If you want to enjoy cannabis, there are more ways than just smoking it. There are all kinds of marijuana products in the world, each of them unique to their location and type of marijuana that is available to users.
While the production of marijuana edibles and extracts might be pretty familiar to some cannabis users, there are still a few cannabis products that remain unknown to the majority. One of these unknowns is cannabis charas. This mysterious, globular substance is popular all over the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean, but what exactly is it?
Here’s our complete guide, plus how to make charas for yourself, so you don’t have to fly all the way to India to enjoy it.
What Is Charas?
Charas is a cannabis product that is similar to hashish, with a few key differences. Both charas and hashish are made from the frosty white trichomes that coat the outer layer of cannabis buds and flowers.
These trichomes are typically considered the high-quality parts of the bud. People either leave them in place for smoking or harvest them separately for the purpose of making things like charas or hashish.
The main difference between charas and hashish is that hashish is made from dried plant matter. Charas, meanwhile, is only ever made from fresh flowers and buds. This means the final product is far more resinous. However, some cannabis purists consider any form of hashish from the Indian subcontinent to be charas, as they utilize similar techniques.
There are lots of interesting methods for making it, from industrial processes in factories to classic and traditional methods that involve pressing and rolling cannabis plants until they’re like leather.
However, as long as you end up with a resinous ball or stick of charas, you will still be using the right thing. So, how do you make your own charas?
How Do You Make Your Own Charas? Sourcing the Ingredients
The first thing you need to do to make charas is to source some trichomes from fresh bud. What you need to do is find some freshly trimmed cannabis flowers. Ideally, you are only getting them from a cannabis plant that isn’t quite at complete maturity. Roughly three weeks away from being harvestable is best, as this is when they have the highest trichome content.
This can be pretty hard to get, so you might need to try and order trichomes from a specialty store. However, the best way is to get some of the highest quality buds you can, preferably from a strain that you like. Head to your local dispensary and pick out your favorite strain – and make sure to get a lot of it.
If you can’t get the resinous, slightly tacky cannabis flower that is perfect for making charas, then you might need to go to your nearest cannabis farm. If you ever struggle to get what you need from stores, then you should go to the places that supply the stores themselves.
Make sure to let the farmer know why you are looking for some fresh cannabis flower. They might be even more interested in helping you if they find out you are trying to make something as interesting as homemade charas.
How To Make Your Own Charas: The Process
The first step is to make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands of any dirt or particulate. This is incredibly important because even the slightest contamination can hugely affect the production of charas.
Next, you need to take your buds and rub them between your hands in a gentle fashion. This is a vital step, as you are bruising the buds and encouraging them to release excess resin.
This part can take a long time, as it requires a huge amount of pressure and constant manipulation to release the buds’ resin. The best thing to do is to listen to an audiobook or watch a movie, as this can end up taking hours at a time, depending on how much you want.
As you do this, the sticky goo will start to leak out of the buds, sticking to your hands and likely congealing on your fingers and hands. For traditional charas, you want to keep going with more and more cannabis flowers until your hand is completely coated with this sticky resin.
To make a super simple and easy charas, and in fact the most traditional kind, simply rub your hands together slowly with consistent back and forth motions. This will force the sticky resin to congeal into a ball or a stick, depending on the direction you move your hand.
Once you have it in a ball, this is your final charas; it’s essentially nothing more than congealed resin and is incredibly easy to enjoy as it is. Keep it stored away from the air in a completely sealed vessel, ideally wrapped in plastic wrap to avoid any kind of contamination from the air around it.
How to Enjoy Your Homemade Charas
Smoking Charas is incredibly easy and is by far the most enjoyable way to imbibe it. You simply need to put a small amount of charas in a pipe or, alternatively, roll it into a joint. The best way to do this is to slice off a small amount with a knife or warm your hands up and try to pinch it off with your thumb and forefinger.
For smoking it in a joint, you only need to roll it out into a long cylinder so that it will sit easily in a rolled joint. You can then mix it with a regular bud that you have ground up recently. Roll it tightly, and enjoy.
To enjoy it in the most traditional way, you can put it in a device known as a chillum. A chillum is a straight smoking pipe that was first made in India when tobacco was introduced to the native peoples there.
You load the pipe up with your charas and then light it continuously, holding the pipe hole shut with your hand and puffing away. It might not be the easiest or most convenient way to enjoy charas, but it is certainly the one that looks the coolest.
You can also enjoy your charas using a water bong, or a water vaporizer, so long as you are quick to ignite and smoke it. If you leave your charas too long in the bowl, then you risk overly oxidizing it.
Considering you make charas in the open air and roll it in the hands, it has already been exposed to a lot of air as you were making it. You really don’t want to make it any worse by leaving your charas sitting in the bong’s bowl, losing quality over time, and getting worse.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Charas
Charas is a bit of a weird cannabis product, as it is sort of like hashish, but also like a cannabis shatter. You can smoke, vape, or enjoy it however you like. People typically smoke it exactly like shatter or cannabis wax, yet it isn’t made industrially.
While you could certainly make it using industrial practices, by exerting pressure on cannabis flowers constantly using machines and thermo pressure, or even water forces, it will never really be the right product.
Charas is something that needs to be made by hand, with tender love and care. If you ever get a chance to sample charas from a machine and charas that an expert roller’s hands have created, you will be able to tell the difference immediately. If you really want to enjoy some charas the right way, as natives of India have been enjoying it for centuries, then you need to make it by hand.
The only other thing you need to keep in mind when making homemade charas is that, due to the resin’s sticky nature, you will likely end up with a complete mess on your hands. To remove stubborn charas stains, both on your hands and on your carpet, you can try to rub it off using distilled vinegar, or plenty of hot water and soap.
One of the most significant benefits of making your own charas is that you get to pick the strain. You can decide the flavor, the aroma, and the effects of what you enjoy. And, if you make it yourself, you can appreciate the effort that went into making it too!