Bhang is a traditional Indian cannabis infused beverage. Primarily associated with the worship of Lord Shiva, Bhang is now widely used and known as the official drink of Holi festivals and celebrations. Lord Shiva is believed to have used bhang to focus inward and harness divine powers. Bhang is legally sold to celebrants by government sanctioned shops and street stands during festival season.
The consumption of cannabis has been practiced in India for thousands of years. The ancient Atharvaveda, thought to have been compiled between 1400 – 2000 B.C., describes cannabis as one of the five most sacred plants on Earth. These writings refer to cannabis a source of happiness, a joy-giver, and a liberator.
Hindus in Varanasi use bhang for spiritual reasons. They drink it to honor Shiva, to meditate better, get closer to the divine, and to wash away their sins.
Bhang is also used in ayurvedic medicine. It is said to cure nervous disorders, skin diseases and wounds, fever, dysentery, and sunstroke, as well as aiding in digestion, clearing phlegm, even curing speech impediments. Warriors would drink bhang to steel their nerves, and newlyweds would consume bhang to increase their libido.
The healing and spiritual powers of the Cannabis pant have been used for thousands of years in ancient India. The tradition lives on today both in the legends of Gods and warriors, and in modern day shops and religious ceremonies.
- 1/2 oz “trim” cannabis leaves and flowers
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp ground anise
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup honey
- cinnamon sticks, edible flowers and star anise to garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Remove the water from the heat and stir in cannabis leaves and flowers. Steep for 7-10 minutes.
- While the cannabis is steeping, begin to warm the milk over low heat. Do not allow the milk to boil.
- Using a fine mesh strainer or a cheese cloth, thoroughly drain the cannabis leaves and flowers, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
- Combine the cannabis leaves and flowers and 1/4 cup of warm milk in a mortar. Grind the cannabis leaves and flowers together with the milk by working the pestle in a circular motion.
- Once the mixture is well combined, strain the milk and cannabis through a cheese cloth. Return the cannabis to the mortar, add repeat this process working 1/4 cup of milk at a time.
- Combine the cannabis infused milk, spices, and honey into a small saucepan. Over very low heat stir the mixture until the honey is melted.
- Allow the mixture to cool. Garnish and serve.