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October 04, 2021

India's Cannabis History

 Every third person you know is a smoker. In today's India, smoking cannabis is not prevalent, but because it is an illegal crop, people keep quiet about it unless they want to get jailed. Everyone loves weed, including physicians, IT professionals, designers, attorneys, businesspeople, dancers, musicians, actresses, and housewives.

Cannabis has been utilised in India from the year 2000 BC. Cannabis is commonly used in Indian society in the forms of ‘charas' (resin), ‘ganja' (flower), and bhang (drink from flowers and leaves)

Acceptance of cannabis by various Indian groups.

During festivals such as Holi and Mahashivratri (which marks the birth of Lord Shiva), bhang is widely offered and consumed. In India, serving bhang is the most 'legal' form of enjoying cannabis. Bhang is utilised at a festival called ‘Holla Mohalla' by Sikh Nihangs, while Muslim Indian Sufis place the spirit of Khidr within the Cannabis plant and consume bhang. 

Cannabis is legal in Orissa, and many enjoy it using ‘chillums.' Lord Shiva is known to devour the herb and is seen in many artworks and pictures smoking it via chillums. Assam is another state in India where cannabis is commonly consumed; despite the fact that the plant is illegal in the country, Assamese do not hesitate to take it, particularly during the ‘Ambubachi Mela.'
Many state governments, including Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, are now expressing legal support for the magnificent plant.

How long has cannabis been associated with India?

 Cannabis Sativa is the name of the plant that was used to make ‘Soma,' an intoxicating ritual drink described in the Rigveda during the Vedic period. According to Atharvaveda, one of the five holy plants that cure anxiety is ‘bhanga.' The plant has profound cultural origins in Indian culture. India was long aware of the advantages of marijuana. Our Sadhus and Gods also smoked. No Mahashivratri celebration is complete without a chillum, and no Holi celebration is complete without a bhang thandai.

Marijuana is becoming accepted as a medical and recreational drug for a reason. And, because of its link to Indian culture, people should embrace it not negatively, but by considering its deep roots in history.


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