India, claimed by many to be the birthplace of cannabis from both subjective and objective points of view maybe finally waking up to serious research in studying its native cannabis strains to use the plant for medicinal and industrial applications. 2020 will probably go down as the first big year when private companies began making their presence felt in the medicinal cannabis market. First, HempCann Solutions in February launched India’s first medical cannabis clinic in Bangalore. And now, we have more news.
In a YouTube Video, Ms. Ramya Viswanathan of Zestha Biotech Private Limited spoke about Zestha’s credentials in Agriculture and Hydroponic farming and tying up with the Jamia Hamdard University, which according to her is the leading university focused on cannabis research in India. She also said that Zestha’s focus is not specifically on THC, but rather on cultivating, nurturing and studying low-THC strains where THC content in the strain will be bred to less than 0.3%. Why this figure of 0.3% was arrived at is probably because its the same figure being used in the cannabis policies of Western Markets for their cannabis strains.
Zestha’s focus is on CBD (cannabidiol), the second most studied, non-psychoactive and known compound after THC, the psychoactive and medicinal compound of the cannabis plant. Zestha will be setting up a research facility and processing centre in Pantgaon in District Almorah of Uttarakhand State, India. Highlighting the current dependence on imported CBD products, she claimed Zestha would play an integral role for India in the coming years in terms of developing a market from scratch by supporting students and scientists to perform research.
Having been granted a cultivation license by the Uttarakhand Government, Zestha Biotech has been granted a limited space of land, and the company will work with farmer co-operatives in and around the research facility. Lauding the state government of Uttarakhand and its former Chief Minister Harish Rawat for being visionaries in promoting hemp and cannabis, Ramya went on to talk about the practical applications of Industrial Hemp to make clothes and protein powder, whose cultivation license was already granted to the Indian Institute of Industrial Hemp (IIHA) in 2018.
“Zesta Biotech is the first company in India to be producing cannabis for medicinal purposes. We’re cultivating our own cannabis and we’re extracting medical compounds from it. At this point in time, in any introduction that I provide for myself, the question that is asked of us often, and I would say rightly so, is, you know, are you legal? Are you guys legit? Is this kosher? And our response is unequivocally yes and we have a license to prove it. The very, very first license given in India for medicinal cannabis. I think the reason that people are confused is because of our laws”
“As pioneers in this space in India, we want to work with the entire spectrum of players in this ecosystem, from the government to help with policy-making, to farmer co-operatives and the end customer, and hopefully live up to our motto, which is Hemp for Humanity”
A quick check for the directors of Zestha Biotech reveals three names – Mr. Abhishek Agarwal, Mr. Himanshu Agarwal and Ms. Geetica Kweera.
We, at Marijuana Maharaj wish them all the best.