-nineteenth century charas boom in India, which was then the world’s largest market for Cannabis drugs, the major charas producer globally was almost certainly Xinjiang, homeland of the Uighurs, Muslim Turkestanis who cultivated Cannabis around oasis towns such as Yengisar and Yarkand. Annually, hundreds of tons of this leather-bound charas coursed into India through the passes of the Karakoram and Hindu Kush. But the finest charas of the era was associated with Bukhara (under which guise the better grades from Yengisar were often palmed off by merchants) in what is now Uzbekistan. This takes us closer to a likely historic epicentre of charas culture, to a region which has a multitude of names that in turn have as many interpretations, but for present purposes is perhaps best referred to as Khorasan. This hashish heartland—from northeastern Persia through northern Afghanistan as far as Bukhara and Samarkand—was the source of a sacramental cannabis culture that emerged from the obscurity of thirteenth-century Central Asia to take the medieval Muslim world by storm. This was the drug-fuelled counterculture of the qalandars, Islam’s original dope fiends.
The qalandars were anarchic wandering Muslim ascetics and widely believed by their contemporaries—Arab and Persian, prohibitionists and enthusiasts alike—to be responsible for a sudden, unprecedented drug influx from the east, in what it’s now clear was one of history’s great waves of Cannabis popularization. They live on in South Asia, though in far smaller and less influential numbers. Even prior to the thirteenth century, their practice of chronic sacramental Cannabis intoxication had begun to spread westward and southward through an expanding network of khanqahs, or ‘houses of awareness’, religious retreats that originated in Khorasan and offered lodging not only to mendicants (beggar–ascetics) but to any traveller in need of food and rest. These populist cultural centres functioned as alternatives to mosques and as nodes of a high-minded, increasingly high Islamic counterculture.
The pivotal years of this dope explosion were 1219–1221, when Genghis Khan undertook his merciless conquest of Khorasan (Khwarezmia), and the inhabitants of ‘Silk Road’ cities such as Balkh, Nishapur, Bokhara, and Samarkand were marched out onto the plains and slaughtered in their thousands. The bloodshed was so brutal and unprecedented that news of it travelled as far west as Britain. The Great Khan, like his grandson Hulagu, nurtured a special hatred for qalandars. A diaspora of stoned mystics fled south across the Indus to the Delhi Sultanate and west into Syria and Anatolia. The Damascus cleric Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328) wrote, “About the time of the appearance of the Tatars [Mongols], hashish went forth, and with it went forth the sword of the Tatars.” For Ibn Taymiyyah, whose more paranoid tendencies anticipate the politico-religious grievance culture that blights contemporary faith and the world in general these days, this sudden influx of cannabis was a calculated Mongol conspiracy sent to weaken and corrupt Dar al-Islam.
Qalandars were devoted to the ideal of tawwakul, by which they meant a life of wandering lived for God and God alone. They cultivated outrageous appearances that were intended to offend ‘bourgeois’ Muslim society, which they viewed as godless and materialistic. Muslim extremists of a very different kind from Isis or Al-Qaeda, they rejected shari’a law and institutional Sufism, shaved their heads, beards, moustaches, and sometimes eyebrows, and wore sacks, rags, black or white wool cloaks, loincloths, or often nothing at all. Characteristic gear included shaggy caps, buffalo horns, strings of molar teeth or pierced ankle bones, clubs, bells, long pipes, tambourines, and drums. Their weighty necklaces, earrings, and bracelets were those of slaves and signified their total subordination to Allah. From Khorasan, they brought their ecstatic cannabis culture to the Middle East, India, North Africa, the Balkans, and even southern Spain. Descending on the villages, towns, and cities of often deeply conservative societies in bands sometimes of a hundred or more, they sang, leapt like bears and monkeys, held drug-fuelled rituals of music and dance, whirled and twitched to the beat of drums, and inspired a historic surge of cannabis use across the Muslim world, the legacy of which lasts to this day. Better known in the West as fakirs or dervishes, their various sects appear to have been crucial to the history of resin.
A standard piece of this qalandar garb was the charas-dān, a leather pouch that hung at their waist from a belt. Often two pouches were carried, one holding flint or suchlike, the other their cannabis. In Baghdad, then a major centre of Islamic mysticism, cannabis became known as ‘daughter of the bag’, a play on an epithet for wine, ‘daughter of the cask’. ‘Charas’ may well share its origin with the term ‘kif’, which most likely originates from the Persian for bag (کیف), both names plausibly born from a meaning akin to the English ‘stash’ – and not unlike ‘pot’. Metonyms, in other words. All of which tie to legends of the qalandars’ ‘discovery’, sometime around the thirteenth century, of something that Arabs knew by the name ‘hashish’.
The qalandar best known to western counterculture is Qutb ad-Din Haydar, to give him his full religious title. In popular works on pot he’s ‘Sheikh Haydar’ and features only as a vague figure in an equally vague legend of somehow discovering the intoxicating power of Cannabis. Usually an illustration shows a bearded man with turban and robes—a typical medieval Muslim. More accurate would be a bald, naked figure with no eyebrows, long thick moustache, beard singed off, heavy rings in both ears, iron collar, iron bracelets, and an iron rod run through his penis. Among Haydari qalandar adepts all this signified sexual abstinence and transcendence of lust. (There’s a limit, clearly, to how far these groups can be seen as Muslim Merry Pranksters or the sheikh as a proto-Ken Kesey). In his spiritual potency, it’s said Haydar fashioned iron implements in his bare hands, the metal melting like wax as he shaped it round his neck or wrist. His khanqah lay in Khorasan, in the hills outside Nishapur, eastern Iran, not far from what’s now the border of Afghanistan. In 1211, according to the legend related by the Egyptian Arab historian Al-Maqrizi, Haydar broke a period of extended retreat and in deep depression wandered into the nearby mountains. There, his attention was caught by a shrub that, despite the still desert air, seemed to shimmer and glint, moved by its own inner force. We’re told he then partook of the plant, walked back to his khanqah beaming with delight and, when confronted by his inquisitive followers, shared this newfound secret.
There’s much in this legend that seems off—not least the idea that anyone living midway between Transoxiana and the Black Sea would, at this late date in history, be unaware of Cannabis or its effects. It’s been suggested that the qalandars perhaps acquired their habit of chronic sacramental cannabis use from an earlier Khorasani group of quietistic Muslim radicals known as the Malamatis. Haydar himself is said to have been a Turkestani from aristocratic roots (quite probably descended from dope-fiend nomad nobility). Cannabis was already around in the eastern Persianate world, in other words. No less problematic is the tale’s lack of detail about preparation. It’s implied Haydar simply ate the raw plant; but, in the absence of heat to decarboxylate THCA to THC, raw cannabis has little or no effect. Despite the appearance of accuracy in the precise date of 1211, this is an implausible stoy. Importantly, it’s paralleled by others: Jamal al-Din Savi, founder of the Qalandars proper, is said to have made this same discovery in the same era. Then there’s Baba Ku of Balkh, an ayyar who’s credited with bringing the same revelation to the Afghans. Lonely Planet doubtfully describes Baba Ku as ‘pre-Muslim’, but at least two shrines to him are tended by local qalandars (malangs) around Balkh. This historically important ‘Silk Road’ city lies north of the Hindu Kush in a region once known as Afghan Turkestan. This is the heartland of Afghan charas culture, the origin of its most widely admired strain, known to Afghans as Balkhi, Mazari, or Mazar-i-Sharif, and until a crackdown following the massive harvest of 2007, was the major centre for cultivation and production of its most refined resin. Crucially, all three legends of this medieval ‘discovery’ of the potency of Cannabis gravitate toward the same tract of Central Asia from which the practice of drying and sieving Cannabis, and curing and carrying resin in leather bags, most likely came west.
The garbled ‘discovery’ stories that have come to us through Arab scholars such as Al-Maqrizi have one source of their confusion in the ambiguous meaning of the Arabic word ‘hashish’. Like the term ‘bhang’, hashish can refer to the Cannabis plant itself and to its preparations. To Arabs, hashish first meant ‘herb’, ‘weed’ or ‘plant stuff’ and, like bhang, could refer to coarse herbal cannabis, as well as confections and draughts. Only over time did this word hashish tend toward the more limited meaning now ascribed to it by westerners. Charas, by contrast, is seemingly only ever used to refer to resin. In this respect, charas would trump hashish in a hypothetical match over ‘naming rights’ (Lebanese or Moroccan charas, anyone?). Certainly, charas is the strongest contender for de facto word for sieved cannabis resin.
As for the qalandars’ alleged discovery, there are good reasons to conclude that these anarchic wanderers did not so much discover the potency of Cannabis as popularise a Khorasani or Central Asian technique for making cannabis more potent. As early as 850 CE, physicians in Baghdad—then the capital of the Caliphate in Islam’s Golden Age—used Chinese silk fabric, traded via sea or Central Asia, to sieve mixtures of herbal medicines. It’s likely knowledge of this filtering process had first travelled west with silk to Baghdad from Central Asia, and indeed that many of Baghdad’s physicians were Khorasani themselves, as was Avicenna (c. 980–1050 CE). Several sources from the pre-tobacco era Middle East and Anatolia indicate the new presence of sieved cannabis resin following the qalandar diaspora and Mongol conquest. By refining and concentrating coarse material through a gauze of taught fabric, ideally silk, several hundred grams of herb could be reduced to a portable quantity that was easily stored in a charas – i.e., a leather pouch – and carried far and wide, accelerating the process of popularisation. Portability and potency together were likely the initial impetus behind the spread of the dry-sieving technique. As recently as the 1920s, it was noted by the American traveller Lowell Thomas that these leather charas pouches or wallets were the preferred means by which not just producers but Afghan consumers stored their stash.
Balkh’s charsis still tell how Baba Ku vanished when the Mongols sacked their city in 1220—a destruction from which it never recovered (you can hear more about these stories here.) Sheikh Haydar is said to have perished a year later, likely at the Mongol seige of Nishapur.
Reports from European travellers suggest that it was only later, in the early seventeenth century, that Khorasan introduced to the world another innovation, the practice of smoking charas with tobacco, which apparently began with Uzbeks and Tajiks, and became a notable habit of Mughal and Afghan aristocrats. Charas was by then being imported into Mughal India from or through Kashmir and Kabul. I suspect it’s only subsequent to tobacco that charas began to be exported south from Central Asia in large quantities, commercially. The late eighteenth century is when images of mass charas smoke-ups first appear in Indian art, the partakers all conspicuously Central Asian in apperance. The earliest I know of is a painting of bhang drinkers and charas smokers in a park from 1760s Lucknow.
As for Hindu Kush – the mountains remained primarily an intermediary in the Trans-Himalayan charas trade until the early twentieth century and only secondarily an exporter, and that largely for the ‘black market’ of the northwest, now Pakistan.
And for the Himalaya – nineteenth-century sources suggest that the name charas was applied to hand-rubbed Himalayan resin in imitation of the Central Asian sieved form. There is a word that, as far as I know, is used to refer to Cannabis resin only in the Indian Himalaya and Nepal, namely ‘attar’. But again, ultimately, like the metonym charas, the word ‘attar’ entered Indian languages from Persian. ‘Attar’ can describe any aromatic resin, essence, or oil, such as those used in Ayurveda. This name is favoured in the Himalaya but indicates the centrality of Persianate cannabis culture to these cannabis traditions as they’ve come to us. Very likely ‘attar’ points to the role the Mughal-era charas trade played in shaping production in regions such as Kumaon and Nepal, export from the mountains to the great plains cities such as Lucknow and Delhi booming in conjunction with the tobacco habit. ‘Attarchi’ and ‘attari’ are still used by old-timers in the Uttarakhand Himalaya and Nepal for chronic smokers – in other words, ‘charsis’.
Hand-rubbed charas remains, as Clarke and Merlin state, the predominant form of resin found in the Indian and Nepali Himalaya. But the Kashmir Valley has a tradition of producing sieved resin that predates western Hippie Trail influences, as perhaps does the Garhwal Himalaya. The sieving technique is increasingly common in Himachal and Nepal. The only regions of the Himalaya west of Kathmandu where it appears yet to have penetrated are Kumaon and Far-Western Nepal. Outside of its Himalayan frontier, India’s hot and humid climate precludes the production of charas by dry-sieving, albeit there is always the exception that proves the rule. My assumption, however, is that the charas produced in regions such as Gwalior and Bihar was typically hand-rubbed.
For those with a keen interest in authenticity, it’s worth noting that a specific term for sieved resin is garda, meaning ‘dust’. To be deemed ready for smoking by any Afghan or Pakistani connoisseur, garda charas must be prepared. Tobacco-smokers usually achieve this by placing a piece of garda in their palm, adding a few drops of water, and working the resin with their thumb until it darkens and takes on a softer consistency. This is then made into a thin disk on the end of a match, lit for a second or two, and dropped into a bed of tobacco. Taken pure in an Afghan chillum, the resin is first cooked on a spike and when lit in the bowl must produce a tall flame several times before smoking commences. This pre-heating process is believed to improve potency and flavour.
In recent years, some of the finest sieved charas has been produced in Nepal. An expert Nepali producer I met in 2008 claimed to have learned the art in Morocco. His Moroccan teachers had themselves learned from Westerners, whose skills had in turn come from Afghans. Charas gets around, clearly, no less than its producers and consumers.
Historical records indicate the name charas derives from the leather bags Central Asian hashish was traded in, though much suggests its ultimate origin could be the stash pouches of radical dervishes and other consumers of cannabis. Tales of qalandar saints discovering the potency of Cannabis in the early thirteenth century very likely relate the popularisation of the dry-sieving technique for filtering and refining resin glands, its diffusion westward to mass popularity set in motion by the Mongol Conquest and most visibly championed by the qalandar diaspora of Khorasan. Where the metonym charas was coined is likely impossible to pin down, but the name ties to the product, and the product appears to have been popularized with the explosion out of Central Asia of its uniquely syncretistic forms of radical Persianate Islam, after which we see the first allusions to sieved resin in the Middle East.
UPDATE: Behold, an Afghan charas Olympian!
This is such a fantastic article! Thank you for taking the time to post it! You have expanded my knowledge and for that I am grateful!
Thanks Darrell, glad you enjoyed it. There’s certainly a lot more to Asian cannabis culture than is often realized
Pingback: Afterthoughts about ‘Charas or Hashish?’ | The Real Seed Company Blog·
Pingback: 10 Quick Questions with The Real Seed Company | The Real Seed Company Blog·
Pingback: Landraces: Myth-Busting Wild Cannabis and Traditional Strains | The Real Seed Company Blog·
Great article although, if I may, there is no such thing as “sieved charas”, since “charas/Chaars” designate a specific state of the resin, meaning that one which has been cooked (it’s also simply the name of the plant in N. Afghanistan areas). Before cooking, the sieved resin is called “garda”.
Origin of the name is interesting, beside being that of leather pouch wherein it’s stored & cured, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also in reference of the material itself (more than what it is made into?) as charas looks and feels like leather.
Keep it up! 🙂
Hi Mriko, great to hear from you, thanks for commenting. I’m going to have to disagree with you on this though.
It’s evident throughout historical sources and from experience that charas refers to any form of Cannabis resin, be it hand-rubbed or sieved, and regardless of whether the sieved resin has been processed into a paste. It’s true that processed charas can be differentiated from unprocessed charas by calling one ‘charas’ and the other ‘garda’, respectively. But garda is also known throughout the sources and in my own experience as ‘garda charas’ and ‘charas’. Charas refers to any form of Cannabis resin but the term originates with the sieved form. To insist that it only refers to processed resin would be like insisting that bhang only refers to processed bhang paste and not to the bhang plant or other cannabis preparations.
Regarding the name ‘charas’ – it specifically refers to the pouch of leather rather than the leather itself. The same name applies to leather pouches used on water wheels etc. It doesn’t designate leather per se.
To the best of my knowledge, the word charas alone would only be used to refer to a plant in a very loose way, in the sense that a field of grapes might be referred to as wine. To call a plant charas afaik you need to specify ‘charas plant’ as in afaik “butah’hā-yi chars” (بوته های چرس). Alone, charas itself afaik doesn’t denote the plant, which is known by the Persian name ‘bhang’ or ‘bang’. Bhang is also a general name for cannabis products, including resin. As with most cannabis terminology, there’s a great deal of overlap and insisting on precision is often to forfeit accuracy.
Just to add to my previous reply:
Yes, a distinction is made in that ‘garda’ (literally, ‘dust’) refers only to ‘raw’, unprocessed resin. It’s a specific term, in that you can’t call the processed product garda.
But the point is, charas is a more general category: garda is a form of charas, and so too the hand-rubbed resin from the Indian and Nepali Himalaya is a form of charas.
When I was most recently in Pakistan, I would ask for garda, because it’s harder to adulterate so a better way to get a pure product. Most smokers given the choice do this and then ‘process’ the garda themselves by adding a few drops of water to a piece, blending it with their thumb in their palm, shaping it into a disk on a match and lighting it. At the shop of a well-known dealer in Chitral I asked for charas. He handed me a few wrapped pieces, and I then remembered to ask him if he had any garda. He said, “that is garda”. I looked closely at the pieces and realised it was indeed garda, in this case golden Tirah garda that had started to fuse and melt into itself, becoming much darker.
Garda is a form of charas as is also clear in historical descriptions of charas production in 19th century Turkestan and South Asia, such as this from Flückiger’s Pharamacographia of 1879: “charas, which is brought from Yarkand, is a brown earthy-looking substance, forming compact yet friable, irregular masses…” Friable means easily crumbled. There are plenty of other examples, but just as one, Punjab Products, 1868: “There is a kind of charas called garda which is much in use…”
I’m one of the old timers but I didn’t give up on reading your article. Took a lot of hashish out of Kandahar from 1967 through 1973. Check it out at https://brotherhoodhashish.website . They called it charas and we called it primo.
Ronnie, thanks for giving it a read, it’s an honour to have you here. I’ll give that link a share. The only book on the Brotherhood written by one of the Brotherhood!
Pingback: ‘Curious About Cannabis’ Landrace Interview on Youtube | The Real Seed Company Blog·
Dope is horse tranquilizer and is offensive to read expert material with dope being called weed.
Hi, not sure I’ve understood what you mean by “dope being called weed.” Do you mean you’re offended by cannabis being called dope?
I think it’s fair to say that “dope” has been rescued from its negative meanings or connotations, as in “that’s dope” (that’s excellent). Nobody uses phrases like “dope fiend” etc. in a serious way any more. There’s even a podcast about cannabis called “Dopefiend”.
As for being offended – I was aware some people might get upset by it, but I was also aware how much some people enjoy being offended
This is exactly what I was looking for. I’m extremely impressed with your knowledge, this website, and your focus on landrace genetics and ethnobotany. I work in the medical industry in the States and I’ve been searching for conclusive info like this.
Thanks Patrick, appreciated! You can find our main site for landraces here
Pingback: Endangered Varieties of subsp. indica: A Few Thoughts | The Real Seed Company: The Honest Online Source for Cannabis Landraces Since 2007·
Thank you everyone for the wonderful insights into the world of Hashish. I am wondering what exactly is the sieving process used? Is it with metal or fabric screens? What time line is used? I am in Canada where growing Cannabis is legal and made a very small amount of resin hash I gathered from trimming the buds and did a small amount of sieving(?) with a 150 micron screen. I followed Frenchy Cannoli videos on You tube to attempt to decarboxylize and agglutinate the little I had. I imagine different regions practise different methods. Any advice or reading would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
hi Roman, just noticed this comment, sorry about the late reply. Taught silk or cotton are traditionally used. But large-scale production has been using metal screens etc. for decades now. There are many videos and photos via The Real Seed Company Instagram or Twitter e.g. Hashish in Afghanistan
Good day, thank you for the response and the link. Take care.
Pingback: Cannabis Use by Yogis in India | The Real Seed Company: The Honest Online Source for Cannabis Landraces Since 2007·
Pingback: Cannabis & Alchemy Podcast Episodes | The Real Seed Company: The Honest Online Source for Cannabis Landraces Est. 2007·
I have just found this blog and am fascinated to read your sensible article. I agree that the distinction can be very blurred as to what came first. My own experience has been in the late 60s travelling in Afghanistan Pakistan India and Nepal.
In Herat we saw bought and smoked discus shaped pieces of hashish as the locals called it. They said the best hashish came from Bukhara and around. By the time I got to Peshawar it was charas but preferably smoked in huqqahs. The chillum, refers to the business end of the huqqah where a lump of charas was placed and a hot coal placed on top. Usually in Pakistan you could find malangs or fakirs who were smokers but it was pretty open then. There were government shops where you could purchase bhang and opium but not hash. I only saw the rubbing method in Nepal but I did find sticks of heads bound in maize husks and tied tightly with thread. The stuff inside was rather like pressed kif which had not been sieved.
I had been in Morocco in 67 and found no hashish. In early 68 people in Marrakesh were talking about how some of the Stones’ companions showing some enterprising young Tangier hipsters how to make hash. Probably a Smokestack El Ropo story but it’s a fascinating thought
Keep up the good work