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The Pro and the Cons of DAGGA- Marijuana - Summary

This is one of the economic sectors in which concept master plans are being developed because there is enough evidence to show that jobs will be created, especially in rural areas, said Ngcaweni.

The plans are to be modelled on the success of government’s development and support programme for the vehicle manufacturing sector since 1995, which is regarded as one of the most important interventions in industrial policy.

The plans for various economic sectors, including textiles, sugar and downstream activities in the steel industry.

 
According to international experts, South Africa’s dagga industry could be worth more than $7.1 billion (R107 billion) if legislation to legalise one of the continent’s biggest markets is passed.

Prohibition Partners, which works to unlock community and commercial opportunities in the cannabis industry based on reliable data and research, said South Africa and Nigeria had the potential to become the continent’s highest value markets, worth $667 million and $75 million, respectively, by 2023 if the use of dagga is permitted for medicinal and recreational use.

This information is contained in the African Cannabis Report, the first detailed report on the legal dagga industry in Africa. The report also covers the benefits for the continent should the legalisation be passed.

According to the report,  five of the world’s 30 biggest dagga-consuming countries (in the age group of 15 to 64) are in Africa. These are Nigeria, Zambia, Egypt, Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

The report indicates that the World Health Organisation estimates that South Africa is the third-largest dagga producer in the world, with an estimated 900 000 dagga farmers. This is above and beyond the estimated 350 000 traditional healers who cultivate dagga.

South Africa is also considered to be a country that has a suitable climate for the cultivation of dagga, especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Trial runs worked best in the Eastern Cape and in the Western Cape.

According to world rankings, some of Africa's biggest cannabis users include these countries.
 
The guidelines for the commercialisation of hemp in South Africa need to be approved by government, and public consultation must also take place.


Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the species Cannabis sativa.

Marijuana refers to the plant that is cultivated for its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effect of dagga. Hemp refers to a plant that is typically cultivated for industrial use, such as oils, fibre or clothes. Hemp has a very low THC concentration.

Prohibition Partners refers to a report from the UN, which estimates that South Africa’s annual dagga production is at about 2 500 tons and can still increase. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority recently approved the first licence for the cultivation of medicinal dagga.

In September, 2019 the Constitutional Court legalised the growing of dagga for private use by adults in private settings.

According to Mzukisi Qobo, an associate professor at Wits Business School, and Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber of SA, many African governments have relaxed regulations and laws governing the use of dagga to help stimulate rural development and create jobs.

Here is a few facts regarding DAGGA- or MARIJUANA - this is what South Africa facing-  

The active ingredient in marijuana acts in the part of the brain called the hippocampus to alter the way information is processed and how memories are formed. Animal studies have shown that this is particularly true while the brain is still developing — specifically why the legal smoking age is 21 in the states that have legalised it.

This blockage of memory formation can cause cognitive impairment in adulthood if use happens during adolescence, at least in rats. It can also quicken age-related brain cell loss, though marijuana has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

THC messes with your balance.
THC messes with brain areas called the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. When these brain areas are disturbed, the user has a harder time walking and talking correctly, becoming quite clumsy. It also impacts their ability to drive.

Cannabis use may increase the risk of depression.
Although there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana makes users depressed (it’s just as likely that people who are depressed use pot), one recent study from the Netherlands found that smoking cannabis increases the risk of depression for young people who have a genetic vulnerability to the mental illness.

In the long-term, smoking marijuana increased depressive symptoms in subjects with a special serotonin gene responsible for increased risk of depression.

Intense anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic are common side effects.
Somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of recreational marijuana users react with intense anxiety after taking the drug, making it one of the most commonly reported side effects.

Marijuana users may experience psychosis.
Marijuana users who have taken large doses of the drug may experience acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity. These episodes may be related to the link between marijuana use and psychosis, but are distinct.

But it’s not all bad — Marijuana also makes us feel good.
When THC hits brain cells, it causes them to release dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical. This is a part of the brain’s reward system, which makes you feel good when you do things that ensure the survival of yourself and your offspring. These things include eating and having sex.

When over-excited by drugs, the reward system creates feelings of euphoria.

It controls epileptic seizures.
Marijuana use can prevent epileptic seizures, a 2003 study showed.

Robert J. DeLorenzo of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs rid the rats of the seizures for about 10 hours. Cannabinoids like the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.

The findings were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Marijuana treats inflammatory bowel diseases.
Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis could benefit from marijuana use, studies suggest.

University of Nottingham researchers found in 2010 that chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, interact with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function and immune responses. The study was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

THC-like compounds made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. The plant-derived cannabinoids in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, preventing this permeability and making the intestinal cells bond together tighter.

THC slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute suggests.

The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what kill brain cells and cause Alzheimers.

A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading.
One chemical found in marijuana, called cannabidiol, prevents cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.

Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.

The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.

1. Physician Perspectives on Marijuana’s Medical Use
“There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country… Marijuana is a medicine, that should be studied and treated like any other medicine.”

“[T]here really is no such thing as medical marijuana… The dangers and risks of marijuana use are well-known by the scientific community, even if they are downplayed by corporate interests wishing to get rich off of legalization. Apathy, lost productivity, addictive disease, deterioration in intellectual function, motor vehicle accidents, and psychosis are all among the negative outcomes. All from a product that has no demonstrated benefit. For nearly all conditions for which marijuana has purported benefits, we already have existing medications – safe medications – demonstrated to have value.”


2. Medical Organizations’ Opinions on Medical Marijuana
“ACP urges review of marijuana’s status as a schedule I controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions…

ACP strongly supports exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, ACP strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.”

American College of Physicians
“The American Academy of Ophthalmology – the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – is reminding the public that it does not recommend marijuana or other cannabis products for the treatment of glaucoma. Based on analysis by the National Eye Institute and the Institute of Medicine, the Academy finds no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective long-term treatment for glaucoma, particularly when compared to the wide variety of prescription medication and surgical treatments available. Ophthalmologists also caution that marijuana has side effects which could further endanger the user’s eye health.”

3. US Government Officials’ Views on Medical Marijuana
“I’m on record saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be.”

“[T]here is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana…

Accordingly, FDA, as the Federal agency responsible for reviewing the safety and efficacy of drugs, DEA as the Federal agency charged with enforcing the CSA, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as the federal coordinator of drug control policy, do not support the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.”

4. Health Risks of Smoked Marijuana
“[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk.

Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana.

I suspect that a day’s breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day’s dose — which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint — of marijuana.”

“Marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, is an irritant to the throat and lungs and can cause a heavy cough during use. It also contains toxic gases and particles that can damage the lungs. Marijuana smoking is associated with large airway inflammation, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, and regular marijuana smokers report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than nonsmokers. Smoking marijuana may also reduce the respiratory system’s immune response, increasing the likelihood of the user acquiring respiratory infections, including pneumonia. One study found that frequent marijuana smokers used more sick days that other people often because of respiratory illnesses.”

5. More Physician Perspectives on Medical Marijuana
“A day doesn’t go by where I don’t see a cancer patient who has nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression and insomnia. [Marijuana] is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite. I could write six different prescriptions, all of which may interact with each other or the chemotherapy that the patient has been prescribed. Or I could just recommend trying one medicine.”

Donald Abrams, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco
“Marijuana Is a Wonder Drug When It Comes to the Horrors of Chemo
July 22, 2015
“Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove marijuana’s medical benefits.

Based on current evidence, I believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same relief from pain and other medical symptoms.”

6. Marijuana and Pain
“[R]esearch further documents the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain. Cannabis has no known lethal dose, minimal drug interactions, is easily dosed via orally ingestion, vaporization, or topical absorption, thereby avoiding the potential risks associated with smoking completely…

Natural cannabis contains 5-15% THC but also includes multiple other therapeutic cannabinoids, all working in concert to produce analgesia…”

“There is no scientific evidence that the effect of marijuana in diminishing pain is related to any specifically identified analgesic effect. That it unequivocally does produce short-term CNS [central nervous system] euphoria, which alleviates some pain centrally, best explains its mechanism for both reducing pain short-term during the period of influence as well as causing the euphoria associated with addictive drugs of abuse. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence that long-term use of medicinal marijuana is either effective or safe for the treatment of chronic pain… [T]here are many analgesic medications available to patients and physicians that have been proven and established in the practice of medicine, through sound scientific clinical research, to be more effective and safer for the treatment of chronic pain than medical marijuana.”


7. Marijuana vs. Marinol
“Opponents of medical marijuana often point to dronabinol, the synthetic version of one of marijuana’s active ingredients that is available in pill form. The use of only one active ingredient makes dronabinol less effective than medical marijuana. Many ailments respond better to a combination of marijuana’s active ingredients rather than just one. In addition, because dronabinol is a pill, it is difficult for people with nausea and vomiting to swallow. Finally, like any medication that’s swallowed, dronabinol takes a long time to digest and have its effects. Inhaled marijuana vapors can work markedly faster.”

“Marinol differs from the crude plant marijuana because it consists of one pure, well-studied, FDA-approved pharmaceutical in stable known dosages. Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 400 chemicals including many toxic psychoactive chemicals which are largely unstudied and appear in uncontrolled strengths.”


8. Addictiveness of Marijuana
“For some users, perhaps as many as 10 per cent, cannabis leads to psychological dependence, but there is scant evidence that it carries a risk of true addiction. Unlike cigarette smokers, most users do not take the drug on a daily basis, and usually abandon it in their twenties or thirties.

Unlike for nicotine, alcohol and hard drugs, there is no clearly defined withdrawal syndrome, the hallmark of true addiction, when use is stopped.”

“[T]he evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted (according to the criteria for dependence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition [DSM-IV]. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start using marijuana as teenagers and to 25 to 50% among those who smoke marijuana daily. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 2.7 million people 12 years of age and older met the DSM-IV criteria for dependence on marijuana… There is also recognition of a bona fide cannabis withdrawal syndrome (with symptoms that include irritability, sleeping difficulties, dysphoria, craving, and anxiety), which makes cessation difficult and contributes to relapse… [E]arly and regular marijuana use predicts an increased risk of marijuana addiction, which in turn predicts an increased risk of the use of other illicit drugs. As compared with persons who begin to use marijuana in adulthood, those who begin in adolescence are approximately 2 to 4 times as likely to have symptoms of cannabis dependence within the 2 years after first use.”


9. “Gateway” Effect
“[T]he vast majority of people who use marijuana never progress to using other illicit drugs, or even to becoming regular marijuana consumers… The principal connection between marijuana and other illicit drugs mostly involves the nature of the market, not the nature of the high. In the Netherlands, where the marijuana market has been quasi-legal and regulated for decades, marijuana use is less prevalent than in the United States, and those who do consume marijuana are less likely to use other illicit drugs… Perhaps most important, new evidence now indicates that the proliferation of medical marijuana laws and dispensaries around the United States is strongly associated with fewer people dying from overdoses involving heroin and pharmaceutical opioids. The most likely reason is that people are finding marijuana more helpful than opioids in managing different types of pain.”

“Marijuana use is positively correlated with alcohol use and cigarette use, as well as illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. This does not mean that everyone who uses marijuana will transition to using heroin or other drugs, but it does mean that people who use marijuana consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana.

People who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.

The legalization of marijuana increases availability of the drug and acceptability of its use. This is bad for public health and safety not only because marijuana use increases the risk of heroin use.”


10. Medical Marijuana Use by Kids
“The average number of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) tried before using cannabidiol-enriched cannabis was 12. Sixteen (84%) of the 19 parents reported a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency while taking cannabidiol-enriched cannabis. Of these, two (11%) reported complete seizure freedom, eight (42%) reported a greater than 80% reduction in seizure frequency, and six (32%) reported 25-60% seizure reduction. Other beneficial effects included increased alertness, better mood and improved sleep. Side effects included drowsiness and fatigue. Our survey shows that parents are using cannabidiol-enriched cannabis as a treatment for children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.”

“Marijuana use in pediatric populations remains an ongoing concern, and marijuana use by adolescents has known medical, psychological, and cognitive side effects. Marijuana alters brain development, with detrimental effects on brain structure and function, in ways that are incompletely understood. Furthermore, marijuana smoke contains tar and other harmful chemicals, so it cannot be recommended by physicians.”

 


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