Health – A to Z of Marijuana
From Kim Kardashian’s CBD-themed baby shower to Cape Town’s proposed new marijuana production facility, cannabis is here to stay. Here’s a guide to help you weed through the latest science, news and products
A - Access
If it’s grown in your own backyard, access to marijuana is pretty easy, and totally legal. In September 2018, the South African Constitutional Court decriminalised adults smoking and growing enough weed for personal consumption at home.
B – Beauty
Experts predict that by 2022, the cannabis-based beauty industry will be worth around R300 billion. Big brands such as Kiehl’s have created CBD featuring oils and serums that deal with skin ailments such as blemishes, redness and acne. There are also bath bombs, balms and butters, serums, oils and tinctures, and even face masks. High-end retail chain, Barneys, stocks a range of CBD-infused face washes, masks and moisturisers.
C - CBD
Short for cannabidiol, this term refers to an extract from either the hemp or marijuana plant. It can be consumed or used in multiple ways. CBD does not have psychoactive elements so it can’t bring on a high of any kind.
D - Dagga belt
South Africa’s climate is generally conducive to growing cannabis but there are areas where the plant especially thrives. Referred to as the dagga belt, the region stretches across the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
E - Eczema
Crèmes and lotions with CBD are proving to be effective treatment for eczema, says the US-based National Eczema Association. Atopic dermatitis (AD) or eczema can cause dry itchy skin. They say cannabinoids have a powerful anti-itch effect, as there are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids to reduce the symptoms and appearance of AD.
F - Facility
Cape Town is set to build a dedicated facility for the production of medical cannabis. Vacant land in Atlantis has been released by the City, along with an investment of R638 million.
G - Gadgets
If you want to inhale rather than apply your CBD oil, you’ll need the right gadgets. The industry is growing rapidly with diffusers, vaporisers and electronic pens offering different ways to get some CBD into your system.
H – Hemp
A strain of the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp has a variety of commercial uses. It does contain a psychoactive component so there’s still a lot of hesitancy about its medicinal usage. It’s illegal to cultivate hemp in SA, but the Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Ministry announced in May that the government is looking at ways of establishing a hemp industry. The Agricultural Research Council says hemp can be used to make consumer products such as clothing and cosmetics.
I - Illegal
Even though private use of cannabis has been decriminalised, the buying and selling of cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis seeds remains illegal.
J - Joints
From arthritis to chronic joint pain, CBD is becoming an increasingly common treatment. A study published in the European Journal of Pain revealed that when applied on the skin, CBD could help lower arthritic pain and inflammation.
K – Kitchen
Usage of cannabis in the kitchen has advanced way beyond the magic muffins or space cookies teenagers have loved baking for decades. A London-based health food and juice brand, Crussh, offers CBD oil boosters in its coffee; while online companies worldwide sell a range of treats from cannabis-infused chocolates to CBD mints and gummies. Earlier this year, a fast food brand
in the US, even had a one-day special of a double cheeseburger with a special CBD sauce.
L – Laboratory testing
Due to the cannabis industry not being strictly regulated, companies that want to assure customers of their integrity, have their products lab-tested at three different establishments. This is to give consumers triple independent verification of the ingredients and quantities.
M – Medicinal
South Africa’s regulatory body for drugs, the Medicines Control Council, has published regulations providing for the use of marijuana for medical reasons. It has also expressed plans to lower the classification of “cannabinoid medication” to make it available for medicinal use. Developments continue to bring marijuana into mainstream medical use, such as in January 2016, when South Africa’s Medicine Research Council concluded there was evidence that CBD could be used to treat chronic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.
N - Nausea
According to the American Cancer Society, medical professionals are able to treat nausea with CBD -laced drugs. One of them is Dronabinol (Marinol®), a gelatin capsule containing THC that’s been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, as well as weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS.
O – Oil
Makers of CBD oil extract the compound and add it to a carrier oil, creating CBD oil. Though not yet widely available in South Africa, select branches of Clicks stores retail Elixinol, which is a natural hemp oil food supplement. It has 300 mg of CBD in the 30 ml container. The oil can be added to coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods and sauces.
P - Prohibition
Marijuana has had a rocky history in South Africa. Cape settlers were prohibited from cultivating the plant in 1680, but the ready availability of cannabis in the wild meant there was little profit to be made from the ban. It was lifted in 1700, and then alternately lifted and enforced over the next few centuries.
Q – Quantity
With both CBD, THC, and marijuana products, consumers need to make sure that they are consuming quantities their bodies can handle. The compounds and plant can all have side effects, so it’s wise to start with the smallest dose possible. Marijuana, in particular, is psychoactive and can have harmful side effects. Signs of overdosing or using too much include paranoia, increased blood pressure and severe nausea or vomiting.
R – Regulation
Rules and regulations around the usage of cannabis are constantly adapting to reflect changes in consumer behaviour. Facebook, for example, has relaxed its rules on CBD advertising. Now, companies selling topical CBD can advertise on the social network; but ingestible CBD is still banned.
S - Schedule 4
Earlier this year, the Department of Health published an update on regulations surrounding cannabis in South Africa, which effectively deregulates certain components of the plant. Prior to this, THC and CBD were listed as Schedule 7 substances, alongside heroin and other highly regulated drugs. They are now under Schedule 4 of the Medicines Act, and can be sold by pharmacists who have a written prescription.
T - THC
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for the high you get from marijuana. THC stimulates cells in the brain to release chemicals, which can cause effects ranging from euphoria to hallucinations and delusions. It can affect movement, thinking and sensory perception. Frequent use can lead to cognitive decline and difficulties with memory.
U - Uncertainty
Health bodies worldwide frequently state that there’s not yet enough research on the effects of CBD. This uncertainty means consumers remain at risk as further dangers may yet be discovered.
V – Vote
Iqela Lentsango: The Dagga Party of South Africa, is a political party founded in February 2009 by Jeremy Acton. It believes cannabis users should have the same rights as users of tobacco and alcohol.
W – Wellness
If you regularly light candles or go for massages as part of your wellness routine, CBD can feature here too. Café/ manicure/massage studio Chillhouse in New York, offers a massage with CBDspiked products, or at the end with a cooling CBD oil. You can also use CBD oil to massage and rub sore spots in the comfort of your own home.
X - Xanax
While some patients may still prefer to stick solely to anti-depressants such as Xanax, according to a report by Harvard Medical School, CBD does have some notable health benefits for people who struggle with depression and anxiety. Studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling and staying asleep.
Y – Yes
It can be hard to navigate all the varying rules and regulations around marijuana. Here are three important permissions from the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling: Yes, an adult person may use or be in possession of cannabis in private, for his or her personal consumption in private. And yes, the cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private place for his or her personal consumption in private is no longer a criminal offense. And yes, there are no limits on the quantities that adults are allowed to privately carry, consume or grow.
Z – Zero
Though manufacturing companies may hail CBD’s miraculous power to cure, scientifically, it comes in at zero on the miracle scale. Everyone’s body works differently, so learn how CBD does and does not aid your health, rather than going along blindly with marketing promises. Consult with your doctor if you’re considering taking cannabis, to check that it can be used alongside any other medicines you’re currently taking.