Bhang's Origins and Bright Future in Canada
The History of Bhang
Bhang is one of the first known formulations of edible cannabis in contemporary history. Its roots can be traced back to 2,000 B.C. where it was consumed during Hindu festivals and celebrations. Cannabis is deeply intertwined with Hinduism and India. So much so that it appears in the Atharvaveda, as one of the five most sacred plants on earth. Used in ritual, healing, and as a panacea for a variety of illnesses, cannabis and its formulation, Bhang, are central in many cultural traditions across the Indian subcontinent. It’s also of interest to cannabis enthusiasts seeking to experience the lauded effects of the aforementioned “sacred plant.”
Beyond its reference in the Atharvaveda, Bhang is also closely connected to the Hindu god, Lord Shiva. The legend goes that:
A drop of nectar fell from the Heavens and landed on a sacred mountain. A plant grew from that drop, and the Gods, Shiva among them, made a drink from said plant. Shiva believed that this wonderful drink held many medicinal properties and should be shared with humankind. (Herban Planet)
Some stories suggest that Lord Shiva used Bhang to keep him in a meditative state and induce feelings of calm. During Maha Shivaratri, the festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, Bhang is used by some participants to help them achieve a similar meditative and calm state. Holi, a festival intended to celebrate spring and love, is widely known for the vibrant-coloured powder that covers participants. Bhang plays a central role in the festivities.
Bhang’s cultural impact is even recognized by law in India. In 1961, a blanket ban was imposed on all drugs, including cannabis, unless it was being used for medicinal or research purposes. The government of India knew how important Bhang was and recognized that it would be impossible to criminalize across the country, so Bhang was left off this list and remained legal.
What Exactly is Bhang?
Bhang is created by boiling and straining cannabis plants and then grinding the flowers, leaves and a bit of warm milk with a mortar and pestle. After creating a paste, the product is infused with additional spices like cardamom, garam masala, anise, and fennel and added to more warm milk. Alternatively, some consumers might prefer a Bhang Lassi. This yogurt-based drink is a more complex version of the traditional Bhang beverage and often served with chia seeds and rose petals.
Bhang Comes to Canada
In North America, Bhang is associated with cannabis, but it’s more synonymous with award-winning chocolate and edible products. Bhang® Corporation, established in 2010, brought the spirit of celebration from Holi to American consumers of cannabis-infused products. Its chocolate is an eight-time Cannabis Cup winner and has also won High Times’ Best Edible. Through a joint-venture partnership, Indiva and Bhang® will bring milk, dark and caramel varieties of chocolate to Canadians towards the end of 2019.
Bhang, as a totem within Hindu culture, will always be central to the cannabis story. As harbingers of cannabis accessibility, Indiva is proud to carry the torch, share the story and bring this sacred plant to the cannabis curious in Canada.
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