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  1. Introduction………………………………….01
  2. Primordial Cannabis varieties of
    N.W. Himalayas………………………………..04
  3. Climate & Culture …………………………11
  4. Commonly observed physical
    Characterstics & phenology……………..37
  5. The Valleys of Malana…………………..61
    5.1. Nirang Village
    5.2. Waichin Valley
    5 3. Wailing Valley
  6. Extraction of Resin…………………………91

India has known about the cannabis as both a useful and a sacred plant from the very dawn of the civilizations and has since used the plant for important life saving applications such as medicine, food, and even shelter. Inked in the ancient vedas by the Indian scholars are some of the earliest documented accounts of cannabis used as a medicine that goes back to 2000 BCE, and even the people who invaded India couldn’t stay too far from this plant,e.g. the Portuguese who captured Goa in 1510, quickly learned how cannabis played an important role in Indian culture, day to day applications and especially about the narcotic effects of the plant.

O bangue é formado por folhas secas e hastes tenras de cânhamo (Cannabis sativa, Lin.) que se fumam o mascam e que embriaga como o ópio. {Translation} : Bangue (Bhang) is made of dry leaves and tender stems of hemp, which they smoke or Garcia de orta A botanist who wrote about foreign cannabis colonies of Portugal in 1534 in his work “Glossário luso-asiatico”. chew, and it intoxicates like opium Even during the British colonial rule in India which lasted over 200 years, in 1894 an extensive study was conducted and a report was published by an indo-british team known as Indian hemp drugs commission, which pinned down the Physical, psychological and socio-cultural effects of cannabis in India.

The Indian Sub-continent is Geographically situated in such a way that a diverse range of climates could be experienced from equatorial/Coastal to Cold Desert/Tundra itself. It also makes possible

for a wide spectrum of plants and animals to thrive at different parts of the country, which go on to adapt differently overtime due to the contrasting climate zones from north to south.

The local climate gradually shapes the plant’s morphology to a great extent towards the most favourable embodiment to survive and reproduce. One of the central themes we will keep visiting in this document will be the effect of the climate zones on the inhabiting flora. Climate is one of the main reasons why we encounter a completely different looking/smelling population of cannabis as we travel across different climate zones.

e.g. A plant flowering near Equator takes nearly 16 weeks to complete it’s flowering cycle and finish somewhere in the month of December or January. whereas at the same time in the Himalayan Terroir of Northern-west India, seeds would still be sitting dormant under the layer of Fresh Snow, waiting for the spring at the same time of the year

Such is the state of the geographical diversity, especially when we speak of cannabis since its one of the few plants which can easily be found in every corner of India.


Cannabis can be found growing in virtually every direction you go to in India However, NorthWestern Himalayan region in India is widely cited as the biggest charas producing region in the Country

Featuring the notorious and the elusive highland Himalayan villages, spreading all the way from Kashmir to Himachal and down to the China border in Uttarakhand. Any enquiry concerning cannabis in India is incomplete without understanding the role of not only North-West

Himalayan region but also the other north Indian regions, such as – Jammu, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Although it is to be noted duly that Punjab and Haryana being flat lands amongst the listed states doesn’t have any rigorous cultivation or large feral fields of cannabis anymore just like the capital state New Delhi where an exponentially rising population has already taken a severe toll on the nature and some of the regional Land race varieties from these areas have either vanished or are on the verge of being lost forever.

The primordial* cannabis populations of Cannabis in northern India spans all the way from the northernmost fringes of the Himalayan states like Kashmir bordering Pakistan (Lolab Valley) to the other himalayan states located at lower latitudes such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and then to the flatland territories of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Indo-Gangetic plains (Uttar Pradesh & Bihar) which borders lower Terai regions of Nepal.

A number of different sets of terroir could be observed across these regions, which involves a variety of different climates, soil profiles, cultural practices (domestication/purposes/uses) and so much more that can not be readily observed and that which has to be often reduced by looking at the cannabis populations itself but nevertheless all of these small factors influences the evolutionary process of the local cannabis varieties in a considerable way, but somehow Cannabis as a plant has been able to find home in almost all of these places despite the telling differences in the terroir and even so much so in cultures.

The adaptations more than often takes place in an excruciatingly slow and random fashion in nature which is hard to take note of very clearly, as it is happening although what we can observe explicitly is how the physical embodiment and the critical features of these cannabis populations change in tandem with the changes in their respective surroundings.. Amongst the regions with very little differences in the terroir these changes are also subtle and negligible but with more drastic changes in the terroir the adaptations become rather conspicuous.

This insurmountable trail of both wild and feral cannabis populations in North India could be seen expressing various characteristics exclusive to the changes around their natural habitats. e.g. In last 100 years or so after industrial revolution the extensive Artificial Lightning and night lights have changed the landscape in which these plants used to grow and in many urban centers we can observe small fragmented populations of cannabis growing under fixed street lights or other such artificial sources, However, Cannabis being a photo-period dependent plant species, it seems to adapt towards an auto flowering expression in order to be able to reproduce and survive it’s lineage successfully.

An example of this kind of radical change could be observed readily now in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana both of which are bordered with Himachal Pradesh at the cusps of the Shivalik ranges.


An unusually high propensity for monoecious traits, auto-flowering traits or a combination of both is observed amongst the mostly wild and some feral cannabis populations in Punjab growing naturally at the cusps of the shivalik mountain ranges that skews further north-West into the Himachal Pradesh. These cannabis populations which are usually affected by the artificial lightning on streets and nearby homes show by and large 4 different types of natural strategies amongst them, in order to still be able to effectively Reproduce and survive their lineage.

1.Auto flowering
2.Photo-period dependent
3.Auto flowering & monoecious
4.Photo-period dependent & Monoecious

It is not clear in what proportions these genotypes emerge within the larger population but these 4 distinctly different expressions can be easily seen in the areas affected by regular night (flood lights) or street lights. These changes brought about by human interference doesn’t seem to be of any particular benefit yet costs the state government a hefty sum of money every year to clear the rampant wild cannabis population from the urban centers. This is not a unique situation which is confined to Punjab and Haryana, Most of the Southeast Asia, central Asia and even densely populated parts of Africa like Congo, now has cannabis and human beings interacting in a very similar way, resulting in “ditch weed” or unproductive plant expression which can neither contribute in the resin department nor in the fiber and produces extremely small seeds with low viability.


Himachal Pradesh as a state even though is almost entirely located in the laps of the Great Himalayas, but is still easily segregable into 3 Major Zones as it rises from the foothills of the shivalik ranges and traverses through the subtropical highlands, further extending straight into the trans himalayan ranges on tibetian plateau.

These 3 separate ranges dissect through the Himachal Pradesh, can be characterized by –

1. Greater Himalayas (Himadri) Mainly Trans himalayan cold desert (High elevation, cold desert, alpinetundra climate

2. Lesser Himalayas (Himachal) Mainly Subtropical Highlands (Mid-high elevation, Highlands with mainly Alpine climate

 3. Outer Himalayas (Shivalik) Mainly low elevation, terai regions with temperate climateThese 3 major ranges inside the Himachal Pradesh gives rise to a variety of different climate conditions, mainly due to the differences in the altitude more than the latitude positioning itself since all of the 3 ranges lies within 31- 33 degrees north of the equator.

Graphical representation of climate zones/snow cover period against flowering duration.


Monsoon is one of the most important climate event that takes place in India between July to September of each year, it affects most of the India beginning from south-West/south of the India as it travels up to the central, north east and north western himalayan regions on a collision course with the towering himalayan peaks between India and China.

During the monsoon season the precipitation goes up by more than 100% for most of the regions, especially the subtropical highlands of the Himachal Pradesh, districts such as Kullu and Manali see plentiful rains and humidity can stay consistently around 90% for weeks on.

The monsoon season is absolutely vital for the domesticated cannabis populations in the subtropical highlands e.g. (Kullu district), where not just the timing of the monsoon rains but also the amount of precipitation monsoon brings each year matters just as much. In 2018 the monsoon rains arrived late in the north-western Himalayas and hence lasted for much longer than the usual, it proved out to be a disastrous year for the cannabis farmers, the late retreat of the monsoon rain resulted in continuously over-casted weather coupled with rain even during the late September and entire October as well.

The period between mid september to late october in north western Himalayas is one of the most critical parts in the plants entire life cycle, since the pollinated (perigonal) bracts begin to swell up rapidly around this time as the seed formation takes place and It brings about a dramatic change in the girth of the flowering bud over a short period of time, so any weather related disruption such as a late monsoon retrieval can cause substantial damage to the quality of the resin and delay the seed ripening period in the wake of less than ample sunshine in the last leg of the flowering.

However, the cannabis populations in these regions have evolved in a number of ways to tackle the issues that arise from wet surroundings during the flowering period A majority of the population features sticky resin texture and airy flowers to avoid stagnant moisture around the bracts during the rain pour or simply periods of high humidity in the night time and the early morning.

The subtropical climate coupled with the Domestication efforts in the highlands have both definitively shaped the overall structure and some of the fine characteristics of the plant allowing it to grow much taller, robust with an open structure ideal for letting the frequent high speed winds blow through them without much damage to the plant, which becomes even more critical when we look at the cannabis plantations which are grown all along the Mountain slopes to maximize the light exposure.

The story of Domestication of Cannabis varieties in High altitude Valleys of Himachal Pradesh can be read through the differences in the overall vigor between both, Domesticated Varieties grown at Higher Altitude Valleys and the Primordial Cannabis populations from the adjoining but low lying and densely populated valleys. To begin with the Higher Altitude Valleys like Malana, which are not only situated at higher altitudes that of 2200 meters and above but also located at a higher latitude position which is 32°N and above but below 33° N at all places.

Just as there are distinct features which are typical to a plant population adapted to a certain ecological habitat, similarly the human Domestication efforts (artificial Selection) also have the ability to leave an indelible mark on the populations which can be typically observed in the form of : Marked improvement in overall vigor compared to the Primordial population they were derived from. e.g. bigger leaves with broader leaflets, increased root mass, robust upright stems with increased girth, larger yields and higher VOC production etc.

Now, the Primordial land race populations found randomly growing in the low altitude and densely populated valleys of Himachal Pradesh, shows almost none of the above mentioned features and as a result are normally characterized by a lack of overall vigor , in terms of smaller and narrower leaflets, small root mass, spindly/feeble stems, smaller yields both bract wise and VOC (Volatile organic compounds).

North Indian Redstem, Primordial Landrace
Variety (Foothills of Shivalik Ranges)
Malana Valley, Domesticated Landrace Variety.

In a nutshell the Domesticated Landrace varieties growing in the High altitude Valleys of Himachal Pradesh differ significantly from their Primordial predecessors, owing mostly to a more conducive environment for cannabis to thrive in and shear ingenuity of a few indigenous communities in the Himachal Pradesh.

North Indian Redstem, Primordial Landrace
Variety (Foothills of Shivalik Ranges)
Malana Valley, Domesticated Landrace Variety.

One of the more reliable ways of understanding the level of domestication that a certain variety has gone under is by looking at the physical attributes of the seed itself, amongst the wild/semi domesticated populations of cannabis the timing of seed ripening often vary and takes place throughout the flowering period and gets self dispersed in the ground to be germinated next season.

By doing this the plants are able to ensure that the seeds will germinate at different times and some seeds will eventually germinate during a favourable time of the year, providing an advantage to thrive and reproduce the next generation of seeds. In this way season over season only the seeds which are genetically predisposed to germinate at the correct time are able to reproduce and these traits become hardwired into the populations since it is integral to their survival

Now, In most other regions where cannabis is domesticated properly, farmers either harvest the seeds at random and take them inside in safety of the house until the next season or make annual selections for the seeds to be sown next year, with the human intervention some of the features or rather adaptations gradually disappear in the domesticated seeds for example the seeds no longer had to bear a protuberance on one of the ends, which usually develops later in the seed and pushes it out of the bract for dispersal, since the farmers harvest the seeds manually and neither did the seeds have to survive the winters in the ground, slowly getting their shells withered away by natural wear and tear somehow to germinate at just the right time (spring), so the hard shells also eventually became more brittle since only the seeds which sprouted right away during the sowing season got to grow the full season and make more seeds every generation winning the evolutionary race.

For example : if we look at the 4 sets of seeds illustrated above, we can easily spot a stark difference in their sizes. As you move from right to Left, the Size varies (increasing order) specifically as we move from wild, towards the domesticated varieties and eventually the Chinese hemp seeds, which are specifically selected/bred for bigger seeds.

The reason for the invariable increase in size and brittleness of the shell from wild to domesticated varieties can be again understood from what happens to the seeds of each respective variety upon ripening

The Valleys of Malana

Certain Regions of Kullu District in he Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh are notorious for cultivating Cannabis e.g. Parvati and Malana Valley.

At a glance the Cannabis populations here seems to be quite similar in the way they grow and attain a particular embodiment which consists of a long hemp like bare stalk, Big leaves with medium to narrow leaflets, Hollow stems etc.

However when we take a deeper look at these populations and begin to grow and test these plants in ex-situ cultivation it becomes evident that there are at least 3 different chemotypes contributing towards 3 specific plant types with distinctly different phytochemical compositions.

Within the larger populations we have plants that produce THC and CBD, the plants which only produce CBD and plants which only produce THC.

To briefly understand this phenomenon It can be broken down into 3 distinct chemotypes as identified and published in “The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis sativa L.” Etienne P. M. de Meijer,*,1 Manuela Bagatta, Andrea Carboni,Paola Crucitti, V. M. Cristiana Moliterni, Paolo Ranalli and Giuseppe Mandolino,

1. BT/BT – THC dom. plants
2. BD/BD – CBD dom. Plants
3. BT/BD – THC/CBD intermediate

 Where BT denotes the presence of allele dom for THC so having homozygosity for this allele at a specific region in the DNA (locus) results in the plants which primarily converts precursor cannabinoids into THCA.

Similarly being homozygous for allele BD at the same locus results in plants which convert the precursors Cannabinoids into CBDA only. 3rd is an intermediate heterozygous chemotype with BT/BD alleles paired up resulting in plants that will ultimately produce both CBD and THC in various proportions. The intermediate chemotype seems to be quite dominantly present within the farmed populations at Regions like Parvati and Malana while pure THC or CBD producing plants seems to be lesser comparatively. Since, resin is produced by rubbing the plants at random in the Valley, the farmers end up with Charas made from a random mix of plants with fewer High THC, or CBD and mostly intermediate type THC/CBD plants.

The rigorously Farmed cannabis varieties at various places in the Malana Valley such as Waichin, Wailing, Nirang etc. All of these valleys share a similar subtropical Highland climate they still tend to show a great amount of genotypic variability amongst the larger populations evident through a variety of phenotypic expressions spread across these glorious valleys.

These plants not only differ in the way they embody certain characteristics but also in terms of resistance towards the marginal environmental conditions such as diseases, pests or cold weather, but the awe inspiring diversity present amongst these traditionally farmed cannabis populations is largely due to being able to freely cross pollinate within the larger span of the valleys, which also ultimately ensures or invariably increase the chances of survival of the species through catastrophic or sudden changes in the surroundings purely by having a diverse population of individuals varying in a number of physical and molecular aspects from each other.

Commonly Observed Physical Characteristics and Phenology

With all the subtle to larger variations that these populations have amongst themselves there are certain attribute which are quite similar across the board and because they are absolutely essential for the survival of the organism at that particular terroir. All 3 Sub-Valleys (Waichin, Wailing and Nirang Village) are inside the subtropical

Highlands zone which basically span between the mid latitudes featuring altitudes higher than 1500 meters ( under 33° N or S of Equator & More than 1500 meters in Altitude or more).Variety of light (photo) related damages such as high intensity, UV radiation etc. which can affect the potency/viability of the germplasm.

The North Western Himalayas is perched exactly in this zone and almost all of the cannabis varieties which are adapted to this locale typically carry Sweet, fruit,floral, spice or rarely incense like smell, their flowering Duration ranges from 11- 13 weeks depending on a variety of factors based around Domestication processes and the terroir itself (e.g. snowfall) . The Flowers are loose and airy, which are perfect to mitigate rain and High Humidity during flowering. A large portion of the main stalk is often bare from the ground up and give the plant its quintessential Christmas tree look.

The side branching is often appreciable but not profuse by any means, they grow with significant difference between one another leaving quite a bit of space between each node. Most of the plants have hollow stems (pith is absent) which provides the due flexibility to these plants during the high velocity winds which comes about more often than a farmer would like to see in a season, the plants growing along the slope could actually bend down into a steep angle as the high speed wind blows through them in the valley and later come back up completely unharmed in most cases.

The Cannabis plants in the Valley typically begin to flower from the late July onwards with gradually diminishing daylight hours. An average of 12 week flowering term could be distributed in 3 distinct stages –

1.Stage of Pre-flowering stretch – The first 3-4 weeks of the flowering are characterized by an exponential growth in the plant but mostly in terms of height and side branches in order to create more nesting space for the accommodation of the flowers.

2.Stage of floral bracts production – Typically from 4th week onwards plants begins to produce the floral bracts (visible stigma and carpels enclosing the calyxes) upon the bud sites and it continues to do so for next 5 -6 Weeks wherein the plant also produces most of the resin glands before it enters the last stage of maturation

3.Stage of Maturation – The last few weeks of the cannabis plants in the Malana valley are extremely crucial, ideally the farmers at Malana Valley expect the monsoon rains to be receding by this point (september end) with more clear sunny days which facilitates the final stages of maturation in the flowering plants. At this stage the floral are already jam packed with seeds which begin to swell up fast, dramatically increasing the girth of the buds and surface area for the resin glands to appear and for the existing ones to mature further.

An Example of Carotenoid production in Cannabis plants growing at Waichin Valley, Malana in June. Plants have a number of different ways to protect itself from the marginal environmental conditions such as pests, diseases, extreme temperatures, moisture or dryness etc.

One of the most intriguing defense mechanisms seen throughout the plant kingdom is that of producing photo-protective compounds such as flavonoids which plant uses in a way which is analogous to our own use of these compounds through our diet.

Cannabis varieties adapted to High altitudes in particular shows this phenomenon in an elaborate manner, when exposed to the High intensity light the plants tend to produce carotenoid which is marked by the red/orangish hues in the apical growth.

Carotenoid is produced by plants as a secondary metabolite and it provides protection against the High intensity of Light and allegedly from UV radiations especially growing at the High altitude regions.

Although, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive evidence to support the claim of protection against UV radiations but There are ample studies to show that carotenoid contributes in photosynthesis and protects from the Extremely high light intensity present during the mid-veg to early flowering period at places like North-West Himalayan Highlands.

Carotenoid appears to be of light orangish/yellow or red to human eyes as it absorbs green – violet colours in light spectrum and reflects the former. The reason it always appears on the apical shoot is because o the priority to protect the vulnerable new foliage.

The plants have the ability to increase the absorption of light during a single life cycle almost proportional to the rate of increase in the intensity of light, although the Photosynthetic capacity of the plant does have a ceiling, thus to release the excess light energy plant tends to undergo a complex biochemical reaction known as Non photochemical quenching* (Please read extensively on this topic), by releasing excess photons instead of utilizing it, this in turn also brings changes in the light absorbing proteins in the photosystem II that ultimately leads to the change in the pigment.

 Although, the pigment fades away gradually as the foliage matures and May or may not go on to produce anthocyanins in later phase of flowering.

Carotenoid functions as a photo protection measure by the plant, from the high intensity light which can cause cellular and lipids damage to plant if the excess light energy is not readily removed from the plant in the form of heat or radiation.

Under the exposure to High light intensity the chlorophyll in excited state can react with molecular oxygen to form singlet oxygen and other toxic molecules such H2O2 which in turn damages the D1 protein in the reaction center causing a rapid decline in the rate of photosynthesis also known as photo inhibition, now to counter these harmful molecules plant produces flavonoids such as Carotenoid which catalyzes these harmful photo products into a different and less harmful state effectively saving the plant from the damage.

This phenomenon has a striking similarity to our own expectations and usage of the antioxidants from the nature such as anthocyanins which is to fight off the free radicals produced by our ageing body like singlet oxygen which otherwise causes cellular damage and speeds up ageing in human beings. The only difference is that plants have the ability to produce these flavonoids themselves while we remain dependent on plants for the same.

Cannabis populations growing at High altitudes show these characteristics even when grown out of their traditional habitats, as these traits become an integral part of the genetic make up of certain genotypes within the larger populations overtime and through many modern day studies we now know that genotypes that does express carotenoids deal with stress better when compared to the ones that don’t from the same population.

Red stem is one of the most peculiar yet broadly observed characteristics amongst the cannabis populations of North India or North-west Himalayas, with increasingly colder nightfalls in the Northwestern Himalayan region we observed that an overwhelming % of the population expressed red colour in both Floral and staminate bracts, which is seen as response to the cold environment to protect the Genetic Material inside the Reproductive parts of the Plant.

However, it was also observed that a moderate (less than 50%) of the population expresses red stem trait.

The Genotypes expressing Red stem trait however does not seem to be also contributing towards the pigmentation in the bracts. We were able to document Plants within this population and a few others as well that Expressed following –

• Red stem – Green Bracts
• Red stem – coloured bracts

The Variation within the Red stem trait seems to be dictated by and large by the Genetic factor instead of the Environmental factor. A similar distribution of red stemmed phenotypes was also documented in previous years from Natural Cannabis Habitats at much lower altitudes in places around “Shivalik” and “Dhauladhar” ranges in the southern Outer ranges of Himalayas.

The much colder environment of Malana Valley, hasn’t (affected)/ increased the Frequency of occurrence for Red stem trait in certain Genotypes, the % is almost similar to any other part in Northern India (Despite the telling differences in Environmental Conditions).

Fasciation in the flowers is not very common amongst the cannabis populations of the northwest Himalayas however the majority of the examples are almost always found in either Parvati or Malana Valley.

The Valleys of Malana

Malana valley is situated in the larger North-Western Himalayas which encompasses multiple traditional Cannabis hot spots, but all with an identically poised subtropical Monsoon influenced climate. Malana Valley receives nearly 100 mm of rain in the september month alone in a normal year, although 2020 turned out to be an exceptionally dry year for the Valley especially the monsoon rains were recorded 3x lower in the month of September for the entire district of Kullu where Malana Valley is located.

Apart from the scanty rainfall during the crucial late august and september window the temperatures also dipped much lower than normal in the Valley by mid September to October, resulting in a considerable loss of vigor in plants e.g. Considerably less girthy buds on majority of the population.


Nirang, a quite, Humdrum village situated tantalizingly close to the Malana Village, sits exactly on the opposite Mountain and offers a relatively peaceful experience which is getting harder to find nowadays as Malana and Parvati valley remains overwhelmed 12 months with tourists from all over the India and even Abroad.

Nirang is a small makeshift village like setting with some guest houses on the way upto the Village and fewer houses belonging to indigenous people of Malana who also have cannabis farms on this particular mountain slope.

Nirang Village is situated on the mountain slope facing the Malana Village to it’s East, the sun rises from behind the Mountain slope and Sunshine during the day in Nirang Village comes around 9- 10.00 am, due to the slope being very acute. However, the mountain slope does receive ample amounts of the red spectra of light since, the sunsets exactly in front of the Village.

On the other hand the opposite mountain on which Malana village is perched gets the first sunshine which gradually cascades down the slope as the sun moves up higher in the sky to brighten up the entire valley.

The Village is almost entirely engulfed by the cannabis plantations at the height of the flowering season and cannabis is in the air like perfume everywhere.

The plants grow very similar to all the other domesticated cannabis varieties from the subtropical highlands in the North Western Himalayas, tall christmas tree like structure with a bare stalk and appreciable side branching

The flowering term is also quite the same as the others and the plants finish around 11-13 weeks with intoxicating smells of hash, berries, floral perfume and incense.


Waichin valley is situated in the larger NorthWestern Himalayas which encompasses multiple other traditional Cannabis hot spots, but all with an identically poised subtropical Monsoon influenced climate.

Valley receives nearly 100 mm of rain in the september month alone in a normal year, although 2020 turned out to be an exceptionally dry year for the Valley especially the monsoon rains were recorded 3x lower in the month of September for the entire district of Kullu where Malana Valley is located.

Apart from the scanty rainfall this year during the crucial late august and september window the temperatures also dipped much lower than normal in the Valley by mid September to October, resulting in a considerable loss of vigor in plants, Even after the marginal weather conditions this year during the Flowering phase, several beautiful expressions could be seen popping up in almost all of the Valleys in a decent proportion

The exceptional dry-cold weather this year did bring about some of the most fascination hues of purples, reds and blacks, even though the plants weren’t as girthy this year as we are normally used to see, they held up quite nicely in the resin and the smell department exuding a strong aromatic experience as soon one gets near the plants.

In recent years the Valley has definitely seen a humongous wave of tourism and now tourists from all age groups and walks of life could be seen roaming around the sub valleys like Waichin.

As a result a lot of farmers in Malana now already own a tourism related assets such as lodging facility / restaurant / porting mules to earn their bread alongside side Cannabis

Waichin Valley is where most of these tourists end up due to being easily accessible by hiking approximately 2 kms or even taking a taxi around it till whenever nature allows on any given day.

With every passing day the accessibility to these Valleys are increasing and with that the impending fear of a subsequent destruction of these unique genetics is becoming a reality. Luckily a number of different breeders from across the world have shown great interest in the preservation of these unique genetics and thus they have now been successfully backed up at more than one continent, for future Generations to Experience.

Right across the Dam over the Malana River and below the Waichin Valley, farmers used to grow a considerable amount of cannabis, which can not be seen nowadays as easily, and much of that land is being reformed to create a seamless motorable road because of a sudden spike in the tourism related activities in the Waichin Valley and some other places around it.

All of this area below the Valley is in close proximity to the Malana River, which appear as an elevated river basin like strip that runs across the river for more than a mile, mapping the steep descent of the river from the Malana glacier till the Dam.

The Cannabis plantations used to flourish back then at the banks of Malana river but after getting swarmed by an increasing number of tourists year on year, farmers had to stop using this beautiful strip across the river for growing Cannabis as it was clearly visible and easily accessible through out the hike from Dam to the Valley upwards.


Wailing Valley is situated 7 kms east of the Malana village, located in Malana Valley (Himachal Pradesh, India). The 7 Kms upward hike is steep and causes a sudden change in altitude from roughly 2400 -600 meters to 3000+ mtrs.

This valley is much more secluded and less visited/inhabited as it is mainly used for prolific cannabis cultivation. The Valley typically remains shut for visitors and only a handful of families in the village actually own land in wailing valley, with most other families having fields in Magic and waichin valley which have been open to tourism due to their easy accessibility

The Domesticated Cannabis populations in wailing valley show a considerable difference, in smell, size and form, from rest of the valleys at lower altitudes, here the plants tend to ripen a bit faster compared to other surrounding valleys and has a diverse array of flavours like ripe mango, cherries, wine, body odor , floral, naphthalene and incense being just some of the common ones. The flowering buds are usually bigger, chunkier and have denser resin coverage, which has an extremely sticky texture to it. The Valley falls under the Zone B.2 (subtropical highlands) and the flowering usually spans between 11-13 weeks where most plants finish flowering around mid to end of the october.

To further understand and ascertain the origins of these Cannabis populations we sent a random sample from Malana Valley (Wailing in this case)* to be genetically mapped against the decorated repertoire of Hybridized cannabis varieties ranging from some of the famous European to American bred.

The Malana Valley Sample in addition to having absolutely zero to do with any of the varieties it was mapped against also came up to be an uncommon genotype in relation to what makes up most of the modern hybridized genepool.


An Example of meticulously procured and aged resin from the Waichin Valley in Malana by a seasoned farmer. Since, the early November when it was collected, the farmer had it wrapped inside a thick polythene sheet and tucked away throughout the winters in the Malana Valley

With the arrival of the monsoon season in the North western Himalayas the highlands see a sudden shift in the humidity levels wherein, the humidity stays in High 80’s and 90’s for most of the monsoon season i.e. till the end of the september. And it is around this time of the year that the resin stored in the houses in Valley becomes vulnerable to mold.

As the monsoon arrives by July-August most of the resin has already been exported out of the valley but whatever remains there then has to be either really dry and stored properly which is seldom the case or be put inside a freezer which is not really a thing yet in the Village.

Hand Rubbed resin from the Himalayan regions can contain a great amount of moisture because of the way it is procured by rubbing the plants, so it’s imperative to cure it properly before use to realize the full potential of this traditionally created medicine in the Laps of Himalayas.

Hand Rubbed Resin

Hand Rubbed resin or colloquially known as “Charas”. This is perhaps one of the best examples of resin that we’ve ever sampled in the state of Himachal Pradesh which will include places like Parvati region, Malana Valley, Chamba, and many other hot spots around Kullu and Manali District which constitutes the underbelly of the charas production in this Himalayan state.

There seem to be a few different things which eventually have to come together in order for the best quality of resin to be produced by conventional hand rubbing method. As Understood from the farmer who produced this particular batch.

The best Charas is produced towards the end of the season around November when plants have completely ripen and develop an overall amber shade over the resin / flower, they select a clear sunny day to rub down only on those selected plants. At this stage of the season, the resin seems to accumulate rather easily on the palms and only the most seasoned campaigners get to do this in the village since it’s an art which is honed through one’s instincts over many many years of rubbing the Charas. They rub in sessions of around 1-2 gms, meaning they will stop rubbing as soon as they have around 1-2 gms of very clear pale yellow layer and scrape it off of the palms before it begins to attract plant material

By selecting plants late in the flowering with fully matured resin glands, selecting the right kind of environment (sunny day) to perform the Hand Rubbing and finally rubbing in small sessions and only letting a very clean layer of resin to accumulate onto their palms, certain farmers control the quality of their resin and take a humdrum method like Hand Rubbing to a whole different level, where it transcends from a technique into an intricate artform, which only certain farmers in the village are able to master.

Broad spectrum cannabis extract by boiling down the plant.

Young charas farmer attempting to extract super cream on a sunny day.

Medium Quality Charas

This eventually results in one of the most wonderful things you can ever smoke in a chillum. Chillum is basically the insignia of Indian cannabis scene as a whole but it definitely takes a whole new meaning in the himachal pradesh where mythical chillum makers from european countries have long dominated the connoisseur chillum space. Artists like Partick, alverman, Dodo etc. are cult classics amongst the villagers, surrounding valleys..

Although, some of the near antique chillums can only be found with the villagers crafted by natural resources like hollow hemps stalks to precious minerals and everything in between.

When it comes to chillum smoking there’s not many rules but a few like passing to your right and praising the lord shiva as one lights the hash filled chillum.

The effects of the freshly rubbed charas are not overwhelming but they’re definitely felt in a rather unique way compared to the modern varieties. It’s difficult to poise the effects in words that will truly do justice to it so in a nutshell the experience may range from a blissful sedation to a Burst of energy

However, once the Charas is cured for roughly over 100 days or so it begins to develop more intense aromas overtime, as the cannabinoids crystalizes and lipids separate itself along with the terpenes. with less than optimum storage conditions at the village the THC in the charas gradually degrades into CBN adding a very sedative aspect to it’s high.

A typical makeshift shed made by one of the charas farmers for the Harvest and rubbing

In Malana Valley farmers typically either have designated houses in various valleys for harvest purposes or set up makeshift huts during the season to save the constant trip from valley to their respective villages.

ICE Water Extraction after the snowfall.

Bubble Hash or Ice water Extraction isn’t something foreign to the villagers in Malana, However gaining detailed insight towards the resin and it’s interaction during ice water extraction is imperative in order to produce a consistent medicinal quality product.

While they know how to wash material nicely, the bags used are more than often useless in separating finer plant material and resin to make a superior product, apart from that, there are some major problems in their drying SOP, Villagers clasp the wet collected resin inside their palms to get rid of water after bag collection and which leads to the contamination of resin, and as it ages further the resin develops a bad odour almost like rotten protein. This is the reason the bubble hash sells for a lot less than the hand rubbed, even though bubble hash has a bigger resin to plant matter ratio.

Pictures depicting : Wet collected resin from a 73 micron bag, A thin layer of half dried resin on the spoon, and the resources used from within the village except for the bubble bags


1. “Super Cream”

Hand rubbed Charas with upto 75-80% resin to plant matter ratio, usually qualifies for super cream. It has an extremely sticky and malleable texture which is hard to handle without getting it everywhere and it costs nearly $15- 20 /gm too

2. 1st Cream or Good Medium Quality Charas

This type of charas typically consists of a semi-malleable texture which can get a little hard in colder temperatures because of being a homogeneous mix of nearly 50-70% resin to plant matter ratio. This type of charas is preferred by most of the chillum smokers because of a handy texture and being a little pocket friendly as well in comparison to the super cream.

3. Business quality or Medium Low quality Charas

This type of charas is specifically made for trade and business purposes, since it can be produced plentiful and perhaps the only way to actually be able to get through the entire material before the harvest season is over, since the hand rubbing is performed on live plants or freshly harvested plants. It consists of roughly 40- 50% resin and along with plant material a lot of moisture as well, which seeps into the resin as this type of charas is extracted by aggressively rubbing down on the plants with the intent of accumulating plant matter and resin both to increase the yields.

4. Ice Water or Bubble Hash

Usually referred to as ICE in the valley and by the cannabis folks in northern India. This type of hash contains perhaps the highest resin to plant matter ratio although due to inefficiencies in the extraction process the hash tends to develop a foul smell which doesn’t let it sell on the merit of Resin to Plant matter content, rather as a cheaper substitute for buyers who doesn’t want to pay higher prices for the Super or 1st Cream.

Alcohol Solvent Based Extraction.

This type of charas is The dried plant matter is both submerged in the alcohol and then boiled down with the water to achieve a thick/viscous oil with little to no terpenes because being cooked at very high temperatures. Farmers also simply use the alcohol to extract the resin which actually does have a fair bit of terpenes left in them.