Cannabis use in religion or spirituality
In today’s age of information it is no longer a secret that the Cannabis plant has been used in a religious or spiritual context for thousands of years. Evidence and texts dating back over 2000 years show that humans evolved alongside cannabis with no noticeable negative side effects, and perhaps even a benefit or two. Today, as it has been for centuries, India uses marijuana during holy hindu and yoga ceremonies as a sacrament. In India cannabis is ingested in three distinct forms: “Bhang”, a type of food or beverage that contains psychoactive cannabis, “Ganga”, the most common form of intake where the buds of the plant are inhaled as smoke, and “Charas”, also known as Hashish, which is a resin made from cannabis which is also smoked.
Certain Hindus regard the cannabis plant as a sacred tool to obtain divine visions that was discovered by the Hindu God Shiva, sometimes referred to as the Lord of Bhang. Devotees of Shiva use the plant to cleanse themselves spiritually and bring themselves into a transcendental state of consciousness that they may describe as similar to meditation. It may seem counter-intuitive that cannabis is used in a fashion that is much more highly regarded than the recreational use we see across the world today, but indeed many users claim (and rightfully so, if freedom of religion truly exists) that a part of their spiritual or religious path to use cannabis.