Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday that Cannabidiol (CBD) would fall outside drug regulations for the next 12 months. That means it’s now officially available without a prescription.
CBD is a chemical compound in the cannabis plant used for medicinal purposes. It is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t give you a high or impact your mood in any way, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short.
CBD is used to reduce vomiting and nausea and treat pain. It can also relieve anxiety, reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and create resilience to trauma, according to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Speaking on the John Maytham Show, the Chairperson at the Cannabis Working Group, Andre du Plessis, told Africa Melane that one specific molecule – that’s the CBD – in cannabis is now legal to trade in.
He described it as “weird” and went on to explain that it’s “impractical, they should do the same for all molecules in cannabis.” Du Plessis added:
“The Constitutional Court made a judgment based on cannabis as a whole. When it did so, it included all the molecules in the cannabis plant. The Department of the Health, who at that stage was defending the case to keep cannabis illegal, were the ones who given the opportunity at the Constitutional Court to provide the [proof for] the harm that they claim required cannabis to schedule it is at the moment.”
Cannabis contains approximately 300 molecules, and Du Plessis says that placing restrictions on a molecule-by-molecule basis will waste a lot of time “just to confirm what the Constitutional Court already said.”
Du Plessis asked: “How do you grow a cannabis plant with only one molecule?” South Africans may grow cannabis plants for private use.
However, the new ruling now means that, since only CBD received the green light for commercial use, the plant has to be destroyed after the CBD is extracted.
Du Plessis says the new ruling is wonderful for people who import CBD or who need access to CBD. However, with regards to dealing with cannabis, the latest judgment is not practical.