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Cannabis is known as bhang in India -- and it packs a punch

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The saying goes, “Don’t drink and drive. Just smoke and fly!”

For centuries, many Hindu devotees in India have consumed bhang. For those of you not in the know, bhang is cannabis turned into edible form. Its use in food and drink goes back as early as 1000 B.C.

Bhang is typically used in yogurt and juice, as well as in some baked goods.

People can buy it in government-approved bhang shops. These shops are mostly found in the northern Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

A shop owner known simply as "Dr. Bhang" said he always has a good stream of customers coming in. His "special drinks" are the most popular.

“We have many different levels,” he said. “Baby lassi to medium, strong, super-duper sexy strong, and full power 24-hour no toilet, no shower.”

You can interpret that comment any way you wish.

The use of bhang on an everyday basis is not something most locals do. But if there’s cause for celebration it’s a given you’ll find locals and tourists enjoying a bit of the bhang.

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“There are two main culture festivals in India,” said Dr. Bhang. “All over India there are people celebrating bhang for a day at the festivals.”

The two main ones are Holi and Shivaratri. But it’s the Shivaratri that is considered the most important because it honors Shiva.

Shiva is the god of destruction, and it’s believed that he used bhang to harness his powers for the greater good of the world.

That’s the reason why many people say they consume bhang during these festivals – to forge a stronger bond with Shiva.

It should be noted that in the Atharva Veda, one of the four sacred texts of Hinduism, cannabis is named as one of the five most sacred plants on Earth.

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