Cannabis is a plant native to Central Asia that has been utilized for generations for medicinal and traditional purposes, with charas being just one example. It grows wild throughout the region, with a particular presence in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
Interestingly enough, in the regions where cannabis originated, the plant is outlawed and considered socially taboo to consume – all except for a few particular types of cannabis products, such as bhang and charas.
If this is your first time hearing of bhang or charas, you’re not alone. In fact, a majority of experienced cannabis users have probably never heard of it either.
So, what is charas anyway? If you’re interested in learning more about this historically significant concentrate and how it’s made and used, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Charas?
Charas is a form of cannabis concentrate that is associated with the Hindu religion. Charas is very similar to hash and its derivatives in that it is a form of concentrated cannabis.
Traditionally, it is handmade by separating and isolating the trichomes from the cannabis plant. It is believed to have been created in the Nepal region of Central Asia.
Although charas is similar to other traditional forms of hash, the difference lies in their ingredients. Where hash is typically created through an extraction process involving harvested cannabis buds, charas utilizes live plant matter in its creation.
That said, charas is generally used by monks for religious purposes and may be found at government-sanctioned stores in religious regions.
Interestingly enough, the reputation surrounding authentic charas can be held in the same regard as Champagne. Both are premium products produced in very particular regions of the world, with charas made in the Himalayas and Champagne made in France.
The Cultural Role
In the Hindu religion, charas plays a large role in mythology. It is believed that Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu gods who was known for his love of cannabis, and more specifically bhang, has promoted the use of cannabis, especially during festivals like Holi.
Interestingly, the earliest mention of cannabis has been found in The Vedas, or the sacred Hindu texts, dating back as early as 2000 to 1400 B.C. According to these texts, cannabis was one of five sacred plants compassionately gifted to humans as a source of happiness and joy and release from anxiety.
How is Charas Made?
Similar to many other handmade hash products, the process involved with making charas is highly involved and can take a decent amount of time to complete.
The traditional method of making charas involves several marijuana plants to create even a single gram worth of concentrate. Creating authentic charas starts with covering and coating the hands in cannabis resin from the marijuana plants.
Once the producer has their hands coated in the resin, they will use a sheet or flat surface beneath them to catch the resin as they agitate it between their palms. Depending on the amount of cannabis used, this process can take hours to complete.
By the end of the process, you should be left with a very dark green or even black substance that is somewhat sticky. The residue caught from agitating the cannabis resin is then rolled by hand and formed into spheres and then sold or consumed.
How to Smoke Charas
Unlike the process to make charas, it is relatively quick and easy to consume. If you want to smoke charas and don’t mind smoking it with flower, you can roll a twax joint and enjoy the two together.
All that needs to be done is to shape the charas into a long and thin form to lay in the joint comfortably. If you wish to consume the charas by itself, we recommend using a chillum or dab rig.
Simply add it to the bowl and smoke it like you would with any other cannabis dabs.
Is Charas Legal in India?
While cannabis is intrinsic to some religions in India, it has been outlawed and is illegal to produce and sell. However, despite this, certain government-sanctioned religious stores that sell cannabis-infused products like bhang.
As India becomes more and more modernized, the possibility of weed legalization has received a fair amount of support.
In fact, the first Medical Cannabis Clinic in India recently opened in Bangalore, with The Great Legalisation Movement India (GLM India) being built before that.
What is the Difference Between Bhang and Charas?
Many high-profile cannabis products have a rich history in India’s religion, but the two most popular are bhang and charas. Both products are derived from the cannabis plant, primarily Cannabis Sativa, and are used for ceremonial and religious purposes.
Bhang and charas’s critical difference is that bhang is a cannabis-infused milk beverage made out of weed, water, milk, and spices.
Opposingly, charas is a solid cannabis concentrate. In other words, bhang is enjoyed as a beverage, while charas is typically smoked.
What is the Best Hash in the World?
Variety is the spice of life. To say that one type of hash reigns supreme over another would be doing a disservice to the local customs, traditions, and rituals of that variety’s locale.
Charas is primitive, but it’s enjoyed for the rich cultural history it shares with original cannabis cultivators. It might not be the most hygienic or potent, but it captures the “terroir” of the area the plants are cultivated in.
Charas is made with the trichomes of a living cannabis plant. Hash is made with the trichomes of a dried and cured plant.
The differences are subtle, but they’re noticeable.
Unfortunately, nothing comes close to replicating the fresh taste of charas, but modern day hash has seen a gradual increase in quality over the years.
Bubble hash, Nepalese hash and full melt hash are great options for those looking for a quality experience. These types of hash will melt once they’re torched and come incredibly close to replicating the experience of charas.
When it comes to determining the best hash in the world, it really boils down to preference!
Charas – Tracing the History of Herb Concentrates
While cannabis has had a rich history in Indian civilization and culture, it remains illegal.
Fortunately, cannabis is celebrated during select festivals throughout the year. During this time, participants may indulge in various infused products, such as Bhang or Charas.
If you’re new to cannabis concentrates and are thinking of trying some out, it is always best to start low and go slow. Cannabis concentrates can be up to 4 times stronger than the highest quality harvest of cannabis.
Charas is an excellent example of authentic and traditional cannabis concentrates deeply rooted in history and cultural significance. As such, it is not only an excellent and potent source of cannabinoids and the various benefits of cannabis, but it has its own story and lineage that only adds to its appeal.