CBD and the regulatory framework


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Humans have used cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) as far back as at least the third millennium BC and since time immemorial it has been valued as fibre and rope, for its use as food and medicine, and for its psychoactive properties for religious and recreational purposes. Its psychoactive properties gave rise to sweeping global restrictions on its use in the middle of the 20th century. However, times are changing.

In 2018, a SA Constitutional Court judgement allowed for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis for his or her personal consumption in private and to cultivate cannabis in a private place for his or her personal consumption in private. Ever since, a debate has been raging about the benefits and harmful effects of cannabis-containing products, regardless of whether these are foodstuffs, cosmetics or proper medicines. While some have hailed cannabis and its constituents as revolutionary aids in the treatment of certain chronic diseases and ailments, sceptics have labelled it as snake oil.

With the advent of modern technology, it has become possible to isolate the beneficial components of cannabis from its psychoactive components, leaving us with an increasingly popular alternative medicine substance, known as cannabidiol or CBD. Objective evidence from clinical research has begun to improve our understanding of the pharmacological properties of CBD. Not only has CBD become a popular natural remedy for many ailments, but it is also now registered by the FDA and EMA for the treatment of seizures in patients with Lennox Gastaut and Dravet syndromes.

In this session, Dr Grebe will explore the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of CBD, provide information on its side-effect profile, explain the current legal status of CBD-, THC-, and cannabis-containing products in SA and also explore mechanisms through which the bioavailability of CBD may be improved:

  • Cannabis, its constituents and important differentiators
  • The current legal status of CBD-containing medicinal products
  • Indications and use
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
  • Bioavailability and liposomal technology