The first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak, stated that using any mind altering substance (without medical purposes) is a distraction from God. Guru Nanak was offered bhang by the Mughal emperor Babur; Nanak however declined, and recited this shabad:
Fear of Thee, o Lord, is my bhang, and my mind the pouch in which I carry it. Intoxicated with this bhang I have abandoned all interest in worldly concerns.
The Sikhs inherited the tradition of drinking bhang from Hindu culture, and the Sikh holiday Dasehra, in honor of the Third Guru, is celebrated with bhang. Contemporaenous British sources during the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848–1849) believed that consumption of bhang contributed to the bravery of Sikh troops.
In the modern day, bhang consumption (but not smoking) is commonly associated with the Nihang Sikhs, a sect who continue the Sikh warrior tradition, who consume bhang edibles or drinks as sukha or sukhnidhaan. Bhang is mostly used in India on the Sikh holidays of Holla Mohalla and Vaisakhi. At many Sikh temples, including Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib Ji, the sukhnidhaan is offered as a holy food.
In 2001, Baba Santa Singh, the jathedar of Budha Dal, along with 20 Nihang sect chiefs, refused to accept the ban on the consumption of bhang by the highest Sikh clergy. Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated for a different issue, and replaced with Baba Balbir Singh, who agreed to shun the consumption of bhang.
Some Nihang groups consume cannabis or shaheedi degh (ਭੰਗ) , purportedly to help in meditation. Sukhaa-parsaad (ਸੁੱਖਾਪ੍ਰਰਸਾਦ), "dry-sweet", is the term Nihang use to refer to it. It was traditionally crushed and taken as a liquid, especially during festivals like Hola Mohalla.
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