The Department of Health announced this week that Cannabidiol (CBD), found in dagga, has been removed from South Africa’s list of highly-controlled drugs and can be sold legally. Here’s what you need to know.
Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi said that for the next year, low-dose CBD products are classified entirely outside drug regulations. This means that any “preparations” containing CBD are outside of highly-controlled drugs and may be legally sold by anyone but you still need a prescription to buy.
Products containing CBD have become very popular over the years because of their health benefits and are considered:
- Non-psychoactive, which means they do not get you high
- Non-addictive (not habit forming)
- They do not have dangerous side-effects
- Have known health benefits for a long list of ailments such as anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia
CBD is exempt under two conditions:
- The maximum daily dose of CBD must be 20 milligrams or less
- The product cannot claim to cure or treat any specific condition. It may only advertise to have “general health enhancement” properties, or for “health maintenance” or also promise “relief of minor symptoms”, as long as those symptoms are not linked to a disease or disorder.
For manufacturers and retailers, the exemption has the following conditions:
- They can claim the protection of the exemption for products made “from cannabis raw plant material and processed products” as long as no extra CBD is added.
- The final product may only contain a tiny fraction of CBD (0.0075%) and a maximum of 0.001% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
- The exemption will expire on 15 May 2020 unless people choose to renew.
From Schedule 7 to Schedule 4
The news of CBD being struck from Schedule 7 drugs comes months after the personal use of marijuana became legal in South Africa. CBD had previously been controlled as strictly as drugs like heroin. Since its exemption by Health Minister Motsoaledi, CBD is now classed as a Schedule 4 drug that can be available from pharmacists under prescription, alongside antibiotics. People who sell and provide products containing CBD already are objecting to its classification as a Schedule 4 drug and call for the government to make it freely available without a prescription.