Medical Cannabis Gets the Go Ahead

The South African government has given the go ahead for the production of medical cannabis for medicinal use – with the IFP hailing it a "major victory"
Feb 20, 2017

The government has given the go ahead for the production of medical cannabis for medicinal use – with the IFP hailing it a “major victory” and tribute to its late MP, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini who fought for the legalisation of the drug.

Speaking to Cape Times sister newspaper, The Mercury, IFP MP Narend Singh, said a letter sent to him by the Medical Control Council’s working group on medical cannabis specified it would publish its proposed guidelines on cannabis production for medicinal use following its presentation to the council last week.

“This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Singh.

The current framework allows for use of medical cannabis for medicinal purposes, but under strict regulations which include requesting permission from the Medical Control Council for use in certain exceptional circumstances by registered medical practitioners. Patients may also only use it under supervision.

The guidelines to be published will deal with how, specifically, the drug can be produced for medical use.

South Africa’s Anti-Drug Alliance said public and professional awareness needs to be improved and accelerated around the issue.

“Health practitioners, doctors specifically, have not been educated or trained on medical cannabis as a treatment alternative. They need massive education once production becomes legal.”

‘‘They need to unlearn a lot of the negative myths around medical cannabis if patients’ right to cannabis can be fully supported by health professionals,” said the organisation’s Quintin van Kerken.

Medical cannabis oil use has fanned international debate in medical circles, with advocates of medicinal cannabis claiming its effectiveness in pain management and treatment of diseases including cancerglaucoma, where patients who used medical cannabis oil for relief of pain and insomnia during chemotherapy and radiation treatment found it to be incredibly effective in containing and treating the side effects of their diseases.

Prevention is the best cure. All of us should adopt healthy lifestyles that include balanced diets and active and balanced lifestyles. This is not always possible, practical or affordable.

“I welcome the legalisation of cannabis oil for medicinal use and would encourage the government to start regulating the production and sale. First, it will take the sale out of an underground environment. Second, proper research should be done about its value in the fight against cancer. Third, a steady supply would mean less demand and a reduction in price. Currently 200 grams range from R250, if bought from coloured and black dealers, to R1000 for the same amount from white dealers”, stated the organisation’s MP.

Through legalization, regulation and destigmatizing the use of marijuana, South Africa can open up a world of treatment options while benefitting the economy and eradicating the dark side of the "dagga" underworld. Find out the basics of what this healing marijuana plant has to ofer in Medical Cannabis 101.

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