Is an entrepreneur and activist in the cannabis industry diagnosed with Stage III lymph node tuberculosis. Hemp saved her life. Here is her story …
Priya Mishra is the first Indian cannabis activist to lie on her deathbed until cannabis saved her life. She was diagnosed with stage 3 tuberculosis of the lymph nodes, and her prescription medications made her situation worse. In 4 months, the cannabis did for her what the drugs could not do … it brought her back to life. Doctors said that if she survived, it would take her years to recover.
In our interview with Priya Mishra, we will discuss the cannabis industry in India and its startup Hempvati.
How did you hear about hemp?
Priya: Friends who have used and the internet. Since my tuberculosis medication was not helping my pain, one day a friend of mine just handed me a joint so I could at least sleep. That night I slept soundly and the pain passed, then I realized that this plant was more useful to me than the medicine I was taking, and then there was no looking back.
Tell me a little more about your business and what prompted you to start your business?
Priya: Hempvati is a foundation founded in India. We educate, advise and consult patients, authorities and professionals in the field of medical marijuana and cannabis at various levels. It was brought into being only to spread knowledge about this plant that saved my life.
Have you tried educating your family about CBD? How has your family reacted to your work in the cannabis industry?
Priya: It took me a whole year to open up to my family about cannabis use and activism. Now I wonder why I waited so long because they were surprisingly very helpful to me. I had full support when they actually understood the plant and the plot with enough scientific evidence.
What’s your favorite strain?
Priya: Mysore mango and Malana Hash
Which products do you choose? Are you being treated for specific ailments?
Priya: I use CBD capsules and smoke or vape flowers. I cured myself of lymph node tuberculosis only with hemp and Satvik food (organic, Ayurvedic fruit and vegetable diet). At that time, I only had access to flowers, which is why I either smoked or made myself oil. I currently have back problems and PCOS, for which I continue to take cannabis because no other medication is helping me.
How do people view cannabis in India?
Priya: Cannabis is rooted in Indian culture, history, medicine and everything else. Most Himalayan states know that cannabis is used for many purposes, including medical, cloth, forage, even as vegetables.
At what stage is cannabis legalization in India?
Priya: We’ve been working really hard over the last few years to make marijuana legal in several states and also get approval from the central government. This works to our advantage as it is an important part of the ancient Indian medical system in Ayurveda. I hope that full medical legalization will take place soon. Currently, in India, CBD is prescription-only and THC is only used for palliative care.
Given the history of cannabis in Hindu mythology, why is it taking so long to legalize it in India?
Priya: Centrally, it’s legal, but individual states have to make a decision (same as in the US). Personally, I have worked with 5 states for 4 years to reform cannabis laws, and luckily it worked. It was, however, arduous work. More interested people and greater public awareness will speed up the process.
Where do you see cannabis in India in 5 years?
Priya: Hopefully in 5 years, India will become the world leader in the cannabis economy. India alone has over 500 native seeds, making it a country with the maximum amount of strains! Also, since our culture has been using hemp since the beginning of time, we should be leaders in the cannabis industry. The fact that many places in India still use cannabis for industrial, medical and even religious purposes will only help to broaden awareness. Education and awareness is crucial.