Malana Cream - One of the most expensive cannabis products in the world
Hidden atop the foothills of the Himalayas is a small, bustling village called Malana, made popular among sightseers for its iconic landscape adjacent to the Parvati River and its overall remoteness, which is the perfect combination for spectacular pictures. Cannabis enthusiasts from all over the world are drawn here after hearing stories about the mythical charas or hash made using the plant's naturally produced resin with a clay-like consistency called Malana Cream.
All about Malana Cream
Malana Cream is notorious for its high THC content and its distinct aromatic profile, and it is created using a hand rubbing technique where growers rub the leaves harvested from fresh cannabis leaves on their palms to force the resin out. In India, where this mountainous village is located, it is still illegal to grow, process, and possess psychotropic substances, including cannabis, but that doesn't stop thousands of visitors from making the journey to this far away place every single year.
The Malana People
Its roughly 5,000 residents live a quiet and relatively isolated lifestyle, speaking a unique language called Kanashi, which is a combination of multiple languages, including Tibetan. For this community, the practice of rubbing leaves to make hash is a livelihood that has supported the village and its people for more than 3 decades. Here, cannabis plants reaching heights of 12 feet or more grow well in the great outdoors, so smoking daily came before the hash rush, which began in the 80s when the selling of hash and other drugs to Europe changed the cannabis cultivation game locally, as it became a source of income and stability.
The Malana people have deep roots in cannabis as hash makers and sellers of plant-derived, fibre-made products like baskets and slippers. These plants have always been viewed as a blessing from God and worshiped for their important role in the community. Unfortunately, in 1985 India criminalized cannabis under the NDPS Act, a move that threatened the future of Malana and its resident's way of life as police began targeting crops and setting up checkpoints to make it more difficult for the locally made hash to be shipped out of the area.
Some residents were left alone after spouses and children were arrested for carrying substances out of the village, dealing a massive blow to the community's spirit by decimating what was, for many, their only way to make money in this remote place. This crackdown lasted for years, though things started to change once the village gained access to a brand new road as well as a hydropower project that harnessed the natural power of its rivers and improved the lives of the Malana people.
Though they remain distanced from much of the world, younger generations in Malana have the luxury of connectivity to the outside through the internet and smartphones, necessary tools when you're hoping to draw in visitors. Customs here have evolved over time to accommodate more modern ideals in this mythical space that's evolving at lightning speed. The art of making malana cream may not be so prevalent these days, but the product still plays an important role in the health and security of the community.