Wildly Grown Marijuana in India

The cannabis plant has been growing wildly since time immemorial and has long been used by indigenous peoples to cure all manner of ills. Marijuana is a remarkably resistant plant with numerous healing properties. But to say that it is a common plant is something of an exaggeration. It is not as common as everyday trees as it requires specific environments and conditions to grow, as any grower can attest.

Marijuana in India

One area where marijuana does seem to grow quite freely is in remote locations in India, particularly in the North Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. It is quite strange to see the plants just growing there with nobody claiming them, a highly prized plant in Western countries. As one ventures deeper from the towns towards the small villages, these plants can be seen growing in backyards, house lawns, and even in kitchen gardens, alongside tomatoes and chillies!

Marijuana is, in fact, wildly grown at various places in Himachal Pradesh. The scene is no different in the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Goa, which are also famous for the easy availability of such soft drugs.  The cannabis leaf grows in abundance here and is brought to illicit use by both locals and tourists. Although cops and other officials keep a close watch on the trade of the leaves, smugglers have been known to find their way out.

It is interesting to observe the Indian mindset to marijuana, particularly in the semi crazed West, where industries and companies are literally frothing at the mouth at the prospect of making profits from recent marijuana legalization. Any Indian could easily process these wild plants and sell it to Westerns making massive profits by local standards. And while a few do, many in India could not be bothered.

The growth and use of these leaves have a different purpose in the small homes of the villages of hilly areas such as Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim or Uttarakhand. Locals use them for making traditional cuisine, for medicinal purposes and also for spirituality. Marijuana is heavily tied into the culture of society in Indica, as it was in Europe and the USA before mass suppression and prohibition eliminated the myriad of therapeutic and holistic benefits as well as the many practical applications of hemp. Marijuana is also readily integrated into the cuisine of certain Indian regions. In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, a chutney or sauce made of hemp or marijuana seeds is consumed with daily meals. Known as bhaang chutney, it is a popular dish and is consumed for its rich flavor and other healthy properties, not as a drug. With protein, omega- 3, and gamma-linolenic acid, hemp seeds are said to be quite a potent superfood.

In rural Bengal, marijuana (called tamak) is used for spiritual purposes. From folk singers to sadhus and holy people, it is smoked in the name of god. They believe in the spirituality of the herb and that it is a doorway to other realms. Smoking cannabis is linked to the Hindu god Shiva, the destroyer and creator of the universe. Doctors also use it in Bengal as an antidote to blood sugar and hypertension. With the trillions of dollars poured into medical research in the West, we have only recently discovered these benefits.

One of the most popular local bread in Himachal Pradesh is known assidu. A stuffed bread, it is eaten to stay warm in colder temperatures. For this reason, it is filled with pulses, dry fruits, spices and opium.  The opium seeds are known as Afeem danain Hindi, and bringharm to nobody if taken in an appropriate quantity. These plants are not illegal in the region.

Questions to be Asked

This is not to suggest that all Indians are responsible spiritual individuals who use marijuana to “find God”. People in India largely smoke marijuana recreationally, as do the people of all nations, though everybody has to pretend otherwise due to senseless prohibitions and meaningless social norms. But the past culture of marijuana which was associated with holistic healing and spirituality can be seen in many regions in Northern India. And this holistic form of healing is taking root in the West and many questions have to be asked in relation to marijuana prohibition for the last 7 decades. While people are in a frenzy to make as much profit as possible and to try amazing new strains of marijuana, nobody seems to be asking why such a revered plant was abolished and denied to so many who were suffering for such a long-time period. It would have made a huge difference to many. And now that marijuana is finally becoming legal, in some states cultivation and dispensarypermits are limited and only being given to elite corporations. A plant that grows on a roadside in India can only be obtained in America by getting medically certified by a doctor and purchasing the strain from an appropriate corporate outlet permitted to cultivate it. A strange situation indeed.



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