For centuries, Marijuana, in some form or the other, has been consumed in India. As per the Vedic scriptures, Marijuana (cannabis) is considered to be one of the five most sacred plants. It is also deemed to be a rich source of happiness, liberation, and compassion.
According to the Atharva Veda – The fourth book of the Vedas, ‘Cannabis’ is one of the ‘five kingdoms of herbs, which relieves anxiety’. Marijuana has medicinal properties and is taken from the Cannabis plant. Since time immemorial, it has been used in religious & spiritual rites.
There’s no denial in the fact that Lord Shiva was highly connected to weed. Let us find out the reason behind Lord Shiva’s consumption of Cannabis a.k.a. Ganja or Weed. There are two versions of stories attached to it.
First Version – Samudra Manthan
The other version of the Shiva and Bhang story is related to Samudra Manthan. During Samudra Manthan, the devas (Gods) and rakshas (Demons) churned the ocean together to obtain Amrita (nectar of immortality). However, one of the byproducts of this churning was the Vish (poison) named Halahala, known to be the most lethal poison in the Universe, the fumes of which were capable of killing both gods and demons. In order to protect everyone, Lord Shiva drank this venomous poison. He was later offered bhang to feel fresh.
Some legends even claim that Lord Shiva moved to Kailash Mountain via Gosaikunda Lake area, post the Samudra Manthan episode. Shiva’s head was covered with “Bilva Patra”. So you see everything was being done to cool Shiva off.
Marijuana is supposed to be a coolant. It lowers down the body’s metabolism and that brings the overall body temperature down. Same is the case with Marijuana (Bhang) and Datura. Bhang and Datura are closely associated with Shiva as well.
This is certainly the reason why Lord Shiva is not just associated to bhang but is truly known as the all-embracing Lord of Bhang or Ganja
According to legend, once upon a time, Shiva had a heated argument with his family. He wandered off into a field, where he slept under a cannabis plant. When he woke up, he felt hungry and so consumed some of the cannabis. After consumption, Shiva felt an instant source of rejuvenation and refreshment. This, therefore, made him adapt to cannabis as his favorite extravagance.