Learn about India’s laws, regulations, history & culture regarding cannabis and cannabis seeds in order to buy, sell, possess & grow marijuana in India. Mountain Top Seed Bank produces some of India's best cannabis seeds, providing hobby growers access to the finest hemp and cannabis strains seeds. Shop Now! Cannabis is illegal in India, but is still widely used. Bhang also plays an important part in some religious ceremonies, and the Holi festival. Read more.
Buying Marijuana Seeds in India 2022
Laws on Buying & Growing Marijuana Seeds in India. Growing Tips, Recommended Strains, and the Best Seed Banks That Ship To India For the 2022 Growing Season.
Cannabis seeds continue to be readily available in India, regardless of their lack of medical or recreational legality.
Cannabis seeds and marijuana products have been a large part of Indian heritage and culture for thousands of years, often used by Hindus in religious practices and rituals, such as Holi, while Indian puritans, having shunned material objects and modern living, smoke cannabis to seek divinity and spiritual freedom.
With India’s past in marijuana cultivation and consumption, it is rather shocking to learn that India has a strict law regarding the use and distribution of marijuana resin or flower, resulting in possible legal repercussions, such as hefty fines and prison sentences.
With that being said, the cannabis culture in India is very much alive and well among the citizens and, although there doesn’t seem to be any movements in its legality or decriminalization in the foreseeable future, marijuana continues to be very much present.
Besides relaying India’s lush heritage, this article will educate you on the rules and regulations in regards to buying marijuana seeds from online or local seed banks in India. Furthermore, you’ll discover the best cannabis seed strains to buy from seed banks to grow in India, along with our top recommended tips and tricks for growing weed.
This information is relevant and accurate in 2022, but since rules and regulations are constantly changing, it would be wise to check back for updated information on buying cannabis seeds from seed banks in India.
In a Nutshell — The Legality of Buying Marijuana Seeds in India
As you’ve read above — India’s history is deeply entwined with cannabis seeds and derivative products.
However, the cannabis laws in India do not reflect the long-standing acceptance of cannabis. Here’s a summary of the legality of cannabis in India regarding buying marijuana seeds from local or online seed banks.
- Cannabis is legal in specific jurisdictions in India
- Cannabis is illegal in most jurisdictions in India
- Derivatives, such as bhang, is legal in various jurisdictions in India
- Cannabis seeds are legal in India
Continue reading below to learn about growing cannabis seeds in India, along with information on the best seed banks that ship in India, grow tips, and cultural and legal information.
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Growing Cannabis Seeds in India
Growing cannabis seeds in India is incredibly rewarding because it allows cultivators to experience new flavors and effects for medical or recreational purposes.
Let’s take a look at a few different aspects when growing marijuana seeds in India.
When to Sprout Cannabis Seeds in India
India lies in the Northern Hemisphere, which means the ideal time to plant cannabis seeds is between March and May.
If you live in the colder Northern regions, it’s best to sprout cannabis seeds in early May. However, March is an ideal time to start your weed seeds if you live in the tropical Southern region.
Issues to Consider When Growing Marijuana Seeds in India
When growing marijuana seeds in India, you must be careful of:
- Law enforcement
- Pests and diseases
Tips for Growing Cannabis Seeds in India
Here’s a list of our top-rated tips to ensure the best weed possible at the end of the 2022 growing season.
Buy Cannabis Seeds From a Reputable Online or Local Seed Bank in India
First, you must buy cannabis seeds from a reputable online or local seed bank in India.
By doing so, you’ll find verified cannabis seed strains that produce top-shelf buds.
Buy Cannabis Seeds for Your Regional Climate in India
Buying cannabis seeds from a trustworthy seed store in India means you can find seed strains that flower within a specific window or exhibit the desired characteristic in relation to your regional climate.
In other words, you can find a seed strain that’s resistant to mold if you live in the tropical Southern region. If you need a fast flowering strain that’s resistant to cold, you can easily find these traits at a reputable seed bank that ships to India.
Plan Your Cannabis Garden in Advance
Lastly, you must prepare your cannabis garden before you plant your marijuana seeds.
Once your cannabis seeds arrive from an online seed bank — wait until your garden is fully operational to sprout the seeds.
Which Marijuana Seed Store Is the Best Option For Indian Residents?
If you’re ready to buy marijuana seeds in India — you have two options.
Local Cannabis Seed Stores in India
Marijuana laws in India state that cannabis seeds and the plant’s foliage are not technically considered to be illegal, due to the historical use of those ingredients in bhang and the fact that those parts of the cannabis plant are not what causes psychedelic effects to the smoker.
However, due to marijuana laws in India which state that weed in India, medicinal or otherwise, is prohibited, local industries such as dispensaries and seed banks are not readily available or legally allowed to exist. That also means there are no opportunities to buy marijuana seeds from a local seed bank in India.
Online Cannabis Seed Banks That Ship to India
The best and safest way to buy marijuana seeds in India is from an online seed bank that ships to India.
Here’s our recommendation of the two best cannabis seed banks that ship to India:
Crop King Seeds – Crop King Seeds offers a large variety of cannabis seeds and provides worldwide shipping. This Canadian-based marijuana seed bank is an exceptional alternative to seed banks in India. Their powerful and effective weed strains and quality cannabis seeds make them a fan favorite. You can easily and conveniently buy cannabis seeds and ship them to your home in India. Crop King Seeds offers free shipping on orders over $200 and offers free shipping with 10 free seeds on orders exceeding $500. All orders are shipped in discreet packaging that is optimally packed to ensure freshness upon arrival.
MSNL Seedbank – MSNL seed bank is an exceptional online business that produces high-quality cannabis seeds and ships them worldwide, India included. MSNL offers their clientele savings in the form of a points system, with each purchase earning you points towards future discounts and promotions. They also put their strains on sale, saving you additional cash. With their worldwide shipping, MSNL is a great alternative to Indian seedbanks and provides safe access to cannabis seeds that ship to India.
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Recommended Cannabis Seed Strains to Buy From Online Seed Banks and Grow In India
India is a massive country that’s perfect for cannabis cultivation.
If you’re ready to buy and grow cannabis seeds in India, here are three recommended marijuana seed strains that’ll excel in most regions in India.
Granddaddy Purple Feminized Seed Strain
If you want one of the most potent and easy to grow cannabis seed strains in India — look no further than the Granddaddy Purple feminized seed strain.
The Granddaddy Purple seed strain is 100% indica and flowers within 8-9-weeks. If you live in the Northern regions of India, Granddaddy Purple seeds are a must-have to ensure an early harvest of top-shelf buds loaded with resin.
Hash Plant Feminized Seed Strain
The Hash Plant feminized seed strain is renowned for its immense resin content.
Whether you want to make your own bhang or produce an abundance of top-shelf flowers — Hash Plant seeds are a must-have. Ultimately, the Hash Plant seed strain flowers quickly, produces an ample yield, and is easy to grow.
Sour Diesel Feminized Seed Strain
The Sour Diesel feminized seed strain is ideally suited for the tropical regions of India.
At 9-10 weeks flowering time, the Sour Diesel seed strain produces a massive yield and sky-high potency. Furthermore, Sour Diesel can fend off high humidity and pests, which make it perfect for growing in warmer Indian climates.
India’s Rich History with Cannabis & Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis in India has been a prominent plant and was used as far back as 4,000 years ago.
It is cited in sacred Hindu scrolls as a sacred plant and that a guardian angel lived among its leaves. In Hinduism, Shiva is a God that is often associated with marijuana and the production of the bhang drink.
Shiva is known as the “Lord of Bhang” due to an ancient Hindu legend stating that he once fell asleep under a leafy plant and, upon awakening, curiously tried the plant’s foliage.
Shiva became instantly refreshed and re-energized and claimed that the plant is now his favorite food. Thus, bhang is crafted as early as 1000 BC in his honor. Indica, a subspecies of the cannabis plant, had its historical roots in India, where, in 1000 BC, marijuana’s effects were experimented with medicinally as a pain reliever for prominent ailments at the time.
Cannabis was also known as the foundation of happiness, providing joy and bringing freedom to its consumers. During this time in history, marijuana was used daily at holy rituals and religious services.
Marijuana possession in India is currently illegal, with the exception of some specific traditional preparations.
Shiva is known as the “Lord of Bhang” due to an ancient Hindu legend stating that he once fell asleep under a leafy plant and, upon awakening, curiously tried the plant’s foliage.
The Roots of India’s Cannabis Culture
For centuries, the Indian civilization has developed a very strong social and artistic connection to cannabis seeds and plant leaves.
Its been a part of the religion, culture, and festivities for thousands of years. There have been debates and arguments for legalizing marijuana for decades, both for medicinal and recreational use.
New Delhi, India’s capital city, is estimated to have consumed 38.3 tons of cannabis in only 2018, making it the top destination regarding cannabis possession and distribution. New Delhi was also ranked as one of the top smoking destinations in the world, coming in after Karachi and New York.
With Mumbai also making that list, it seems that India is not enforcing the law as it ought to be, but rather capitalizing off of its 1.3 billion population, many of which are cannabis users.
Bhang is used to make a popular milkshake called “Thandai”, which is traditionally brewed and enjoyed during Hindu festivals and only contains marijuana leaves and cannabis seeds. Holi and Shivratri, the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla, are the most common times to consume this cannabis-laced drink and is a custom that has been observed for a very long time. Since cannabis is considered the flower that grows on the plant, the leaves and seeds are not technically considered cannabis. Therefore, ‘bhang‘ is publicly consumed in India on various religious occasions. Under the NDPS Act, bhang is NOT constituted as part of the cannabis plant.
For centuries, the Indian civilization has developed a very strong social and artistic connection to cannabis seeds and the plants leaves.
The Legality of Charas in India
Although illegal, the reality is that you will find cannabis products and marijuana seeds all over the country, as India is renowned for its production of charas. However, there are exceptions even to that rule, as a kilogram of marijuana charas will result in a prison sentence of up to ten years.
The Legality of Bhang in India
Bhang, an edible drink traditionally made with certain parts of a cannabis plant, was not able to be suppressed by the government and it is an ancient ritual that has been performed for centuries.
Using Bhang and Charas for Spiritual, Medicinal, and Recreational Purposes in India
Among Hindus, it is also considered a religious practice and, when used in moderation, is harmless, compared to alcohol or hard drugs.
Workers often drink bhang, which is usually found at government licensed shops, to feel relaxed and rested after their shift and to help fight exhaustion.
India’s regulations highlight that ganja (cannabis flower) and charas (better known as hashish and is made from cannabis resin) are illegal in every form whereas the production of products made with cannabis seeds and leaves are legal, as they are not considered a narcotic.
Bhang, an edible drink traditionally made with certain parts of a cannabis plant.
Laws and Regulations: Are Weed & Weed Seeds Legal in India?
In India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, regulates and enforces cannabis laws.
However, each state has its own variations and exceptions regarding this general law and relates to the ingestion, ownership, distribution, and acquisition of marijuana in the country.
The Exception to the Rule in Odisha and Uttarakhand
In Odisha, for example, weed is actually legal and its residents ordinarily use ‘chillums’ (glass pipes) to smoke weed inside the state’s territory. Odisha is the only exception to marijuana legality in India.
Hemp was first allowed to be commercially cultivated and sold in the state of Uttarakhand. Cannabis is a crop that does not require an excessive amount of water so, many hillside states in India are also considering proposing the idea to permit regulated manufacture of Hemp and cannabis products.
Odisha is the only exception to marijuana legality in India.
The Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949
The “Bombay Prohibition (BP) Act”, 1949, forbids the production, ownership, and intake of bhang and bhang-containing substances without a legal license. Under the NDPS Act, the cultivation, possession, and distribution of cannabis flower and its resin are considered illegal. However, marijuana leaves and seeds are permitted and free to use publicly without any repercussions. Any individual in India caught possessing the illegal part of the cannabis plant will be subjected to the full extent of the law.
Cannabis Regulations Under the NDPA of India
Under the NDPS Act, the possession of prohibited drugs, such as cannabis, in India is considered illegal and can result in criminal convictions. The punishment varies and heavily depends on the number of drugs in question. Prosecution can be avoided if the citizen voluntarily agrees to undergo therapy and go to “de-addiction” courses, to aid in their sobriety.
If you are a child under eighteen years of age, regarding possession and consumption of narcotics in India: The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985), The Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act (2000), and The State Drug laws.
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Penalties for Possessing Cannabis in India
Under the NDPS act, possessing a small amount of marijuana can result in a fine of 10,000 Rupee (about 140$USD), and imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both.
If you possess a hefty amount, and authorities decide you have an intention to sell and distribute the cannabis, the punishment is a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of 100,000 Rupee (about 1400$), or both. If, however, you are in possession of a commercial quantity of any amount from 1 to 20 kilograms (with the intent to sell), your punishment will be anywhere from 10-20 years in prison, 100,000-200,000 Rupee (about 1400$-1800$), or both.
As various states in India have different laws and amendments in the NDPS, it is difficult to understand which regulations and punishments apply to you and your situation. Before getting caught possessing or using marijuana in India, research the laws that apply to your particular state, so you are educated and well aware of your rights as a citizen or a foreigner.
Aside from the issues of cannabis products, such as flowers, it’s clear that marijuana seeds are legal to possess and even have shipped to your door in India from a reputable seed bank.
The Fight for Legalization in India – Is the Government on Board?
As of 2022 and the foreseeable future, cannabis (bud and resin) is highly illegal in India and is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister in 1985, first introduced the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which completely prohibited the sale and purchase of “Ganja” (flower/bud) and “Charas” (resin) in India.
This natural drug had already been considered illegal in India for a little over two decades due to the Indian government signing the UN’s “Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs” agreement back in 1961. Many Indian citizens criticized the Prime Minister for surrendering to America’s pressure which, back in 1971, began its war on narcotics in the USA.
The prohibition of the plant gave rise to drug mafias and cartels across the nation, and marijuana was being smuggled into the country to meet the constant demands.
Quality of weed was lacking, as the rise of demand was never-ending and drug lords were producing questionable quality weed for some quick cash. Additives and chemicals, such as boot polish, were laced with the natural weed, to create a psychedelic effect before the plant was mature enough to do that itself.
Growing Support for Cannabis Legalization in India
There are various cannabis social awareness campaigns such as the Great Legalization Movement, that make it their mission to educate the public about the many benefits of cannabis and Hemp.
The Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, Bhartiya Janata Party MP Maneka Gandhi, and Biju Janata Dal MP Tathagata Satpathy have shown their support for legalization and education in regard to regulated medical cannabis use.
Cannabis in India has been called a variety of names over the thousands of years that India’s natives have been partaking in the natural herb. Some of these names include weed, marijuana, bhang, charas (resin), and ganja (flower), and are all a major part of the Hindu religion.
What Does the Future Hold for Cannabis Legalization in India?
Legalizing cannabis would have many benefits for Indian natives, including creating an economy that would generate higher employment rates, due to the increase of need for farmers and cultivators.
It would also allow for spiritualists and puritans to peruse their religious practices and continue to seek the spiritual freedom they desire. The legalization and decriminalization of weed would also allow for medicinal use, which would greatly benefit unwell patients and ease illness symptoms and side effects from treatment.
With a culture and history so deeply engrossed in cannabis culture, legalization is the logical next step in India’s future.
However, until full cannabis legalization occurs, your best bet to buy marijuana seeds is from online seed banks that ship to India.
Mountain Top Seed Bank offers fast-germinating, best quality Cannabis seeds, Marijuana seeds, Weed seeds or whatever you want to call them. We continue our relentless search across the India for awe-inspiring cannabis genetics. These exclusive cannabis seeds represent our latest work.
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Cannabis in India – Laws, Use, and History
Cannabis has been illegal in India since 1985. Despite this fact, it’s still widely used across the country, and is valued not only as a social pastime, but also as an integral part of some religious practices. Indeed, cannabis use is mentioned in The Vedas (the Hindu sacred text) and Shiva is sometimes referred to as the ‘Lord of Bhang’.
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Cannabis laws in India
Can you possess and use cannabis in India?
Possession and use of cannabis in India are both illegal, according to India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Penalties are relatively severe for those caught with cannabis on their person. If caught with a small quantity of cannabis, the individual may be sentenced to up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees, or both.
If the quantity they’re caught with is “lesser than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity”, the prison sentence can be extended to as long as 10 years, with a fine of 100,000 rupees. For “commercial quantities”, the term of imprisonment is 10 to 20 years, plus a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 rupees.
Repeat offenders who are caught with 20 kilograms or more of hashish, or any product containing 500 grams of THC or more, may even be subject to the death penalty.
Consumption is regarded as a less serious offence, with the largest prison sentence being up to one year. In some cases, this is limited to a maximum of six months, or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees (or both).
Despite the risk of imprisonment, cannabis consumption is common in India. In a recent study, New Delhi and Mumbai both ranked in the top 10 cities worldwide in terms of numbers of people using the drug. New Delhi was in third place; beaten only by New York and Karachi.
Use of bhang
Some parts in the country permit the use of bhang, particularly during the religious festival of Holi. Bhang is an edible product, made using cannabis leaves and buds, and it has been traditionally used for centuries.
Use of bhang is especially commonplace in the northern regions of the country; especially in Mathura, an ancient town that’s regarded as a place of religious significance for Hindus. It’s thought that bhang consumption was intruded here by Krishna himself.
Varanasi is famous for its bhang production. On the ghats, people use a mortar and pestle to squash the cannabis into a green paste. Then they add milk, ghee, and spices, and use this bhang base to make Thandai. Sometimes bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to create a halva, or little chewy balls called golees.
Can you sell cannabis in India?
Selling cannabis is also illegal in India. The penalties are the same for selling as they are for possession; with the punishments increasing in severity, depending on the quantity of cannabis the individual was caught trying to sell.
Trafficking is regarded as a serious offence, and if caught, the individual will be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, and they’ll receive a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 rupees. In some circumstances, this fine may be larger, based on the judge’s discretion.
Certain scenarios may incur a higher prison sentence. These include:
- The threat or use of violence by the offender
- The offender holding a public office at the time
- The involvement of minors in the sale
- The sale taking place near an educational establishment or social service facility – or any other location that’s used by students for education, sports or social activities
- The individual working as part of an organised gang
The threat of prison isn’t having much effect on drug traffickers in India, though. Police seizures of cannabis are commonplace in the country, and the quantities of cannabis being smuggled is often substantial. In June 2019, the authorities seized over 3,000 kilograms of it in Odisha alone, and that was just from one raid.
Like many other drug traffickers in the world, Indian dealers are coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways to avoid police detection; such as growing cannabis at home with hydroponics, selling it using the ‘dark web’, or telling the authorities that it’s medicine for their cows.
A 2018 International Narcotics Control Board report revealed that India is one of the world’s most significant drug-smuggling hubs, accounting for 6% of all herbal cannabis seizures worldwide. This clearly demonstrates the extent of the issue.
Can you grow cannabis in India?
Cannabis cultivation is illegal, unless it’s for scientific or research purposes, or for industrial use. In each of these incidences, permission must be obtained from the government first.
If caught growing cannabis illegally, the offender may be imprisoned for up to 10 years, and they will also have to pay a fine of 100,000 rupees.
Although cannabis cultivation is illegal, this isn’t too much of a problem for the country’s cannabis consumers or dealers, as the plant grows abundantly in the wild. This is especially the case in the mountainous northern regions, like Himachal Pradesh.
In Himachal Pradesh, many of the farmers also harvest cannabis plants, but they usually haven’t actively cultivated it. Instead, it naturally flourishes in between the other crops. Local reports suggest that, providing the farmers only grow and use it privately, the police don’t often intervene. The authorities only usually take action if the cannabis is being sold on to others.
One farmer comments: “It’s a very grey area. It’s a very big country and difficult to actually implement laws. It’s not affecting anybody and it’s not bothering anybody, and if it’s part of your tradition and your custom, no-one can stop you. We have all of these babas [respected older men] smoking openly all the time. It’s part of what they do.”
Is CBD legal in India?
CBD doesn’t contain large enough amounts of THC to produce a ‘high’. As such, it’s legal to purchase, use and sell it in India.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to India?
Cannabis seeds are legal to use, buy and sell in the country, but the seed industry is regulated by the Indian government. The legalisation of seeds is largely based on the fact that they’re used in religious ceremonies. However, due to the fact that seed sales are regulated, this means that sending them into the country in the post is a legal ‘grey area’.
Medicinal cannabis in India
There is currently no official medicinal cannabis programme in India; though there is limited access to cannabis-based medicinal products. At present, these drugs are difficult to obtain, not to mention expensive. Fortunately, this looks like it might be set to change in the future.
The country’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has been researching the effectiveness of cannabis when used to treat symptoms associated with cancer, epilepsy, and sickle cell anaemia. Additionally, researchers are exploring whether cannabis’s active properties could be useful in surgery too.
Rajendra Badwe, director of the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, comments: “Suppose cannabis can put the cells in the body in a ‘state of bliss’ as they do to a human being, and if a similar effect is there on tumour cells too, can we use this state of non-reaction to extirpate cancer cells?” He adds, “nowhere else has this been explored.”
At the time of writing, it’s anticipated that two medicinal cannabidiol products will be produced in India soon. By manufacturing the drugs domestically (rather than importing from abroad), the cost will be dramatically reduced, making them more readily available for patients.
Cannabis has played a role in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The ayurvedic names for the plant demonstrate how highly it was held in regard – ‘siddhi’, which means ‘subtle power’ or ‘achievement’, and ‘vijaya’, which means ‘the one who conquers’.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the plant stimulates the nervous system and acts as an aphrodisiac, before becoming more sedative in nature. They recommend against prolonged, excessive use, stating that it unbalances the three forces in the body (vata, pitta, and kapha). This, they say, can result in problems with digestion, depression, sexual impotence, and wasting of the body.
Ayurvedic practitioners use cannabis in limited quantities to treat high blood pressure. They also recommend it to martial artists, as a way of promoting better concentration. The juice of the leaf is used to combat dandruff and hair parasites, and inflammation in the ear. Dried leaf powder helps wounds to heal, and fresh leaves are used on skin infections and rashes. The plant also has several other uses, such as treating diarrhoea, stimulating digestion, and tackling insomnia.
Industrial hemp in India
Although industrial hemp cultivation was made legal (with a licence) in 1985, it wasn’t until 2018 that the first licence to grow it was granted.
At present, industrial hemp is only grown in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The first cultivation licence was given to the Indian Industrial Hemp Association, a non-profit company that promotes industrial uses of the plant.
Rohit Sharma, founder and president of the company, comments to BusinessLine: “We will commence cultivation of non-narcotic hemp soon, with the initial focus of creating a seed bank. The cultivation will be taken up in villages in Pauri Garhwal region.”
He also adds: “We tried to figure out why India is not tapping on this $1 trillion industry, unlike advanced economies in Europe and North America, and even China. We then realised that though the authorities are interested, they had little idea how to proceed on this.”
Good to know
If you are travelling to India (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:
- New Delhi and Mumbai were found to have some of the lowest priced cannabis in the world; priced at around $4 to $5 per gram. However, the cannabis on offer in the cities is often regarded as inferior quality. At the other end of the scale, India also has one of the most expensive types of hashish, which grows in the mountainous northern regions.
- Although cannabis use is illegal in India, it’s been traditionally used for centuries, and is regarded as a culturally acceptable pastime. Reports claim that it’s relatively easy to get hold of in most of the country’s major cities.
- A recent study by AIIMS showed that over seven million people use cannabis in India. However, this is not many when compared to alcohol use, with nearly 60 million reportedly being addicted to it.
Cannabis has been grown and used in India for thousands of years. The Vedas (sacred Hindu texts) provide the earliest mention of cannabis, and date back to as early as 2000 BC. In The Vedas, cannabis is listed as one of the five ‘essential plants’, along with barley and soma, and was believed to offer numerous health benefits.
Shiva and cannabis
The Hindu god Shiva is often associated with the cannabis plant. According to the ancient texts, after an argument with his family, Shiva went into the fields and fell asleep under a plant. When he awoke, he tasted its leaves, and felt immediately refreshed. This plant, as you may have guessed, was cannabis. After eating it, Shiva declared it to be his favourite food, which earned him the name ‘the Lord of Bhang’. This is why Sensi Seeds named one of our strains after this particular deity!
Bhang, fighting and food
Since those ancient times, cannabis has been firmly rooted in Indian culture. In the Middle Ages, Indian warriors would often drink bhang to give them strength and agility. Bhang is added to other foods to create special dishes and drinks, and it’s seen as a social substance, in a way that’s not dissimilar to alcohol in the western world.
British attempt at prohibition
After colonising India, the British commissioned a large-scale study, examining the use of cannabis in the country. They were concerned that the plant was adversely affecting people’s mental health. Over 1,000 interviews were conducted during this study, both by British and Indian medical experts.
The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report concluded that there was no link between psychoses and cannabis. It also clearly stated that banning the drug was unjustifiable, given how important it was to the Hindu faith.
International pressure made it hard for the Indian government to keep cannabis legal. After 1961’s ‘single convention on narcotic drugs’ was signed by several countries around the world, India was one of the few to protest its intolerance to organic substances like cannabis.
By 1985, India’s government finally gave into the pressure, and created the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. This made cannabis illegal for the first time in the country’s history.
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Cannabis in the Himalayan villages
In the remote villages near the Himalayan mountains, several farmers openly encourage the growth of charas (hashish). Charas is considered by many to be the finest hashish in the world, with a single gram of the resin costing as much as $20 in Western countries.
The high-quality hashish has put the villages firmly on the ‘cannabis tourism’ map. One notable location is Malana, which was so often visited by tourists that it eventually had to ban them from visiting. Malana is the home of the much-celebrated cannabis strain, Malana Cream.
Attitudes towards cannabis
Despite the fact that cannabis is illegal in India, it’s still widely used across the country. Thanks to its religious significance, it’s regarded as socially acceptable for the most part, and bhang is openly consumed without fear of arrest.
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Will it be legalised in the future?
India has never perceived cannabis as negatively as some other countries in the world. As such, it seems possible that its government may one day decide to legalise it once more. Certainly, the country is taking progressive steps towards making medicinal cannabis more readily available, and it looks as though the industrial hemp industry may be set to grow too.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice, as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.