A pretty large number of Indian companies are making hemp and cannabis products today, recognizing the versatility of the Cannabis sativa plant and the therapeutic properties of its parts--from seeds to leaves, from roots to resin. Fibre from the plants can be used to weave rope and cloth, while hemp oil can be extracted from the seeds (also known as 'hemp hearts', which can be consumed raw as well); practically every part and byproduct of the plant can be put to use for nutrition and sustenance.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the same species (Cannabis sativa) and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and may have higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects, making hemp products safe to consume.
And the number of Indian companies that are developing and retailing hemp products has grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple of years--on the e-commerce platform ItsHemp.in, there are over 20 Indian brands listed under 'hemp' alone, from the better-known ones like Boheco Life and The Himalayan Hemp Company (THHC) to Conscious Chemist, Bottled Poetry, B label, Fitskinology, Hemis, Hemp House and Health Horizons, right on to Yeti's Remedy and Qurist (yes, they are organised alphabetically on the site).
And all these companies are using hemp in fabulously innovative ways in a range of product categories, from hemp chocolates (highly rated products from THHC, sadly unavailable right now) to hemp trail mixes and shakes, as well as non-edibles like body lotions and lip balms.
A curated list to get you started on your hemp journey:
The Health Horizons Hemp Sativa Nubs
Hemp seeds or hemp hearts are the easiest way to add a touch of hemp nutrition to your diet, and nubs are the dehulled form of the hemp heart which is softer and easier to consume. These nubs contain 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and are an exceptionally abundant source of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, with a ratio of 3:1. They also contain edestin and albumin, considered "high-quality storage proteins" containing essential amino acids. You can add hemp hearts to smoothies, shakes and salads or even eat them raw as a snack.
Price: ₹1099 for 500 gm
Hemis Hemp Chocolate And Orange Lip Balm
Enriched with hemp seed oil, beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, Vitamin 'E' oil, cocoa butter, orange extracts and cocoa powder, this lip balm is good enough to eat. With its high fat content, hemp seed oil is rich and smooth, and an ideal base for personal care products.
The Body Shop Hemp Dry Body Oil
“In 30 years in the cosmetics industry, I can think of few ingredients that stand out simply because of their performance and efficacy; hemp is one of them,” says The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick. Cold-pressed hemp seed oil goes into every product of The Body Shop’s Hemp range to help provide hydration and nourishment for the skin. A new addition to the range, The Body Shop Hemp Dry Body Oil is a vegan, lightweight formula that’s ideal for very dry skin.
Price: ₹2095 (125 ml)
India Hemp & Co. Hemp Seed Trail Mix
This perfect snack that you can munch by the handful is a mix of crunchy seeds like flax, which speeds up the metabolism and is full of antioxidants; sesame seeds, chock-full of minerals and vitamins; sunflower seed, a source of selenium, important for healthy thyroid gland function, reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels; pumpkin seeds, packed with antioxidants, zinc, Vitamin B, calcium and iron which improves insulin regulation and controls blood sugar, and of course hemp hearts, high in protein, omega 3 & 6 and a number of minerals.
Price: ₹399 (250 gm)
Amayra Naturals Fit Skinology Hemp Body Wash
This invigorating body cleanser/wash is sulphate and paraben-free, and contains a formulation of olive, coconut, hemp seed oil, along with rosemary and mint essential oils. While rosemary Helps fight acne and sweat-induced rashes and allergies, mint cools the skin while hemp seed oil helps balance the pH level of the skin. Ideal for those with sensitive, acne-prone skin.
Price: ₹599 (200 ml)