May 21 2018 – SA’s first healthcare centre that will be selling cannabis oil is due to open in Durban. Investor and activist Krithi Thaver says they want to showcase the medicinal benefits of cannabis oil while lawmakers are mulling over the issue.
The holistic healthcare centre is also a response to the mushrooming of so-called kitchen pharmacists. This was sparked by the impassioned plea by terminally ill IFP MP Mario Ambrossini for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis oil 5 years ago.
Cannabis activist Krithi Thaver explains how patients coming to the Holistic Relief Wellness and Pain Management Centre in Durban North will be thoroughly screened by a nurse before being referred to one of four healthcare practitioners – a GP, a chiropractor, a homeopath or a recognised traditional healer.
Thaver says cannabis oil will only be dispensed within the context of a comprehensive treatment plan with regular follow-ups.
While Thaver is speaking, workers are busy refurbishing the office for the official opening at the end of the month. Thaver says they want to prove to politicians that cannabis oil do have medicinal benefits.
“I do understand that we are facing many challenges from a health care perspective in South Africa. And the solution to these problems are right here in front of us. I think we just need to wake up and realise that it’s in front of us, start changing the laws to allow us to start using this alternate integrate of health method so we can have a positive impact in health care in South Africa.”
Five years since the impassioned plea by IFP MP Mario Ambrosini for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis oil, who had terminal cancer, parliamentarians are still working on the Medical Innovations Bill. Thaver says due to the debate that Ambrosini’s plea sparked, so-called kitchen pharmacists have sprung up in the country who make cannabis oil.
“But what we have found is that there are so many oil producers that are not producing oils the right way or with the right start-up material, that in some cases does more harm to the patient than good. Now the patient does not know what is good oil or bad oil. All he knows is that it is cannabis oil. So it’s important to distinguish the types of cannabis oil you get, the method you extract it, the start-up material that you’re using.”
Thaver says the cannabis oils that they will be selling are produced under strict laboratory conditions overseas. He also explains that there are two main chemical components in the cannabis resin that is extracted – cannabbiniol or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the illegal psycho active ingredient.
Thaver emphasises that they will not be selling any THC products. He wants to break down the stigma around cannabis so that it can be legalised – not to smoke it up, but to help people.
“You know we want to be able to showcase and show them: look here, here’s a centre, that is a cannabis based centre. It is the same drug that is illegal, but look here’s 10-thousand patients, for example, that have walked through the door within a 6 month period that we have treated effectively.”
Thaver says more than 60 ailments can be treated with CBD-based cannabis oil. These include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, glaucoma and epilepsy. He says cannabis oil will, for example, give a cancer patient a better quality of life in the final stages of the disease, than the morphine that Western medicine use.
“The patient will be happier. You know morphine knocks you out. THC will give the patient some sort of smile on their face, you know it will give the patient appetite, it will want the patient to actually do stuff and be physically active whilst doing something. And that’s the beauty with THC.”
Thaver hopes that international expertise in producing cannabis oil will eventually be passed on to South Africans. He foresees that this will provide an economic boost to growers, oil producers as well as people using cannabis plants to make a variety of by-products. -SABC