Rohit Chauhan, a Cannabis Phytocannabinoid Extraction & Analysis Researcher, Co-Founder InCare Lab, and LifeTime Scientific Member of The Italian Society of Medicinal Cannabis, who is researching the hemp sector in India, believes that it is a basic human right to be able to use plant-based medicine and everyone in the world should have easy access to cannabis-based medicine. During an exclusive interview with TINDS, we were able to discuss his goals and future plans regarding his research and the future of cannabis based medication in India.
What made you interested in this particular field?
Rohit: 5 years ago, while pursuing my Master’s degree in Biodiversity & Environmental Health with a specialization in Cannabis Plant Science at the University of Siena in Italy, I traveled around Europe to study and learn about cannabis technology. My journey with cannabis products began in the City of Cannabis – Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where I worked during my university summer vacation in a souvenir shop where all around me were only cannabis products, this made me wonder, prompting me to ask why every product over here was made with only cannabis?
When did you start?
Rohit: I returned back to India in 2020 to launch my own company, Cannarma, which was eventually launched in 2021. We are also leading a research initiative in India in collaboration with the University of Quebec Trois-Rivières in Canada. When I returned to India, COVID had just begun, and everything had been shut down. I began processing all of my papers and acquired all of my approval, and we began manufacturing in November 2021.
How did you manage your family being supportive of you being part of an industry that is considered a taboo?
Rohit: Cannabis grows practically everywhere in India and its neighboring nations such as Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. People are aware of its presence but are reluctant to discuss it. My family and friends have been extremely encouraging. As a student from the science background, I was able to demonstrate various good effects of the plant to my relatives, and they were also interested in the type of study that I was conducting. In addition, I had my family try the things that we created so that they could be a better judge and have firsthand knowledge.
How do you think your products are beneficial to the users?
Rohit: Currently, we have over 5000 patients in India using our products. Alot of people are used to using allopathic medicine, but they often are not getting relief from their pain, sleeping disorder, anxiety etc. Cannabis on the other hand has the ability to cure such issues in a natural way.
How do you manage your raw materials for producing your products?
Rohit: Only hybrid plants are available in Western countries; nevertheless, indigenous plants are available in countries such as India, which is like a dream for Western countries. Cannabis plants have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time. The Indian government approved the use of some parts of the cannabis plant for therapeutic purposes while restricting others, such as charas and flowers. We’ve had a quota from the government since we received our license, and we get our raw materials from the government warehouses.
How do you get your customers?
Rohit: People in India are changing, and they are becoming more open to new ideas. So far, we exclusively offer our products online, and we have a list of doctors that prescribe our products. Also, individuals nowadays are quite aware of their surroundings; they know what is accessible and, for the most part, conduct their own research. In this day and age, it is really easy to find a solution that is actually effective, which is where we come in. I’d also like to add that we have spent no money on marketing so far, and that all of our clients are organic or prescribed by our mentioned doctors. We also intend to form a team of doctors who will educate patients on the benefits and prescribe them with our offerings.
What were your struggles coming this far?
Rohit: My difficulties have been in teaching people and making them aware of our existence. I’ve organized seminars and get-togethers to inform people about the benefits of what we’re trying to do and accomplish, but many people just show up for a good time and free food, rather than focusing on the message that I’m trying so hard to deliver. Our country’s bureaucracy is also incredibly slow, which is a problem for us because we work in the medical field, and the corruption that abounds in Asian countries needs no introduction.
What are your plans for the future?
Rohit: My immediate objective is to gather together 6000 doctors from throughout India who will be adequately taught about our products and will then be able to prescribe these treatments to those in need. Our products are not currently available in stores or pharmacies, therefore consumers must come to us directly. We intend to make our items available in our listed doctors’ chambers so that individuals can easily access them.