India has an age-old relationship with the cannabis plant, stretching as far back as 2000 BCE. It even gets a significant mention as 'one of the five essential plants' in the Vedas (Indian religious texts), which was allegedly the food of the Hindu god, Shiva. Despite this pretty prominent place in India's cultural and religious history, the use of medicinal cannabis, as well as recreational cannabis, is illegal in present India. It was all good until 1985 when Marijuana was legal in India until Rajiv Gandhi's government banned it under America's pressure.
If you are watching television or reading news, there has been plenty of news coverage on the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, mostly around the suspicious consumption of narcotic drugs by several Bollywood stars, including prime suspect, actor Rhea Chakraborty. You must have recently come across the mention of CBD oil (cannabinoid) involved in a Whatsapp chat between Rhea and Jaya Saha (SSR's former manager), which has become a major talking point in the media. This mention of CBD oil in the WhatsApp chats retrieved by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has sent the population of India in a frenzy. The easy access and availability of CBD oil online for the common man to purchase, without presenting any prescription by the doctor, has generated strong criticism from the 'moral' masses. More people from the film industry are coming under NCB's radar like Jaya Saha confessed to having ordered this cannabis oil online for popular actress Shraddha Kapoor. Actress Meera Chopra tweeted while sharing a report that mentioned this confession, "How is CBD oil freely available online if it's illegal?". She added that she checked its availability on an online shopping website in India, saying, "Why no regulation if it's illegal?"
This brought about the question of whether the CBD oil and other CBD oil products are legal if consumption of marijuana/cannabis/weed or 'ganja' remains illegal in the country.
So, is a CBD product legal for purchase in India?
The general public notion seems to be that CBD oil India is a pretty taboo topic and that CBD oil products still face some legal troubles within the country. But apparently, India's attitude about hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products, is evolving. In 2015, Uttarakhand, a state in northern India, became the first state in the country to allow the commercial cultivation of hemp. In July 2017, Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister of Women and Child Development, suggested the legalization of medical marijuana. The following week, the Indian government issued the first-ever license to grow cannabis for cannabis research, with the narcotics department within the Union finance ministry sanctioning a research and development project on compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis. And as of 2019, low THC hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in India. Thus, the Indian CBD industry is still tiny, which is understandable since cannabis (the plant, not the cannabidiol chemical), continues to be illegal under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. CBD products extracted ONLY from hemp are legal to buy and use in India. These products must have low THC content (less than 0.3%). Anything higher or CBD oil derived from cannabis is not legal as they will be classed as cannabis products.
The cannabis industry redeemed one major advantage that could help it grow at an exponential rate - Ayurveda. The cannabis plant is an ingredient in over 104 traditional medicine formulations, a fact that has allowed cannabis developers to build its path safely to the market. An Ayurvedic doctor with a medical practice in Uttar Pradesh, Piyush Juneja says, "In Ayurveda, we know cannabis as 'Vijaya' and we use it in several medicines as an ingredient." Juneja, who is also on CBD Store India's panel of medical experts mentions, "Over the last six months, we dealt with at least four-five patients daily as far as CBD products are concerned. We have a nice exhaustive database available with us and we can see that the majority of them are getting tremendous healing and results."
What exactly is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD, first discovered in 1940, is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp. Over 80 chemicals, known as cannabinoids, have been identified in the cannabis plant. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). The most well known among these naturally occurring compounds (cannabinoid) is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) compound, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. So while CBD is used in gels, oils and has a medicinal use, the THC compound is responsible for the psychoactive effect.
While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of the hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential... To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
Ultimately, CBD oil consisting of low THC made only from the hemp plant can be purchased and used legally in India. While a drink made from cannabis, 'bhang', is legal to consume in India (although there may be regional restrictions), recreational cannabis use is still illegal and criminalised in India.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Health Effects:-
Common side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability in people. CBD is capable of increasing the blood thinner coumadin level in your blood, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that regular grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety and purity of such supplements, so you cannot know for sure that the product being consumed has active ingredients at the very dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other unknown elements, which makes its distribution method dubious.
The positive health benefits of CBD on the other hand, include its effectiveness in treating some of the cruellest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don't respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Information and evidence of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is also very commonly used to ease anxiety. As studies suggest, it even helps patients who suffer from insomnia, with both falling asleep and staying asleep. CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A helpful study from the European Journal of Pain showcases how CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat.
Where can I buy CBD Oil in India?
There are a number of online websites like the CBD Store, Endoca, BOHECO Life for Hemp Seeds, Hemp Seed Oil, Hemp Protein Powder, Healthy Hemp Oil online store and many more. E-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon also offer a range of brands selling CBD oil products.