Hemp’s benefits and powers are being discussed globally, but none of this is new to us. It has been widely grown across the sub-continent for centuries and people have been reaping its benefits in India since ancient times. It finds place in the Ayurvedic practice of medicine and each part of the plant is used for a particular curative purpose. In the Vedas, hemp is even mentioned as a sacred plant.
Then in the 19th-century, when India was a British colony:
- Restrictions were placed on the growing of cannabis.
- Both Hemp and Marijuana come from the cannabis plant.
- Hemp was stigmatized due to psychoactive properties of marijuana.
In the 1920s:
- Cannabis reached the international stage, and not for the right reasons.
- The Hague during the International Opium Convention forbidden the export of Indian hemp to countries that prohibited its use.
- The UN, too, listed it with specific deadly, addictive opioids like heroin, and banned it.
Later in the 1980s, the Indian government passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (the NDPS Act), This regulates the cultivation, production, sale, transport, possession and use of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and other manufactured drugs. And Hemp, via cannabis came under this law.
Why hemp should not have been clubbed with psychoactive drugs?
It all comes down to Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants and provides the "high". But there has to be enough of THC in a substance for it to be classified as a psychoactive drug. Hemp has a THC of 0.3% or less, too low to alter one’s mood when ingested. Whereas, marijuana is a cannabis product with a THC value above 0.3%. This value was proposed by Ernest Small in this book ‘The Species Problem in Cannabis: Science & Semantics’.
The United States used this number in 2018 to legally distinguish between the two. That year, via a farm bill, the US made it legal to grow hemp, or cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC. It also made hemp-derived CBD products legal. In 2020, The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which is the UN body for framing drug policy, decided to to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
World over, there has been a movement to decriminalize hemp and marijuana. This has partly reached India as well. Here, for a while now hemp-based products in the field of medicine, food, health and beauty, and even textile have been gaining ground. But all the hemp had to be imported in. However, in 2018, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to make hemp legal and permit the legal cultivation of the plant. More states in the country are set to join and develop the Indian hemp industry.
"In November 2021 the FSSAI issued a new regulation which stated that hemp, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour can be sold as food or used as an ingredient in a food or used as an ingredient in a food as long as it conforms to certain standards."
All these are much needed moves as it benefits organizations and bodies that have long been promoting the medicinal and industrial potential of hemp. It will also lead to more research into the cannabis plant, which Parvati Valley Hemp Company is passionate about. We work with leading Indian institutes to access the best scientific minds, and research and development infrastructure. This helps us harness the full potential of hemp and create products that are perfectly formulated.
Another major advantage of legalizing the cultivation of hemp in India, is how it will help farmers.
1. Hemp grows quickly and it doesn’t need too much care, water or pesticides.
2. As it is used in diverse industries it is a profitable plant for farmers to grow.
Moreover, by sourcing from farms in India, something Parvati Valley Hemp Company does, not only is the quality of the seeds verified and controlled, we also give back to our farmers and provide them with a livelihood they deserve.
From hemp salt to hemp-seed oil, we make a range of hemp-based products just for you. Check out our line-up, here.