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India Opens Its First Medical Cannabis Clinic




HempCann Solutions will open up in the city of Bengaluru to launch India’s first medical cannabis clinic—thanks to a legal loophole in the country’s cannabis laws. The clinic is scheduled to open up for business by February 2020.

The clinic will be called Vedi Herbals and will sell medical cannabis as well as cannabis-infused tablets and oils. The tablets that will be available include Cannaflam, and the cannabis-based anti-inflammatory drug made from THC and CBD.

While thee Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act bans cannabis flowers and resin, but hemp and seeds are exempt from the law. Because hemp still contains THC and CBD, this allows doctors in India to work around the law and produce medical cannabis treatments.

“The THC measure in most cannabis plants used to make hemp powder or CBD oils found in the western part of the world is usually not more than 0.3 percent, but that measure may be higher in India since marijuana grows in the wild here or only at specific government research centres,” Aayushman Narayan, the business development executive at HempCann told VICE.

Ancient Ayurvedic medicine—including cannabis—is also exempt from Indian law, after receiving ratification. Therefore, HempCann has received an Indian license to distribute medical cannabis on a prescription basis.

“Our bodies produce cannabinoids naturally and so does cannabis, which is the fundamental basis of using cannabis as a medicine. So, since cannabis is already included in Ayurveda, it earned us ratification from India’s Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy (AYUSH),” says Narayan. 

Legislation currently in motion could potentially decriminalize cannabis in 2020. Given India’s long history with medical cannabis in Ayurvedic medicine, the city of Dehli is the third-highest cannabis-consuming city in the world. Mumbai, India’s largest city, also made the list of top 10 highest-consuming cannabis cities in the world.