Charas – A Comprehensive Guide
India is emerging as a country with widespread drug problems. The figures of drug abusers have leapt up, and the pattern of consuming psychoactive substances has also undergone changes over the years. The hazardous use of illicit substances, including alcohol and prescribed drugs are prompting concern to different groups and government officials.
Though people are abusing numerous prohibited substances, cannabis, heroin, charas, and tobacco are sailing as some of the most prevalent drugs in India, luring young minds and making them fall prey to a disastrous epidemic. These harmful substances are resulting in a potential threat to the health and social aspects of families.
In this guide, we will learn more about Charas, a form of cannabis.
What Is Charas?
Charas, handmade in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India, is a hashish form of cannabis. It is one of the widely used drugs in India. The cannabis plant, the same plant used to make marijuana, grows mostly in Northern India where much of the charas manufacturing takes place. Charas has a long integral history in India which is associated with culture and ritual views of the Hindu religion.
Despite the ban of charas cultivation imposed by the US government in the 1980s, charas still remains prevalent and is being consumed by many people in India where a young generation has a fair amount of contribution. On the other hand, Indian Sadhus, Aghoris and many more consume charas as a part of religious practice. Though charas can be found all over India, it is widespread in different areas of Himachal Pradesh.
Since India is a vast country, every state has its own law for banning and restricting the use of illicit materials. While the production and trafficking of charas are banned in India, there are many states which still produce and sell charas illegally.
The estimated price of charas in India is Rs. 3 lakhs per kg.
How Is Charas Made?
Charas, often regarded as a civilised medicine, is obtained from the flower of the cannabis plant. The prolonged and tedious process of making charas is accomplished by rubbing hands through the cannabis flowers. It generally involves three broad steps.
- STEP 1 – The person making charas washes his hands thoroughly to get rid of dirt particles.
- STEP 2 – The second step is to source fresh buds from freshly trimmed cannabis flowers.
- STEP 3 – In the third step, the plucked buds are rubbed between the hands in a gentle fashion.
What Is Charas Called in English?
People often get confused between charas and hashish (also called hash sometimes) as they think both are the same. Many sources claim that the meaning of charas in english is hashish. The internet is swamped with articles claiming that both the substances are similar, and if you land on Google and translate charas in English, the name hashish will flash on the screen. However, charas and hashish are two different drugs and there is a slight difference between them.
How Is Charas Different From Hashish?
The basic element that separates charas from hashish is the way the resin is secured: hashish comes from harvested cannabis plants while charas is made from living cannabis plants. This is the reason why charas is darker in colour as compared to hashish.
Also, there is a huge difference between making both substances. For instance, the process of making a hash requires a longer amount of time than charas. Below are the core differences between charas and hashish.
- Charas is made from the resin of a living cannabis plant.
- It is more commonly known as finger hash as it is collected from fresh cannabis plants and the trichome residue that sticks to the hands.
- It is dark green or brown in colour.
- Charas originates in India and it is one of the most high-priced drugs in the country.
- Hashish is made from dead or harvested buds.
- It is also called hash for short.
- Fully processed hash is golden in colour and often in the form of brick shape material.
- The purity of hashish is decided based on how close it is to the golden colour.
- Hashish is generally made in Morocco and the price of hashish ranges from Rs 300 to 700 for 10 grams.
What Is the Difference Between Bhang and Charas?
Though charas, ganja and bhang all are collected from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa, yet they are different. Charas is made by rubbing the buds of the cannabis plant in hands while bhang is made by drying, grinding, and soaking the buds and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike charas, bhang is not used for smoking. Let’s have a look at how these two injurious mind-altering substances are contrasting with each other.
- Bhang is a mixture produced from leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant.
- Regarded as a drink of Shiva, it is oftentimes used in food and drinks in India.
- Bhang is also known as ayurvedic medicine and is promoted as a remedy to various ailments.
- Even though cannabis is prohibited in India, bhang is recognised as a traditional drink from northern India.
- Charas is widely known as a pure resin drug made from a large Sativa plant.
- Similar to bhang, charas is a prevalent drug among Indians and reflects cultural and religious practice.
- Charas if often mixed with tobacco before it is smoked. Therefore, the health effects of charas are more harmful than bhang.
- Charas abuse is more pervasive along the foothills of the Himalayas.
Different Types of Charas
Charas is one of the oldest forms of cannabis being consumed in India. While there are many variants of charas that can be found all over the world, Malana Cream and Kerala Gold are one of the most consumed and purest classes of charas.
Though they are expensive, people in India are still consuming it very often. Malana Cream and Kerala Gold are touted as the high-quality herb-drug of India.
Malana is a village in Himachal Pradesh where the cannabis plants for making Malana Cream grow in Parvati Valley. This form of charas has not only developed a great reputation of being the best in quality but has also whipped up drug tourism in India.
Despite the government ban on mind-altering substances, the locals of Himachal Pradesh are cultivating Malana Cream and are involved in trading and trafficking it as well.
Kerala Gold, popularly known as Idukki Gold among the locals of Idukki, Kerala, is a hybrid strain of cannabis. This substance is obtained from a variety of marijuana plants in which 80% of the cannabis breed is from India and the rest (20%) is foreign.
Kerala Gold is acclaimed as one of the finest cannabis kinds in Asia and across the world. Idukki district is deemed as the prime spot of smuggling and peddling Kerala Gold and because of this local police are frequent on raiding the area which resulted in the extinction of Kerala Gold in Idukki region.
What Are the Side Effects of Charas? The Adverse Impact of Smoking Charas
When a person gets addicted to drugs, it is not only him/ her who endures but the whole family agonises over the pain. The WHO reports that more than 2.5% of the global population consumes cannabis. Cannabis abuse has grown more rapidly than cocaine and opiate abuse recently.
The effects of charas can be powerful and dangerous. The active ingredient in charas, THC, is in higher concentration than in marijuana or regular hash. And the effects are slightly more powerful as well.
Though the effects of charas can be both short-term and long-term, the customarily use of charas can lead to chronic health problems. Let’s have a look at some common harmful side effects.
Side Effects of Smoking Charas
Long-term respiratory problems – Charas is often mixed with tobacco and smoked using a chillum. When smoke enters the lungs, it leads to the production of phlegm, causing problems in respiration.
Altered consciousness – Charas, if consumed for a longer period, can affect mental functioning and create hallucinations. Such symptoms generally are known as psychedelic effects which can also occur in the form of severe anxiety.
Low immune system – An unhealthy body bids many illnesses. And unfortunately, with severe consumption of charas on a daily basis, you are making your body less resistant and more prone to a low immune system.
Higher risk of cardiovascular issues – Research has shown that smoking charas increases the chances of chest pain. Many people who have been addicted to charas have claimed that charas abuse causes heart palpitations and high blood pressure.
Other Health Effects of Charas
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps
- Extreme sleepiness
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Mental illness or depression
- Anxiety, panic attacks, confusion and a sense of a loss of control
What Happens After Taking Charas?
Often, people who become victims of substance abuse had first tried the substance just out of curiosity to experience how it feels.
For most, cannabis makes them feel relaxed. Sometimes, it can change the sensory perception and lead to hallucination. Others have claimed that charas promotes creativity and also results in paranoia.
These kinds of mind-altering drugs can impact cognitive function and induce addiction. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), repeated abuse of charas during teenage years may result in long-lasting changes in brain function that can hinder educational, professional, and social achievements.
How to Treat Charas Addiction?
Weaning off charas or any kind of substances is not as easy it seems. Even after knowing the ill and adverse effects of charas on the body, people still fall prey to continuous use and can become addicted. Though the charas abuse shows physical and behavioural symptoms, many times it gets unnoticed and people actually cannot make a difference whether the significant changes are because of physiological dependence on drugs or it is a normal feeling. The person who is dependent on a particular substance does not even consider seeking a treatment approach.
Sometimes people who are dependent upon the regular use of charas can get diagnosed with severe mental illness. Charas addiction is a chronic disease and thus requires effective treatment.
Based on scientific research, addiction is treatable but not each treatment is right for everyone. There are many treatment programmes and options available. Hence, one can tailor their needs and choose the path of recovery accordingly.
Types of Treatment Options Available for Charas Addiction
Behavioural counselling is the most common method used to treat drug addiction. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counselling, or both. This kind of therapy applies to treating every drug addiction including charas. During this therapy, the counsellors look forward to knowing the attitudes of patients and their approach towards the drug they are seeking treatment for.
Individualised Treatment Programme
As the name suggests, it is a treatment programme which is tailored to the individual and does not have certain parameters to be counted. This is basically an addiction recovery programme where therapists determine the severity of addiction and adjust the treatment plans according to patient progress. Every rehab and treatment provider operates differently with either more general or individualised programmes for patients.
Charas De-Addiction Centres In India
A number of charas de-addiction centres in India are helping people to quit drugs and heal them to lead a better life. The recovery programme works differently for everyone and also depends upon the way one seeks a therapeutic approach.
Since many of the rehabs have different treatment programmes, narrow down the options and consider what suits the patient best. A path to rebuild self-esteem and gain confidence could be difficult but not impossible. Picking a decent and well functioning rehab can be a vital step toward treating charas addiction.
Charas abuse can make people experience a combination of physical and mental effects, and the body experiences more negative symptoms when used frequently. Therefore, it is important to identify the symptoms and seek medical attention to addiction. .If charas use has become a problem in your life or for someone you care about, seek help and start your recovery today.