Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during the signing ceremony of The Global Fund South Africa Grant 2019-2022 at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria yesterday. Siyabulela Duda
Durban - The legalisation of medicinal cannabis has been heralded as a new-found hope and burgeoning market opportunity for South Africans.

On Thursday, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister for Health, excluded preparations containing cannabidiol (CBD) from being scheduled in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965 for the next 12 months.

CBD is a natural chemical compound found in cannabis plants which is used for medicinal purposes and is not psychoactive.

A report of CBD by the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated it exhibited no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.

Issues such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s, depression, stress, and anxiety can be addressed and treated with CBD containing products. Its properties could lower blood pressure and act as a natural anti-inflammatory.

Roy Sukdhev, founder of the Phoenix North Coast Cancer Support Group, was hopeful for the future of cancer treatment but believed controlled measures would be required to regulate the endeavour.

“It will open doors and lessen suffering. Medication and correct treatment is vital for cancer patients, the more that is available the better it will be.

“Regulations, controlled environments and registered outlines will need to be implemented to prevent fly-by-night businesses from taking advantage of this new opportunity and doing more harm than good,” said Sukdhev.

Narend Singh, parliamentary Chief Whip of the IFP, said it was a step in the right direction but that it was not a new innovation.