Published: 23rd December 2019
Yes, they HempCann: How this start-up that works with cannabis is beyond awesome
"We are constantly working to reinstate the lost glory of this healing herb that was once hailed as the ‘conqueror’ and designated as one of five sacred plants in Ayurveda," says the founder
Hemp, a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species grown for industrial purposes, is finding its way into several products nowadays. When big brands - like popular cosmetics and skincare brand The Body Shop - come out with a whole range of hemp-based products and well-known Indian fashion designers - like Anita Dongre - decide to use it and other such sustainable materials in their clothing line, you know it has truly arrived. Understanding the growing trend, even Bhubaneswar-based venture HempCann Solutions is making the most of it with its range of cannabis-infused medicines, nutraceutical products, body care products and so much more. Sourab Agarwal, Managing Director, who is “passionate about revolutionising the use of hemp and cannabis”, has even set up a 9,000-square-feet manufacturing facility in Odisha to discover what exactly hemp is capable of. Excerpts from an interview:
1. Every start-up is established with the intention of solving a particular problem. What was the problem you were aiming to solve through HempCann Solutions?
We are committed to providing quality products defined by nature and manufactured with technology, at an affordable price. Our products are based on the principles of Ayurveda and manufactured using the finest ingredients sourced from across rural India. Through our commitment to quality natural products, we aim to offer the finest herbal dietary supplements, Ayurvedic healthcare medicines and natural body care products whose quality and efficacy can be trusted. Vedi Herbals is a subsidiary and the marketing arm of HempCann Solutions. HempCann’s main focus is to promote the cannabis plant for various uses. Our planet is facing the threat of climate change and we have not been able to utilise our natural resources in a sustainable way. Cannabis can be used to produce high-quality effective medicines, nutritional food products and various industrial products, such as textiles, plastics, building materials, paper, bio-fuel and so on, in a very sustainable way, without harming the environment or Earth.
Their facility in Bhubaneswar | (Pic: HempCann Solutions)
2. We read that you returned from the UK, feeling inspired to do something in the space of cannabis and Ayurveda. Please tell us how you decided upon starting HempCann Solutions?
I have always been fascinated by the world of Ayurveda and healing through nature. But when I was studying management in Nottingham, UK, I became aware of the worldwide movement around the cannabis plant. This had a profound impact on my beliefs and I began to develop an itch to understand the Science that was at the core of the plant. This led me to its roots in the ancient science of Ayurveda. Thus, began my journey of gathering knowledge about the ancient science of complete healing. When I moved back to India, I came across tribes in Odisha who were actually putting the knowledge of Ayurveda to good use and with much ease. By now, the seed to reinstate the lost glory of Ayurveda was sown and needed a firm ground. HempCann is the realisation of that dream to bring quality Ayurveda products and effective medicines to all by being one with nature.
3. Tell us about your initial struggles and the challenges you faced while developing Vedi Herbal products.
There have been a lot of challenges as the Ayurveda industry is highly competitive due to a large number of manufacturers. Many of the manufacturers do not take good care of quality control, hence, it has been a little difficult for us to distinguish ourselves from them. There are also companies and brands which claim that their product is ‘natural’ and they also present the brand or product in such a way that it is perceived as a natural product. That makes it difficult for us to communicate our authenticity to the customer. It has also been a challenge to change the perception of patients towards cannabis medicines as the stigma still prevails in the minds of people. But increased research and legalisation in many countries have made people less reluctant to accept the God-herb.
All their products are made as per GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), ISO, HALAL and USDA Organic standards
4. Tell us about your products.
All our products are 100 per cent vegan, cruelty-free, organic, chemical-free and free from artificial fragrance. Our body care offerings include natural bathing castile soap available in different essential oil scents and unscented liquid and bar variations. We offer some of the most widely used as well as some rare and authentic Ayurvedic formulations like Ashwagandha Churna and Triphala Churna to Saubhagya Sunthi Khanda and Jatiphaladi Churna. Today, the Vedi brand has nearly 30 stock-keeping units.
5. What is in the pipeline for HempCann and Vedi Herbals and what can we expect in the future?
We are working towards launching our own Vedi Wellness Clinic in Bengaluru. It will aim at providing holistic healing through consultation with experienced Ayurvedic doctors for an Ayurvedic way of life (diet, lifestyle and herbal recommendations), nutritional counselling and emotional consultation. We will also aim to educate people in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and cannabis through this centre. One can experience the entire range of our products here too.
Sourab Agarwal | (Pic: HempCann Solutions)
6. What would you say is your USP?
Our focus on quality is our main USP. We aim to solve the issue of quality healthcare by providing authentic, genuine and 100 per cent natural range of products.
Secondly, we want to harness the full potential of cannabis. We are very excited to offer cannabis medicines (with prescription) and body care products containing hempseed oil.
Two of their bestselling products:
- The most unique and bestselling products they manufacture are the cannabis medicines. They are proud to offer wholesome cannabis capsules and extracts in India. They offer prescription cannabis medicines in different ratios of its active chemical compounds (THC and CBD) to help treat different medical conditions
- The castile soap is their next bestseller. The luxurious, ancient Spanish recipe of soft and natural castile soap has been reinvented by Vedi to deliver gentle cleansing and nourishment. It is infused with wild-crafted hempseed oil and organic olive oil to restore moisture and nutrients to the skin. The nourishing soap is 100 per cent chemical-free (no parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals) and hypoallergenic, making it safe for kids and people with sensitive skin
For more on them, check out hempcann.in