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While marijuana may be illegal in most parts of India, its derivatives and extensions are getting increasingly popular in the country. CBD oil is being embraced by beauty aficionados, while hemp plant with less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive substance found in marijuana is making a mark in sustainable living. It is a trend being fronted by Hemis, touted to be India’s first all-hemp lifestyle store, in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.

India's first all-hemp store, Hemis

“It cannot get you high but more than 60,000 products can be made out of hemp,” says Prashansa Shahani, 28, who along with her husband, Varun Gupta and friend, Kartik Aysola, started the store a couple of months ago. The three come from marketing backgrounds and gave up lucrative careers to start Hemis as a small yet significant step in the direction of sustainable living.

Hemis

At the store you will find apparel, footwear, accessories, stationery, and home furnishings. Pick from a small yet exclusive collection of dresses and tunics crafted from hemp fabrics and made by local designers in kalmkari and block prints. The fabric is breathable, anti-microbial, and reflects up to 95 percent UV rays; the texture is like handloom cotton that falls well and feels airy on the skin. There are also a variety of scarves and stoles, some of them blended with silk to give a slight sheen and smoother texture. The unique collection of footwear, featuring responsibly produced fabric is a result of their collaboration with brands such as September Shoes.

The hemp comes from Uttarakhand, currently the only state where it can be legally produced. All products are made in-house or in collaboration with other eco-friendly brands. The trio came upon the idea when Gupta’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and their research on alternative medicine got them reading more about medicinal marijuana. It eventually led to an interest in hemp and its various health benefits. “It’s a wonder crop and with Hemis, we wanted to make it more easily available to people, ” says Aysola.

Utilising the other parts of the hemp plant, the seeds and oil go into making nutrition and wellness products. The store stocks hemp protein powder, which is far healthier than regular protein powders. There are also Hemp Hearts made from hemp seeds – excellent for health in a variety of ways.

India's first all-hemp store

Their beauty range includes body baths, face creams, shampoos, and hair oils apart from lip balms. Being a natural moisturizer with anti-ageing properties, hemp oil makes for a natural organic base for skin products. “We plan to introduce other products over the coming months, including saris and kids’ apparel besides a new collection in ikats and knits,” says Prashansa.

Priced between Rs 199 and Rs 17,000, all products at Hemis are responsibly produced using eco-friendly material as much as possible with hemp at the core of each.

Mona Ramavat

When she’s not conjuring up stories as a writer, journalist and freelance filmmaker Ramavat is a professional tarot card reader and reiki master.