We enjoy delving deep into the cannabis history archives to provide you with conversation starters that make you look equal parts worldly and like a stoner. Enjoy a little dose (pun intended) of cannabis trivia.
Origins of Charas
Charas is a cannabis concentrate that is handmade in only a few parts of the world: India, Pakistan, Nepal and Jamaica. Charas is produced using resin from ganja (cannabis) plants that are specific to the Northern India region and the foothills of the Himalayas. Charas is similar in constitution to hash, but is made with live cannabis plant material instead. Ganja resin is extracted from a growing plant and pressed into a small gummy dough.
Charas harvesters gather the material they need by walking through ganja plantations in leather suits to extract the plant essence. These harvesters rub themselves against the plants to meticulously extract the pure resin which is called “tolas”. The byproduct, charas, is an extremely potent and psychoactive concentrate. Users report feelings of euphoria and transcendentalism.
Cultural Significance of Charas
Charas plays a prominent cultural role in India–particularly in certain Hindu sects that use the concentrate as part of their religious practice. Charas is also popular among modern Hindus and yogis who hope to use the substance to transcend their current planes of consciousness and improve focus during meditation. Charas is typically smoked out of a clay pipe called a “chillum”. In order to celebrate the god Shiva, who loved cannabis, charas smokers will typically chant the many names of Shiva before lighting up.
Where can I find Charas?
Unfortunately, charas isn’t readily available to Westerners, but it can be made at home. However, due to the complicated nature of production and the hard to replicate ecosystem in which ganja is grown (the Himalayas), it will be difficult to cultivate a comparable product.