Exclusive Interview with Mr Rajneesh Punj, Co-Founder, Hampa Wellness

Exclusive Interview with Mr Rajneesh Punj

Exclusive Interview with Mr Rajneesh Punj

Co-Founder, Hampa Wellness

Exclusive Interview with Mr Rajneesh Punj, Co-Founder, Hampa Wellness.

1. How has Hampa Wellness taken the initiative for the overall wellness of human beings?

Hampa Wellness celebrates everything hemp- a miracle of nature with wholesome wellness benefits.

While the people living in the hills have always reaped the goodness of this magical plant, city dwellers like us have been robbed of the benefits because of the controversy surrounding Hemp and Cannabis. Ironically, it is the city dwellers that need these benefits the most! 

We are juggling multiple priorities- work-life balance, not being able to exercise often enough, not being able to eat right as often as we want, traffic stress, pressures of building corporate careers, kids' education- you name it! Most large city residents lack balance and harmony in their life.

This loss of balance manifests itself in many different ways- stress, anxiety, insomnia, lifestyle diseases, mobility disorders, premature ageing, and many nervous and immunity disorders.More than anything else, Hampa Wellness aspires to bring this balance back through hemp.

It is one plant that has benefits across multiple domains- Nutrition with the highest quality Edestin protein and Omega- 3, 6 & 9 in a Golden ratio, the world's best moisturisation that lends itself to deep nourishment for skin and hair without it feeling heavy or greasy, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.

It has 100's medicinal uses- from pain management to stress and anxiety management, menstrual and sexual health, pet care, cancer and palliative care, and many neurological and immunity diseases. 

When you address the problem at its fundamental level, not just its symptoms- it brings joy back into a living!  

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2. What kind of myths are still creating misconceptions about hemp?

It is a pity that people are deprived of the multiple benefits of hemp because of the lack of awareness or the myths surrounding it because of the narcotics association.

The industry as a whole and Hampa Wellness as a part of it are working to drive consumer education and awareness. Some of the common myths and the truth around them are:

a. Hemp is another western trend being foisted upon India: Nothing is farther from the truth. Most people do not know that hemp is a part of the cannabis family and has been an integral part of the Indian culture and tradition- not for decades or centuries, but for 9000 years! It is one of Ayurveda's five most important herbs, called 'Vijaya', or victory over all evils.

Hindu mythology talks about Lord Shiva's love for the goodness of cannabis. Even today, no Holi celebration is complete without Bhang or Cannabis as a part of the festivity. So, it is like Yoga- an Indian discovery that the world has woken up to.

b. Hemp is the same as Marijuana/ Ganja - The truth is that while they are both a part of the same cannabis species, hemp has a significantly lower proportion of THC- the cannabinoid that gives you the psychoactive effect or the high while retaining all the nutritional and medicinal goodness.

With THC levels less than 0.3%, it is much safer and does not have many of the side effects of Marijuana. 

c. Hemp is illegal in India: The truth is that there is different treatment of different parts of this plant in the Indian law and regulation. Only the flowering top is illegal in India, given the higher THC.

Leaves are legal and permitted for medicinal use under Ayurveda. While medicines that need to be internally consumed must be sold with a doctor's prescription, topical medication can be sold as OTC.

Seeds or any derived product like oil or powder which have only trace amounts of THC are allowed as a food ingredient by the FSSAI. Anyone above the age of 2 can consume these without fear.

d. Hemp is only a recreational substance: Hemp is the most versatile plant with usages from root to flower. The benefits of nutrition, personal care, and hundreds of therapeutic uses far outweigh the only negative: the recreational/ psychoactive effect.

While we do not promote recreational usage, substantial research suggests that even recreational usage is far less harmful than opium, cocaine, other hard drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.

e. Hemp only has medicinal benefits: While medical cannabis is the buzzword globally, there is so much more to hemp than just the therapeutic benefits. Plant-based nutrition is one of the most important of these. It is relevant for internal food and nutrition for our hair and skin.

3. How does hemp work on the human body?

At the heart of the multiple benefits is hemp's effect on the human Endocannabinoid system (ECS), a master body system that links the mind and body.

The human body (and other mammals) has thousands of ECS receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors, across all major organs, and they send signals from the sensory organs to the brain and vice-versa.

With time, the ECS system starts to become dormant, leading to many disorders in the body. Hemp helps reactivate the ECS, bringing balance to all body systems. That is how hemp naturally resolves many diseases in the human body.

Additionally, hemp seeds are an extremely rich vegan protein source. It is the only plant-based source of Edestin Protein- an essential protein type for cell and antibody generation.

It also has one of the best ratios of Omega 3 & 6 (called the Golden Ratio). It is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps control free radicals and address pain and mobility issues.

For disorders like Arthritis or sleep disorders, hemp medicines work like magic. They do not just relieve the pain symptoms but tackle the problem at its root.

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4. What are your upcoming investment plans and strategies to grow in the industry?

We are a boot-strapped organisation and are funding the pre-seed round ourselves. We have successfully withstood the initial high-risk period of product development/ route to market.

We now have a range of products, from nutrition to personal care to wellness, already in the market. We are getting a good response from the target consumers.

Hampa Wellness has a solid team with many years of experience in the consumer brands space. We are best positioned to lead the category development of hemp in consumer products. 

We want to raise funds at the right time, with valuations and from the right investors to grow the market in India in line with global trends.

5. Why did you choose only hemp as the main ingredient for your product manufacturing?

Hemp is one of the most exciting ingredients, given its multitude of benefits. No other ingredient has as diverse a range of benefits as this plant. No wonder it has been so important in ancient Ayurveda. Every part of the plant has a usage.

Additionally, hemp is sustainable, grows without pesticides, requires significantly less water vs similar plants and supports the agricultural economy of some of the most vulnerable sections of farmers. We are extremely proud to be a part of this growing revolution.

From a business point of view, this is the time for hemp in India. Globally, there are many countries where the Hemp Industry is already large and is one of the fastest-growing segments.

In India, it is also a sunrise industry- still small, but it has woken up and has a huge growth potential by resolving important consumer problems. 

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6. If we talk about the challenges, what challenges have you faced initially?

Despite all its opportunities, the industry has challenges. Three major challenges need to be addressed:

Lack of consumer education: Not just lack awareness, the category also suffers from many misconceptions. It requires substantial effort to educate consumers about hemp's many benefits and address the myths surrounding it.

Difficulty marketing: Many traditional media outlets like Google, Facebook, and Instagram restrict hemp advertising. A major hurdle in a category requiring so much education is a lack of platforms to advertise and communicate.

Regulatory Environment: No doubt, a positive shift in policy is gradually happening, allowing a greater play in the Hemp Industry. But the regulation is still not uniform across states.

Also, there is a lack of clarity at the enforcement level, creating fear in the industry. This also means a long gestation period in product development and hinders innovation.

7. Anything else you want to share?

Hampa Wellness is attempting to bring the power of hemp into multiple product categories. We have a very exciting range of nutrition products, including a strong future pipeline.

Our hair care products have been loved by consumers and have been appreciated for hair fall prevention and new hair growth naturally. Our range of skin care products supports intense hydration and youthful radiance.

We also have a full range of wellness products across pain management, menstrual health, stress and anxiety management, and pet care. We are available nationwide through e-commerce platforms like Amazon and on our website, www.hampawellness.in.

Our products are thoroughly tested by consumers and offer substantial performance benefits.We look forward to greater consumer discovery of our products to bring benefits to a wider community.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Exclusive Interview with Mr Rajneesh Punj </p></div>
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