All About Lebanese Hashish

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Lebanon has a long history of cultivating cannabis and producing hashish that dates back centuries. The Bekaa Valley region in particular, with its favorable climate and fertile soil, has been a major center of cannabis cultivation.

In the 18th century, hashish production became more widespread in Lebanon under Ottoman rule. Farmers in the Bekaa Valley began large-scale cultivation of cannabis to produce hashish for export.

By the early 20th century, Lebanon was a major supplier of hashish to Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.

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After Lebanon gained independence in the 1940s, cannabis cultivation and hashish production continued in the Bekaa Valley and expanded significantly in the 1960s and 70s.

During the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990, militia groups took control of the hashish trade to help fund their operations.

Cannabis cultivation surged and Lebanese hashish flooded markets in Europe and North America.

In the 1980s, the Lebanese government, facing international pressure, conducted eradication campaigns to destroy cannabis fields.

This pushed cultivation into more remote mountain regions. After the civil war ended, the government conducted further crackdowns in the 1990s, but farmers persistently replanted crops.

In the 2000s, cannabis cultivation and hashish production continued at large scales in the Bekaa Valley and northern Bekaa regions. According to a 2016 study, Lebanon was the world’s third largest supplier of cannabis resin (hashish) after Morocco and Afghanistan.

Lebanese hashish is known for its high quality and potency compared to hashish from many other regions.

This is attributed to a combination of favorable climate, selective cannabis strains, and refined production techniques passed down over generations.

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Red Lebanese and Blonde Lebanese are two of the most well-known and sought after types of Lebanese hashish.

In 2020, Lebanon’s parliament passed legislation legalizing cannabis cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes, aiming to bolster the struggling economy.

However, recreational use remains illegal. It is still unclear how this law will be implemented and affect the illicit hashish trade.

Despite decades of eradication efforts, the hashish industry remains entrenched in Lebanon as a lucrative illegal business and major economic lifeline for many impoverished farmers.

Whether legalization efforts can shift this remains to be seen.

Lebanese Hash Today

Today, Lebanese hashish remains one of the most renowned and sought-after types of hashish in the world, known for its potency, flavor, and quality.

Despite decades of attempts by the Lebanese government to eradicate the illegal cannabis trade, cultivation and hashish production persist, particularly in the Bekaa Valley region.

In 2020, Lebanon became the first Arab country to legalize medical cannabis cultivation, driven by the need to generate revenue amidst a severe economic crisis.

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However, the recreational use and production of hashish remain illegal. The new legislation aims to regulate the industry and attract international pharmaceutical investments, but it is unclear how this will impact the entrenched illegal hashish trade.

Many farmers in the Bekaa Valley continue to cultivate cannabis and produce hashish as a matter of economic necessity, as it provides a livelihood in a region plagued by poverty and lack of alternative opportunities.

The quality of Lebanese hashish remains high, with well-known varieties like Red Lebanese and Blonde Lebanese still in demand.

The future of the Lebanese hashish trade remains uncertain. The government faces the challenge of implementing the new medical cannabis legislation effectively while also addressing the socioeconomic factors that drive farmers to engage in illegal cultivation.

International demand for high-quality hashish persists, and it remains to be seen whether Lebanon can successfully transition from an illicit market to a regulated, legal industry while providing alternative economic opportunities for those who have long relied on the hashish trade for survival.

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The Effects Of Lebanese Hash

Lebanese hashish is known for its potent effects on the mind and body. The effects can vary depending on factors such as the specific strain, potency, dose, and individual physiology. Here’s a detailed look at the potential effects of Lebanese hashish:

  1. Psychoactive effects:
    • Euphoria: Users often report feelings of happiness, joy, and contentment.
    • Relaxation: Lebanese hash can induce a deep sense of relaxation and stress relief.
    • Altered perception: Sensory experiences may be heightened or distorted, including changes in visual, auditory, and tactile sensations.
    • Introspection: Some users experience increased introspection and reflective thoughts.
    • Time distortion: Perception of time may be altered, with minutes feeling like hours.
  2. Physical effects:
    • Dry mouth: Hashish can cause a dry, cottony feeling in the mouth and throat.
    • Bloodshot eyes: Blood vessels in the eyes may expand, causing redness.
    • Increased appetite: Many users experience “the munchies,” a strong desire to eat.
    • Impaired coordination: High doses can cause dizziness, clumsiness, and impaired motor skills.
    • Sleepiness: Some users may feel drowsy or experience a strong desire to sleep.
  3. Cognitive effects:
    • Impaired memory: Short-term memory and the ability to form new memories may be temporarily impaired.
    • Difficulty concentrating: Users may have trouble focusing on tasks or following conversations.
    • Creative thinking: Some people report increased creativity and divergent thinking.
    • Paranoia and anxiety: In some cases, especially with high doses, users may experience paranoid thoughts or anxiety.

It’s important to note that the effects of Lebanese hashish can vary greatly from person to person and can be influenced by factors such as tolerance, setting, and individual physiology.

Lebanese Hash in the UK

Lebanese hashish has a long history of being smuggled into and sold in the United Kingdom, dating back several decades.

Here’s a brief overview of the history of Lebanese hash in the UK:

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1960s-1970s: As cannabis use became more widespread in the UK during the counterculture era, Lebanese hashish gained popularity due to its potency and quality. It was often smuggled into the country via various routes, including through Europe and the Middle East.

1980s: During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), militias and warlords took control of the hashish trade, leading to an increase in production and export. Lebanese hash continued to find its way into the UK market, often through organized crime networks.

1990s-2000s: Despite efforts by the Lebanese government to eradicate cannabis cultivation in the post-war period, Lebanese hash remained available in the UK. Improved transportation networks and the rise of online drug markets made it easier for smugglers to bring the drug into the country.

2010s-present: Lebanese hashish continues to be sold in the UK, although its market share has decreased due to competition from other countries such as Morocco and Afghanistan. The rise of domestic cannabis production in the UK has also impacted the demand for imported hashish.

It’s important to note that the importation, distribution, and possession of hashish have been illegal in the UK throughout this history under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Despite its ongoing presence in the illicit drug market, the exact extent of Lebanese hashish’s availability in the UK is difficult to determine due to the covert nature of the trade.

The Hashish Creation Process

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The traditional process of creating Lebanese hashish involves several steps, from cultivating and harvesting cannabis to the final production of the hashish itself. Here’s a detailed explanation of the process:

  1. Cultivation and Harvesting:
    • Cannabis is cultivated in the fertile soils of the Bekaa Valley and other regions of Lebanon.
    • The plants are typically harvested in the fall, usually between September and November.
    • The plants are cut at the base and left to dry in the sun for a few days.
    • Once dried, the plants are threshed to separate the buds, leaves, and stems.
  2. Sieving:
    • The dried plant material is sieved through fine mesh screens to separate the trichome-rich resin glands from the plant matter.
    • This process is typically done over a clean surface or a fine silk cloth.
    • The sieving is repeated multiple times with increasingly finer mesh screens to produce a pure, powdery resin known as “kief.”
  3. Pressing:
    • The kief is collected and pressed into blocks or slabs using a variety of methods.
    • Traditionally, the kief was placed in cloth bags and pressed by hand or with simple tools like rolling pins.
    • Modern methods may involve the use of hydraulic presses to create denser, more compact blocks.
  4. Heating and Shaping:
    • The pressed kief is gently heated to help it bind together and become more pliable.
    • This process is often done using low, indirect heat sources like hot water bottles or heated metal plates.
    • As the hashish warms up, it is shaped by hand into balls, cylinders, or slabs, depending on the desired form.
  5. Curing and Aging:
    • The shaped hashish is then cured and aged to allow the flavor and potency to develop.
    • This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the desired characteristics.
    • During this time, the hashish may be stored in cool, dark places to prevent degradation.
  6. Packaging and Distribution:
    • Once the hashish has been cured and aged, it is typically packaged for distribution.
    • Lebanese hashish is often wrapped in plastic or wax paper and then sealed in larger containers for transport.
    • From there, it enters the illicit drug trade and is smuggled to various countries around the world.

The specific techniques and methods used in the production of Lebanese hashish may vary depending on the region, the individual producer, and local traditions.

However, this general process of cultivating, sieving, pressing, heating, shaping, and curing has been used for generations to create the distinctive high-quality hashish associated with Lebanon.

Terence Mckenna and ‘Red Leb

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Terence McKenna, a prominent psychedelic advocate and philosopher, spoke highly of Lebanese hashish, particularly a strain colloquially known as “Red Leb” or “Red Lebanese.”

He often mentioned this variety in his lectures and writings, praising its potency and unique psychoactive effects.

McKenna described “Red Leb” as a reddish-colored, malleable form of hashish that was hand-rubbed from fresh cannabis flowers.

He claimed that it had a distinctive spicy aroma and produced a clear, cerebral high that was conducive to introspection and philosophical thought.

In his talks, McKenna often reminisced about his experiences with “Red Leb” during his travels in the Middle East in the 1970s, and he lamented the fact that this specific variety became harder to find in later years due to changes in cannabis production and trade patterns.

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