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Fatal 'Bhang' poisoning
by Gupta BD, Jani CB, Shah PH.


A young adult male of about 25 years of age consumed a glass (about 300 ml) of Bhang on the holy occasion of ShivRatri. The deceased died within 24 hours of consuming the Bhang. The deceased had suffered from rheumatic heart disease with multiple valvular involvements. He had also undergone open-heart surgery in the past. Fatality due to Bhang is extremely rare and therefore the case is presented. An attempt is made to review the literature. Bhang is one of the Indian preparations of Indian hemp (Cannabis sativa). It is prepared by the wet grinding of the leaves of the plant. The bolus is then consumed in various ways. Water is used as a vehicle. In the present case a bolus of about 1 to 2 gm was mixed in a glass of water. ShivRatri is a Hindu festival. On this day prayers are offered to Lord Shiva, who is the god of all evils and poisons. Bhang is a special article, which is offered to Lord Shiva on this auspicious day. Then, the devotees consume it as the God. Gujrat is a dry state (possession, consumption, sale, etc. of alcohol, Bhang, opium and other psychotropic substance, etc. is governed by particular laws), but on the holy occasion of ShivRati, for a day, the law is relaxed for the use of Bhang. In most other parts of the country, particularly, in northern India, it is a common practice to consume various preparations of Indian hemp like Bhang, Charas, Ganja, sweetmeat, etc. The bolus mentioned above is probably the minimum single dose.

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