Moreau was greatly interested in learning about treating mental illnesses, and gained a lot of firsthand knowledge about Hashish from self-experimentation. His book, titled “Du Hachisch et de l’aliénation mentale —etudes psychologiques ” (translated as “Hashish and Mental Illness —Psychological Studies ”) was published in 1845, and received an honorable mention distinction from the French Academy of Sciences in 1946. Moreau’s work helped substantiate and legitimize Hashish as well as explore its possibilities as a medical treatment in the scientific community. In the simplest definition, Hashish is a concentrate made from the removed trichomes of the cannabis plant. Sieved Hashish, specifically, uses the trichomes of dried and cured cannabis that’s been collected using a sieving process, then machine- or hand-pressed to create the final product.
Charas is the name of another cannabis concentrate that’s similar to Hashish, but with a number of fundamental differences. Charas, like sieved Hashish, uses the removed trichomes of the cannabis plant, but the trichomes aren’t sourced from dried and cured cannabis. The trichomes are typically sourced from fresh, living cannabis plants using a process called “hand-rubbing.” Hand-rubbing is a process by which a person, using both hands, gathers cannabis resin to physically rub the budding stalks of fresh, mature plants. The cannabis stalks are repeatedly rubbed by the collector, which is very sticky and adheres easy to the hands. The hands are then rubbed together, with the cannabis resin being repeatedly rolled and pressed in the palms, creating a rounded, smooth and glossy appearance. The hand-rubbing method isn’t as efficient as sieving. When the collectors rub the stalks, much of the resin is lost simply by falling to the ground, or sticks to clothing and other parts of the plant.
Hand-rubbing is also a repetitive, manual process that demands a lot of time, physical energy, and endurance. Gram for gram, sieved Hashish requires far less time and energy to produce. Additionally, rubbed Charas isn’t as potent as sieved Hashish and spoils faster. The rubbing motion of the hands breaks the leaves and small stems of the cannabis plant, which mixes moisture, plant material, and other impurities into the concentrate. The introduction of contaminants affects Charas’ shelf life and potency, as it degrades faster than sieved Hashish and can only be kept for about a month before it spoils. Sieved Hashish is simpler to produce, store, and transport, making it easier to distribute across greater distances, which is why it’s far more commonplace to find sieved Hashish than rubbed Charas. That being said, rubbed Charas holds an important role in cannabis history and remains a key element in many traditions and cultures. Rubbed Charas is likely to have originated in South Asia, primarily in India and Nepal. It also has a loose association with Hinduism, specifically with the god Shiva (also spelled “Siva”), one of three principal Hindu deities. In the Vedas, ancient texts dating as far back as 1500 BC, there is a legend that Shiva brought cannabis, or ganja, from the mountains of the Himalayas. Interpretations of the Vedas also say that on one particularly hot day, Shiva came across a field of cannabis plants growing tall, which gave him plenty of comfort and protection from the scorching sun. He was said to eat some of the leaves, which revived his energy and improved his disposition. After discovering cannabis and its positive effects, he henceforth considered it his favorite food. He’s sometimes referred to as the “Lord of Bhang” — bhang being a drink of blended milk, spices, and cannabis that’s still prepared and consumed in India today. In Hindu culture today, traditions associated with cannabis and Charas continue to be practiced, although neither is currently a legal substance in India or Nepal. Mahashivratri, or Maha Shivaratri, is an annual Hindu festival celebrating Shiva and focuses on awakening from darkness to a place of peace, truth, and goodwill. The night before the start of the festival is referred to as “The Night of Shiva,” or “The Great Night of Shiva.” Through the entire duration of the night, Shaivites, or Saivites — those who regard Shiva as the Supreme Being — and Hindu alike, traditionally stay up and meditate, chant Vedic mantras, fast, and practice Yoga. The night also holds traditions of drinking bhang as well as smoking Charas and flower from a chillum — a straight smoking pipe made of clay, stone, or other material — in order to aid with meditation, prayer, and experiencing a heightened sense of connectedness. Although rubbed Charas and sieved Hashish are different, they are two of the oldest cannabis concentrates in the world that share the same essential recipe: collecting and pressing the trichomes of cannabis for consumption. How To Make Hash : Different Traditions Throughout the World. Being humankind’s oldest cannabis concentrate has allowed Hashish to develop in various ways by different cultures. The varying methods for resin collection and Hashish production are directly tied to geography, climate, and local resources. The Lebanese Republic, or Lebanon, is located in the Middle East, bordering Syria and Israel. In the early 20th century, around the time of World War I, Lebanon began large-scale cultivation of cannabis and Hashish production.
Despite its prohibition since 1946, farmers continue to maintain their cannabis fields and manufacture Hashish for export, sometimes resulting in deadly armed conflicts with local authorities and security forces. The greatest concentration of Hashish farms are located in the Beqaa, or Bekaa, Valley, near the ancient city of Baalbek. Lebanon has a climate conducive to sieved Hashish production, with the coldest temperatures occurring in January, averaging about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7.4 degrees Celsius, and the hottest temperatures occurring in August, averaging about 77.36 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25.2 degrees Celsius. The low humidity is better for collecting and storing the resin powder.
Additionally, the annual rainfall is enough to support the cannabis farms without requiring costly irrigation. Lebanese Blonde Hashish and Lebanese Red Hashish are the two most common types of Hashish produced.