Like a mythical beast that resurfaces each year, conversations around cannabis culture always find their way into the news and popular culture around this time every year. The cannabis plant is starting to be viewed from a multi-dimensional perspective; actively shifting out of the traditional tropes that merely associated the plant with the functions of a recreational drug.
The by-products of the cannabis plant have fuelled an entire industry of its own in today’s market; one that has wellness, mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle at the core of it. From skincare to garments, prescribed medication to mood and lifestyle enhancers, the miraculous offerings of the cannabis plant are forming the crux of very important conversations surrounding the perception of the plant in the public eye.
Indians, in particular, have had a deep-rooted history with the plant which was once used for medicinal purposes. Hemp and CBD have today occupied the forefront of the cannabis industry and innovations with these ingredients are forming a promising segue into what is going to be a long-drawn legalisation battle for this country.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol or better known as CBD oil is a chemical ingredient derived from the cannabis sativa plant. Its medicinal and therapeutic offerings extend to ailments and disorders that are physical, mental, or even emotional. Unlike THC, the consumption of CBD does not provide the ‘high’ that most people are reluctant to experience. Right after anxiety, depression, high-functioning stress to other grave physical conditions that affect the heart, brain and gut — CBD oil’s consumption has clinically proved to be an effective solution in restricting, if not alleviating the condition altogether.
A textbook definition of the oil would simply be the concentrated, distilled form of the marijuana plant. CBD oil’s physiological effects have caught the attention of mainstream media today which is slowly yet actively promoting its consumption. Homegrown brands today too, are advocating the benefits of a prescribed and monitored consumption of the oil for active results.
Last year, our team got in conversation with four Indians that are actively consuming the oil for a myriad of reasons. A year on, we are back to where we started, exploring the ever-evolving dynamics of how this product has grown in Indian society. Here are our findings.
Kunal, a Delhi-based musician and entrepreneur was no stranger to the cannabis culture amongst the youth of today. As a consumer of cannabis products, Kunal naturally stumbled upon CBD oil and was fascinated by its anti-inflammatory purposes. “I lead somewhat of a sedentary lifestyle prior to this,” says Kunal on how the shift to CBD oil drastically caused a shift in his lifestyle, mood, and overall functioning. Juggling between his passion for creating music and managing his businesses, Kunal found the rejuvenating and relaxing effects of CBD oil to be the most appealing. “I have it now with my morning coffee and in the evening, post-work-out. It’s like a multi-vitamin you take and it keeps me in balance.” he signs off.
Leah* was suffering from chronic anxiety when she discovered CBD oil as a natural supplement that could assist her with treating her condition. Recalling her very first experience with the product, Leah says, “I was personally super nervous about ingesting the oil and what the after-effects of it might be. I was pacing around my room after consuming the drops and within 30 seconds, without realising it, I had stopped pacing around, sat down and entered a relatively calm space. That was the moment I knew that this would work for me.” Leah’s journey with anxiety had caused a drastic loss in her appetite which dramatically improved post her initial stints with the product. “People think that it is an addictive substance, which is a misconception. That is in fact, not the case at all. You simply need to do your research about it and see what works.”
Shruti* is a Bangalore-based copywriter who was introduced to CBD oil a little over a year ago. “I was working with an ad agency and we once had this hemp-based lifestyle brand come in for a pitch meeting. Post the meeting, the owners of the brand suggested that I try some of the products they had carried along.” Shruti who had her reservations about the consumption of CBD oil and common misconceptions that clouded the public mind was reluctant at first. “He (the owner) recommended it for a high-functioning, stressful lifestyle, which at that time I was certainly leading.”
After ingesting a few drops, Shruti claims to have felt a sense of relaxation that she hadn’t in a long while. “The changes weren’t dramatic. Although I did feel calmer and balanced.” Shruti’s journey with CBD ever since has been therapeutic in more ways than one. “Public perception around CBD desperately needs to change. It is not addictive, nor does it alter your state of mind. It is simply a lifestyle enhancing medication that you consume. If tapped into right, this could be a turning point for a majority of us who suffer from stress and anxiety today.”
Indians, particularly the youth are increasingly warming up to the health benefits that the product has to offer. With CBD and hemp infusions in everyday products including diet, clothing, and more, there is a minute yet active transformation waiting to occur in the Indian cannabis culture. The manner in which this pans out in the years to come could make or break the future of this miracle plant in our country.
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