5 After-Effects of Bhang You Should Know Before Sipping Bhang Thandai on Holi


On occasion of Holi, Where you find yourself having a glass of thandai, there is always a possibility of it being infused with Bhang. However, there are certain after-effects of Bhang thandai that you may or may not be aware of. Scroll down to know

Holi 2023: 5 After-Effects of Bhang You Should Know Before Sipping Bhang Thandai on Holi (Source: Freepik)

Holi 2023: Holi festival brings with it a lot of joy and revelry. It is not only considered a festival of colors, but also a festival of love that helps people forget their differences and bond positively amidst vibrancy of colors and festivities. This Indian festival is incomplete without its choice of delicacies and when it comes to Holi “Thandai” which literally translates to “cooling off” makes its appearance almost across all geographies of the country.

Depending on where you find yourself having a glass of thandai, there is always a possibility of it being infused with Bhang. Since centuries, Bhang and has been a part of Indian culinary culture, dating back to the Vedas and even finds its reference in ‘Samudra Manthan’. Bhang is a mixture of dried leaves and buds of the Cannabis Sativa plant that is grounded to form a paste. It is consumed in multiple ways either blended with Almonds, Saffron Rose petals and Cardamom with milk to form Thandai, or churned with curd to make ‘bhang lassi’. It is also mixed with sugar and ghee to make sweets; though ‘Bhang Goli’ comprising of simply the freshly grounded paste with water, remains the most common way of Bhang consumption during Holi.

The onset of action though often unpredictable is usually within 1-2 hours after consumption, depending upon multiple factors, including if a person had enough food before consumption and what it is being consumed while drinking it. The peak action takes anywhere between 2 to 6 hours. The effects of Bhang consumption often led to intoxication. This is many times seen when inadvertently consumed in excess or in combination with other drugs or contaminated with spurious material. Bhang consumption can lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from euphoria, a dreamy state, feeling of detachment, delusions, hallucinations, disconnect and in general a loss of inhibition.

Holi 2023: After-Effects of Bhang Thandai on Holi

  1. A person can experience a range of emotions from uninhibited laughter, talkativeness, feeling of euphoria, and relaxation. However, in novice or first-time users including those who unwittingly consume Bhang mixed with sweets, it can lead to a feeling of guilt accompanied with severe Anxiety or panic reaction and paranoia that starts within a few hours after consumption.
  2. Though usually self-limiting, it can lead to severe unpleasant sensation, delirium and even mania. The naïve users can experience fast heart rate and fall in blood pressure leading to dizziness.
  3. Persons with preexisting Heart condition may develop choking sensation or chest discomfort or even breathlessness.
  4. here is a loss of muscle strength, decreased steadiness, slowing of response time, with increased difficulty in coordination. One may experience memory loss that is usually transient.
  5. In spite of all the above, acute Bhang toxication generally is self-limiting. There is no antidote for Bhang, but the treatment is supportive in nature including cardiac and neurological monitoring. Persons with severe Anxiety and Psychosis can be treated in hospital with Benzodiazepines. Most importantly, these patients must be handled with empathy and referred for expert counselling.

One can take simple steps to reduce the hangover of Bhang. This includes – avoiding taking Bhang on an empty stomach, avoiding spicy or oily food, or combining it with other intoxicants. One should keep themselves well hydrated by drink plenty of water and even herbal or green tea. Vitamin C enriched drinks like Lemon water (due to their antioxidant effects) can help to reduce heavy headiness. One should consume plenty of high fiber foods including fruits and vegetables. Avoid unnecessary use of pain killers for the headache, and the best remedy is to sleep in a calm and quite room.

So, avoid consumption of Bhang and intoxicating your body, instead enjoy the festival of colours by drinking healthy juices with friends and family.

(Inputs: Dr Amit Nabar, Consultant-Emergency Medicine & Head-Surgical ICU, SL Raheja Hospital Mahim)

Published Date: March 7, 2023 11:27 AM IST

Updated Date: March 7, 2023 11:47 AM IST


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