views updated


This is one of the many names given to the Hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and its products. Bhang is of Hindi origin (from bhãg, which came into English about 1563) and refers to the leaves and flowering tops of uncultivated hemp plants. In 1895, the Indian Hemp Commission took the position that bhang was not a major health hazard. Bhang is taken in a beverage in India called thandaii, may be served in sweetmeats, or is used in making ice cream. It is often served at weddings or religious festivals and is freely available from sidewalk stands in the major cities. Generally, in India, the use of bhang and other cannabis products has been considered lower class. Probably as a result of continuing British-based influence, the upper-class drugs are alcohol and opium.

(See also: Cannabis Sativa ; Marijuana ; Plants, Drugs from )

Leo E. Hollister