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Communist Cannabis

I want you to picture a naked Russian man standing next to a horse without a saddle (I promise this has something to do with pot, so hang in there). He’s in the Chu Valley, right between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and it’s a nice day. The grasslands around him are flat and verdant—in fact, he’s standing on the border of a large marijuana forest where the plants are ten feet tall. He’s not alone, but everyone is freshly bathed and naked, just like he is.

The naked man gets on his horse, and a few of his naked friends get on their bareback horses as well, but most remain on their feet. And then the whole group starts singing and laughing, calling out cries of jubilation, right before they ride and run with abandon through the forest of marijuana (which, by the way, is called “dichka” in Russia).

The leaves and buds whip the Russians’ bodies and their horses, and soon, everyone is covered with a thick coating of “kief,” which is a combination of trichome heads and plant matter (all the crystal-goodness that covers ripe marijuana). The group of people, some running and some riding, methodically trample the entire marijuana field so they can collect as much kief as possible, and then they ride or walk back to camp, singing and laughing. Once there, the naked, dichka-covered Russians stand on pieces of canvas, and then different Russians (fully dressed ones) use wooden tools to scrape all the kief off their naked friends and their horses. The mixture of kief and sweat is then pressed into bricks and sundried into Russian Hashish, which they call “Plastilin.” And yes, the grossness of this story makes it a tad difficult to believe, but you can read a corroborating article HERE (but as a tip, do not google “naked Russian hash making” on your company computer like I just did, because the images you’ll find have nothing to do with marijuana). Crazy, right?

This has been going on for as long as dichka has been growing in the Chu valley, and to this day, plastilin is still one of the most sought-after forms of hashish in the world. And the name is interesting, now that I think about it, because once it’s dried, this form of hashish looks and feels just like plasticine clay (the colorful stuff you used to play with in preschool). Granted, most of the reason people search for this stuff is that it’s so rare, so if it were widely available, I doubt people would crave it because hash without human and horse sweat is undoubtably better. And that’s where we come in given that we operate our very own Hash Factory that specializes in making international hashish.

But don’t worry, we won’t be making Russian Hash any time soon because I doubt Colorado would let us do anything naked, and we don’t own any horses. Frankly, I just wanted to tell you about this stuff to prove that we know the down-and-dirty about foreign hashes, and to point out that the international hashes that we do make aren’t nearly as gross. You can read about our Moroccan hash HERE and our Lebanese hash HERE, and you’ll be delighted to know that you can try either one without finding a single horsehair in your pipe. You’re welcome.

That being said, all the blogs I’ve written in the past about our traditional hashes have steered you right here to Durango, Colorado, which is the source for classic concentrates in the Southwest. But did you know that you don’t have to come to Durango to try our hashish? In the past, I imagine it’s been frustrating for you out-of-towners to read about our hash without being able to try it, and for that, I apologize. It’s taken me this long to realize I’ve never told you that our traditional hash is available in over 160 dispensaries across Colorado, and all you have to do to find the closest one is look at our hash-finder map that you can see HERE. Isn’t that wonderful?

The reason that our hashes are so much better than everything else out there is that we don’t use hydrocarbons to make our products; we don’t need butane to make concentrates like everyone else because the old-school way is just fine. We tumble our pot and collect the kief, and then we bake it or press it to make the most wholistic form of hashish you can imagine, and our processes stand the test of time because people have been making hash just like we do for thousands of years. So, come see us, or click on the map to go see one of our friends, because international hashes are wonderful, and because We’re Your Best Buds!

The History of Hashish

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The elusive origins of hashish are steeped in mythology and shrouded in mystery, thus, arriving to a conclusion about just when humans began to craft concentrates from the Cannabis plant is extremely difficult. Archaeological evidence and reference to sieving cannabis resin or hashish seems to appear in 9th century Muslim texts, however, there are also depictions of the Cannabis plant that date back roughly 15,000 years ago to the Neolithic Jomon period, which leads one to ask: when did our ancestors begin to figure out cannabis concentrates? The best we can do is an educated guess: applied knowledge and logical reasoning seem to bring one to the conclusion that our ancient ancestors’ discovery of hashish coincided with evolution of agriculture.

Before moving forward, it may be helpful to clarify what is meant by “Hashish” or, you may have heard it simply referred to as, “hash.” As defined by Hashish Master, Frenchy Cannoli in a Weed World Magazine article, titled The Origins of Concentrate,  hashish is “a psychoactive drug made from sieving the resin glands of dried Cannabis flowers and pressing them with a source of heat.”

As mentioned earlier, there is strong evidence that shows humans have had a relationship with the cannabis plant for thousands of years. In fact, Cannabis was among the very first plants to be “domesticated by humanity” and so, it is reasonable to deduce that we had gained an intimate knowledge of the plant. Anyone with experience in Cannabis cultivation knows the inevitability of the sticky resin buildup on the hands and fingers. Our Neolithic ancestors would have experienced this also, and thus, this inevitable layer of resin on the hands of ancient cannabis cultivators, Frenchy concludes, would theoretically be the first concentrate made, albeit accidentally.

This method of live resin collection, would be rediscovered and named, ‘charas’ thousands of years later in the Himalayas. According to Frenchy, charas is the oldest form of concentrate, and remains the primary collection method employed today in the Himalayas.

Another method of resin collection from dry plants- which involves sieving to separate the resin glands from the plant material- would develop later. While evidence shows that humans have had the basketry technology necessary to sieve seeds from plants, and therefore, adapt that technology to collect dry cannabis resin since prehistoric times, no archaeological evidence exists to date hashish production that far back- although arriving to that conclusion is no great logical leap.

We know, from literary reference  in The Tale of Two Hashish-Eaters from the traditional Arabic text, 1001 Nights, that the use of  hashish was commonly known by the 11th & 12th centuries.  Though it is reasonable to believe it was practiced in 10th century at least from the earliest myth surrounding hashish, The Old Man of the Mountains, Hasan ibn al-Sabbah and his legendary assassins, who were fabled take hashish (it is likely that the word ‘assassin’ is thus derived from ‘hashishin’ as is referenced in the film John Wick III). Beyond these early stories, there is mention to eating hashish in 9th century Muslim texts by alchemists al-Razi and Ibn Wahshiyya. At the earliest, we can be comfortable in saying eating hashish was established sometime around the 9th century.

Early use of cannabis resin concentrate would have first been employed in incense, then the psychoactive properties certainly would have been discovered says master Frenchy Cannoli (perhaps by accidental ingestion of the resin layer on hands of ancient cultivators), and then ingested (as suggested in 1001 Nights), and lastly inhaled as smoke. Cannabis historian, Robert C Clarke, says in his book Cannabis Evolution and Ethnobotany, says that hashish’s use was probably “more widespread than previously recognized.”

Part of hashish’s cloudy origins is likely due to religious beliefs or trade advantages in keeping techniques secretive, explains Frenchy, as was the case with highly valued incense. Olfactory sensations have been used for “sacred or healing purposes” for millennia. Some incenses were valued so highly in the ancient world, that it was obviously advantageous to keep the ‘recipes’ and methods secret. The same would be the case of early hashish methods.

We likely ingested hashish long before we inhaled it, although we could never be certain, there has been three discoveries of pipes that possibly could have been used for cannabis (according to Clarke) that date prior to the Columbian era. What solid evidence that we have, however, seems to indicate that the rise of smoking hashish coincided with the advent of the rise of tobacco smoking from the New World: “Soon after tobacco was introduced to Eurasia, hashish was mixed with it and smoked.” says Robert Clarke. This happens in the early 16th century. Hashish “tagged along on the international success of tobacco, thus the hashish market blossomed anew within a few decades.”

It is impossible to determine exactly when humans began to use hashish or a form of concentrate, however, we do know that the practice had been established by ancient times and was likely discovered long before it was recorded with the methods shrouded in secrecy. Humanity’s relationship with cannabis concentrates has a long and colorful history.

That history is alive today at The Greenery Hash Factory, where we favor tradition in hand-crafting our hashes. The Greenery Hash Factory brings authentic hashish to Colorado in the form of Kief Brick Hash, Lebanese Hash, Moroccan Hash, and Hash Joints. All our hashes can be found at The Greenery, our Durango dispensary, and these dispensaries across the state of Colorado.

We’re your best buds!