6 min read
Updated: 31 Jul 2020, 10: 36 AM IST
The nascent Indian community of marijuana entrepreneurs is discovering new ways to grow its businesses during the pandemic
In December 2018, Vinesh Chandrakant was shocked when his mixed martial arts coach asked him if he might procure some CBD oil. The young entrepreneur had only heard of CBD– a common acronym for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating chemical substance found in cannabis– as soon as earlier, throughout a trip to Europe. Pretty soon, he was being bombarded by demands from fellow athletes who wanted to get their hands on some CBD oil, which he would get drop-shipped to India.
” I started ordering it for them also and at one point I recognized this was a severe organisation chance,” says Chandrakant, the founder and director of CBD Store India, among the country’s first licensed importers and suppliers of CBD products. “Today I have actually got about 5,000 routine clients and we make over 1 lakh in day-to-day sales from our website.”
Thanks to his coach, Chandrakant had stumbled into one of the world’s latest and fastest growing markets at simply the correct time. Over the last few years, CBD has gone from being a fringe stoner treatment to a mainstream panacea, with proponents claiming that it works in dealing with whatever from chronic discomfort and stress and anxiety to epilepsy and schizophrenia. In 2018, the United States food and drug administration approved the first CBD drug for epilepsy, triggering an even higher rush to bring various CBD items to market. Today, it’s an industry worth $9.3 billion (around 797 crore), according to a report from market research firm Grand View Research study, with CBD items varying from oils and casts to edibles, charm items, bath bombs and customer beverages.
In India, too, a small however growing number of people swear by CBD’s healing capacity. When Chandrakant started CBD Store India, his main clients consisted of fellow professional athletes, who utilized it for pain management and post-injury recovery. As word spread, he began getting questions from far and wide. “I was shocked when individuals began calling me up for CBD for cases like arthritis, epilepsy and things like that,” says Chandrakant, including that a person requires a prescription from a registered doctor in order to buy their items. “One of our biggest customer bases today is moms and dads whose children have autism or epilepsy.”
The Indian CBD industry is still tiny, which is easy to understand given that marijuana– the plant, not cannabidiol– continues to be unlawful under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,1985 It was only last year that CBD items made from hemp– a variety of the cannabis plant that has less than 0.3%THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana– became legal to sell and take in.
Nevertheless, the market does have one major benefit that could help it grow at a rapid rate– the Ayurveda connection. The cannabis plant is a component in over 104 conventional medicine solutions, a reality that has enabled cannabis business owners to discover a course to the marketplace.
” In Ayurveda, we understand cannabis as vijaya and we use it in numerous medicines as an ingredient,” says Piyush Juneja, an Ayurvedic doctor with a practice in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, who is also on CBD Store India’s panel of medical experts. “Over the last 6 months, we dealt with at least four-five clients daily as far as CBD items are concerned. We have a nice exhaustive database offered with us and we can see that the majority of them are getting significant healing and outcomes.”
With Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) specialists and academics publicly promoting the legalization of medical marijuana last year, Chandrakant discovers himself operating in a significantly crowded area.
In February, Odisha-based marijuana start-up HempCann Solutions opened the very first retail cannabis clinic in Bengaluru, where it offers its licensed Ayurvedic drugs, cannabis-based solutions. Patients can get a medical consultation at the clinic and purchase the items with a prescription. In February, Delhi start-up HempStreet received $1 million in a financing round on the back of its soon-to-be-launched line of Ayurvedic marijuana products. And then there’s Bombay Hemp Business (Boheco), began in 2013 by 7 graduates from the HR College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai.
Because its beginning, Boheco has been at the forefront of efforts to get India to liberalize its cannabis policy to make the most of a fast-growing worldwide hemp market. The business– which has former Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and Google India managing director Rajan Anandan as investors– has invested the previous seven years working with federal governments and Central regulators to develop policies that enable the industrial cultivation and exploitation of hemp. Starting with hemp fibers and fabrics, it has actually invested greatly in research study on the standardization of hemp seeds and growing, its use in food, along with its medicinal applications. The business currently sells three Ayurveda-based CBD products– two over the counter oils and a THC and CBD oil formula for chronic discomfort that needs a prescription– and is teaming up with the Institute of Integrated Medicine in Jammu on research into cannabis-based medications for cancer, epilepsy and sickle cell anaemia.
” We are still at a really early phase of customer outreach but even from a market horizon perspective for such items within this area, we estimate the (CBD wellness) market to conservatively deserve about $120-150 million,” states Boheco co-founder Jahan Peston Jamas. “Which’s just a quote based upon extremely specific narrow indication areas based within the cannabis-Ayurveda field, and based on specific user targets. This does not factor in all the potential customer groups.”
Cannabis entrepreneurs will have to jump significant hurdles to get anywhere close to that figure, including the regulatory and legal obstructions and the stigma of the plant’s association with drug use.
” The issue is that within the marijuana community, there are a lot of individuals making claims that CBD can cure anything, without proof,” says Chandrakant. “That causes a great deal of scepticism in the medical community. I also think the federal government needs to be actually strict so that we can make sure the quality of our products.”
And prior to you run off to conjecture of CBD oil and “self-medicate”, Dr Juneja uses a word of care. “If you are taking a concentrated form of CBD, or full-spectrum formulations that use CBD and THC, it’s important that you take them under proper medical assistance and guidance,” he states. “Especially if you drink or are on allopathic medicines. While the side effects are very little, they do exist and they can hurt you if taken without medical guidance.”
Bhanuj Kappal is a Mumbai-based author.
Subscribe to newsletters
* Enter a valid e-mail
* Thank you for registering for our newsletter.