Just hearing the words charas and bhang instantly conjures up something particularly ethereal. Behind their enigmatic status, rich history, and flavor, charas and bhang are two exotic ways to enjoy cannabis.
Charas was long been confused with hashish. That’s because they are quite similar, but with one major difference – while hashish is made from dried plant material, charas comes from live cannabis cuttings.
The second major differentiation is geographical – just like champagne is sparkling wine which can only come from the region of Champagne in France, charas can only come from a specific place – the Himalayan region of India. Nevertheless, if you don’t get too hung up on technicalities, you can get something almost the same from Pakistan, Nepal, and Lebanon.
How to make charas
Making charas is very simple but it requires patience and time and isn’t too elegant. You roll trimmed cannabis flowers into your hands until the trichomes stick. The slower and gentler you are, the better. The more you roll, the more your palms will get covered with a thick, sticky substance – this is charas. You can turn that substance into a clay-like ball, and that’s it.
Bhang is one of the first, and arguably delicious, edible recipes to incorporate cannabis. It’s a milk-based cannabis drink which is as saturated with flavor as it is with history.
Bhang dates back to the B.C. era. Bhang is primarily associated with the Hindu God of transformation Shiva who used it as magical medicine and a catalyst of his divinity. This is why worshipping Shiva often comes with drinking bhang.
Because of its religious and spiritual implications, the cannabis source material for bhang is meant to come from the Himalayan mountain range – it’s believed that the higher the altitude that the cannabis comes from, the closer it has been to the gods, and so will the one who drinks bhang with it.
In some Indian rural areas, bhang is used to cure fever, sunstroke, dysentery, and other medical conditions. Warriors drank bhang before battles for composure, whereas newlyweds have used it to heighten their libido.
- 2 cups water
- Up to 1/2 ounce of fresh cannabis leaves and flowers
- 3 cups warm milk
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp ground anise
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp rosewater
- 1/2 cup honey or sugar
- Rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds or pistachios to garnish
Preparation is rather simple. Boil the water and add the cannabis like you were making tea. Strain and reserve the water.
Put the cannabis into a mortar and add 2 teaspoons of warm milk. Grind the leaves and milk together, then extract the milk by squeezing and reserve it. Repeat until 1/2 cup of milk has been used.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the mortar with more warm milk and grind together until you get a fine paste. Combine everything together, mix well, and chill.