Hashish has been referred to in stories from ancient times. Exotic locales like Tangiers, Egypt, the far east…all with whiffs of smokey clouds and a relaxed air. But what is hashish and is it still consumed today?
Hashish, also known as hash, is a concentrated form of cannabis that has been used for centuries for its psychoactive effects.
Cannabis has a long history of cultivation and use, dating back thousands of years. The use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes can be traced back to ancient civilizations in Asia, including China and India. Hashish, specifically, originated in the Middle East and North Africa, where it was traditionally made by collecting the resinous material from cannabis plants.
The person to make hashish known in Europe was Napoleon Bonaparte. The famed French military and political leader. In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt with a scientific expedition team. They conquered the country and looted treasure to bring back to Louvre he remade it to the trove of art known today.
They made another discovery of hashish which had great effect on European culture and literary thought. Prior to the French campaign in Egypt, hashish wasn’t well known in Europe and certainly wasn’t commonly used. The 40,000 French troops stationed in Egypt, however, quickly learned about it. Hashish was ubiquitous in Egypt Hashish was ubiquitous, bought and sold in cafés, markets, and smoking lounges. Lacking access to their customary French wines and liquors and encouraged by Napoleon to embrace Egyptian culture, many French troops took up hashish. When they returned to France and Europe with hashish, it was introduced to a new audience. The public loved it.
Despite efforts by authorities in Europe to paint hashish as an unstable and dangerous substance, many of the Romantic period’s most accomplished artists and writers were brought together because of cannabis. Dubbing themselves Le Club des Hachichins (Hashish-Eaters’ Club), luminaries such as Théophile Gautier, Charles Baudelaire, Gérard de Nerval, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas meet an extoll hashish. The Creative set helped normalized marijuana use and popularized the Romantic era’s bohemian creed: l’art pour l’art (art for art’s sake). Some things never change.
Today, it is recognized as a form of cannabis that contains concentrated amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound. It is often produced by collecting the resinous material from the cannabis plant and then drying and compressing it into various forms. A potent form, it is not suggested for the canna-newbie.
Smoking hashish can be done in several ways, but the pipe remains the most preferred method of all. Pipes have been around for hundreds of years and were used even by the ancient Egyptians. Another easy way is to take your “hash” and roll it into a joint.
Hashish a ancient and powerful cannabis, so be ready for the journey.