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Charas

In layman’s terms, charas is a concentrate which is made by manually rubbing live female flowers of cannabis plants until enough resin is gathered in one’s palms to be scratched off and pressed.

 

Charas has played an important role in the Indian subcontinent for millennia. Although cannabis is considered an illegal drug there, just like in the majority of world’s countries, “common” use of charas has been pretty much always ignored by authorities throughout ages.

At the foot of the Himalayas in northern India, e.g. in the Kashmir mountain range, in the vicinity of the Malana village (which is, some say, the home of the best hashish in the world) and in the Parvati valley, cannabis grows wildly. Indians, Nepalis and Pakistanis have been growing it and consuming charas made from it for thousands of years. The use of cannabis and charas is an integral part of their cultural and spiritual identity.

 

Charas versus hashish

The primary difference between charas and other cannabis concentrates (such as hashish) is the fact that charas is made from resin gathered from live plants just before reaching maturity, not from the resin of dried flowers. The collectors of charas fiercely rub live buds between their fingers until a dark, sticky stuff starts gathering on them. This is later shaped into a ball or snake. This process can be very slow and time-consuming.

Charas is traditionally smoked in a small clay pipe called chillum. Devoted believers pray to the Hindu god Shiva or repeat some of his names before lighting the pipe and inhaling.

Charas can be also mixed with tobacco leaves or ground cannabis and smoked in a pipe, bong or joint. One should bear in mind, however, that just like with any other cannabis concentrate, smoking or eating charas produces much stronger effects than smoking dried flowers.

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