Weed has a long and deeply rooted spiritual history in India. Many infused food and beverages have religious connotations. You can purchase these delights or make some yourself using our easy-to-follow bhang recipe.
There are different kinds of edibles, but lassi is extremely popular. These drinks are available in most religious regions, but you’ll find them in the cities during Holi and Maha Shivaratri celebrations.
Below, we highlight the history and legality of bhang in India. We also discuss the effects of this edible and provide you with cannabis recipes to try at home.
Let’s kick things off by learning more about this exotic drink.
What is bhang?
Technically, bhang is the thick paste-like substance you get by grinding weed leaves and water or milk. Bhang ingredients vary depending on the user’s preferences. The essential part is that the person making it grinds the cannabis leaves into a paste. Whatever you infuse the mixture into is a bhang product.
This paste usually comes in two types of drinks, called lassi and thandai. Many refer to these beverages interchangeably as bhang. Some also make it into chutney, purple halva, and goli.
The product is part of ancient customs in the country, associated with Hinduism. In rural regions of India, many use it for medicinal purposes.
There are stories of how the deity Shiva descended from the mountains and presented bhang to humanity.
The use of bhang in India was common throughout history, but in the 19th century, British colonizers outlawed marijuana.
Which dishes have bhang in them?
You can include it as an ingredient in almost any recipe. Let’s see several dishes and beverages that contain bhang.
In India, lassi is a milk-based drink, similar to milkshakes in the West. These drinks consist of anything from mangos and namkeen to cannabis leaves. The latter is made by blending cannabis paste with other ingredients like water, milk, coconut milk, almonds, and spices.
When tourists refer to the bhang Indian drink, this is what they’re describing.
Bhang thandai is a traditional beverage typically made for Holi. It’s enjoyed on other holidays too, as a cooling drink. This bhang recipe contains ingredients like dry rose petals, milk, almonds, and saffron.
You infuse cannabis by adding half a tablespoon of weed seed powder.
This chutney is popular in the Uttarakhand region of Kumaon, and most households serve it daily. The product has no psychoactive effects as it uses seeds from marijuana or hemp plants. It’s one of the bhang edibles you can expect to see at a family lunch.
Halva is a popular Indian dessert. You can find this treat at every festival and celebration. The simplest way to make purple halva is by preparing besan ka halwa and adding bhang paste.
Goli is a snack usually eaten with coconut or chutney. Locals make it with flour, yogurt, and an array of spices before being deep-fried. Some chefs add cannabis leaf paste to the recipe to enjoy bhang effects.
Barfi is a sweet dish made with milk, almonds, and ghee. People serve it as a dessert, and there are multiple variants of it. Bhang barfi substitutes basil paste for cannabis leaves.
You can serve bhang masala chai, hot or cold. This spicy Indian tea uses interesting ingredients like cinnamon sticks and cardamom to enhance the flavors; bhang paste is another additive.
These traditional lentil fritters covered in yogurt are an Indian staple. Adding a teaspoon of bhang along with the spices gives the dish an interesting twist.
Aside from this popular cuisine and beverages, you can also add bhang paste to:
- Ke pakode
Is Bhang legal in India?
In India, bhang edibles are legal because they contain the leaf of marijuana plants. Products made with buds or flowers are forbidden by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Government officials passed the law in 1985, criminalizing the possession or sale of items containing marijuana or its resin.
What are the benefits of bhang?
Although the substance is intoxicating, many believe that bhang has benefits for several ailments. In Indian culture, it’s believed to assist with conditions like:
- Low appetite
- phlegm/chest infections
Based on reports from cannabis users worldwide, the medical benefits of marijuana can also help with:
- Weight loss
- Skin conditions
Bhang in India is also known for its use in mediation and yogic practice. There are various legends about soldiers and other historical figures who used the benefits of these weed drinks to obtain victory.
The drink is often served to couples on their wedding night for its aphrodisiac properties.
Does bhang get you high?
Bhang in India contains both CBD and THC, so it can get you high if you consume enough. It induces intoxicating sensations of euphoria and relaxation, but depending on the strain used, it can also cause hallucinations and delusions.
How long does a Bhang high last?
The onset of the high takes a bit longer than smoking as the stomach absorbs the compounds. It can take between 30–90 minutes for the headrush to hit, and the peak effects occur 2–3 hours later.
The bhang effects can last as long as 12 hours if you ingest too much. Some also report a mild weed hangover after overindulging.
How to make bhang: Make your own with this bhang recipe
There are various ways to infuse bhang paste into food and drinks, but the most common is lassi and thandai. Below we provide recipes to try at home. If you know how to make CBD edibles, this task will be simple.
Before you can learn how to make a bhang lassi, you’ll need to gather these ingredients:
- 2 cups of water
- 3 cups of warm milk
- ½ a tsp of rose water
- ½ a cup of honey
- Rose petals
- Mint leaves
- Chopped almonds
- Chopped pistachios
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp anise
- ¼ tsp fennel
- ½ oz. cannabis leaves and/or flowers
Pour the water into a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add cannabis. Allow it to steep for 5–10 minutes before straining with a muslin cloth.
Squeeze out all the liquid and place the marijuana into a mortar with two tablespoons of warm milk. Grind it with the pestle to start creating the bhang paste.
Continue adding milk, two tablespoons at a time, until you’ve used approximately half a cup. The consistency of the mixture will be fairly thick at first and gradually become more liquid. Add the pistachios, rose petals, mint leaves, and almonds. Continue grinding.
Once fine paste forms, add the spices, honey, rose water, and remainder of the milk. Mix until all the ingredients are properly combined, refrigerate, and serve cold.
Thandai is a popular treat for cultural celebrations. This bhang drink recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare, and you can make it as creamy as you like.
- 1L milk
- A few strands of saffron
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- ¼ cup whole almonds
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 3 cardamom
- 1 tbsp bhang paste
Before you can begin making the beverage, you need to blanch the almonds. Remove the skin and set them aside.
Grind the poppy, fennel, almonds, peppercorns, cardamom, and bhang paste to make the masala.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add saffron to the milk. Once the combination reaches boiling point, incorporate the bhang masala using an electric mixer.
Allow the thandai to cool, then refrigerate for 5–6 hours. Serve chilled. For a creamy alternative, use fresh cream. You can soak your almonds overnight to enhance the overall flavor.
Ending with a bhang
The bhang Indian drink is more than a delicious way to get high. It has deep spiritual roots linked to ancient Hindu legends. Although marijuana is illegal in India, bhang is permitted, and you can find it in many small stores across the country.
You make it using various parts of the cannabis plant, and some recipes use the flower and bud. Although there’s no prohibition on the leaves, the resin and other components are still outlawed.
There are multiple bhang recipes available, some in beverages and others in edibles. Now that you know how to make bhang, why don’t you give the recipe a shot using your own weed plants?
If you haven’t started a cannabis crop yet, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Head over to Homegrown Cannabis Co. and select a strain to get started.