Illicit drugs

Hashish: Types, Strengths, Benefits and Side Effects

Hashish, also known as hash, is a concentrated form of cannabis resin that has been used for centuries for its psychoactive effects. The use of cannabis, including hashish, dates back thousands of years. The earliest evidence of hashish production and consumption can be traced to ancient civilizations in Central Asia, including regions that are now parts of modern-day China, India, and Pakistan. The Scythians, an ancient nomadic group, were known to use cannabis for various purposes, including the production of hashish.

Spread to the Middle East: Hashish made its way to the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age (8th to 14th centuries). Its use became particularly prevalent in Persia (present-day Iran), where it was associated with mystical and religious practices. Sufis, a mystical Islamic sect, used hashish to induce altered states of consciousness and engage in spiritual rituals.

Hashish was introduced to Europe during the 19th century through various trade routes. Napoleon’s soldiers, who encountered hashish during their campaigns in the Middle East, played a role in popularizing its use in Europe. Hashish became associated with exoticism and was consumed by artists, writers, and intellectuals who sought inspiration or sought to explore altered states of consciousness.

The early 20th century saw increasing restrictions on cannabis and its derivatives, including hashish. Many countries implemented laws that criminalized the production, sale, and use of cannabis-based products, including hashish. The prohibitionist approach to cannabis spread globally, fueled by moral and political concerns.

In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in cannabis and its derivatives, including hashish. The push for cannabis legalization and decriminalization in various countries has led to a more nuanced approach to its use. In some places, particularly where cannabis has been legalized for medicinal or recreational purposes, there has been a resurgence in the production and consumption of hashish.

Types Of Hashish

The quality and characteristics of hashish can vary depending on various factors, including the strain of cannabis, cultivation methods, extraction techniques, and processing.

Different regions are known for producing hashish with distinct flavors, aromas, and effects. The Pakistani hashish is considered as one of the best in the world. Other historically renowned regions for hashish production include:

  1. Morocco: Morocco has a long-standing tradition of producing hashish, particularly in the Rif Mountains. Moroccan hashish is often characterized by its dark color, soft and pliable texture, and earthy flavors. It is one of the strongest types of hash.
  2. Afghanistan: Afghanistan has a rich history of hashish production. Afghan hash is known for its potency, aromatic scent, and sticky consistency. It is often made from landrace strains native to the region and among the top 10 hashish in the world
  3. Lebanon: Lebanese hashish is highly regarded for its quality. It is typically made from indigenous cannabis strains and has a unique spicy and floral aroma.
  4. India: Charas, a traditional form of hand-rolled hashish, has been produced in the Himalayan regions of India for centuries. It is known for its sticky texture, strong fragrance, and potent effects.

It’s important to note that the availability and quality of hashish can vary greatly depending on legal restrictions and local market dynamics. Additionally, personal preferences for hashish can vary from individual to individual, as different people may have different tastes and experiences.

Is Hashish Legal?

The legality of hashish varies from country to country and even within different regions or states. Here is a general overview of the legal status of hashish in different parts of the world:

1.      Legal or Decriminalized: Some countries have legalized or decriminalized the use and possession of cannabis, including hashish, for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. Examples include Canada, Uruguay, and certain states in the United States (such as Alaska, California, Colorado, and Washington).

2.      Medicinal Use: Many countries have implemented medical cannabis programs that allow for the medical use of cannabis or cannabis-based products. The legality of hashish for medical purposes may vary within these countries, and it is typically regulated and requires a prescription or authorization.

3.      Illegal: In most countries, hashish is considered illegal. This includes many countries in Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa, where strict drug laws are enforced. Possession, cultivation, trafficking, or use of hashish can lead to criminal charges and legal consequences.

It’s important to research and understand the specific laws and regulations regarding cannabis and hashish in your country or region. These laws are subject to change, and some jurisdictions may have more lenient or stricter approaches toward cannabis and its derivatives. Always comply with local laws and consult legal sources or professionals for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

HashisH Benefits And Side Effects

Hashish, like other forms of cannabis, contains psychoactive compounds, primarily THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and can produce a range of effects. Here are some potential benefits and side effects associated with the use of hashish:


1.      Pain Relief: THC has been found to have analgesic properties and can help alleviate pain, including chronic pain conditions such as neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia.

2.      Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Hashish can induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

3.      Improved Sleep: Some individuals report that hashish helps them achieve better sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing insomnia symptoms.

4.      Appetite Stimulation: THC has been known to increase appetite, which can be beneficial for individuals with conditions that result in appetite loss or decreased food intake.

5.      Nausea and Vomiting Relief: Cannabis, including hashish, has been used to alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with certain medical conditions or treatments like chemotherapy.

Side Effects:

1.      Impaired Cognitive Function: Hashish use can impair short-term memory, attention, and concentration. It may also affect coordination and reaction time, potentially leading to difficulties in tasks that require focus and motor skills.

2.      Increased Heart Rate: THC can cause an increase in heart rate, which may be of concern for individuals with cardiovascular conditions or predispositions.

3.      Dry Mouth and Eyes: Hashish use can lead to temporary dryness of the mouth and eyes, commonly referred to as “cottonmouth” and “red eye” respectively.

4.      Anxiety and Paranoia: In some individuals, particularly those who are more sensitive to THC, hashish can induce feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or increased self-consciousness.

5.      Addiction and Dependence: Like other forms of cannabis, hashish has the potential for addiction and dependence, especially with long-term and heavy use.

It’s important to note that the effects of hashish can vary depending on factors such as the potency of the product, the individual’s tolerance, and the method of consumption. Additionally, the legal status of hashish varies across different countries and regions, so it’s crucial to be aware of and adhere to the laws in your area. As with any substance, responsible and informed use is recommended.

What is the difference between Hashish vs Charas?

Hashish and charas are both forms of cannabis resin but are often associated with different regions and methods of production. Here’s a comparison between hashish and charas:

1.      Production Method: Hashish is typically made by collecting the resin glands, also known as trichomes, from cannabis flowers. These resin glands contain the psychoactive compounds, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The collected resin is then pressed into blocks or cakes, resulting in hashish. Charas, on the other hand, is made by hand-rubbing the resin from the flowers, leaves, and stems of the cannabis plant. The resin is rolled into balls or sticks, which are then ready for use.

2.      Regional Associations: Hashish is more commonly associated with regions like Morocco, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and India. Different production techniques and strains of cannabis contribute to variations in the appearance, aroma, and potency of hashish from these regions. Charas, on the other hand, is primarily associated with the Indian subcontinent, particularly the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

3.      Appearance and Consistency: Hashish typically appears as a solid, compact substance ranging in color from light brown to dark black, depending on the production method and the purity of the resin. It has a range of consistencies, from brittle and crumbly to sticky and pliable. Charas, on the other hand, has a softer and more malleable texture, often resembling a putty or play-dough consistency. It can vary in color from light brown to dark green.

4.      Potency and Flavor: The potency and flavor of hashish and charas can vary depending on factors such as the strain of cannabis used, the part of the plant from which the resin is collected, and the production techniques employed. Both hashish and charas are known for their high THC content, which contributes to their psychoactive effects. The flavor profile can range from earthy and spicy to floral and fruity, again depending on the specific strain and production methods.

5.      Cultural Significance: Hashish and charas have cultural and historical significance in different regions. In countries like Morocco and Afghanistan, hashish has been a part of the local culture and economy for centuries. In the Indian subcontinent, charas has been associated with spiritual practices, particularly within certain Hindu sects and Sadhus (holy men) who use it during religious rituals and meditation.

It’s worth noting that the terms “hashish” and “charas” are sometimes used interchangeably, and there can be variations in their usage depending on the context and region. Ultimately, both hashish and charas are forms of cannabis resin, and their effects and usage are similar, primarily due to their high THC content.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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