Many people who are involved with the industry have been getting very excited at the prospect of the CBD being allowed to be sold in supplements, but are the changes to the law actually going to damage the reputation of cannabis?

The law has been changed to allow anyone, not just pharmacists to sell CBD products without a prescription. There are a few very challenging exemptions though.

Firstly the maximum daily dose of CBD must be 20 milligrams or less, and the product can not claim to cure or treat any specific condition. It may only advertise “general health enhancement”, or “health maintenance”, or promise “relief of minor symptoms”, as long as those symptoms are not linked to a disease or disorder.

The marketing aspect is easy enough to understand and this kind of advertising restriction is not uncommon in the industry. It’s the 20mg per day part which is where it gets interesting. I have been around CBD enough and worked with some very big companies in Europe and the States who have confirmed to me that CBD only becomes medically beneficial at concentration higher than 40mg per day. The solution to this would be an easy for you as a consumer. You simply take another capsule or double the number of drops that are recommended. No problem.

It is the second part of this law which is going to make it very difficult for manufacturers because the law also states that retailers can also 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, and the final product contains only a tiny fraction of CBD (0.0075%) and a maximum of 0.001% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive in marijuana.

The THC being less than .001% is understandable. It is a CBD product and it is the THC which is psychoactive and is clearly more of a concern than CBD. It is the section that suggests that the final product contain less than .0075% CBD. If we are to make a product that contains 20mg of CBD and it must have a concentration of less than .0075%, it means that we will need to dilute a solution containing 20mg of CBD into 266ml of carrier.

CBD needs a liposomal delivery system which rules water out unless you use a more technologically advanced delivery system which will push the price way up. The alternative? Blend the small amount of CBD into an oil based carrier, but who is going to drink 266 ml of oil to get 20mg of CBD?

To be honest it is brilliant. If I worked for a pharmaceutical company this is the best thing I could have hoped for; legalising a product but making the parameters so difficult to meet, and the dosages to low to be effective that anyone who does get a product right will find that they have a very expensive product that isn’t very effective.

Don’t lose hope South Africa. There are plenty of ways to get your quota of CBD without having to rely on overpriced and over regulated CBD products.

What if you grew your CBD rich plants and made your own oils?

What else is possible?

While most people believe cannabis and most especially CBD should be freely available I am not one of those. In my next article I will go into detail why we need regulation in the industry and what you as a consumer, grower or manufacturer need to be aware of.