If you are looking for a potent elixir in the panoply of marijuana assortment, then charas is for you. One of the oldest forms of cannabis concentrate originating from the Himalayas, it is now picking up popularity around the world.

How is charas different from hashish?

Charas is a hashish form of cannabis made from the resin of the cannabis plant of the sativa or indica varieties. Unlike hashish which is made from a dead cannabis plant, charas is made from live female flowers picked two to three weeks before full maturity. These buds are smaller and much more delicate than matured ones and they possess an extraordinarily high level of THC. In the United States, it is equally referred to as "finger hash" and may be found in certain dispensaries. 

How is charas obtained?

Immediately after picking, some leaves are trimmed but a large portion of the stem is left attached. This facilitates handling. The next crucial step consists in rubbing. The buds are rubbed between the palms slowly, the slower the strokes, the better the quality. Soon, the buds will start releasing oils and tar-like residue. This black substance is charas and to gather all the concentrate released, everything should be rubbed towards the thumb while squeezing the bud well to release any remaining oils and residue. This is then formed into a tiny ball.

This same process may be repeated with several buds and when enough charas is obtained, it can be formed into ropes or braids to prevent drying. If you have these types of buds, nothing can stop you from making your own charas.

A potent concentrate from the Himalayas

Charas is one of the oldest and purest forms of cannabis concentrate that flourished on the Himalayas where marijuana plants often grow wild. It has been used since ages in India for both medicinal and religious purposes.

Even today, charas is considered as the "black gold" of the Himalayas. Thousands of villages survive on its production. The use of marijuana dates back to sacred Vedas texts and plays a key role in several rituals and festivities in the country. Legends say that Lord Shiva himself would smoke it when he would go for meditation on the mountains.

Charas and hashish have been sold in government shops together with opium until the 1980s when they had to be made illegal following international pressure. Severe sentences were then introduced for the cultivation and trafficking of charas. However, this concentrate still remains popular among young professionals and sadhus (monks) who smoke it freely as part of their religious rituals.

Even if charas can be found across India, its production can be traced to specific places such as Parvati Valley, Kashmir and other locations in the northern regions of India. It has also spread to Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

How to consume charas

Charas is traditionally smoked using a chillum. This is a special pipe used by Hindu monks since centuries. It is straight and conical with an end-to-end channel and traditionally made of clay. In the 20th century, these pipes gained popularity in the western culture because of their strong and direct rips. Your hands should form into a closed prism (like cupping) around the chillum and a wet safi cloth for you to draw the smoke properly. Your lips don't touch the pipe. Today, they have evolved into trendy and portable hand pipes and can be found in any local headshop. 

Charas is generally mixed with tobacco and should be crumbled by hand while being mixed.

Even if charas can be eaten, it is recommended to avoid doing so because of the difficulty in measuring the dosage of THC.

The two most prized types of charas in the world

Marijuana lovers will definitely look for the best variants of charas if they have the opportunity to do it. Worldwide, there are two types of charas that are considered of the highest quality: Malana Cream and Kerala Gold. This also makes them the most expensive marijuana resin that is sold.

Malana Cream

Malana Cream is the most coveted marijuana concentrate worldwide. Originating from the ancient village of Malana in Parvati Valley, India, Malana Cream is regarded as high purity hash-type concentrate. Since ages, the locals have been cultivating marijuana as a cash crop and the village even became a prime destination for recreational drug tourism. Today, Malana has become some sort of a brand for the youth across the planet, with almost every marijuana smoker dreaming of visiting this place.

Malana Cream is considered so special because the heirloom varieties grown in the region are naturally high resin products. Moreover, the cold and windy climate makes the plants even stronger. Extractions are thus much more potent. Certain theories claim that Malana Cream contains between 32 to 42% THC which is extraordinarily high compared to a usual cannabis plant that produces up to 7% of THC.

The quality of Malana Cream is also defined by the high level of oil content and its intensive fragrant aroma. Unlike other sorts, Malana Cream is said to never hit you in the throat.

If one tola (11.66 g) of Malana Cream is retailed for about $16 in Malana itself, it is sold for about $40 in Delhi and $250 in Amsterdam where it is likewise prized as the finest hash-type concentrate in coffee shops.

Kerala Gold

Kerala Gold is also known as Idukki Gold, Mahadevan and Neela Chadayan. It refers to a marijuana strain originating from Idukki in the state of Kerala in Southern India. This strong strain derives its origin in the 1980s when migration brought various strains to this area bordering Tamil Nadu. This variety of marijuana plant - partly native and partly foreign - started thriving in this ideal climate and fertile land. It became famous for its potent resin. It equally has a strong Skunk aroma nicely blended with an earthy flavor.

However, Kerala Gold is disappearing today, mainly due to police raids from both sides of the borders. Locals have started moving away from its cultivation and after the destruction of fields, they have tried to cultivate other hybrid plants but the latter yielded a more inferior quality. This variant is known as Sheelavathi but is sometimes fraudulently marketed as Kerala Gold.