Hashish is another name for hash, which is a concentrated form of cannabis that is made by separating the trichomes (resin glands) from the cannabis plant material, and then compressing the resulting powder into a brick or ball.
Early beginnings of hash use
The earliest evidence of human use of hashish (or cannabis in general) dates back to the 3rd millennium BC in Central Asia. Evidence of cannabis use was found in the cemetery of Yanghai in China’s Turpan Basin, where cannabis was buried alongside the remains of individuals who lived around 2500 BC. These landrace strains, which have been growing in the wild for thousands of years, are considered to be the purest forms of cannabis.
There is also evidence of cannabis use in ancient cultures such as the Scythians, a nomadic people who lived in what is now Russia and Central Asia between the 9th and 1st centuries BC. These people are believed to have used cannabis in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes.
It is unclear whether hashish was specifically used in the neolithic or stone age period, but it is likely that ancient humans were aware of the psychoactive properties of cannabis, and may have used it for various purposes. However, there is no concrete evidence for hashish use specifically during those eras.
Was hash used in the ancient world?
There is evidence that hashish, or a modified form of it, was used in the ancient and classical world.
- In the ancient Persian Empire, the drug was known as “qunubu” and was used as a recreational drug by the elite. The 10th century Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna wrote in “The Canon of Medicine” that hashish can “induce lethargy, reduce feelings of anxiety and promote sleep”.
- In ancient Egypt, there is evidence that cannabis was used for medicinal and ritualistic purposes. The ancient Egyptians used hashish as a treatment for glaucoma, inflammation, and as a pain reliever.
- In ancient Greece, the historian Herodotus wrote about the Scythians, a group of nomads from Central Asia, who would throw cannabis seeds on hot stones as part of their religious rituals, and inhale the resulting smoke.
- In India, cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. The ancient Indian text Atharvaveda, written around 2000–1400 BCE, mentions the use of cannabis as a medicine.
However, it is important to note that these ancient cultures likely didn’t use hashish in the same form or method as it is used today. The technology to make cannabis extracts such as hashish only became available in the last few centuries.
Hash in modern times
In more modern times, the use of hashish spread from Central Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
In the 19th century, French doctors began experimenting with hashish as a treatment for various medical conditions. One of the most notable figures in this field was Jacques-Joseph Moreau, a French psychiatrist who wrote a book in 1845 called “Hashish and Mental Illness” in which he described his experiments with the drug and its effects on mental health.
In the early 20th century, the use of hashish and other forms of cannabis spread to the United States and other parts of the world. It became popular among jazz musicians, writers, and other artists.
Throughout the 20th century, the use of hashish has been a contentious issue, with many governments around the world instituting laws to prohibit its use. In recent years, several countries and states have begun to relax their laws on cannabis, and in some places, it has been decriminalized or legalized for medical and recreational use.
How is hash made?
Hashish is made by separating the trichomes, which are the resin glands containing the psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plant, from the plant material. This separation can be done in a variety of ways, some of which have been used for centuries, while others are more modern techniques.
Traditionally, hashish was made by hand using techniques such as dry sifting or rubbing the resin off of the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. The collected trichomes were then pressed together to form a brick or ball of hashish. This traditional method of making hashish is still used in some parts of the world today, particularly in countries where the production and use of hashish is part of a long-standing cultural tradition.
In more recent times, new techniques have been developed to create hashish on a larger scale, such as using mechanical sifters or solvents to separate the trichomes from the plant material. These methods allow for a more efficient and larger scale production of hashish.
In some countries, they extract cannabis strains with chemicals such as butane or alcohol to produce a more potent form of hash oil. This type of hash oil can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing or can be infused into edibles. It’s important to note that the way hash is made can vary depending on the local laws, customs and culture. In some countries, the production of hash is illegal, while in others it is a traditional practice that has been passed down through generations.
References and additional reading
- Russo, E. B. (2001). Hashish! In: Handbook of Cannabis. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Guzmán, M. (2003). The Genus Cannabis. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Slade, D. (2006). Perception and the Physical World: Psychological and Philosophical Issues. Psychology Press.
- Trichter, S. (2015). High Culture: Marijuana in the Lives of Americans. University Press of Kentucky.
- Al-Faris, N. A. (1994). Hashish: The Joy of Life. A M Phil thesis. Al-Faris, N. A. (1994). Hashish: The Joy of Life. A M Phil thesis.
- Rätsch, C. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co.
- Gootenberg, P. (2008). Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. University of North Carolina Press.
- Hassan, R. (2011). Hashish! Algora Publishing.
These references provide a historical and scientific perspective on hashish, including its use, cultural significance, and botanical classification. They also discuss the effects of hashish on perception and the physical world, and provide additional information on the history and use of hashish, both in the past and present.