What is the charas or hashish?
The world of cannabis concentrates is booming. In fact, new types of extracts, such as live resin and all kinds of BHO,have taken the cannabis market by storm, offering both recreational and medicinal users completely new ways to enjoy their bud.
But those are all recent developments. In this post, we take a look at Charas, one of the earliest and most traditional types of concentrated cannabis, made from the finest bud growing naturally along the foothills of the Himalayas.
WHAT IS CHARAS AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Charas is a type of cannabis extract very similar to hashish. It is handmade, and is thought to originate from regions of Asia, in particular India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Like most cannabis extracts, it is made by separating the trichomes from cannabis plant matter to produce a highly-concentrated extract. These trichomes are usually found to form a frosty, sticky layer on cannabis flowers and, to a lesser extent, stems and leaves.
The main difference difference between hashish and charas is that the latter is made from live cannabis cuttings, whereas as the former is made using dead, dried plant material. Charas is also most commonly made using a hand-rolling method (which we explore in more detail below), whereas hash can be made in a variety of ways, mainly using dry sifting, bubble bags, and more.
Charas is usually sold in balls or sticks and is traditionally smoked using a chillum, a special kind of pipe traditionally used by Hindu monks (or sadhus). Across the Indian sub-continent and many other parts of the world, cannabis has played a significant role in spiritual and religious practices. Charas, in particular, plays a central role in many Hindu rituals and practices.
The Shaivs (a Hindu sect worshipping Lord Shiva as the supreme God), for example, often depict their Lord smoking a chillum, and incorporate the practice of smoking charas into their rituals. They usually load it into a chillum and, prior to smoking, chant the many names of Shiva in veneration.
While charas is widely available across India, it’s production is generally only traced back to a handful of places, like the Parvati Valley and Kashmir. In these areas, cannabis plants grow freely along the foothills of the Himalayas and are often treasured by strain hunters, breeders, and other cannabis enthusiasts. The Parvati Valley is particularly famous for a special type of charas known as Malana Cream, treasured for its high THC content.
Kerala Gold is another well-known type of charas, sometimes also called Idukki Gold. It gained a lot of attention after the premier of a 2013 film following the story of 5 friends in search of this intensely powerful concentrate. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to find any more.
Charas is also commonly used and produced outside of India, in countries like Pakistan and Nepal. However, the charas from India is arguably the most famous.
HOW TO MAKE CHARAS:
Making charas is messy and requires a lot of patience, effort, and ***. However, the principles behind its production is really simple. By handling the resinous cannabis trimmings, you’ll automatically build up a thick, brown-black residue on your hands. This is essentially the trichomes of the plant sticking to your hands and, due to friction, combining to make a powerful extract.
To make charas at home, you’ll need:
- Trimmed cannabis flowers (with a bit of stem) from a plant that’s roughly 2-3 weeks away from reaching full maturity.
- A pair of hands.
Start by washing your hands and making sure they’re really clean. Stay away from overly scented soaps or lotions; instead, use a non-scented, organic hand soap if possible.
Next, take a few cannabis buds and begin rubbing them gently between your hands. Be careful not to apply too much force, as you’ll just lose resin rather than extract more of it. You really want to be gentle and patient when handling these buds. You may want to try lightly squeezing the flowers against your palm with your thumb to extract more oils.
As you roll the buds, you’ll notice them excreting a thick, sticky, tar-like substance that’ll build up on your palms and fingers. This is charas. Once you’re happy you’ve extracted enough resin from the buds, you can dispose of them and actually create your charas ball or stick.
Simply keep rubbing your hands together together slowly in order to create a stick or ball of the concentrate. Remember, the slower you go and the more patience you have, the higher the quality of your charas. Remember to store your charas in tightly wrapped plastic film to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
HOW TO SMOKE CHARAS
Once you’re done, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour. For a more traditional experience, we suggest investing in a chillum. Alternatively, simply take a piece of charas, roll it into a little snake, and roll yourself a nice joint with a mix of tobacco to ensure an even, slow burn.
If you’re not a fan of tobacco, you can just as easily roll your charas with regular flower in a joint or blunt. And, if you’re not a fan of joints or blunts, you can simply mix some into a bowl and smoke it through a regular pipe or ***. Finally, you can also vaporize charas in a dab rig like other cannabis extracts.
Whenever trying a new cannabis product, it’s always best to take things easy. After all, you can always smoke more, but you can never smoke less. Remember, charas, like hash and other concentrates, has a much higher percentage of THC and other cannabinoids than regular regular flower.
WHAT STRAINS TO USE FOR CHARAS?
You can use any strain you like to make charas. For a more traditional finished product, we suggest going for an indica strain, ideally with roots somewhere in india, Pakistan, or the surrounding areas (like some Kush varieties, for example). Most importantly, you’ll just want to make sure you’re working with a highly resinous strain known for producing a lot of trichomes.
Below we’ve listed some RQS strains that we believe will work well to make some powerful homemade charas. But remember, these are just suggestions; play around with other RQS varieties to see what yields the best results.
A powerful kush variety that packs a very, very potent punch. Our Royal Kush is extremely easy to grow and, thanks to being a big resin producer, renders itself perfect for homemade charas.
Northern Light is a classic strain loved all around the world. Producing big yields of super potent, frosty buds, and packing a huge, indica-dominant punch, we’re 100% confident this variety can make some ultra powerful charas.
Harnessing the best of a carefully selected group of sativa, indica, and even ruderalis varieties, our Bubble Kush boast really powerful genetics that produce really solid results each time. While it might not be very traditional, we’re sure this stuff will produce some great charas regardless.