Fact 013: In India, it is common to take marijuana in milk shake form

Bhang is a type of cannabis that is edible and it has been in use in India before the Vedic period. It is a very important part of the Hindu culture in India. Hindu monks uses the bhang effects to enhance meditation and to attain transcendental states. In the antique text Atharvaveda, this form of cannabis has been used as a beneficial herb which helps in “releasing anxiety.” The Hindus connect it to Shiva, their most powerful deity. One of the epithets of Shiva was “Lord of Bhang” as he is regarded as the discoverer of the transcendental properties of this mixture. History shows thst Shiva brought bhang from the Himalayas to serve as pleasure to mankind.

Herodotus, a popular Greek historian, who lived in the 4th century B.C. highlights the bhang usage among Indians. An Indian document written in the 15th century describes Bhang as joyful, light hearted, and spiritual inspiration to the body and mind. Holy men in India make use of Bhang to facilitate communication with the deities during rituals. According to Siddhartha Gautama, a legend who lived on an everyday ration of one bhang seed and nothing more during his 6 yeard of asceticism.

You can find many men trying to prepare bhang anywhere on the ghats. Making use of pestle and mortar, the leaves and buds of cannabis are pounded into a paste. Milk, mangoes, Indian spices and ghee are added to this mixture. The base of bhang is now well prepared to be turned inro a Ghota thandai, a thick drink, a substitute for alcoholic beverages; this is most referred to as ‘bhang lassi’ and ‘bhang thadai.’ This form of cannabis is also mixed with sugar and ghee to make a purple halva, and later into chewy, peppery little balls knwon as golee (meaning ‘pill’ and ‘bullet’ in Hindi).

As bhang has filled such an essential role in the culture of India and her spiritual practices, it would not be possible to criminalize cannabis entirely in the country. The cannabis cultivation is regulated by the government, and it is illegal without the government permit. The sales of bhang is also regulated by the government and it is illegal without a government permit. However, the production of bhang in Uttar Pradesh is now legal. Since February 2017, bhang is not under the Prohibition Act in Gujarat anymore, hence its consumption has been legalized in Gujarat.

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