Religious use of cannabis dates back thousands of years. Only a few religions actively encourage or allow the use of marijuana. From dreadlocks to nuns, there are now several religions that view cannabis in a positive light. We even reported on a church that allowed pot smoking during their Sunday service.
Sacred Hindu texts dating back to at least 1400 B.C. list cannabis as one of the five sacred plants. Additionally, the books called The Vedas claim a guardian angel lives in the leaves of the plant. Ancient Hinduism saw cannabis as a source of happiness and remover of fear.
In Hinduism Cannabis is closely related to the god Shiva. In fact, it is commonly believed that Shiva consumes pot. There are portraits of the god drinking bhang and some Hindus smoke weed to attain spiritual oneness with Shiva.
According to one legend, Shiva wandered off into some fields after a family dispute. Exhausted from the fighting and hot sun he fell asleep under an unknown plant. When he woke up, he decided to try some of the leaves, and they rejuvenated him. He then turned the plant into his favorite food and drink.
The drink is called bhang and Shiva is known as the Lord of Bhang. Bhang is consumed during the Indian and Nepalese festival of Holi. The beverage is infused with cannabis flowers and the most common way to consume weed during religious rites. To extract THC from the flowers something containing fat like milk is added. Depending on the amount of cannabis used, bhang can vary in potency and provide medicinal benefits.
The tops of marijuana plants are called ganja in India, and they’re sometimes smoked by Sadhus. A Sadhu is a revered Hindu holy man. They also use the strongest form of cannabis in India: hashish. Hashish contains extracted resin from marijuana and resinous buds and is usually shared with others because of its potency.