Cannabis in Pakistan – Laws, Use, and Other Information

It is illegal to possess or supply cannabis in Pakistan, and individuals may face a prison sentence if caught. However, cannabis and hashish production is widespread, making Pakistan one of the largest cannabis producers in the world. Although alcohol is frowned upon, cannabis use is prevalent; though the country still hasn’t approved it for medical use.

    • Capital
    • Islamabad
    • Population
    • 208,362,000
    • CBD Products
    • Illegal
    • Recreational cannabis
    • Illegal
    • Medicinal cannabis
    • Illegal

Cannabis laws in Pakistan

Can you possess and use cannabis in Pakistan?

Possession of cannabis is illegal in Pakistan. If you’re caught possessing or using cannabis, you could be liable to a fine or prison sentence. Despite this fact, cannabis use is relatively common in the country.

The enforcement of the law varies considerably from region to region. In some parts of Pakistan (particularly the tribal areas of the north-west, where there are significant cannabis plantations), the laws aren’t frequently enforced. Indeed, some places even sell cannabis publicly without persecution.

Other parts of the country adopt a stricter approach. For example, if you’re caught with cannabis in Islamabad, you may be sentenced to between six months and two years in prison. Despite this, cannabis is (according to the Anti-Narcotics Force), the most commonly used illegal drug in Pakistan.

Can you sell cannabis in Pakistan?

The Control of Narcotic Substances Act states that it is illegal to sell or purchase cannabis in Pakistan.

If found selling 100 grams or less of cannabis, you could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. You may also be given a fine. If the amount of cannabis is between 100 grams and a kilogram, the prison sentence increases to seven years (with a fine too). If you’re caught selling over a kilogram, then you run the risk of being imprisoned for life or given the death penalty. Additionally, you may be fined up to one million rupees.

The Anti-Narcotics Force usually adopt a four-stage approach.

  1. Tracing – locating the sources, movement or ownership of the assets
  2. Freezing – under an order made by the Special Court, removing, transferring or disposing of the assets
  3. Forfeiture – forfeiting the asset in favour of the Federal Government
  4. Realisation – the assets are realised in favour of the Federal Government

Can you grow cannabis in Pakistan?

The Control of Narcotic Substances Act states that “no one shall cultivate any cannabis plant”. Flouting this law means the offender may be sentenced to “imprisonment which may extend to seven years, or with a fine, or with both.”

The Pakistan government permits the cultivation of “narcotic plants” for “medical, scientific or industrial purposes”. This is only permissible when a licence has been issued by the federal government or provincial government (with the federal government’s authorisation).

In reality, cannabis is grown widely across the country. Pakistan is one of the world’s largest cannabis producers and the plant grows wild in many regions.

Is CBD legal in Pakistan?

CBD oil is not legal in Pakistan. As with the supply of other forms of cannabis, the CBD market isn’t tightly monitored in some parts of the country, so it may be obtainable in certain locations. However, it’s important to remember that it is an illegal substance.

Can cannabis seeds be sent to Pakistan?

At present, the law only mentions ‘cannabis’ as a catch-all term, and specifically states that the seeds do not belong in this definition. This suggests that the seeds themselves are not illegal. However, as the law isn’t entirely clear on this, caution is recommended when ordering them from abroad.

Medicinal cannabis in Pakistan

There are no medical cannabis programmes in place in Pakistan. That means that all forms of cannabis are illegal, regardless of whether they are used to treat medical conditions or not.

This may change in the future. Researchers from Shifa International Hospital and Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University recently published a paper in the Pakistan Journal of Neurological Science, highlighting the benefits of cannabis-derived products for medical purposes

Industrial hemp in Pakistan

Wild hemp growth is widespread in Pakistan. Despite this fact, the country does not have an industrial hemp industry. It still relies largely on cotton for its fabric – an industry that was once booming but is now dwindling. According to a report, most of Pakistan’s cotton is now imported from Afghanistan.

The possibility of legal hemp cultivation has been put forward by the media and researchers alike. It would serve to boost the country’s economy, particularly in rural areas. At present, there is no indication that the government will be acting on this recommendation.

Pakistan’s political parties and cannabis

Pakistan first banned drugs in the 1980s, under the rule of General Zia ul Haq. It’s believed that he succumbed to pressure from President Reagan in the US, as part of the country’s global ‘war on drugs’. Since then, most politicians have adopted an anti-cannabis stance, with some suggesting that using the drug is against Muslim doctrine.

The country’s current Prime Minister, Imran Kahn, may mark the start of a changing public attitude. He’s openly focused on economic reform and may look to the profit-making potential of cannabis as a way of generating money for the country. However, he might face protest from other politicians such as Shahbaz Sharif (Pakistan Muslim League).

Good to know

If you are travelling to Pakistan (or are a resident of the country), it is useful to know the following:

Cannabis history

The people of Pakistan have been cultivating and using cannabis for centuries. It predates the arrival of the Muslim faith in the country and is referenced in sacred Hindu texts. These writings focused largely on its medicinal benefits and its use in holy rituals.

Sufis regularly used cannabis in their rituals too, and still do to this day. At the 1,400 year old Abdullah Shah Gazi Mausoleum, pilgrims regularly visit to pay homage to the patron saint of Karachi, and the smell of cannabis is pervasive.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Pakistan was also popular with backpackers, who used cannabis as part of their ‘hippy’ culture. During this time, the famous hashish markets of Peshawar were established. The 1980s ban made cannabis illegal, but many Pakistani residents continue to use it.

Attitudes to cannabis

Many of Pakistan’s religious communities use cannabis, such as the Sufis and the Hindus, who smoke it to achieve spiritual enlightenment. For the most part, the Pakistani police don’t persecute them, despite the fact that it’s illegal. In addition to being smoked (often in a ‘chillum’), cannabis is frequently consumed in a bhang, a yoghurt-like drink that is associated with the Hindu god Shiva.

Recreational cannabis use is also relatively widespread. Many people talk openly about smoking or consuming it on a regular basis. In contrast, the consumption of alcohol is disapproved of.

Cannabis and the tribal territories

Most of Pakistan’s cannabis is grown in the north-west of the country, in the federally administered Tribal Areas. This fertile, hilly terrain is ideal for both cultivating cannabis and opium poppy.

Tirah Valley (in the Khyber Agency region) is famous for its large cannabis fields and harvest yields. With its warm climate and rainfall most evenings, the plants thrive, and it’s not uncommon to see them grow as tall as 15 feet high. Jamrud, which is a small town by the Khyber Pass, has around 250 currently-operational cannabis shops.

Foreigners are not permitted to enter the tribal areas without armed bodyguards, due to the threat of kidnapping and violence. These regions are also home to some militias (some of whom receive funding from the cannabis industry).

Pakistani Cannabis

Many of today’s cannabis strains have roots in the Kush region in Pakistan. Sensi Seeds’ very own Hindu Kush is one of the strains that comes directly from this region.

This mountainous zone provides optimal conditions for growing potent cannabis; though farmers must harvest it carefully to ensure it maintains its quality.

The cannabis grown in this area is distinctive in appearance. It can be purple-grey in colour and sometimes grows to an exceptionally tall height.

Hash production in Pakistan

There are many methods Pakistani hash producers apply to make their hash products.

In most instances, the dried plants are first threshed over a thin woven cloth. This separates the ‘garda’ (dried resin) from the rest of the plant matter.

One large-scale commercial method then places the garda in a metal pan with a small amount of water. This is gently heated, and a large stone is used to knead and bond the pollen. Some adulterants, such as ghee or henna, may be added at this stage to increase the weight and the scent.

Another, more traditional approach places the garda into a goatskin, where it is stored for several months. The subdermal fat of the skin enables the bonding process, turning the garda into a sticky, green-brown mass. Pakistani cannabis farmers claim that leaving the garda in the skin for longer improves the quality of the final product.

Notably, in the tribal regions, some cultivators allow the cannabis plants to be covered in snow. This turns the green buds red, and locals believe it produces a more potent hashish.

The Sufis of Pakistan

Cannabis is important to the Sufi sect of Pakistan. It is common to see people smoking it in Sufi shrines, and the Sufi people believe that it provides deep relaxation and awakens the mind.

Not all people in the country share their opinion. Other Islamic sects view the Sufi faith as heretical, and this has made the religious group a target. In the past, Sufi shrines have been attacked by Taliban militants and extremists such as the Islamic State group.

Will cannabis be legalised in the future?

Cannabis is so deeply entrenched in Pakistani culture that it seems inevitable that the law will change eventually; especially with regards to industrial hemp and medical cannabis production.

At present, it’s impossible to predict. Some Muslims regard cannabis use as against the teachings of the Quran, others believe it’s an acceptable recreational activity. The future legal status of cannabis depends largely on the government in power and the public opinion at the time.

  • Disclaimer:
    While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice, as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Comments

74 thoughts on “Cannabis in Pakistan – Laws, Use, and Other Information”

  1. I dont know in Karachi but you can found these rarely in KPK on roads sides and if you will visit the Tarbaila area you will shocked with the hight of these plants and huge green area with these plants and natural plants

  2. Faisal Grewal

    Hi
    im looking forward to check whether Hemp/cannabis on industrial basis cultivation is legal in Pakistan or not? Can anyone guide me thoroughly?

    Regards
    Faisal Grewal

  3. Sumaira anum

    One of the best topic i am much impressed to check it. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful content.

  4. drarshad raza

    Hi all I am Dr S A Raza I am working on medicinal cannabis for quite a time in Pakistan and have done considerable research on quantification of THC and CBD in cannabis verities. I look forward and working on legalization of medicinal cannabis with low THC and high CBD. Cannabis with CBD have huge potential for medicinal benefits.

    1. Anthony Thompson

      Hello Dr Raza,

      Interested to read that you are working on strains of medicinal cannabis in Pakistan. We are interested to grow high CBD product for local and export market and, potentially, industrial hemp for fibres. We have several hundred acres available in PK and at stage one to assess the possibility. My colleague, is travelling to PK this week (03.04.19). Would you be available to contact?

      Thanks in advance

  5. Well,I know a place where you will only see cannabis plant,but don’t know what specie is that..Kindly tell how can I prepare it for smokin’?

  6. Nice Article. Though you can update it, as in Karachi, hash is banned from all the places we were able to score it in the past from.
    Also, if anyone can help me get Indica seeds in Karachi, that’d be amazing. I can find hemp seeds but they are not rich in THC.
    Thanks.

  7. Joelle Circé

    Hello, I received seeds from the Azad Kashmir region, the plant itself developed into a rather bushy monster, about 7 feet in height and with very large fan leaves, the smoke is fairly strong, good body high. Don’t have a name for though I do think it is an hash plant ( sticky resin ).

  8. Karachi Cannabis Despensary

    We have specials on most strains and are committed to providing access to high-quality cannabis, cannabis accessories, and information about cannabis, hemp and political activism.

    You may find us on facebook – we are, Karachi Cannabis Dispensary.

    Thank you for supporting our vision & our mission!

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Dear Minhaj

      Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, as Sensi Seeds is not a medical practice, we are not able to provide any advice relating to medical situations other than to consult your doctor or other licensed medical professional. This article, written specifically for healthcare providers who may not be aware of the many properties of cannabis, may be useful to you in talking with your doctor. You could also try to contact local medicinal cannabis support groups, if you have not already done so. In the UK, there is the United Patients Alliance (you can find them on Facebook) and in the US and EU there are many branches of NORML (google NORML followed by your area name). We hope this is helpful.

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  9. The Red (laal) Garda (having a red tint), is actually sativa. And the one readily available in Pakistan the Hash with a greenish tint is Indica strain.

  10. HI

    where can you find canabis SATIVA in pakistan and can it be made into the brown block resin thing or is it just purely in its green plant form??

    Also what do you actually call canabis SATIVA in urdu / pakistan??

    Im so confused.

    1. Best you buy seeds and grow it. Finding Sativa, hashish or bud is hard enough in Pakistan. You’ll need to do some research into the weather conditions needed to grow outdoors, or spend some money on indoor kit (and probably use an AC in July and August).
      Or try find the “red tint” maal Molvi is talking about. I’ve only ever seen it like twice in 20 years.

  11. SOHAIL AHMED

    PLEASE HELP ME MY DADDY DIAGNOSE WITH C O P D HE NEVER SMOKING OR DRINK he is 77 years old so he is on O2 AND BI PAP AT THE STAGE

    1. what will help with c o p d can you tell me the name of the stuff so I can order it thanks

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Ikramullah

      Your comment was edited as we do not approve comments containing email addresses. I am glad you found the blog post useful, for more information you can try using the Search function in the top right corner to check for more articles which contain your search keywords (hashish, opium etc).

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  12. Everything is perfectly written, but that “Cannabis Growing Wild” isn’t what guys are looking for. The cannabis growing wild which they’re referring to in this article is actually known as ‘Hemp’ which won’t get you high even if you smoke bundles of it and is legal and used in industrial purposes. Buds don’t grow on it, it contains above 17% cannabidiol(CBD) which is a substance totally opposite to tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). THC is the actual substance you’re looking for, and is responsible helping you achieve that euphoric state(in getting you high) and Hemp contains only 0.3% THC, therefore, it is useless if you go for smoking it. Plants with high THC, called Marijuana belong to the same genus as Hemp known as ‘Cannabis Sativa’. But Marijuana contains above 0.3% THC and you can find upto 20% THC in Marijuana plants other than it’s hybrids which can contain upto 50% THC. People literally need to know the difference between Hemp and Marijuana and need to stop considering them the same thing. PS, Marijuana needs to be properly cultivated, and is ever going to grow “WILD”. Just FYI. The article is pretty much informative though. 🙂 Thanks.
    STAY HIGH!!

    1. Umar, my 14 year old daughter is suffering from Epilepsy , in Some States of America Epilepsy is treated by Cannabis plants which are high in CBD ,from these plants they extract oil or a paste like thing and then given to the patients with their food and the results are amazing u can see them on youtube , from ur comment u know about this thing , can u Help me on this .
      Regards

      1. Dear Nasir

        Can we get in touch with each other, my son is also Epileptic, my email address is syedameerhussain@hotmail.com

    2. Bro can u plzzzz explain that how can i grow weed if i only have hemp ?? how can we cultivate it

      1. The production of medical grade cannabis is a skill set western farmers obtain over years of learning from an entrusted relationship. The growing of a female plant, and proper utilization of genetic material from aforementioned female (indica) (sativa) hybrid. A western farmer will start the process with obtaining a cutting or seed. This female plant grows under optimal conditions during vegetative and when light is reduced from seasonal global shift the female plant produces a flower. The flower or (bud) is smoked when dried and cured. The plant material not smoked or the trim can be made into edibles, labratory grade vapor (ecigs), butter, and confections. The government regulations are strictly enforced and the medical grade production is used for treating chronic illness and suffering. Unfortunately, the best growers use an underground and discreet experience to learn how to produce this plant. I would not advise anyone risk death, or narco terrorist group affilation. This only empowers the tyrant to hurt people that are really just looking for spiritual enlightenment or religious ceremonies, and or treating chronic illness.

    3. Hamza, I think Umar has explained already. The variety growing wild is the non-indigenous C. Sativa strain. It is not potent (i.e. very low THC), but would be an excellent strain, given how hardy it is for hemp production. This is what they make “bhang” from. However, for Bhang, there is an extraction, it is a very slight buzz over a long period. In Islamabad (at least) the CDA burns and cuts the wild crop before it grows any buds; I guess this is because it is a pest species but also because they don’t want anyone smoking low quality bud (hahah). Additionally, given that there are male plants in the area, the bud from the female is not of good quality either. The male plants have to be removed, else the females produce seed and do not produce as much THC in the bud. It is not good for smoking, hashish, etc. It is a proper “weed” and should be a good starting point for hemp production in Pakistan.
      If you want to grow you own weed, then best to purchase seeds from an online retailer.
      The problem with growing outdoors in Pakistan (in most areas, other than Karakorum and Hindu Kush) is that the temperatures in summer go quite high (25 degrees is recommended typically during vegitative and flowering stages). The humidity is also extremely high in July and August (which is when your plants will start flowering, if you are growing outdoors). This is not good for the bud; humidity will lead to a host of problems and your bud can easily get a fungus or something (you cannot spray the bud with insecticides and pesticides because you actually smoke it). The other problem is limiting cross pollination from the C. Sativa growing wild. Because you don’t want your plant producing seeds (and bad seeds at that). Its actually pretty bad.
      Best to also invest in some lights, so you can ensure your plant only goes into flowering stage in September (i.e. use sunlight during the day and when the days start becoming shorter in July and August, start turning on your light to ensure your plant gets 18 hours of sunlight/artificial light). You can then harvest end of October. This means your bud will be excellent, as the weather conditions (humidity and temperatures will be perfect). The alternate to this is to grow indoors, but you will need to run an air conditioner to keep temperatures at 25 and humidity low.
      In general, just because we have one strain of low-potency C Sativa growing wild, doesn’t mean all the high THC strains will easily grow in most areas Pakistan. You will note that in places like Kabul, the temperatures and humidity through June, July is perfect. Same thing in Kohat, Tirah, Darra, etc; the temperatures and humidity in June and July are better than they are in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, etc.

    4. Hey i need to know more about hemp . It’s local name in Pakistan uses as fibre crop. Could u help me?

  13. Nice Info Seshata! can I take it as weed plants? there are so many wild plants in my surrounding, how can I make them usable?

  14. ahmed pasha

    you can’t find the plant grown in karachi but hash is available very easily just need to know where to get it. Plant is very common is islamabad. But hash is easily available through out pakistan.

  15. Seshata, cannabis (hash) is mostly grown in the valley of Tirah. Tirah is situated where the war against terrorism is going on. I have been tyere years before, and witnessed the crop. Was surprised when the locals told me that there are two types of cannabis . One is male and the other females. They told me that a lone bush of cannabis dont flourish unless accompnied by other pair.hahahah… surprising. Then they hit the reap one with a bed (chaarpayee) bamboo and obtain powder. They try to send it to the local market after much efforts. You can find the cannabis in tribal areas. I also witnessed a big market near Kaarkhano market in Khyber Agency. Khyber Agency is adjacent to Peshawar. Such cannabis were available in Darra too, but years back. The business of cannabis is now closed after the militry operation.

      1. I have some specific questions for you if you don’t mind emailing me. Thank you

    1. In Lahore, Jallo Park is well-known for its cannabis, which grows freely and can reportedly be obtained in large quantities in return for tiny sums paid to the gardeners.

  16. i am in islamabad. Where can i get weed, not hash?
    i keep running into scammers on marijuanatravels.com

    1. Seshata - Sensi Seeds

      From what I understand, you’d have better luck going out to the rural areas where the cannabis is grown and the hashish processed. I would suggest asking your existing contacts for more information.

      1. First of all in cities, hashish is more easily accessible than in rural area. In Pakistan, marijuana is available in liquid form called bhangh, They makes it by cannabis’s leaves. Nearly in every tomb it is available, and call it booti or bhangh. their process is simple, grinding cannabis leaves and mixing water and sugar in it. some use lowest quantity of copper, and this fluid is a killer fluid, some people use cannabis leaves with some foods. they call it booti pakora or bhang pakora. In Pakistan there is no part where pure marijuana is used. yes but hashish is very common. it is available everywhere, hashish is cheaper than bread in Pakistan, and more cheap in northern areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. and yes there is not severe punishment for low quantity of this drug. but punishment depend on its quantity. if you have 1.k.g quantity of hashish with you then under section 9-C you can face death penalty or life imprisonment. still it is true bribing works. law applies only to poor. no doubt there is death penalty for other drugs like heroin and coco, ice etc. still people use it very much, simply because mostly only rich people can afford it and law doesn’t apply on them. In pakistan may be some drugs are more easily accessible than bread. but pure marijuana is not. i don’t know what is reason, the plant of marijuana is available, Hashish available, opium available, heroin, coco, ice everything but not marijuana. if some one need it then he should learn how to make it from cannabis leaves. and cannabis is everywhere, even in cities like Islamabad it naturally grows there. anyways good research Seshata.

      2. I’m from tirah.
        in charas business.
        any kind of information do you want?
        I will inform that for you.

    2. Islamabad Shakkar parrian there is lot of wild C.sativa You have to know what it looks like. This plant is not for getting high actually , It is a wonderful alkalie , helps build immune system , and has been used for cancer treatment in canada. for that you have to youtube Rick Simpson Run from cancer cure. he teaches how to make oil.
      But that oil is made out of C.Indica known as M.Vana Or Hash in our country slang.
      I was dibetic and it helped me a lots reduce s.levels.
      1/4 pound of leaves Local roadside weed . boil in water till water turns dark like coffee. mix olive oil int is , till it turns green. then remove Olive oil.
      Just tkae one spoon of that olove oil and pour it on any part of skin and massage.
      1. it is a burn oil
      2. it is a pain killer
      3.it helps ammune and builds insuline.
      This plant is not to be used to get high It is an ultimate medicine was paitented by United states 1955 to let chemo pharmaceuticals grow.
      even now the Homeopethic stores have the mother tuncture of C> Sativa And C.Indica . very good for pains , just apply on the knee for a day or two and the pain is gone for long

      1. Can u plz help me getting cannabis oil?? My mother is a cancer patient and i badly need it.
        Plz help
        Regards

      2. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

        Hi Fatima,

        Thank you for your comment. We are very sorry to hear about your situation. As Sensi Seeds is not a medical agency or practitioner, we cannot give any kind of medical advice other than to consult our registered healthcare professional. This article about the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis might be useful for you to show your healthcare provider if they are not familiar with it.

        You may also find it helpful to contact a support group for medicinal cannabis patients. In the UK there is the United Patients Alliance, and throughout much of the rest of the world there is NORML, who should be able to put you in touch with a group in your area (search United Patients Alliance or NORML followed by your area name).

        This are our pages on medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis strains, which you might also find interesting.

        With best wishes,

        Scarlet

  17. Hash is still available in the adjacent tribal areas, but where has all the hippies of the 70,s gone. I miss them.

  18. can this plant be exported from pakistan legally ..as it is in bussiness in modern countries..

    1. Yes you may do business but it is all have to through government of Pakistan look into anti narcotics or anti drug administration Pakistan is exporting and cultivating processing with local investors under their supervision

      1. from where we could get cannabis seeds in lahore

        want to growing cannabis fr medical purpose

    1. Zeeshan Idrees

      NOT CULTIVATED there, but there are numbers who produce by themselves under some optimum conditions.

  19. very thorough analysis indeed. Banning Charas lit up other concerns which effect health badly in general and socially in particular. First by imposing laws on Charas in worst manner bring users contaminated form which in worst case scenarios resulted in deaths which is what I have heard more often in Pakistan. Secondly When Alcohol a more of hard drug is legal in Pakistan within close proximity to certain communities why cant Charas(Soft Drug) be legalized that way. I mean you inform public its pros n cons prohibit them under certain conditions but banning it as whole worsen the situation. I am not favoring of drug abuse or drug feint communities but current judicial system is not helping the cause to neutralize its effects either.

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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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