Kwanda Mtetwa will go down in history as the first person to receive a legal medical prescription in South Africa.
“The process is not easy but I would like to thank South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA SAHPRA for making this possible. I did not think it would be possible in my lifetime” he told eNCA TV on 9 September 2021
Project pioneered by CBD Full Spectrum
The 32-year old Gauteng man has a legal medical prescription for SA Cheese to help him with pain, and the Department of Health is in full support and has given the go-ahead for patients to be issued with cannabis permit cards valid for 6 months. This is how long a Schedule 6 medicine prescription , which is the validity period for prescribing Schedule 6 medication. Each card has a QR code with the holder’s data and prescription.
He is part of the pilot project launched by CBD Full Spectrum to put doctors and patients together in the cannabis environment. CBD Full Spectrum’s Professor Benny de Beer assisted Mtetwa and the prescribing doctor Dr Benny Malakoane in getting registered with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) earlier this year. The Section 21 company supplies the doctors with the cannabis to prescribe. It has a SAHPRA-licensed cannabis grow operation in Vanderbijlpark. https://www.cannabiz-africa.com/cbd-full-spectrum-full-steam-ahead/, where it currently grows two types of cheese (UK and SA), Blue Gelatto and Charlotte’s Angel.
Dr Malakoane: Understand the nuances of the whole plant in prescribing cannabis Image: Sebabatso Masomo
Cannabis used for pain and other ailments
“When a doctor prescribes for medical use, they do so as they would for any other medication – the dosage, the strain, frequency and time of day are all specified to treat the ailment.” He describes CBD Full Spectrum’s strains as follows:
- Cheese – 40% indica, 60% sativa, with a 12% THC level “best taken in the morning as it gets you up and energised”.
- Charlotte’s Angel – About 50% indica, 50% sativa, with a 7% THC level “best taken around midday. It’s middle ground.”
- Blue Gelato – 60% indica, 40% sativa, with a 20% THC level “best taken at night to relax you”.
Dr Malakoane specialises in pain relief and experienced the herb for the first time this year.
“We were to start giving it to patients, so I needed to be able to tell the patients what the experience would be. I took 0.05ml of activated cannabis oil and felt nothing for two hours. Then it hit. The next day I woke up feeling wonderful.”
His patient, Mtetwa, had suffered serious multiple injuries in a 2011 motorbike crash, initially grew his own cannabis after his pain treatment was not working.
“I was bedridden for eight months and relying on heavy pain medication. My mood shifted and my character changed … I wasn’t eating and grew thin. The whole time the pain continued and I didn’t sleep for days” he told the Sunday Times
“I was worried the meds would make me an addict. Two years down the line and they were burning my stomach. I started looking for an alternative pain relief.”
Legal medical cannabis likely to be in high demand
Mtetwa, now a cannabis activist working at Cheeba’s Vaal Triangle Cannabis Academy, was put in touch with Dr Malakoane by Prof de Beer. He said it made a huge difference having a doctor prescribe cannabis for specific ailments instead of having to grow his own.
Mtetwa told eNCA “The process is basically to apply for a Section 21. It is the documents that give you the right to use and possess unregistered medicine.
“I basically looked at my network of people that I know and with the help of the Cheeba Cannabis Academy, I discovered that the Gauteng Vaal Triangle is a leader in this space. I consulted a grower there, CBD Full Spectrum, a licensed cultivator and they facilitated my application with SAHPRA. The application cost about R350, including a doctor’s consultation which was R650. SAHPRA completed the necessary admin. Finally, I was issued my Section 21 letter of approval and my medical card.
“This basically makes me legal, I can carry cannabis on me.”
With SAHPRA’s go-ahead, Professor de Beer is planning to open his own network of “education” centres which will be aimed at streamlining the process of applying for medical cannabis cards. As a licensed producer he is well-positioned to take advantage of the anticipated surge in demand for legal cannabis.
CBD Full Spectrum workers packing medical cannabis at its Vanderbijlpark facility Image: Sebabatso Masomo
Professor de De Beer is preparing to ramp up production at his Vaal farm with a the construction of another 10 greenhouses planned. He told Cannabiz Africa on 2 September 2021 that he believed within the next three years the cannabis industry could generate a million new jobs if government got its cannabis reform ducks lined up in the right rows.