WHAT IS HASH?
Hash is also known as Hashish, is a drug made from cannabis. While herbal cannabis is referred as Marijuana, Hashish is cannabis resin. It is consumed by smoking, typically in the pipe, bong, vaporizer or joint, or via oral ingestion. Depending on a region or country, multiple synonyms and alternative names exist.
Hash is an extracted cannabis product composed of a compressed or purified preparations of stalked resin glands, is called trichomes, from the plant. The resin contains elements such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids but often in higher concentrations than the unsifted or unprocessed cannabis flower. Purities of a confiscated Hashish in Europe (2011) range between 4-15 percent. Between 2000 and 2005 the percentage of Hashish in cannabis end product seizures was at 18 percent.
Hashish may be solid or resinous mostly depending on the both preparation and the room temperature; pressed hashish is generally solid, whereas water-purified hashish—often called “bubble melt hash”—is often a paste-like substance with varying firmness and pliability; its color, most commonly light to dark brown, can vary from the transparent to yellow tan, the black or red. This all depends on the process and amount of solvent left over.
Besides it is recreational use, hashish’ active ingredient THC has been of interest for research and medical reasons since its arrival in the 18th century.
Hash in Afghanistan
For centuries, the hash produced in Afghanistan and Turkestan (now Uzbekistan) was considered the best in the world. Over the course of the 16th century, two main factors contributed to a dramatic rise in hashish production over Asia and the Middle East: one being the arrival of tobacco in Europe and Asia, and the other is the emergence of modern dry resin screening techniques. So, on the one hand the worldwide demand for hashish increased drastically, while on the other hand the new developments in processing methods meant that growing demand could be met. The Turkestan hash-producing areas of Bukhara and Samarkand gained a formidable reputation, with a product of such high quality that many of the end users in India (the largest market at that time) considered it the best ever seen.
After a series of Russian invasions of the territory, from 1860 onwards much of the population of these two zones moved southwards, towards the northern zone of Afghanistan, or to the east direction, to the Yarkand area. This led to a boom in the cultivation of cannabis and hashish production in this area of the Afghan territory, where the locals soon learned the techniques of the Turkestan masters, who most likely brought cannabis seeds with them from the genetics they grew in their own areas. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 90,000 kilos of hashish were legally imported into India every year at the end of the 19th century, almost all from Afghanistan or Yarkand, in Chinese Turkestan.
During the 1930s, another wave of immigrants came to Afghanistan from Russian Turkestan. The demand for hashish was now greater than ever, meaning it didn’t take long for cannabis farming to spread to the south of the country, along its borders with Pakistan to the east and Iran to the west. After the Chinese government prohibited cannabis cultivation in the middle of that decade, the Yarkand producers suffered the consequences and greatly reduced production, so that the Asian market was practically entirely in the hands of Afghan dry sift producers and Nepalese artisans from northern India, who continued to make charas (hashish made by hand-rubbing fresh, live flowers).
Throughout the 60s, when the Hippie Hashish Trail was already in full swing, the best hashish that one could find in Asia (with the possible exception of the famous Nepalese Temple Balls) was from the Afghan areas of Mazar-i-Sharif and Balk, both to the north of the country. However, in 1973 the Afghan and Nepalese governments decided to ban cannabis, forcing a change in the situation, especially in Afghanistan. Towards 1980, when Afghanistan was once again starting to see vast fields of cannabis growing outdoors, the war with Russia broke out, meaning many producers and crops (and with them, their genetics) migrated towards the border area with Pakistan. So during the following years, much of the exported commercial hash came from Pakistan, which took over in terms of mass production of sifted resin.
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