Go shopping for beauty products, pet care products, or food and wellness products and you’ll wonder why everyone is so high in hemp. It seems like the new hero ingredient for a whole bunch of companies all of a sudden. Over the past five years, at least 30 start-ups have developed products exclusively based on the ancient plant that is the source of cannabis and CBD.
“Hemp is the only vegetable oil containing the miraculous Omega 6 to Omega 3. The amino acids in hemp nourish the skin and repair visible damage, stimulating the metamorphosis of the skin and generating new cells. The magic lies in its properties of elixir type for skincare,” says Nitin Passi, president and CEO of Lotus Herbals.
In 2021, Lotus launched a new product line, “Hemp Youth Glow”, centered around cold-pressed organic hemp seed oil. For its luxury brand SoulTree, Lotus has launched the first Ayurvedic hemp range in India.
Sublime Life, a clean beauty curator, in its portfolio of over 200 brands has about 25 brands that offer hemp-based products. “Hemis, Health Horizons, Boheco, Herbis Botanicals, Rustic Art, Conscious Chemist, Daughter Earth are a few brands that offer a well-crafted range of hemp-infused beauty and wellness essentials,” says Deep Lalvani, Founder of Sublime Life.
The Petcare Wiggles brand also uses hemp in its food and skincare products. “We have hemp in our EveryDawg and Ykibble kibbles. On top of that we have treats for dogs and cats – Barkstix Chicken & Hemp and Kittystix Salmon & Hemp. We also have Heal-O-Rub Organic Balm, Hemp Seed Oil, and Cannapaw Pain Relief and Regenerative Therapy Oil,” says Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO of Wiggles.
“Hemp and CBD oil are very powerful, organic healers. If administered orally, CBD oil helps relieve anxiety and stress in pets, helps with digestive issues, fights nausea, has tumor shrinking properties, when applied topically has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces osteoarthritis pain and lubricates joints in older pets, soothes rashes and maintains healthy skin “, she says.
As soon as you hear about hemp, you wonder about the regulations and the ease with which it would be possible to obtain it. But Passi clarifies, “In India, hemp-based medicines and cosmetics are covered under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act 1985, including Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. In 2015, hemp cultivation was legalized by the government of Uttarakhand in the state. Regulations place limits on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD levels. Hemp seeds from plants with less than 0.3% THC are allowed. THC levels should not exceed 0.2 mg/kg and CBD levels should not exceed 75 mg/kg. He adds that currently, hemp businesses also operate with an Ayush license, regulated by the DCA, which is also recognized by the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade.
Iyer says Wiggles is the first brand to be certified by the Ayush Ministry to use cannabis oil for pets.
Not just a fashion
According to Iyer, hemp is also trending because it’s sustainable and eco-friendly. It’s also really versatile and seen in all categories, she points out. According to her, there is great sustainable hemp-based fashion that comes out with great clothes. There’s hemp-based paper, stationery, and more in the country right now.
While most of the hemp portfolio is concentrated in the beauty sector, Kolkata-based OG Hemp, founded by Shailesh Ganeriwala, Sarabjeet Rattan and Animesh Thakur, has embarked on R&D around hemp stationery. Their belief was that hemp could be a sustainable alternative to tree-based paper and save deforestation. “Hemp paper is carbon negative. The fun part is that the plant grows very quickly. Also, if you use hemp fiber, very few chemicals are used in the process of creating the paper, unlike tree-based paper,” says Ganeriwala.
OG Hemp has now turned to making mono boards. “We found that stationery wasn’t very scalable, so we switched to packaging,” he says. Today, OG Hemp supplies hemp cartons to companies in 20 countries. “Over 62% of revenue comes from exports,” says Ganeriwala. OGHemp has now secured seed funding from the government’s start-up mission and is quite excited about the prospects for growth.
While, as Sublime Life’s Lalvani points out, “hemp is biodegradable, organic, and extremely sustainable because it requires far less water, land, and no pesticides to grow,” the fact is that the supply of hemp and hemp oil extraction are expensive. . “Furthermore, the process is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Another factor is the growing demand for hemp in the e-commerce market and a tight supply, but Sublime Life offers products ranging from Rs. 250 to Rs 1,700,” he says.
The size of the opportunities is huge, all players point out. Lotus Herbals’ Passi reports that the global industrial hemp market is expected to register a CAGR of over 16% between 2021 and 2026. “Global Hemp is revolutionizing clean beauty and lifestyle like never before,” he points out.
It’s a Hemphatic yes for the product then!