Cannabis & Ayurveda

Legal Understanding

A drug can be available in Ayurvedic preparations but not approved in modern medicine. Marijuana is another name for cannabis obtained from the Cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa. It is mainly used as charas, hashish, ganja and bhang.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 has defined cannabis as below:

"(iii) "cannabis (hemp)" means-

(a) charas, that is, the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish;

(b) ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be known or designated; and

(c) any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink prepared therefrom."

Bhang is prepared from the leaves (and seeds) of the cannabis plant. Hence, it is not covered under the NDPS Act, 1985, which bans the production and sale of cannabis resin and flowers, but permits use of leaves and seeds.

Mixing of bhang with any part of flowering tops or the resin produced from the cannabis plants; however, is a punishable offence under relevant provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.

Ayurveda and Cannabis (Bhang)

Ayurveda is the oldest form of medicine that originated in India long ago. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the human body can only be healthy if there is a perfect balance between Vata, pitta, and Kapha. Also, a man can be healthy if his psyche is in a peaceful state. Not only it focuses on the wellness of the human body but also on the mind and soul. In simpler words, Ayurveda is now a way of life that lays emphasis on the mental health of people. Yoga, herbs, massage are a part of the healthy lifestyle promoted by Ayurveda.

Bhang (Cannabis sativa) is included in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Part-I, Volume-I and National Institute of Drug Abuse.

As per Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Part-I, Volume-I, bhang is Vijaya and consists of dried leaves of cultivated or wild plants of Cannabis sativa Linn. (Fam Cannabaceae), an annual erect, dioecious herb, 1-2 m high, found almost throughout the year; practically naturalized in the Sub-Himalayan tracts in India and abundantly found in waste lands from Punjab eastwards to Bengal and extending Southwards.

in the Sub-Himalayan tracts in India and abundantly found in waste lands from Punjab eastwards to Bengal and extending Southwards.

In Ayurveda, it has different names are Bhanga, Madani, Bhan, Sidhi, Indian Hemp, Bhaang, Bhang, Bhangigida, Ganjagida, Pang, Bangi, Kanchavu, Ganja, Ganjei and Qinaab

For those of you wondering how Ayurveda and Cannabis are intertwined, here is a small guide for you.


Cannabis is known as Bhanga in Sanskrit and holds a significant place in Hindu mythology. However, when you refer to the traditional texts or Vedas dating back to the 15th century, you will find a range of remedies and medicines that have ‘siddhi’ or ‘Vijaya’ as an ingredient. As a matter of fact, this wonderful ingredient is none other than Cannabis. Ayurvedic medicines use the stem, leaves, and seeds of the Cannabis plant to cure plenty of diseases by herbal remedies. Though Cannabis helps in the well-being of a person, it is often termed a toxic and highly narcotic substance.

From time immemorial, Cannabis is being used to cure a lot of diseases like Glaucoma, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, kidney stones, lack of appetite, insomnia, skin infections, and digestive problems. It is to be noted that Cannabis is first purified and then used as a medicine in Ayurveda. Its healing properties make it an extremely important part of Ayurveda as it decreases Kapha, increases digestion and immunity, and boosts mental health.

The right way of consumption

As mentioned earlier, Cannabis is considered to be a therapeutic drug in Ayurveda. Just like any other drug, it should be consumed as and when required, and that too, on Ayurveda doctor’s guidance. While the consumption of Cannabis in combination with other herbs cures a variety of diseases, its usage in isolation can be toxic.

When the frequency and dose of Cannabis are increased, it leads to some harmful effects like depression, digestion problems, tiredness, etc. So, one has to strictly follow the doctor’s advice while consuming Cannabis. Moreover, the excessive use of this drug deteriorates the human mind and soul and alters the three basic elements of the human body commonly known as Vata, pitta, Kapha. This alteration causes an imbalance in the mind and body and the consumer ends up with long-term illness.

The recreational use of cannabis is highly discouraged in Ayurveda. According to traditional texts, if consumed with other herbs in the right amount, Cannabis does wonders and cures illness or otherwise, it becomes a poison.

'Pragya aparadh' is viewed as the generator of the multitude of sicknesses the body can experience, that is, an awkwardness in the mind that causes actual pain. As per Ayurveda, when the insight is in a mess, the body encounters an adjustment in the condition of setting off the illness. Under this hypothesis, the unnecessary utilization of cannabis could prompt the supposed 'Pragya aparadh’.

Traditional Ayurvedic medicines

In Ayurveda, cannabis is used in many different ways to cure different types of illness. Some of the traditional Ayurvedic medicines made using Cannabis are:

  • Jatiphaladi churna and Madanananda modaka.

Its therapeutic uses are for:

  1. Agnimandya (in which food is not properly digested due to the diminished power of Jatharagni)
  2. Atisara (acute diarrhea)
  3. Grahaniroga (irritable bowel syndrome)
  4. Klaibya (erectile dysfunction)
  5. Anidra (insomnia).
  • The juice of Cannabis plant is used to lower intraocular pressure, also called glaucoma.
  • In order to concentrate during all-day practice sessions even after being exhausted, many wrestlers and athletes take cannabis. For that purpose, they mix a paste of dryfruits, saffron, black pepper etc., along with bhang and drink it with fresh cow milk. It also helps them by making their digestive system strong so that they can digest large quantities of food.
  • The juice of fresh leaves of Cannabis plant i.e. bhang is used to cure dandruff problems, earache, and other kinds of bacterial inflammations on the body. Also, it can cure inflammations that may arise due to kidney stones.
  • A combination of bhang and some other herbs is taken with honey to cure diarrohea.
  • A mixture of tobacco and bhang can be used as an anti-aphrodisiac, and thus hep in diminishing appetite. On the other hand, a mixture of bhang and some digestive herbs can be used to increase appetite and improve digestion.
  • Also, the paste of fresh leaves of the cannabis plant can be used to treat skin problems, allergies, infections, and rashes.

All of these are the miraculous benefits of Cannabis and its products which have been in use from the time immemorial. However, these treatments can be used even today and the results are going to amaze you.

Our thinking needs to change!

As you now understand the significance of cannabis in Ayurveda and its medicinal properties, you might have a clear mind about cannabis. But still, numerous people consider cannabis harmful and look down upon the consumers. The stigma is further extended with how the drug is consumed and by which section of the society. Perhaps the stigma is still prevalent because people are ignorant about the effects of cannabis and assume that its consumption leads to death. Moreover, if a person consumes cannabis for recreation, society considers him to be someone who is not on the right track and declares cannabis to be the cause for all his life problems. Anyhow, this stigma has to be eliminated from society itself so that people can be benefitted from it in one way or the other.

Unsurprisingly, not only Ayurveda but also Western medicine is using Cannabis to cure dangerous ailments these days. Cannabis is widely used in chemotherapy and other types of cancer treatments. Cannabis should never be consumed is a misconception long gone. Nowadays, people have realised the importance and benefits of this wonderful drug and are consuming it with doctors' consultation. Not only it has improved their physical health but also their mental health and immunity.