Cannabis has an incredibly unique history in every country, India being one of the more unrecognized! It is mentioned in historical texts as early as 2000 to 1400 BC, and is still used in a traditional fashion today!
Cannabis History In India
Cannabis makes an introduction in Indian history in sacred Hindu text as a drink called ‘Bhang’. This drink is composed of Nuts and spices such as almonds, pistachios, pepper, and ginger, and is boiled with the cannabis buds in a pot of milk. It was considered one of the five sacred plants, and was given to people as a way to ease fear, anxiety, and bring in a sense of community and joy. It was also found to be used by soldiers before a battle in the Middle Ages to ease their fear and loosen their muscles.
This plant was so popular in fact, that one of the more well-known Hindu Gods in our western society, Shiva, was called ‘The Lord of Bhang’. In local legends, Shiva left from a family discourse extremely upset, and ended up falling asleep under the leaves of a tall cannabis plant. Upon waking up, he grew curious and sampled a leaf of the plant and felt almost immediately rejuvenated!
Unlike America, the prohibition of Marijuana in the early 20th century was a failure. Because of its spiritual use and significance, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report deemed that making cannabis illegal in India was ‘Completely Unjustifiable’ and regulating the use of it would be a lost cause. In fact, the original report claims that they are more concerned about the effects of alcohol in their country than the use of a Marijuana edible, a stance rarely taken by a nation’s government!
Today, cannabis is a commonly found item in India. Bhang in its classic beverage form and Bhang made with yogurt and rolled into a ball is served on government-licensed street stands! Countries like India have set an incredible example on the legalization and normalization of plant medicine, and as members of the cannabis community here in America, we hope that our government will one day follow suit!
Interested in seeing more? Here is a great video from the dear, departed Anthony Bourdain, where he explains the making of government authorized Bhang!
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