Bhang – Marijuana Benefits, Dose, Research, Side Effects

Bhang, Marijuana has been used in Ayurveda and in some Indian festival drinks (Holi) since many centuries. In Ayurveda, it is used in treating low digestion strength, IBS, insomnia and muscle pains. But it is grouped under Upavisha – sub- toxic herbs. Hence, purification is required before its very-careful and limited dose and time usage. 

Botanical Name- Cannabis sativa Linn.
Family name- CANNABACEAE

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Arabic : Hinab, Kanab, Kinnab, Naba tulqunenals
Assami : Dai ma
Bengal : Bhang, Ganja, Sidhi
Burma : Ben, Bin, Sechaub, Sejarbim
Canarese/ Kannada : Bhangi, Bhangigida, Bhangisoppu
Canton : Fu ma
Catalan : Canam, Canem
Celtic : Kanas
Centra provinees : Ganja
Clinese : Fuma, ma , Tama, Tang ma
Cutch : Ganja
Deccan : Ganja, Sidhi
Dutch : Hennip, Indische hennepkrid , Kennip
English : Indian Hemp
French : Cannibis, Canaban, Candi, Caneba, Cannab, Chambric, Chamust,
Hindi Name- Charas, Bhang
English Name- Indian Hemp, Marijuana
Kannada Name – Bhangi Soppu
Telugu – Gunjai
Tamil Name- Bangii
Bengali Name- Ganja, Bhang, Siddi
Gujarati Name – Bhag
Farsi name – Kinnab
Spanish : Bhangane de la India, Cannamo, Canamo Indiana
Sweedish: tlamp
Tamil Bhangi, Ganjam , Kalpam, Korkkamuchi
Telugu : Bhagiaku, Ganjachettu, kalpa mechettu
Turkish: Hint heneviri

bhang leaf
Bhanga - Ayurveda

Varieties

The variation in cannabis is considerably following mainly two patterns on the basis of which two wide spread types are dissemble. These has been raised the rank of sub-species

  1. Cannabis sativa
  2. Cannabis indica

Cannabis sativa, is grown for fibre and oil.

Other Sub-species

  1. Cannabis spontanea
  2. Cannabis gigantea
  3. Cannabis kafiristanica

These have a considerable potential for the production of intoxicant material.

Medicinal properties

Marijuana – medicinal Properties:
Rasa (taste)- Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (qualities) – laghu (light), Teekshna (strong), Vyavayi – spreads to all parts of the body swiftly.
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha: Balances Vata and Kapha Dosha.

cannabis sativa

Part used, dosage

Part Used: Leaves
Dosage:
Bhanga leaf Powder: 125- 250- mg- ; ganja 60- 125 mg; Charas 30 mg, in divided doses per day.
Hashish/Charas is – leaves and/or top part of the cannabis flower is chewed or smoked. The term Charas is used to indicate exudate found on leaves and branches
Ganja/Marijuana is mostly dried leaves used to smoke or even ingested directly. The term Ganja is also used to indicate female plant containing inflorescence containing a type of liquid.
Bhang is when cannabis leaves are ground up and mixed and brewed with milk. Bhang term is also used to indicate leaf and branches having flowers and fruits.

Bhang in Nighantu

  • Bhavaprakasha also mention the therapeutic effect of the drug in Atisaradhikara
  • Raja nighantu give the effects and therapeutic use of Bhanga, also in Madanapala Nighantu
  • In the shodala nighantu also there is reference of Bhanga
  • In Nasadhikara, Bhavaprakasha mention the therapeutic use of Bhanga
  • Chakradatha mentions in the kushta chikitsa it is having the property of removing the external germs.
  • In modern texts of medicinal plants there is a wide explanation of drug (cannabis sativa) for its narcotic utilities.

Sanskrit verse

Marijuana benefits

Bhang Uses

Pittala – Increases Pitta Dosha
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhoea, IBS
Karshani – causes weight loss, useful in obesity
Vahni Vardhini , Deepana – improves digestion strength
Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia.
Madakrut – causes intoxication
Pachani – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Nidrakara – induces sleep
Ushna – increases body temperature
Kamada – increases libido
Vak Vardhini – increases urge to speak
In low doses, it is used in treating Glaucoma, convulsions, epilepsy, schizophrenia.
Bhang is very useful in relieving pain. There are many medicines like Sativex® mouth spray, used for treating chronic pains in Canada and a few European countries.
Marijuana is potentially useful in treating multiple sclerosis, to relieve pain, spasms and inflammation.

External application

External application of Bhang :
Marijuana leaves paste is applied externally to relieve pain and to increase warmth. It is also useful in worm infested wounds and in atopic dermatitis.
It is applied over pile mass to shrink it and to relieve itching and pain.

Marijuana leaf

Purification method

Purification process: Bhanga Shodhana –
Before its usage, it is subjected to a purification procedure.
Its leaves are tied in a cloth and boiled in milk for three hours. After that, it is taken out, dried and fried in ghee. Only after this, Cannabis sativa is used for medicinal purposes.

Distribution

Distribution of Bhang: Found in sub- Himalayan tracts, grows in waste places Also cultivated for narcotic use.
It is found in Iraq and Iran as well.

Research

Anti bacterial activity
Analgesic and anti inflammatory activity
Microscopical and chemical study

Side effects

It is unsafe during pregnancy, lactation and in children.
It should not be used in people with high blood pressure and who are susceptible for heart attack.

Long term use of high doses Marijuana may cause:
Decreased respiratory immunity
Anxiety and depression
Lowered testosterone level, sperm quality and count

The side effects are more seen in persons with low BP, liver disorders or diabetes.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Cannabis sativa as ingredient:
Pushpadhanwa Ras – 
used in the Ayurvedic treatment of sexual disorders such as low stamina, premature ejaculation.
Jatiphaladi Churna – used in treatment of digestive and respiratory conditions.
Nidroday Ras –  used in treatment of  sleeplessness, nocturnal emission.
Bahumutrantak Ras – Used in treating frequent urination.
Maha Jwarankush Ras – used in treating fever, chronic fever, intermittent fever etc.

Substitute for opioid painkillers

For people with chronic pain, a study was conducted on 1100 people in Vancouver, who were relying on opioids, daily use of cannabis helped them to substitute illicit opioids (research)

Spiritual significance

Marijuana, Ayurveda and spirituality:
The purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain health of healthy and to treat the diseased. To achieve these purposes, especially the latter one, Ayurveda does not shy to use any and all means. Hence there is a statement in Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 1st chapter

Chemical constituents

Marijuana –  chemical constituents:
Cannabinol, Tetrahydro- cannabiol, Cannabidiol, Cannabichromene, I- dehydro- tetrahydrocannabinol, eugenol, sequiterpenenes, cannabinodis etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Cannabinoids, resinous exudates , cannabidiol , cannabinol, cannatrichomere , cannabicitran, canbicyclol Cannabispiran, iso cannabrispiran, dehydro cannabispiran
Also, Cannabinol , tetrahydrocannabinol, 1-dehydro cannabidiol and other phinolic compounds , along with eugenol , guacol , amino acids c-glycosy – favamaids.

There is no substance in the universe that cannot be used as medicine. Any substance can be used as medicine if the doctor uses yukti.          Yukti – how to make a planned combination of the medicine and Artha – what actually is the purpose of the substance.

For this reason only, we see lot of non veg substances, narcotic and poisonous substances used in Ayurveda as medicine.
Hence, from a strict medical point of view, Ayurveda recommends using Marijuana in specific doses to treat specific conditions, for specific amounts of time periods.

From a spiritual point of view, Spirituality is inward journey. For which, I guess we should not depend on external stimuli in the form of Marijuana, LSD etc.

Use in multiple sclerosis

There are some minor evidence that Marijuana is useful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Its extract – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol – is available as a oral spray medicine called . This is used in treating spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. This medicine is available in 15 countries.

Ethical concerns

Ethical concerns related to Bhang usage:
Marijuana is used in some Indian festivals, but it is illegal here in India, to use, possess or sell it. Many people get caught doing these things every day.
It is being legalized in many states in USA.
Medically, Marijuana is being proved to be very useful in the treatments of multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s diseases etc.
In Ayurveda also, there are many medicines with it, as ingredient, like Madanakameshwari lehya, used as aphrodisiac, Sarpagandha vati, used for treating insomnia etc.

It is very true that medical use of Marijuana is very beneficial. But just because Marijuana is being made legal, it should not be understood that everyone can use it without any side effects. Alcohol and smoking are also legal. But they have repercussions on our health.

When it comes to ethical reasoning, it is best to ask ourselves –
Will we give Marijuana to our children?
No, if they want to use it for recreational purposes,
Yes, for a short period of time, if they have disease in which Marijuana can be very useful to treat better than any other medicine.

In some parts of India, spiritual masters take Marijuana to feel high and feel happy.
It is still unethical to do it. Spiritual bliss should come from within and not from an external source.
Anyone can smoke it and feel high but that temporary happiness and elation is coming from an external source, not from the inner source of eternal energy, what we call as God.

Systemic classification

Kingdom        –           Plantae
Sub kingdom –          Phenerogamae
Division         –           Angiospermae
Class               –           Dicotyledon
Subclass         –           Monochlamydeae
Series             –           Unisexuales
Order              –           urticales
Family            –           Cannabinaceae
Genus              –          Cannabis
Species           –           Sativa

Sanskrit Synonyms

Ganja, Ganjayika, Jaya, Vijaya,
Indrasana, Bhangika
Matulani, Madani

Seeds, hemp seed, hulled

Taste – mildly sweet
Properties – unctuous (contains around 30% fats), heavy (high calorific value)
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause)
Pitta nourishing (aids digestion)
Kapha balancing (due to hot potency)

77 thoughts on “Bhang – Marijuana Benefits, Dose, Research, Side Effects”

    • Schedule E of Drugs and cosmetics rules, 1945, enlists ingredients, which when used in Ayurvedic medicines, require – a cautionary statement – that, to be consumed under strict medical supervision. This list includes many herbs including Cannabis sativa. So, I guess, its use for Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing is legal, provided, the manufacturing facility has license etc. (It is just my opinion. It is not a legal statement.)

      Reply
  1. Great work. When in the current generation people value society set rules more than if a topic is right or wrong, sir you do a good job to actually write an article talking about godness of bhang. Kudos.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this article. I have come across many articles and videos claiming that Marijuana can be used to cure cancer. Does Ayurveda provide any information on usage of Marijuana in Cancer treatment? Can you please throw some light on this?

    Reply
  3. can you clarify about hemp? is it of the same family and please let us know the uses of its oil (Hemp oil

    Reply
    • Dr. Hebbbar: I have a question about bhang’s side effects. You stated above that “decreased respiratory immunity” can result from long term bhang use. Is this not true only for those who smoke bhang? Does this side effect happen also to those who prepare bhang as an Ayurvedic drink with milk, spices, etc?

      Reply
  4. Hi, Any medicine in excess is not good for health, including Bhang. Please consult a de-addiction center.

    Reply
  5. I have uses Charas, Bhang a long years still then. but Now want to leave it Charas, Bhang . please tell are me any medicine or solution .

    Reply
  6. Sir it is the most important knowledge to use of cannabis and its merits and limitations so thanku so much.

    Reply
  7. the effect of marijuana is not finished after taking it five days ago what to do please give some solution

    Reply
  8. Hello sir, Hope you are under supervision while you are taking sleeping pills. Would advise you to not take Bhang too.

    Reply
  9. Would using cannabis once per week cause toxicity and/or health problems for an otherwise healthy individual? Namaste.

    Reply
      • For e.g., one would take a small to medium pinch of ground cannabis, place it in a vaporizer, and then take one to three puffs. A thin to medium amount of vapor would be visible upon exhaling. Generally, the potency of cannabis is 10% to 20% (THC).

        Reply
        • There are views on both sides – positive and negative. Generally speaking, if it is done once a week, there “should not be” any problem.

          Reply
          • Would you please provide step by step instructions to purify cannabis so as to reduce its negative side effects [of heating, drying and penetrating]? Since so many are using cannabis these days with waves of legalization around the world, some clearly written steps for various preparations [for the general public] might be helpful. Two forms of instructions might be particularly helpful: 1) for those who vaporize 2) and for those who would like to learn how to ingest cannabis as food, as bhang and other edible forms. It is said that eating is healthier for body/mind when prepared carefully, according to Indian Ayurvedic Tradition. You have offered some general instructions above in stating frying leaves and flowers in ghee, but also recommend soaking in water, boiling in milk, etc. Still, many of us do not know exactly what to do, step by step, in an easy to understand program. So many use cannabis these days, so perhaps this would help many use it more intelligently and carefully. Thank you for your consideration. Namaste.

            Reply
            • Its leaves are tied in cloth. and boiled in milk for three hours. After that, it is taken out, dried and fried in ghee. Only after this, Cannabis sativa is used for medicinal purposes. This is the only way that I know.

              Reply
  10. The reason I asked for step by step preparation instructions for bhang is that, for e.g., I do not understand how milk can be boiled for three hours without evaporating completely. Also, I do not use recreationally, only under medical supervision and for medicinal purposes. Thank you for being so kind to help bring clarification and guidance to this subject of cannabis ingestion and thank you for not approving recreational use.

    Reply
  11. My mom has autoimmune myositis..she was adviced to take steroids but she is having lots of side effects..nw my mom has started wit ayurvedic medicine..does bhang cures autoimmune myositis?
    N wat dose to be taken?

    Reply
    • It is still under research for myositis and the benefits are not established yet. Please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.

      Reply
  12. Respected sir, my query is whether the green leaves are to be used or dried one, and for external application can we use paste of green leaves of bhang directly without purification or there is someother method of application .
    Thank you…

    Reply
    • Hi, Fresh and dried leaves both are used. For external application, green leaves are used.

      Reply
  13. Hello sir my mother’s body got stiffed more or less symptoms like arthritic fibromyalgia can medical marijuana be given can result we get

    Reply
  14. Hello,
    How much canabis or ganga the bhang tablets contain? Is the export in other countries illegal? Or taking them back home (abroad) from India?

    Reply
  15. How long does the effect of minar churan (bhang goli) last? I had taken 1 and a half goli and it has been 2 days.
    I still feel numbness in my body.
    I’m really worried please reply.

    Reply
  16. Dr J V Hebbar ji,

    In America and some other countries hemp oil and hulled hemp seeds are promoted as health food, good source of protein, dha, Omega 3 and gla. Does ayurveda recommend hemp seeds and oil as well? I have tried them and there is no psychedelic effect, though not sure about benefits of it.

    Thanks
    Rohit

    Reply
    • I did not find any direct reference for hemp seeds.
      Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3)and is told as highly rich in nutrition.

      Reply
  17. Regarding bhang shodhan,leaves are mentioned. What about bhang beej…,….do beej also need to be boiled in milk? Thanks.

    Reply
  18. Good morning sir , I take bhola munakka half goli in a full day to help me cope up with depression. Is it safe to use regularly a half goli of bhang

    Reply
  19. i am using munka . did it show in any test . which test u prefer to check … can without doctor i can check direct from lab

    Reply
  20. Do you sell the correct form of calamus to use for vaporizing (with cannabis)? If you do not have this product, can you kindly suggest one on the Internet? I believe there are several varieties of calamus to choose from and one is most ideal. I use cannabis medically. Thank you.

    Reply
  21. Hello Sir.

    I had bhaang from govt approved shop with milk (2goliyan). After consumption, after 1.5 hrs had extreme palpitations, dry mouth, felt like I was going to die. Felt feverish and everything was very slow. Symptoms subsided after 3-4 hours.

    After that was fine for 3 days after which I had golgappas from outside and at night chest pain and palpitations and pain in left arm and neck.
    I also had sore throat and lot of gas formation and diarrhea and pain in stomach.
    I was unable to sleep at night for next 5 days.

    Symptoms got better for 4-5 days, post which I was worried about something and the same symptoms came up again.
    I have fever, excessive thirst, sore throat, palpitation, chest pain etc

    What is happening to.me? Is this because of cannabis? How do I treat this? Is it long term?

    Reply
  22. Hello Doctor,

    Can you please help me out, My mom has undergone bypass surgery in 2005..From that day till today [ 13 yrs ] she is not active at all and she feels major heaviness in her head and body which is disrupting her daily activities …She is not getting proper sleep till date…We been to psychiatrist and neurologist..but they give some antidepressants and sleep medicines but still no recovery…I dont know what to do ?

    Could you please advice if inhaling smoke of dried bhang leaves will cure her to some extent OR is there any other alternative other than bhang leaves which will cure her

    I am hoping to get a valuable suggestions…Please advice

    Reply

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