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The Malana Cream Explained.

What is Malana Cream?

It is the Charas or hash or hashish which comes from the Malana Valley in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Charas called bhang in Himachal, is the resin obtained from a species or strain of the cannabis plant (botanical classification of cannabis is disputed), which grows naturally in the valley and is also cultivated illegally. The valley has a single village, Malana, and the hash resin produced there is generally more ‘creamy’, or clay-like, as compared to that produced in other parts of the state.

What makes it unique?

The cannabis plant has a number of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, among which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive constituent that produces high sensation. Malana Cream is rich in THC, making it more potent. The resin extracted from the plant, generally by rubbing using hands, is also concentrated further to obtain the more potent hash oil.

In addition, charas from Malana has a distinct set of terpenes, aromatic compounds associated with flavour, and other characteristics. These characteristics are the result of the unique climatic conditions of the valley.

How much is it worth?

According to the police, varieties of Malana Cream are generally sold anywhere between Rs 1,500 to Rs 8,000 per 10 grams in India depending upon the purity of the product and the place of sale.

How is it produced so widely if it is illegal?

Malana is a remote village that remained isolated from other habitations in the area for centuries and developed its own distinct culture. The nearest road is still four kilometers down the hill, and it was built in 2007 to facilitate a hydropower project. Before the road, residents had to trek a distance of 26 km over 12 to 15 hours to reach the market in the adjacent valley, according to village pradhan Bhagi Ram.

A few decades ago, however, Malana emerged on the global map with the emergence of the counterculture movement in western countries and started attracting users of psychedelic drugs from all parts of the world.

Charas was banned in India in 1986 under the NDPS Act, but the plant was considered an important crop in Kullu, used for a variety of other purposes such as making footwear. With greater road connectivity, Malana and its neighboring Parvati Valley became notorious for ‘drug tourism’, with domestic as well as foreign tourists thronging to the area lured by the easy availability of drugs as well as picturesque treks.

The illegality of cannabis has made it a contentious issue in Himachal since it has a certain cultural acceptance in the state. A petition to allow non-narcotic use of the plant-like in some other states is pending in the state high court and several legislators are supportive of it.

About Malana

Malana currently has a population of 2,350 and is located at an altitude of 2,650 meters above sea level. It has been “a self-contained democratic society for centuries”, according to the Himachal government. Besides the Malana cream, it also attracts visitors due to its age-old traditions, scenic beauty, popular treks, distinct culture, and myths and legends associated with the inhabitants.

Indian Express