[Last Revised: 15 May 2022]
Vijaya (Cannabis Sativa Linn.): An Overview of the Indian Regulatory Landscape
Before we swim to the depth of laws surrounding Cannabis-based medicines, please note that all Ayurvedic medicines manufactured by BOHECO- are licensed under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 under the AYUSH laws and guidelines. Our products are manufactured under License No. MP25E/18/633 in Madhya Pradesh under the state AYUSH department.
Now, let us dive into the regulatory landscape around Cannabis a.k.a. Vijaya, in India. Vijaya has been an integral part of India’s culture and history. For centuries this plant was used for medical and nutritional purposes. Some treatments include pain & spasms, insomnia, suppression of nausea & vomiting, digestion, and vitality, amongst others. Therapeutic uses of Vijaya and its formulations are mentioned in popular Ayurvedic texts such as Bhavprakash Nighantu, Nighantu Adarsh, Shodhal Nighantu, etc. However, globally in the 19th century, Cannabis was classified as a narcotic drug. Medicines made out of Cannabis, came to be strictly regulated in countries all over the world. In India, Cannabis in medicines was first regulated by The Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930, and now Cannabis leaf derived medicines are regulated by The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (DCA).
So what is allowed and what is not?
“Cannabis” has been defined in section 2(iii) of NDPS Act, 1985 as: –
(a) ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be known or designated;
(b) charas, that is, the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish; and
(c) any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink, prepared therefrom;
Reading the above definition elucidates the narcotic parts of the Cannabis plant. Implying seeds and leaves (when not accompanied by the fruiting tops) are non-narcotic and fall outside the purview of the act. BOHECO, in line with this requirement, manufactures all products using the Vijaya seeds and/or the leaves (popularly known as ‘Bhang’) as ingredients. Therefore, Ayurvedic medicines that contain Bhang and/or Vijaya seeds as an ingredient, are not regulated as narcotic drugs under NDPS Act.
While we understand the social stigma attached to the core ingredient of our product, we would like to clarify that our products are for therapeutic, medical and nutritional purposes only.
Note: Ayurvedic medicines for oral consumption made from ‘Bhang’ (Cannabis leaves) should always be taken under medical supervision only against a valid prescription issued by a registered medical practitioner.