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Most Sensible Suggestion to Overcome Cannabis Licensing Dilemma: Reclassify Cannabis as a Botanical Medicine and Take it Out of SAHPRA’s hands

Dr Regina Hurley


Plant medicine should not be classified in the same class as artificial medicine

South Africa should set an international precedent and classify cannabis as a new class of medicine – a botanical medicine. That call came from Dr Regina Hurley,a specialist aneathetist at Mediclinic Newcastle and a medical cannabis campaigner locally.

She told a SAHPRA webinar on 3 December 2021 that it was unrealistic to try and classify single molecule and multi-molecule medicines in the same class.

“Botanical medicine behaves differently to conventional single molecule drugs” she said. Cannabis should be in a separate regulatory class. A botanical medicine cannot be subject to the same regulations as pharmaceutical molecules” .


‘De-schedule cannabis immediately’

“SAHPRA should immediately de-schedule cannabis from the current medicines regime and classify it as a botanical medicine and allow immediate access to the plant for all South Africans”.

Dr Hurley said South Africa should implement its own medicinal cannabis models and not just follow what was being done in Canada and the United States.

“Stop over-regulating and allow the masses to benefit from the plant” she appealed.  She said cannabis was one of the safest medicines in the world and that it was a human right to access natural products that enhanced one’s health.


Integrate western and African medicine

Dr Hurley said the reclassification of cannabis as a botanical medicine would take it out of the hands of SAHPRA and resolve the conflict between the regulatory authority and traditional healers.

“Our way forward should be the amalgamation of western and traditional views” she said. “Cannabis can act synergistically with other medicines.

As a certified Cannabis Physician in the United States and an American Board-Certified Specialist anesthesiologist, Dr. Hurley uses medical knowledge to guide others on the safe use of hemp-derived CBD. She is also the former Head of Department for Amajuba District Anaesthesia Department, a current practicing specialist anaesthesiologist at Mediclinic, Chairperson of Hospital Clinical Performance Committee at Mediclinic, and Covid commander at Mediclinic.

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