Medical Marijuana Is One Step Closer To Being Legalised In South Africa
By Megan Flemmit; Photography by Unsplash
If you’re in need of palliative pain relief, you could soon be able to make use of medical marijuana to ease your symptoms.
Back in February, in a letter to the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh, the Medicines Control Council (MCC) said they were working on establishing guidelines for cannabis production for medicinal use. Singh told Huffington Post South Africa that these guidelines were a step in the right direction. While 28 states in America have legalised the use of medical marijuana, South Africa had yet to do the same. These new guidelines introduced at the beginning of the year took the South African government one step closer to legalising marijuana.
Today, the Western Cape Government made a landmark ruling, declaring that it is an infringement to ban the use of dagga by adults in the privacy of their own homes. So, what does this really mean? Basically the ruling allows for the possession, cultivation and use dagga for private use.
The ruling also stats that Parliament must change sections of the Drug Trafficking Act, as well as the Medicines Control Act. Another important step forward for the use of medical marijuana.
Who will have access to it?
The Medicines Control Council (MCC) is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in South Africa. After a public meeting with the Health Porfolio Committee in November 2016, the MCC issued a memo to clarify the framework for access to cannabis for medicinal purposes in South Africa.
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1. Medical practitioners need to apply to the Council to be able prescribe unregistered medicines (including cannabis) to their patients in exceptional circumstances.
2. Medicinal cannabis products may only be made available to specific patients under medical supervision.
3. Only registered medical practitioners may apply for authorisation to prescribe a controlled medicine for a specific patient.
4. The council will then authorise the products based on a submission of an appropriate dosage regimen and acceptable justification for the proposed usage.
The MCC says marijuana cultivated or grown for medicinal purposes will be subject to strict security and quality control measures to prevent misuse and to ensure patient safety.
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“In recent years, a small but growing body of evidence has emerged suggesting that cannabis may have medicinal value for some patients in conditions where other treatments have failed,” the MCC has said.
How could it help them?
Those advocating for the legalisation of medical marijuana claim that it has numerous health benefits. The biggest benefit would be its ability to reduce pain in cancer patients. Other benefits include:
— It reduces nausea and helps induce appetites
— Relief from arthritic discomfort
— It could treat inflammatory bowel disease
— The calming of muscle spasms
— And it could be used to treat epileptic seizures.
Want to know more about cannabis? Read this to find out how weed affects your health.