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Posted at: Mar 16, 2019, 2:08 AM; last updated: Mar 16, 2019, 2:08 AM (IST)

How to avoid the bhang hangover

Adopt these simple measures to get rid of the after-effects of consuming the intoxicant

Dr Anukalp Prakash

The festival of Holi is not just associated with colours, but loads of revelry. It is one of the few festivals where having bhang dishes and thandai are an integral part of celebrations. From pakoras, thandai to brownies, bhang is served in a bunch of forms during Holi. 

Bhang is also known as cannabis, ganja and charas and is a healing agent in Ayurveda. In ancient times, these herbs were utilised to cure diseases, and even today many think that  it is beneficial but people should exercise caution while consuming bhang. Despite its benefits which have not been proven yet, Ayurveda experts advise having bhang in limited amounts. 

Prepared by mixing ground bhang leaves with condensed milk, dry fruit-nuts paste, rose petals, kesar etc. thandai is not only an intoxicating drink but a tasty one as well. Hence the chances of over consumption are high and untoward incidents after consuming it are common. 

However, consuming bhang in excess can cause dehydration, nausea and headache. “Bhang spreads at a quick rate in the body. So when utilised in decent amount and in combination with other medicines, it can work wonders. As instead of ethanol, bhang activates bodily functions, so the hangover is quite different from what is experienced after having alcohol. One should not consume more than 500mg of bhang as it might be destructive, advise experts. 

There are several other side-effects, especially hallucination. Much of the side-effects depend on the quality of the bhang consumed. There are high chances that bhang bought from a roadside stall could be spurious in nature and can create more problems than it can cure. 

Holi is a festival of fun and mirth and anything that adds to its flavour is welcome. However, if you exercise a little caution and restrain, unfavourable incidents that may affect this enjoyable festival can be avoided.

—The writer is senior consultant, gastroenterology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon


Precautions 

  • Don’t consume bhang or bhang-laced delicacies on an empty stomach. Always eat something first.
  • But avoid eating fried and heavy food. It tends to worsen the after-effects.
  • Drink lots of water and fluids so that the toxins keep flushing out.
  • Do not take painkillers after consuming bhang as these tend to cause acidity which further aggravates the headache.
  • People suffering from high blood pressure and heart diseases should never consume bhang.
Cure 

  • Drink lemon water as it is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It helps to get rid of nausea.
  • For a post-bhang detox, eat fresh fruits, salad and drink juices. Fibre will help clean out the stomach. Laxatives like Isabgol and Triphala also help.
  • A cup of black tea or coffee helps by suppressing bhang’s effects in the brain.

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