Though the medicinal benefits of hemp are only now being explored by scientists, say in the last 50 years or so, Indians have been enjoying them for centuries now. Bhang, which is made through the leaves, buds, and flowers of the female marijuana plant, has been drank in Northern India for a millennia.
This CBD-infused beverage is believed to be god-sent by the Hindu culture where it is consumed as part of religious traditions as well as for its ability to curb nausea, headaches, and pain. Though CBD is not permitted to be used in most parts of India, in some parts bhang is well-tolerated by the authorities so much so that it is also sold by street vendors.
How Does Bhang Work?
There are many cannabinoids in cannabis and hence, in bhang. The two primary, well-researched ones are THC and CBD. The former is known for its effects on the nervous system, it’s psychoactive properties that make one feel euphoric. Whereas the latter, as in cannabidiol, has proven itself to be a health-helper.
The cannabinoids found in bhang have a structure similar to the endocannabinoids already found naturally in the body. They bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the body and impact how the brain sends signals to other body parts. Recent reports show that even though THC is overall harmful despite it’s some health-benefiting qualities, CBD works better when added with it owing to the entourage effect that the two have.
A growing body of research backs the many benefits that CBD has. It can help improve mood, sleep, anxiety as well as pain. It can also help with the treatment of arthritis, epilepsy, ADHD, and cancer among other ailments. Apart from the benefits provided by CBD, bhang has some adverse side effects too that include feeling high and in some people, it is also believed to cause depressive symptoms, panic, and schizophrenia.
How Is Bhang Made?
Bhang is made by drying, grinding, and soaking cannabis plants. This paste of cannabis is then infused into edibles. Bhang lassi is a common beverage which contains bhang mixed with curd and whey. Another popular drink is bang goli which bhang blended in water. Ingredients such as milk, yogurt, and spices are commonly used in bhang products. Bhang is also sold as a sweet when dissolved in the mixture of sugar and ghee.
Does Bhang Have Any Stigma Attached To It?
While in the United States people are still in the getting used to phase of accepting cannabis, bhang has no stigma attached to it at all in India. The beverage is enjoyed in social gatherings as well as on religious occasions.
In fact, where it is consumed it also has Ayurvedic uses as its medicinal properties are recognized. It is well-known to people though, that bhang can also make one feel high. Just like dosages of cannabidiol, bhang also has its degrees from subtle to strong. It’s effects can sometimes show up 2 to 3 hours after consumption.