Since time immemorial, bhang leaves or cannabis have been an intrinsic part of the Holi festival. But the question is – what is the link between bhang drink and the festival of colors. Also, explore why it is served when the consumption, cultivation, possession, or transportation is banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
Bhang and Indian Culture
Bhang’s link to Indian culture and festivals is not only restricted to Holi. As per myths and folktales, the drug goes way back to the tales of ‘Samandar Manthan’ when the Gods joined forces to churn Amrit from the oceans in order to save the world from doom. Wherever drops of Amrit spilled on the land, a cannabis plant was found to grow. Besides, bhang also finds detailed mention in the Atharvaveda texts as a potent stress-buster and anxiety reliever.
What is Bhang?
Wondering what is marijuana or bhang? It is an edible combination of leaves, buds, and flowers of the female cannabis or the marijuana plant. It is made by drying, soaking, and grinding the leaves and buds of the cannabis sativa plant (scientific name) to form a paste-like consistency and then this is added to drinks and food.
In India, as mentioned, bhang has been consumed on religious and cultural occasions for centuries. One of the most common ways of consumption is to combine bhang leaves with whey, yoghurt, and fresh or dry fruits and have them as a beverage that is locally referred to as bhang lassi.
Another popular bhang drink is bhang goli which is made from freshly ground bhang leaves and mixed with water. Bhang is also used in sweets after getting combined with clarified butter (ghee) and sugar or jaggery.
Bhang is grown widely in the states of Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and the Sub-Himalayan regions. Aside from India, Bhang is also found to grow in countries such as Pakistan, China, Iran, Iraq, and parts of Europe.
Benefits of Bhang
As per scientific knowledge, the psychedelic drug – bhang or marijuana, as it is globally recognised, has a few health benefits when consumed under expert supervision and in moderation for specific medical purposes only. These are as follows:
1. It is believed that bhang can help cure dysentery, fever, digestion issues, appetite, and sunstroke.
2. Research has proven that the psychoactive effects of bhang or its ability to rewire your central nervous system and brain can help you deal with anxiety and stress.
3. When consumed responsibly, bhang can be a potent solution to treat depression and chemical imbalance in the brain.
4. Bhang can help cure wounds, diseases, and other kinds of neurological disorders.
5. In the United States, research on marijuana has revealed that the drug can be of use to people suffering from nausea and vomiting while undergoing cancer-related chemotherapy treatment. However, you must be cautious about long-term usage, as it might aggravate the said symptoms.
6. Another study has revealed that bhang can be effective to reduce pain associated with inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. About a significant percentage of people who were medically prescribed cannabis reported pain reduction.
7. The effect of marijuana and its responsible consumption can help to improve sleep affected by conditions like insomnia, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and sleep apnea.
8. Fitness enthusiasts looking to gain weight or maintain current scales can consume bhang regularly in moderation, as the effect of marijuana can increase or improve appetite.
9. Bhang is also seen as a tried and tested remedy for conditions such as dementia, irritable bowel syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s.
ConclusionBhang leaves can potentially improve aspects of your health when consumed responsibly and at the same time can also cause irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and nausea when overdosed.