Editorial: Need more testing of medicinal dagga

There will be divergent views on the news that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) has adopted new guidelines for the cultivation and production of dagga for medical use in South Africa.

After all, it opens the door to legal cultivation of an illegal drug.

What is more, those against the legalisation of dagga argue it is often the gateway to the use and abuse of harder drugs.

Last month, The Herald reported on the current state of evidence of the health effects of dagga and cannabinoids in which the National Academies of Sciences‚ Engineering and Medicine found there were both positive and negative effects.

Certainly it has been used as a herbal remedy for centuries and more than one state in the US has already sanctions its use as an adjunct to cancer care.

Anyone familiar with the horribly debilitating side effects of conventional cancer treatments will only welcome better and more effective therapies.

There is no magic bullet for this killer disease. However, we must be open to using all and any weapons potentially available to fight the suffering that it causes.

That said, we are far away from walking into the nearest pharmacy with a script for medicinal dagga.

For a start, the guideline document is still to be published to allow for public comment. Then, of course, it needs to be regulated and the Medicines and Related Substances Act states clearly how medicines are to be handled.

This control is essential to avoid abuse and as a schedule six medicine dagga would, in terms of the act, be available only through a pharmacist, doctor, dentist or veterinarian.

It is time we opened our eyes to the potential of new and alternate drugs, and certainly “big pharma” need not have a monopoly on curative medicine.

On the other hand, just because a substance is “natural” does not mean that it is necessarily an effective medicine, or safe, any more so than a drug that has been through rigorous medical tests that include placebobased, double-blind studies that are both reliable and valid.

The anecdotal evidence must now be supplemented with more medical knowledge.

3 thoughts on “Editorial: Need more testing of medicinal dagga

  • March 2, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    The more you learn the more you earn.

    Health and wealth. To each and every South AfriCAN.

    And just because it’s considered anecdotal doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth.

    Judging from the amount of daily requests I get from people all over South Africa either wanting to buy Cannabis Oil or to explain to them the legal process to get a licence to cultivate Cannabis for medicinal use you’d best get ready for the #GreenRush

    Ralph Higgo

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Dagga is tried & tested, People have been using it responsibly for 1000’s of years. Science informs it’s a therapeutic plant. All use is medicinal. It interacts beneficially with our endocannabinoid system, when consumed in it’s natural (plant) state. Broad spectrum benefits from the ‘Entourage Effect’. It’s healthcare for those who can’t afford medical aid.

    References here: fieldsofgreenforall (dot) org (dot) za/expert-witnesses/

    Read the 369a-and-b-notice’s to better inform yourself regarding dagga.

    • March 4, 2017 at 7:40 am

      dagga is by no means a safe or soft drug or a medicine. and here again we have medical applications being used to support recreational use.
      Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘medical dagga’. This is a phrase coined by pro-leglizationists in an effort to muster sympathetic support from the public.
      Smoking ANY substance, whatever it may be is harmful to the human body. FULL STOP. other methods of ingestion also introduce chemicals in dagga that are not beneficial to the body. This is accepted medically worldwide.
      Let’s consider medical applications. however we have a major problem in the fact that people are claiming that they smoke dagga for medical reasons which for the reason stated above is impossible.
      If chemicals in the cannabis plant are isolated tested and made into medications proven safe for public consumption, then perhaps. and this must be done through the traditional processes.
      Some groups (such as yours i believe) of people are pushing for legalization under the medical banner have even stated that their aim in doing so is to eventually have dagga legalized for recreational use.
      And many who want dagga legalized for medical applications are attempting to bypass traditional channels altogether! Any potential medications must pass through scientific testing, the Medicines Control Council and so forth.
      If the matter is handled responsibly, recreational use is separated completely from the issue (which of course it won’t be as that’s what you guys are actually pushing for) and traditional routes for new medications are adhered to and decisions based on science and medicine and not opinion, emotion and anecdotal evidence then perhaps.
      So you see the problem in all of this. in fact, those legitimately looking for help in the form of these potential medications are being harmed by the very people pushing their campaign!
      There is no such thing as ‘medical dagga’ in of itself. This is just a phrase coined by pro legalizationists to give the impression that the whole dagga plant, which they in fact want to smoke to get high, can be used as medicine which is completely false.
      they are trying to push through the smoking of dagga recreationally on the back of potential medical applications.
      So no, dagga is not medicine at all. Can some chemicals in dagga be used to make medicines, perhaps. But this is a matter of science and should be handled through traditional channels and is not a matter of opinion, emotion or personal belief.


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