Despite being mistreated and misunderstood by many for a long time, cannabis plants have been highly treasured by the ancient civilizations for thousands of years for their medicinal, spiritual, and therapeutic properties.
One particular cannabis-infused treat that has been used for four thousand years is the traditional weed-laced beverage of India: bhang.
Not only that you can learn how to make bhang straight in the comfort of your home, but we also bet that it can easily become one of your favorite ways to get medicated.
Join us below and find out how to prepare bhang in three awesome ways following the most widely-spread bhang recipe, as well as the traditional bhang lassi and thandai recipe.
Cannabis: An Integral Part of the Rich Culture of India
Before we get down to sharing the fantastic bhang recipes we have compiled for all of our bud buddies out there to enjoy to the fullest, it might be curious to find out more about the rich cannabis culture of India.
There is barely another place on Earth like the country of India when it comes to witnessing how integrally cannabis is intertwined in the history, religion, and lifestyle of the locals.
During the Holi Festival celebrations, cannabis is consumed freely on the streets in many forms such as smoking handmade charas using a traditional chillum or enjoying a cup of bhang.
Amazingly, even though cannabis use remains criminalized in India, the natives who inhabit the Indian village of Malana where finest quality charas is made continue to live by their own rules, just like their ancestors did for centuries, thus, neglecting marijuana criminalization and making a living through charas production and sale.
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Fortunately, India has been slowly but steadily walking towards cannabis legalization. Nowadays, apart from recognizing the undisputable fact that marijuana is forever interconnected with the Indian culture, marijuana is seen as cash crops that can help greatly help to boost the country’s economy and hence, improve the quality of life for the locals.
The rich culture of India is full of beauty, wisdom, and diversity so it comes as no surprise that one of the oldest cannabis-infused beverages was born nowhere else but in the country of the Indus.
The truth is, if you’re lucky to travel to India, you can get to see places, people, and customs that will forever mark your conscious and subconscious mind, kindly reminding you that there is so much more to learn about this world than what we could even dare to imagine.
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Let’s not forget that India is the homeland of unparalleled cannabis varieties, and it is in India where some of the finest Indica landraces strains growing high in the mountains, wild and free, far away from the human touch, can be still seen.
If Weed is Illegal in India How Come Bhang is Sold on the Streets during Festive Celebrations
It was in 1894 when an extraordinary, large-scale study known as the Indian Drugs Commission Report was conducted.
The major goal of the study was to estimate exactly how widely-spread is cannabis consumption in India.
The thing is, when the British arrived in colonial India at the time, they quickly noticed that cannabis is, indeed, extremely widespread across the country. That’s why researchers wanted to evaluate both the moral, as well as the social impact of ganja in the country of India (by the way, the very word ganja is of Indian origin, even though nowadays it is mostly associated with Jamaican weed. However, it was the Indians who brought cannabis into Jamaica, therefore heavily and profoundly impacting and shaping the Jamaican weed culture).
Fast forward to the results from the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report of 1874. After gathering over 7 volumes of data, experts firmly concluded that banning marijuana in India would be 100% unjustifiable. Furthermore, they concluded that when used in moderation, cannabis is a fairly harmful substance, as evaluated from a mental, social, and physical perspective regarding the effects of ganja use.
Interestingly, Ayurvedic traditions do recognize cannabis (“vijaya” in Sanskrit) as a medicinal herb but the habitual use of cannabis is actually regarded as prajnaparadh which translates into “crime against wisdom.”
Ever since the results of the study and the experts’ conclusions were introduced, the sales of bhang have become fully government-authorized. The government issues permit for the vendors, and so bhang drinks are widely available to purchase and enjoy during all of the important Indian festive celebrations. Quintessentially, it would be fair to state that not only bhang but cannabis as a whole is omnipresent in Indian culture.
A Brief History of Bhang: The Cannabis-Infused Beverage of Lord Shiva
Up-to-date, Indians living in the rural areas of the country continue to use bhang in the treatment of dysentery, sunstroke, and fever, based on the centuries-old traditions and know-how passed on for generations. Bhangs is also revered as a suitable remedy in the alleviation of digestion issues, speech impediments, and phlegm clearing.
Warriors also used to consume bhang for the purpose of gaining the divine abilities to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations.
What’s more, bhang was an integral part of wedding ceremonies, as newlyweds were to consume bhang in order to increase their libido and strengthen their relationship.
Taking these curious facts in mind, one may wonder how come cannabis ever ended up taking such a big, crucial part of the culture of India
In Hinduism, cannabis is highly reputed for its spiritual and religious implications. Taking away cannabis from the Hindu religion would be an equivalent of taking the Pope out of Vatikana.
According to Hindu beliefs, cannabis was first created when the Gods stirred the heavenly oceans. They did so by using the peak of Mount Madara (makes some brilliant sense to stir the heavenly oceans with the peak of a mountain, doesn’t it). While stirring the heavenly oceans, an extremely rare and precious drop of heavenly nectar known as amrita fell from the sky, and this is how the cannabis plant sprouted on the very spot where the heavenly nectar fell.
What happened next is that the Hindu God of transformation – god Shiva – brought the sprouted cannabis plant down from the Mount Madara. It was godded Shiva’s desire to share cannabis with the mere mortals for the pleasure and well-being of Mankind. Thus, the cannabis plant was consecrated for god Shiva in return for his kindness.
Furthermore, god Shiva is believed to have used cannabis in order to harness his divine powers by focusing inwards better.
Nonetheless, there are some quite intriguing theories suggesting that both the spiritual, as well as the cognitive evolution of mankind were partially due to humans’ interaction with various sacred plants that are known to induce psychoactive effects upon consumption, therefore, becoming vehicles to higher states of mind and being. These sacred plants include but are not limited to cannabis.
In Hindu religious texts, cannabis is referred to as “joy giver,” “Liberator,” and “source of happiness”.
How to Make Traditional Weed-Infused Bhang: Step-by-Step Recipe
1. Up to 1/2 ounce (14 grams) of freshly harvested cannabis flowers (not dried cannabis flowers). Feel free to use less or more marijuana flowers based on your personal prudence.
2. 2 cups water (473 ml).
3. 3 cups warm milk (709 ml). Bhang is traditionally made with dairy milk, however, you can feel free to use whatever type of milk suits your personal taste and preferences best.
4. ¼ teaspoon garam masala
5. ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
6. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
7. ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
8. ½ teaspoon ground anise
9. ½ teaspoon rose water
10. ½ cups honey (or any other sweetener of your choice).
11. Chopped pistachios, almonds, and/or mint leaves and rose petals for garnishing the beverage.
As with any other cannabis-infused treat, the potency of your bhang will vary based on the potency of the cannabis flowers you choose to use. It is best to proceed with bhang consumption in moderation and always wait for 1-2 hours before the full effects take place before you consume more. For a more potent psychoactive kick, you can decarb your cannabis flowers before steeping them in hot water, however, do keep in mind that bhang is traditionally made without decarboxylating weed. Nonetheless, you can add weed honey, alcohol-based cannabis tincture or medicated coconut butter to your bhang to enjoy a more potent high.
Step 1: Bring water to a rapid boil and add the cannabis flowers. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for 7 – 10 minutes.
Step 2: Strain the cannabis plant material thoroughly and carefully using a cheesecloth. Set the collected cannabis-infused water aside. Do not throw away the cannabis plant material yet.
Step 3: Warm up the milk but do not let it boil. Using a pestle and mortar, combine the cannabis plant material with 2 teaspoons of well-warmed up milk. Start grinding the cannabis plant material and the milk slowly but firmly. Gradually keep adding more milk until you have used about a ½ cup in total. Set the extracted milk aside without removing it from the mortar and pestle.
Step 4: Proceed with adding rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds, chopped pistachios and/or any other garnishes you prefer into the pestle and mortar. Add some warm milk and repeat Step 4. Just keep grinding all the ingredients along with the warm milk until a fine paste is formed. Using a cheesecloth, discard any plant material and unwanted nut fibers and residue left behind.
Step 5: Combine the collected nuts, cannabis, herbs and milk extract with garam masala, fennel, ginger, cardamom, anise, and rose water. Add honey (or other sweeteners) and the rest of the warm milk if you have some left behind.
Step 6: Mix all of the ingredients well. Let the mixture chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with extra pistachios, almonds and/or rose petals and mint leaves, and enjoy!
How to Make Traditional Weed-Infused Bhang Lassi: Step-by-Step Recipe
To make bhang lassi, you need to follow the same steps and use the same ingredients as the ones we listed above. You simply want to further add 1 tablespoon of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon of curds in the final step of mixing all of the bhang lassi ingredients.
Bhang lassi is considered the more potent bhang version because of the addition of healthy fats that boost the cannabinoids metabolization rates.
For a modern-day version of the classic bhang lassi recipe, you can simply add 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk and ½ tablespoon grenadine.
How to Make Traditional Weed-Infused Thandai (Variation of Bhang): Step-by-Step Recipe
Making thandai is fairly easy, and in fact, all you need is to start with is to prep traditional bhang following the step-by-step recipe listed above.
Next, you want to use the bhang base and simply add almonds, cashews, dates, melon seeds, and peppercorn. For this purpose, combine all of the ingredients (but do not add the bhang base yet) into a pestle and mortar and grind everything well (feel free to use a hand mixer/ blender to ease the process).
Once all the ingredients are well-ground, your thandai paste is ready. Now, you want to add thandai paste to warm milk and proceed with adding the bhang base.
Place the mixture on low heat and let it simmer for some good 4-5 minutes. Let the mixture chill before serving and enjoying it to the fullest.
As a rule of thumbs, the higher the fat content in the milk you use, the more cannabinoids would be able to be extracted, thus, making up for a more potent high.
Lastly, please keep an open mind to this thandai bhang recipe as the ingredients and methods applied during the process of preparation can slightly vary from one region to another.
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Best Strains to Use for the Preparation of Bhang
While there are no limits to the type of strains one may choose to use for the preparation of bhang, it is important to keep in mind that different strains produce a different myriad of effects upon consumption.
And since the best way to experiment and reap all the fantastic benefits of cannabis-based derivatives is to grow your very own marijuana plants, we have this neat cheat sheet handy to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Juicy Fruit Autoflower
For the lovers of deliciously aromatic and flavorful strains, Juicy Fruit autoflower is a premium marijuana strain collection go-to, must-try, and must-have.
Spending as little as 7-9 weeks in flowering, Juicy Autoflowers are easy to grow and will reward you with 20% THC content that leads to a high which starts with a warm wave of euphoria and gradually turns into a full mind-and-body calming serenity for the senses.
When used for the preparation of bhang, Juicy Fruit lives up true to its name, alluring the imagination and palate with the delectable hints of fruity pina colada punch.
2. Northern Berry
The child of two notorious parent strains, namely Northern Lights and Blueberry, Northern Berry is nothing less but pure bliss to grow and enjoy.
We found out that when making bhang with Northern Berry strain, you end up with a perfectly balanced high that doesn’t feel overwhelming but rather chilled out and ultimately relaxed in a stress-free state of mind, thanks to the mild yet sufficient THC content of 15%.
Northern Berry is an easy strain to grow even if you are a beginner, and it finished flowering rather quickly within 8 and up to 10 weeks.
3. Auto Critical CBD
If you are into CBD more than you are into THC, then why not make bhang using a high-CBD strain like Auto Critical CBD A beautifully balanced 60% Indica, 40% Sativa, 10% Cannabis Ruderalis hybrid, Auto Critical CBD features a 5% THC to 5% CBD content.
Auto Critical cannabis plants are fairly easy to grow and finish flowering within as little as 7-8 weeks while promising decent yields.
Containing 1.75% of yet another beneficial active cannabinoid, namely CBN (Cannabinol), Auto Critical CBD is one magnetic gemstone you can grow in your indoor or outdoor cannabis garden.
The Traditional Drink of India: Final Notes on Cannabis-Infused Bhang
In Ayurvedic traditions, the term “doshas” is used to describe the unique, strictly individual mental and physical constitution, which is believed to influence a person’s well-being profoundly.
There are three doshas, namely, thevata, the pitta, and thekapha. It is suggested that marijuana consumption helps to calm down the vatadosha, to mellow out the pittadosha and help consumers feel less driven and angry, as well as to address and suppress deeply accumulated grief in the kaphadosha.
Whether it comes to the Ayrvedic, the Hindu or the contemporary Indian perspectives on cannabis, one thing is for sure: the ancient plant of the god Shiva is highly respected and praised for its multiple beneficial uses, ranging from medicinal, religious, and spiritual.
If you haven’t tried bhang before, we do truly hope that the information we shared in this article was educational and inspiring enough to make you want to learn how to make bhang and reap the fantastic benefits of cannabis in a traditional, authentic, and ultimately, enchanting way!