Ancient Roots of Cannabis in India


Welcome back to our “History of Cannabis” series on the Sanskara website. In this instalment, we explore the ancient roots of cannabis in India, shedding light on its historical significance and cultural associations. As medical cannabis patients in the UK, understanding the rich heritage of this plant provides valuable insights into its historical uses and potential benefits.

Ancient India: A Hub of Cannabis Usage

Ancient India holds a prominent place in cannabis history, with references to its usage dating back thousands of years. Cannabis, known as “ganja” or “bhang,” played diverse roles in Indian society, encompassing religious, medicinal, and cultural dimensions.

Religious Significance

Cannabis held a sacred status in ancient Indian religious traditions. The Vedas, ancient Hindu scriptures, mention ceremonial cannabis use in religious rituals. It was believed to facilitate spiritual experiences, meditation, and divine connection. (1)

Medicinal Applications

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic healing system, recognised cannabis’ therapeutic properties. Ayurvedic texts mention cannabis use for pain relief, inflammation, digestive disorders, and neurological conditions. (2)

Cultural Practices

Cannabis intertwined with various cultural practices in ancient India. The preparation of “bhang,” a cannabis-infused drink, became popular during festivities like Holi. Bhang induced joy, celebration, and communal bonding. (3)
Continued Influence

The historical significance of cannabis in ancient India resonates even today. Spiritual and cultural associations with cannabis persist among communities, including the Sadhus (holy men) in India, who incorporate cannabis into their spiritual practices.


The ancient roots of cannabis in India reveal a rich tapestry of religious, medicinal, and cultural significance. Its use spanned millennia, leaving an indelible mark on Indian society. As medical cannabis patients in the UK, exploring the historical context of cannabis in India allows us to appreciate its diverse properties and potential benefits.

Join us for the next instalment in our “History of Cannabis” series as we continue to explore the cultural connections and historical use of cannabis worldwide.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Patients should consult healthcare professionals before using cannabis for medicinal purposes, following regulations and guidelines set by UK authorities.

“Cannabis in Ancient Indian Religion and Society” by N. R. Madhusudana Reddy (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 1980)

“Cannabis in Ayurveda: The Ancient Science of Healing and Medicine” by P. S. Rajput (International Journal of Green Pharmacy, 2013)

“Bhang: A Historical and Cultural Perspective” by A. G. Khan (The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2004)

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