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A large chunk of Moroccan Melt hash and an individual gram pictured together.

Hashish: A Cultural and Historical Exploration

Hashish, often referred to as hash, is an ancient cornerstone of humanity’s interaction with cannabis. The origin of this cannabis concentrate is a journey through human history. The story extends from the remote corners of ancient civilizations in the Middle East to the heart of our modern-day world.

As we dive into the remarkable tale, a fascinating story emerges – one that’s etched into human history.

What is Hashish?

The term “hashish” comes from Arabic, meaning “grass.” Pressed hash is an early method of extracting and concentrating THC from the cannabis plant. It differs from other cannabis concentrates because of the process of mechanical extraction involved.

A ball of Moroccan Melt hash in a gloved hand.
Handmade hash is a tradition worth keeping alive.

How is Hashish Made?

The creation of hash is an art that revolves around the intricate process of separating, collecting, and compressing trichomes from the cannabis plant. Trichomes, often referred to as ‘kief’ when collected, are tiny, crystal-like structures that reside on the surface of the cannabis plant, particularly on flower. These tiny resinous glands are packed with terpenes and cannabinoids, the compounds responsible for the psychoactive and medicinal properties of cannabis.

Ancient techniques involved rubbing the plant material between the hands to produce heat and mechanically separate the trichomes from the plant to make a type of hash called Charas.

Modern techniques use methods like dry sifting or ice-water extraction. The resulting kief is then subjected to heat and pressure, transforming it into a dense, sticky substance. This powerful concentrate is celebrated for its high potency and the unique profiles of flavors and aromas that come from its parent cannabis strains.

The Origins of Hashish

The relationship between humans and cannabis likely stretches back over millennia. Archaeological evidence suggests ancient civilizations, such as those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China, interacted with cannabis in various forms. It served a range of purposes from medicinal applications to religious rituals and even recreational use.

Middle Ages

One of the first recorded mentions of Hash is in the literary classic, One Thousand and One Nights, also known as Arabian Tales. During the Islamic Golden Age, the hashish eating spread far and wide. It was only later that hashish smoking became more popular.

Renowned travelers and scholars, like Marco Polo, wrote detailed accounts of their encounters with the product, taking them back to Europe and spreading tales across the world. Hash became a recurring theme in Middle Eastern literature, culture, and arts.

Controversial tales also tied hashish to the group known as the Assassins, who were rumored to eat hash before committing assassinations, using it for its intoxicating effects. However, it’s important to note that these stories have been the subject of heated debates over accuracy and myth.

Modern Era (16th-19th century)

The cultural diffusion of hashish didn’t stop at the shores of the Middle East. When Napoleon’s troops were in Egypt, they were exposed to hashish which then found its way into Europe. The mysterious allure of this potent substance fascinated the French, inspiring the formation of the Club des Hashischins in 1843.

Concurrently, scientific investigations into hashish began, with pioneers like Jacques-Joseph Moreau De Tours studying the physiological and psychological effect of hashish. Moreau De Tours experimented on animals and humans, eventually concluding that hashish effects had promising applications in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

At the same time, hashish was making inroads into the Americas, serving a variety of medicinal, industrial, and recreational purposes. Pharmaceutical companies in both Europe and the U.S. began manufacturing tinctures and extracts for use in medicine.

20th Century: Prohibition and Counterculture

The beginning of the 20th century saw a big cultural and legal shift against hashish, mirroring the war on drugs. Many countries, like Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon began cracking down on the production and use of Hashish. Pharmaceutical companies began shifting focus away from cannabis-based medicines. This led to a major decline in popularity and eventually, total prohibition in the United States.

Despite the widespread prohibition, countercultural movements, including the Beat Generation, Hippies, and the Rastafari, embraced smoking hashish as a part of their culture. These movements impacted the portrayal of hashish in media and pop culture, often as a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity.

21st Century: Revival and Legalization

Entering the 21st century, scientific research has delved deeper than ever into the effects and potential benefits of hashish, fueling a global reevaluation of its legal status. The recent wave of legalization has seen key milestones reached in various countries, including the U.S. and Canada shifting the cultural narrative around hashish once again.

Revolution Cannabis, for example, is producing a modern take on traditional Moroccan hash. Moroccan Melts utilize a mix of traditional and modern hash-making techniques that pay homage to the historical significance. Other cultivators are following suit, making hash in legal markets across the country.

Today, interest in hashish making enjoys revived popularity and carries a new significant cultural relevance. It has come to symbolize a society that’s more open to exploring and accepting.

Rev Moroccan Melt 4 Kings in the packaging
Revolution Cannabis Moroccan Melts are a nod to the hash makers of old.

Final Thoughts

The history of hash making serves as an incredible lens through which we can observe the evolving dynamics of societal norms, legal frameworks, and cultural attitudes. From ancient civilizations of the middle east to modern societies, hash’s journey through history mirrors our own shifting perceptions and attitudes towards this ancient substance. As the path forward unfolds, we can only speculate on how these fascinating interactions will continue to evolve.

Sources:

A History of Hashish: Past and Present

The History of Hashish

General Cannabis FAQ

Cannabis, often referred to as marijuana, is a plant that has been used for thousands of years for various purposes, including medicine, textiles, and recreation. The plant contains compounds known as cannabinoids, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most well-known. THC is primarily responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects, while CBD is recognized for its potential therapeutic benefits without causing a “high.”

Many countries and U.S. states have decriminalized or legalized the use of marijuana for medical use, recreational, or both. The legal status changes frequently as legislation evolves.

In the U.S., states vote to regulate marijuana use on an individual basis. While it remains illegal at the federal level, numerous states have legalized it for medicinal and/or recreational use.

The following states have legalized medical, recreational, or both:

  • Alaska – Medical
  • Arizona – Legal
  • Arkansas – Medical
  • California – Legal
  • Colorado – Legal
  • Connecticut – Legal
  • Delaware – Legal
  • District of Columbia – Legal
  • Florida – Medical
  • Hawaii – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Illinois – Legal
  • Louisiana – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Maine – Legal
  • Maryland – Legal
  • Massachusetts – Legal
  • Michigan – Legal
  • Minnesota – Legal
  • Mississippi – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Missouri – Legal
  • Montana – Legal
  • Nevada – Legal
  • New Hampshire – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • New Jersey – Legal
  • New Mexico – Legal
  • New York – Legal
  • North Dakota – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Ohio – Medical (Possession decriminalized)
  • Oklahoma – Medical
  • Oregon – Legal
  • Pennsylvania – Medical
  • Rhode Island – Legal
  • South Dakota – Medical
  • Utah – Medical
  • Vermont – Legal
  • Virginia – Legal
  • Washington – Legal
  • West Virginia – Medical

 

Outside of the U.S., countries like The Netherlands, Canada, and, more recently, Thailand have legalized cannabis on a national level.

Always check local laws and regulations in your specific location.

In states where marijuana has been legalized, you can purchase products at licensed dispensaries. Revolution products are available at Enlightened, Revolution, and partner dispensaries in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and Maryland. Find a dispensary near you.

Keep in mind that dispensaries may cater to medical patients, recreational consumers, or both, depending on local laws.

Always ensure that you are buying from a reputable and licensed establishment to guarantee product quality and safety.

The effects of cannabis vary widely depending on the strain, dosage, method of consumption, an individual’s endocannabinoid system, and more.

Some commonly reported effects include:

Psychoactive Effects: Euphoria, mood elevation, cerebral stimulation, stress relief, calming effects, and relaxation.

Physical Effects: Pain relief, body buzz, anti-inflammation, anti-nausea, energy boost or sedation, and appetite stimulation

*Medical Benefits: Cannabis is believed to have a range of therapeutic effects and alleviation of symptoms related to conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and more.

*Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The primary difference lies in their intended use:

Medical Cannabis: Used as a treatment and alleviation of symptoms for specific health conditions. Medical strains might be cultivated and processed to have higher CBD content or other therapeutic compounds. Medical cannabis requires a physician who usually prescribes or recommends it as a treatment option.

Recreational Cannabis: Used without a medical justification but for personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

The process varies from state to state but typically involves the following steps:

Doctor’s Recommendation: Schedule an appointment with a physician who is authorized to recommend medical marijuana. Discuss your health conditions and reasons for seeking cannabis as a treatment.

Application: Once you have a doctor’s recommendation, you’ll usually need to apply for a medical marijuana card through a designated state or country agency.

Proof & Identification: Provide necessary identification and proof of residency as required by your jurisdiction.

Fee Payment: Most jurisdictions require a fee for the application and issuance of a medical marijuana card.

Card Issuance: Once approved, you will receive your medical marijuana card, allowing you to purchase cannabis at designated medical dispensaries.

If you’d like more detailed information, please read our state-specific medical card guide here.