With mentions of cannabis dating right back to the Vedas, this notorious plant is woven into Indian history. From Shiv devotees to bhang, the sky is the limit.

The clinical utilization of hemp has been portrayed in Ayurvedic messages and surprisingly connected with Lord Shiva. Cannabis has been part of our way of life for more than many people realize. Even today, drinking bhang, particularly during Holi, conveys no disgrace. Isn’t it time we celebrate and bring back that culture?

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Keep in mind that the criminalization of weed in India is a Western imperialistic import. The aftermath is something India attempted to withstand for quite a while. Pressured into criminalization by the United States in 1985, the public authority’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is an ancient law unsuccessfully attempting to control cannabis use.                                                                                              

Whether bhang, ganja or charas, all of these have been offered as “Prasad” in Shiv temples across the country, making Bhole Nath or Lord Shiva essentially the brand ambassador of cannabis in India. Cannabis stigma in India was non-existent, partially because it was considered a medication for the lower class. In fact, the recreational use of marijuana was legal until 1985; and there were government shops in India. The Geneva Convention of 1961 made it obligatory in all signatory countries to stop the utilization and sale of medications recorded as destructive, to which India complied. Cannabis was negligently lumped together with cocaine or heroin.

Be that as it may, the boycott was never genuinely upheld. How do we know? A recent report conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences discovered that about 7.2 million Indians had burned through cannabis within the past year alone. In 2018, Indias two biggest cities — New Delhi and Mumbai — consumed 38.2 and 34 tonnes of cannabis, respectively. The study uses data from the United Nations Office on drugs and crime reports which also reported that India has the lowest retail price of cannabis in the world.

Strains of bud or cream from Idukki, Malana, Bengal, Bihar and Kasol are widely known for their remarkable high. The fame draws cannabis users from all across the world for some of the best trips. The increase in the frequency of cannabis usage is also evident in the rising numbers of shops and shacks selling rolling paper, roaches and more, all profiting off of this illegal consumption. The Bollywood film industry also has a history of referencing cannabis in all its glory. From songs like Jai Jai Shiv Shankar, Manali Trance, Babaji Ki Booty to movies like Kapoor and SonsGo Goa Gone and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, you will discover lots of references.

Cannabis culture in India is a bit of a paradox. Smoking is criminal, yet drinking bhang is perfectly acceptable. The real question is if cannabis is as harmful as authorities portray. Resoundingly, no. The most dangerous thing about weed in India right now is getting caught with it.

Let us know in the comment section below what cannabis culture is like in your country.

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