In India, there has been a long recorded history of the sacramental use of the Cannabis plant popularly known as "Ganja". Even today there are many religious / spiritual sects in India who use Ganja to attain altered states of consciousness which brings them closer to their inner divinity, allowing wisdom and intuition to rise within their consciousness. A million and more Naga Babas, the Nihangs of Punjab, the Pandas of Orissa all use Cannabis in one form or another and have been doing so for many many years. So how did this amazing plant get to be ostracized by modern society ? Someone obviously doesn't want us all to wake up from the slave driven reality we help co-create.
The illegality of Cannabis in India doesn't stop millions of people living here, who choose to use the herb on a regular basis regardless of the so called law. How is it that we still accept a law which makes a plant illegal ? Doesn't matter which part of the world you live in, there has got to be some sense and coherence in the way we choose to live our lives, freely, without having to accept inane laws that are made to diminish our frequency and keep us enslaved in our self created prisons. The fact is that most people who use Cannabis regularly know the true worth of the sacred herb. The history of the plant and its long recorded use by sages and ascetics is evidence of the magical potential it holds as a plant teacher, a friend.
While most people in the world use Cannabis, the flowering tops (buds) of the female plant, there are some who make use of the resin collected from the buds of a mature plant. Charas, the holy resin from the Cannabis plant is considered a gift from Shiva and is said to aid all Shaivites (People who follow Shiva) in their Sadhana. In the Hindu Kush mountain ranges of India, its Cannabis Indica which thrives and is known to be quite different from Cannabis Sativa strain in its effects.
Cannabis Sativa has a higher level of THC compared to CBD, while Cannabis Indica has a higher level of CBD compared to THC. Cannabis strains with relatively high CBD:THC ratios are less likely to induce anxiety. This may be due to CBD's antagonistic effects at the cannabinoid receptors, compared to THC's partial agonist effect.
CBD is also a 5-HT1A receptor (serotonin) agonist, which may also contribute to an anxiolytic-content effect. This means that the high concentrations of CBD found in Cannabis indica mitigate the anxiogenic effect of THC significantly. The effects of sativa are well known for its cerebral high, while indica is well known for its sedative effects which some prefer for night time use.
Both types are used as medical cannabis. Indica plants are normally shorter and stockier than sativas. They have wide, deeply serrated leaves and a compact and dense flower cluster. The effects of indicas are predominantly physical and sedative.
An interesting documentary called Goonj, about the scene in Himachal, particularly around the Malana village where most villagers have been growing Cannabis as their main cash crop. The documentary features one of India's well known film actors, Naseeruddin Shah who has always been pro cannabis and doesn't shy away from accepting the fact that he loves the herb too and sees the illegality of the plant absolutely illogical.
A Clip from Strain Hunters : India Expedition
Charas from the Himalayas goes all around the world and due to its high quality and popular demand it's value also increases manifold as it crosses borders and makes its way into Europe. In Amsterdam for instance, the coffee shops sell different varieties of Cannabis, Charas and Hashish openly to their customers. Good Charas from India could be anywhere between €10 and €20, maybe more if its really top notch quality !
In India, because of its huge supply and demand, the prices have been sky rocketing. As the Charas leaves the villages of Himachal and makes its way to other Indian cities, the price for a tola (10 gms) could range anywhere between 1k - 3k. The purity of the stash can be questionable though, with all kinds of other stuff added to it as it exchanges hands. Parvati Cream from Himachal is considered the best variety of Charas one can smoke while in India. Its also sometimes referred to as "Junglee Maal" and is really really potent stuff !
The Smoking Babas : Holy Men of India
Although most people prefer rolling a joint which has a mixture of tobacco and charas, in larger groups of regular smokers Chillums are passed around more often with an opening salutation to Shiva ...
... Bom Bholenath ...
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