cannabis in India

The role of cannabis in India

Cannabis in India. Despite the efforts of the western countries to declare cannabis illegal in India, the country remains the same. No western influence has been able to change the attitude of the largest democracy in the world about this sacred plant.

The role of cannabis in India. Brief history of the cannabis in india from the Vedas until today.

Sadu from Kerala smoking a shilum full of cannabis sativa
Sadu from Kerala smoking a shilum full of cannabis

Cannabis has a long history in this country. The earliest mention was found in the Vedas sacred Hindu texts about 2000 to 1400 B.C. Hindus believe that a guardian angel lives in the leaves of the plant. Cannabis is for them a liberator, which role is to help human beings to attain happiness and lose fear, releasing us from anxiety.

In Hinduism is the God Shiva the divinity associated to cannabis. Cannabis is named bhang in this country although it has different names according to the way is presented and used. Hinduism explains how Shiva wandered across the fields after a quarrel with his family. He was so tired that fell asleep under a leafy plant. When he awoke felt curiosity and tried the plant eating it and immediately rejuvenated. From then on he made the plant his favorite and became the Lord of the Bhang.

During the Middle Age, the troops used to drink bhang before each battle. They were supposed to get extra strength and become more courageous. Therefore, cannabis has been popular in India since the beginning of its recorded history. Usually is boiled in milk with other herbs like pistachios, poppy seeds, sugar, pepper and ginger. Sometimes yogurt is used instead of milk and the result is delicious. It is named bhanglassi when mixed with yogurt instead of milk and nowadays is one of the most demanded products among tourists. The flavor and the effect are a real wonder!

Bhang is made using the upper leaves, those close to the buds. Sometimes is eaten in small balls. When is mixed with milk is very effective to extract THC. When rolled and eaten in balls it takes longer to produce its effect but it is more consistent.

Other ways to consume cannabis is ganja and charas. Ganja is made with the flowers of female plants and charas is the resin obtained from the buds. Both are smoked in pipes called shilums .During the period of the British Raj, Britons realized that the use of cannabis was so extensive that they never ever found a way to declare it illegal. British and Indian medical experts made thousands of interviews with a large group of different citizens. After years of studies they finally understood that suppressing the use of bhang was totally impossible. Its use was very ancient , had religious importance among Hindus and was harmless when consumed moderately.

On top of it, prohibition was too difficult to enforce due to the clerics and it was going to lead to the use of more dangerous narcotics. All these studies of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report of 1894 ended more than 100 years ago and continue being absolutely relevant nowadays.

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