It’s exhausting to imagine that simply over three a long time in the past, Indians may legally devour marijuana and all its spinoff merchandise. However how the world has modified since then that not solely has hashish been banned for consumption, however now it’s making a roaring comeback.
Until 1985, hashish was authorized and was broadly accepted in India. However the so-called struggle on medicine by the US pressured a lot of its allies to blacklist hashish. India’s Narcotic Medicine and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act introduced an entire ban on the sale and buy of hashish in India. However many say India is sitting on high of an untouched gold mine. Not solely does the nation have a storied ritualistic custom revolving round hashish, however hashish indica, one of many two main species within the hashish household, is called for its prevalence in India.
Naturally, legalisation of hashish has been a sizzling subject of debate for a few years in India now, and plenty of have questioned the logic behind the prohibition. However whereas consumption of marijuana by means of smoking or edibles is prohibited, cultivation of hemp and hashish for industrial and medicinal functions has been legalised.
“We don’t have any opinion on whether cannabis should be legalised or not, as we are just focused on delivering pain relief, given the regulatory framework we have today,” says HempStreet founder Abhishek Mohan.
With the federal government’s clearance of utilization of hashish for medical functions, a slew of latest manufacturers have popped up in India. Slowly, the sector is unfolding and numerous startups are rising within the area, together with HempStreet, Bombay Hemp Firm, Be.Hemp, Awega Inexperienced, Namrata Hemp Firm, NirogStreet, Hemis, Its Hemp and Vedi Herbals amongst others.
India’s Medical Marijuana Potential
Final yr, the Indian authorities allowed hashish or hemp (non-drug class) merchandise to be bought on common ecommerce websites after essential due diligence. As per legislation, medical dietary supplements have to include each cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabinoid linked to ache aid and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of marijuana, which is primarily what provides somebody that prime when smoking marijuana. Since it’s unlawful to isolate CBD and THC in India, apart from analysis functions, marijuana is simply allowed for use for medicinal functions within the Indian market thus far.
New Delhi-based hashish healthtech startup HempStreet is among the many slew of startups focussing on ache administration and persistent ache aid by means of hashish. It claims to be India’s first analysis to retail ayurvedic hashish enterprise. The corporate has been working with scientists, analysis establishments like Council of Scientific and Industrial Analysis (CSIR) to conduct analysis and growth round secure treatment utilising hashish.
In accordance with the most recent report by Grand View Analysis, the worldwide authorized marijuana market is anticipated to the touch $73.6 Bn by the tip of 2027. In 2019, the medical utilization of hashish utilization held a majority income share of 71%, owing to the rising adoption of hashish as a pharmaceutical product for treating a number of medical circumstances equivalent to most cancers, arthritis, persistent ache aid, Parkinson’s illness and Alzheimer’s illness amongst others.
Chatting with Inc42, Abhishek Mohan, cofounder of HempStreet mentioned that almost all ache aid administration today doesn’t convey any aid and extra use of such medicines is usually dangerous and addictive. Significantly, dependancy to opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others is a excessive threat issue for these in want of ache aid.
“The addressable market is in multibillion dollars,” mentioned Mohan. As per IMARC report, the demand for ache administration medicine is escalating throughout the globe, because the prevalence of persistent ache is considerably greater in older adults. In India, 70% of the agricultural inhabitants consumes ayurveda in some kind or the opposite.
However as an alternative of organising a retailer and a distribution community for shoppers, HempStreet is seeking to tie up with medical practitioners, the place sufferers can procure cannabis-based dietary supplements with a prescription. “With our network of 60K ayurveda practitioners, we are estimating a footfall of about 37 Mn patients every year,” he added, pointing on the market potential for ayurvedic hashish merchandise.
From R&D To Retail Ayurvedic Hashish Market
Reengineering the method of making ayurvedic dietary supplements, HempStreet mentioned that it’s closely investing in analysis and growth finding out numerous hashish formulations and illnesses associated to girls’s menstruation cramps, sleep apnea, nervousness, arthritis and extra.
Based in 2019, HempStreet was cofounded by Mohan and Aradhna Rai. Apart from HempStreet, Mohan can also be the cofounder of Expertise 9 Labs (T9L), which is a enterprise studio with a portfolio of 41 startups and cumulative valuation of $600 Mn throughout its portfolio.
Presently it has 16 authorised merchandise, sells its merchandise by means of a community of 60Okay medical doctors and 300+ clinics. “We have recently started our manufacturing process, where we have three products that we will be launching in the market soon. Accordingly, we will be deploying products to the ayurvedic clinics and medical practitioners across India,” shared Mohan.
HempStreet raised $1 Mn in Pre-Sequence A Funding spherical led by a US-based pharmatech firm Pharmacon Holdings and Romain Barberis, a seasoned non-public investor within the hashish market within the US and Canada. And it’s trying on the international marketplace for additional progress given the larger acceptance for medicinal marijuana in these nations. “We are already receiving a lot of enquiries from countries like Germany and Canada, and also a lot of investment communities abroad have been reaching out to us,” shared Mohan.
Immediately, HempStreet positions itself as a B2BC firm, the place it has partnered with ayurvedic clinics and medical practitioners to promote its merchandise, in order that the medicines are bought to the shoppers utilizing medical doctors prescription solely, in contrast to its opponents who’re following a self-declared omnichannel retail or direct to shopper (D2C) mannequin to promote its hashish merchandise. “We don’t sell our products online, as we believe in giving comfort to the regulators in a sector that is highly regulated,” mentioned Mohan.
Nevertheless, in the previous few months, as a result of Covid-19 lockdown, many clinics have shut down or had zero foot-fall. HempStreet claimed that solely 4% of its partnered clinics are briefly closed, whereas the remainder of them are nonetheless lively. “Ironically, our ayurvedic practitioners have witnessed a surge in demand in the recent past, as a lot of patients are calling them on the phone. Today, people have become super conscious about their immunity requirements, and lifestyle changes are happening across the country,” mentioned the cofounder.
Experimenting With Blockchain
In a bid to usher in transparency and traceability within the ayurvedic hashish provide chain, proper from sourcing uncooked supplies to manufacturing, distributing hashish merchandise to clinics and ayurvedic practitioners, the corporate is presently experimenting with blockchain tech. With this, the corporate goals to trace and hint the provision chain course of in order that it isn’t misused or over prescribed by the medication practitioners.
Mohan instructed Inc42 that the platform remains to be within the beta testing part, and can have the ability to share extra particulars as soon as it formally launches its merchandise out there. “This is happening for the first time, and we want to get this right. Therefore, our responsibility, at this point, is all about aligning towards regulators and end users. Since we are dealing with cannabis-based pain medications, which is not as severe compared to opioids — a failure in the supply chain can hamper the progress,” he added.
At current, HempStreet sources uncooked supplies from the state excise division. Nevertheless, within the coming months, it plans to acquire the license to arrange its personal manufacturing base in India, which can enable them to supply it immediately from native farmers, manufacture and distribute it to clinics and ayurvedic practitioners.
It needs to be famous that the provision of hashish uncooked materials, as we speak, is managed and enabled by the excise division of the state that the hemp-based corporations function in they usually in flip supply it from assortment license holders. In India, to legally manufacture hemp-based merchandise for industrial and medical use (THC decrease than 0.3%), the businesses want to use for a allow for an allocation of uncooked materials quantity of merchandise it needs to fabricate for that fiscal yr.
“As long as one is looking to operate above board and building a genuine set of products to be dispensed responsibly, sourcing from the excise department is not at all a problem,” shared Mohan, and acknowledged that there are not any hurdles within the course of.
Going ahead, the corporate mentioned that it’ll proceed to put money into its analysis and growth and launch new cannabis-based merchandise into the market. “There are already a ton of formulations in ayurveda that addresses some of the chronic diseases such as Alzheimer, dementia, arthritis, asthma and cancer, but we will be doing our independent research to test and verify, and unleash the potential of cannabis-related medicines in India,” concluded Mohan, “this is just the beginning.”