Holi, for any spirited Indian means rang aur bhang. Bhang is a preparation of cannabis, traditionally used in food and drinks in India. The products range from thandai to pakoras, laddoos, kulfis and even sharbats. Cannabis has always been a part of Indian culture, thanks to the powerful god, Shiva. People often chant his name when they take cannabis products and say, "Jai Bhole Nath" and "Boom Shankar" instead of cheers!
Bhang helps release anxiety and gives a sound, peaceful sleep but since it's ingested, its hallucinogenic effects take longer to come. But just like any other sasta nasha, bhang has some do's and don'ts.
1. Don't consume it when you are alone in an unfamiliar place
Sometimes people drink bhang alone, fall asleep, and wake up without their wallet and cellphone.
2. Don’t just buy bhang or bhang products from any random street vendor
They mix chemicals to prolong the effect or sometimes add color, which is even worse.
Buy bhang from government authorized bhang shops only. They are banned in most of the states but you can still find some in Rajasthan, Guwahati, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
3. Don't think this is the same as smoking a joint
The effects of bhang stays far more longer than smoking a joint. Sometimes it can last for almost a day.
4. Don't drink bhang lassi on an empty stomach
Have some food before taking bhang as food neutralizes the effect. Mix it with thandai or milkshakes to lower the concentration of bhang.
5. Do try and stay outside when you have bhang
Some people start feeling claustrophobic due to the hallucinogenic effects. So try to stay in an open area.
6. Don't drive after having bhang
It's never recommended to drive when you are intoxicated and same goes for bhang.
7. Don't take bhang if you suffer from heart problems, high BP, or nerve related diseases
Those who are asthmatic should also never consume bhang. Excess of bhang can even damage your digestive tract.
8. Don't ever mix bhang with alcohol and avoid too much sunlight
People often mix bhang with alcohol, but it can have fatal results. And running around in direct sunlight, worsens the situation as it totally messes up your head.
9. Do drink a lot of water
Bhang leads to extreme dehydration, your throat will dry up every second. So you constantly need water.
10. Don't take painkillers for those post-bhang headaches
Painkillers lead to acidity which further aggravates the nausea. Taking a bath with cold water helps to reduce the effect.
11. Do keep bhang products away from children and pregnant women
Children get affected by bhang a lot more than adults. And pregnant women should definitely avoid bhang, as it can affect the nervous system of the foetus.
12. Don't get it confused with bhola
Bhola is basically bhang mixed with other ayurvedic ingredients to form a little ball. It is sold for 1 or 2 rupees in paan shops. But there are some chemicals in bhola that are known to be bad for your stomach and cause psychological problems. Obviously anything that is so cheap, cannot be expected to be harmless.