What is Bhang? How to Make it Yourself

A closeup of a glass with a green liquid
Source: Fallon Michael

When you think of edibles you probably think of your favorite brand of gummies or your Grandma’s signature pot brownie recipe, but did you know that that first edible was actually a drink?

This cannabis-infused drink, colloquially called bhang, dates back as far as 2,000 B.C. and is simple enough to recreate yourself. Read on for a quick history lesson into the first-ever edible and a simple recipe to enjoy at home.

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History

Cannabis may be a relatively new frontier for many of us in those states, but the plant has been used by ancient cultures for centuries for its many spiritual, medicinal, and therapeutic uses. In other words, edibles, especially bhang, are nothing to new to many parts of the world. This green-hued beverage has become an integral part of Indian culture, having been in use for well over four thousand years.

In fact, parts of rural India believe that bhang may be a cure for fever, dysentery, and sunstroke, as well as aiding in digestion, clearing mucus from the system, and even curing speech impediments. In ancient Ayurvedic and Tibbi rituals, cannabis was ingested orally to treat diseases like malaria and rheumatism. Warriors would also drink bhang to steel their nerves, and newlyweds would consume bhang to enhance their honeymoon night. It was almost considered a cure-all for whatever may ail you — similar to how we view cannabis today.

In addition, cannabis also has a long-standing reputation in India for its religious and spiritual significance, particularly in Hinduism. For example, the Hindu god of transformation, Shiva, is said to have used bhang to meditate inward and enhance their divine powers, and cannabis was even deemed one of the five most sacred plants on Earth in the sacred Hindu text Atharvaveda.

Needless to say, cannabis has been treated with reverence and respect in India, unlike the treatment that the plant has received stateside.

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What Is Bhang and How Do You Make It?

Technically speaking, bhang actually refers to a paste that is made from the leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant. However, the word has also become synonymous with a beverage that is made combining this paste with spices, milk, and groundnuts — similar to an authentic, grassy chai.

If this sounds like something up your alley, you’ll be pleased to hear that the recipe can be made in a few simple steps. While this recipe has been updated slightly to make your life a little easier, you can certainly break out a mortar pestle and do things the old fashioned way. Either way, you are going to end up with a deliciously potent beverage that will satisfy your weed cravings.

Ingredients: (Makes about 4 servings)

  • ½ – 1 ounce of fresh cannabis leaves and flowers, finely chopped*
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups full-fat warm milk**
  • ½ cup sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ – 1 tsp rosewater
  • Chopped pistachios to garnish (optional)

* If you’re a grower, this recipe is a dream come true, as fresh leaves are best! You can use a dried flower that you get at the dispensary but I suggest reducing the amount of flower significantly as it will be much more potent — so plan accordingly!

** Sorry vegans, full-fat milk is best for this recipe as the THC needs some fat to bind to. If you would like to replace it with non-dairy milk, coconut milk is your best bet, or add in some infused coconut oil to the finished product.

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Instructions:

  1. Heat water to a rapid boil, then remove from heat and add the cannabis plant material. Steep for about seven to ten minutes.
  2. Strain cannabis leaves and flowers from water using a cheesecloth or mesh strainer. Squeeze the plant matter until all liquid has been removed. Collect the water and set it aside.
  3. Put the leaves and flowers into a food processor, blender, mortar, and pestle with about 2 teaspoons of warm milk. Slowly but firmly pulse or grind the leaves and milk together, then squeeze the flowers to extract the milk. Continue this process until you have used about ½ cup of the warm milk. Save the extracted greenish milk.
  4. Mix together the water and milk that were used to extract the cannabinoids and stir well.
  5. Stir in the remaining milk, spices, ground almonds, and rosewater along with sugar or honey to taste.
  6. Chill and stir well before serving in a glass. Garnish with fresh herbs or chopped pistachios. Enjoy!

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