FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2017, file photo, James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
JOHANNESBURG -  Cannabis beauty products broaden the appeal of South Africa investing in legitimate cannabis cultivation as it adds to the multi-billion rand market for cannabis medical products. 

“The CBD beauty market in South Africa is still in its infancy, however, the projected global growth is very exciting for us. It is estimated that CBD Beauty products will reach $25 billion in the next 10 years. Which will drive growth here at home because it will be trending in line with the global market,” Tebogo Tlhopane, the managing director of Biomuti said, who this week will be speaking at a cannabis conference titled , “The Big Business of Cannabis”, held in Gauteng. 

The American CBD market could reach $16bn by 2025, US-Market research company Cowen & Co predict, while the Asian CBD beauty product market is just starting.  In Canada the listed cannabis sector has a market capitalisation of more than R500 billion. 

Thlopane said the cost of a licence to grow cannabis for medical purposes depended on how much external expertise is required to assist in putting together the licence application process and also assist in setting up the factory.  

“The cost can be in the region of R1million to R2 million  depending on the size of the facility. When it comes to the time it takes, it really depends on South African Health Products Regulatory Authority  capacity. It can take from five to 12 months to have the factory fully licensed and operational,” Thlopane said.  

“CBD has been known to help with numerous aliments. In our experience, the common ailments in South Africa are anxiety, depression, chronic pain, migraines, insomnia and joint pain. Over and above that there have been a huge number of people that have been able to reduce their consumption of opioids or pharmaceutical prescribed medicine after starting to take CBD products,” Tlhopane added.

Thlopane said at the moment Biomuti was not exporting as the firm was first creating a strong foundation in South Africa from both marketing and manufacturing point of view, which was taking time. 

“We have identified Germany and the UK for market expansion in the first quarter of 2020,“ Tlhopane concluded.

The World Health Organisation estimates that South Africa is the third largest producer in the world of cannabis, which provides employment for some 1.2 million people made up of 900000 cannabis farmers and 350,000 traditional healers who grow their own cannabis for medical reasons.

Cannabis has two main active ingredients, namely cannabidiol (CBD), which provides the medical benefits, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces the “high”.