Ganja Lassi - Experience

Stories Feb 29, 2020

TL;DR: Cannabis is technically illegal, but this is traditional in India and is more potent than smoking ganja. I took precautions and had from a popular shop. Effects were windows media player visualizations and auditory hallucinations. All is well.

Bhang is a traditional drink used in India throughout the past 3000 years. Buds and leaves of the cannabis (ganja) plant are ground into a paste that is more potent than smokable weed and mixed with sweetening drinks such as lassi (yoghurt + sugar). Although cannabis is illegal in India, bhang is allowed with the disclaimer: "for spiritual use only". Selling, possession and consumption of bhang otherwise is illegal. That does not stop the tourists and locals from getting high from it though.

Being the spiritual city, Varanasi is an ideal spot to buy bhang lassi. So, I asked the hostel owner, found and went to the lassi shop. First I had a normal lassi: saffron + dried fruit flavour (120 INR). Once I finished it, I asked "Can I get bhang lassi here?"

The waiter said, "No. We don't sell it".

Me: "My hostel owner said I can get here"
Waiter: "Get what? We don't sell bhang lassi"
Me: "Ok" and gave him 150 INR

This waiter pointed to another waiter. That guy sat next to me, pressed the 30 Rs change in my hand and whispered

"Medium, Strong, Extra strong. What do you want?"

Me: " How long will the effect last?"
W2: "Medium 2-3 hours, Strong 5-6, Extra strong 24 hours"
Me: "When will it start?"
W2: "After 30 mins"

Me: "Strong"
W2: "Here or takeaway?"
Me: "Take away"
W2: "Flavor? Banana chocolate is good"
Me: "Ok"

They started preparing it. He first made a banana chocolate lassi, half-filled a small clay pot. Then he quickly took a box he had hidden, took some green powder from it, nervously looked left and right, put it into the lassi and started mixing fast. Then he quickly poured the remaining banana lassi on top to cover it (in case of police checks) and gave me. 400 INR (1000 LKR).

I went back to the hostel and ate it. The taste was horrible. Like eating a paste of raw green leaves. I took a shower, settled in the bed and waited for the effect.

30 mins, 1 hour, 1.5 hours... No effect.

I got bored and decided to sleep.

Then it began. Windows media player themes. Shapes and tessellations in black appear and disappear. Auditory hallucinations. People chattering loudly around me. The more I try to make out the words, more vaguer they become.

At 2.5 hours, I got an urge to vomit. I climbed down from the bed (upper berth in the dormitory beds), walked out (I could walk straight), went to the sink and vomited twice. All the lassi came out. Eyes were blood red. It was midnight. I returned to bed and fell into a dreamless sleep. Woke up at 11 am the next day.

I hated the taste. And the feeling wasn't enjoyable. Not gonna try it again. The next whole day was a bit sleepy. Everything was alright otherwise. Slight diarrhoea lasted for a day or two. Handled it with Imodium and two strong black coffees.

Disclaimer and tips:

I was aware it's quite dangerous to try this when travelling alone. Many intoxicated tourists have been robbed. Knowing this, it's good to take some precautions. First, I tried from a popular shop (recommended by lonely planet and by the hostel owner. hostel itself is high rated). Next, never try in the wild. I had booked the hostel for multiple days, I knew the staff were reliable, the hostel was busy with many foreign guests and I tried it as a takeaway after safely settling inside the hostel. Finally, not to have any serious plans or travelling on the following day. I just wanted to see the sunrise and walk by the Ganges, nothing much.

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