Charas

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Charas is the name given to a hashish form of cannabis which is hand-made in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India. It is made from the resin of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or Cannabis Indica). The plant grows wild throughout Northern India, Pakistan and the Himalayas (its putative origin) and is an important cash crop for the local people.

History of charas

Charas has been used across the Indian sub-continent for medicinal and religious purposes for thousands of years,. The Times of India, 14 March 2008. and was sold in government shops (along with opium) in the early days of the British EmpireReport of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1893–94. Simla, India: Government Central Printing House, 1894, 7 vols., .

Charas plays an important and often integral role in the culture and ritual of certain sects of the Hindu religion, especially among the Shaivs—- the sub-division of Hinduism holding Lord Shiva to be the supreme god (in contrast to Vaishnavs who believe Lord Vishnu as being topmost)-- and it is venerated by some as being one of the aspects of Lord Shiva.

Despite this long history, charas was made illegal in India in the 1980s and severe sentences were introduced. Even the mere possession had a mandatory ten year prison sentence. These laws have now been somewhat relaxed; however, charas has remained a popular medium for police to extort money from consumers of the drug.

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