South Africa cannabis
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  • The Cheeba Cannabis Academy, which offers courses on growing, extracting, and supplying cannabis, will take to the road in November.
  • The Medical Cannabis Roadshow, a first for South Africa, features a two-day in-person seminar in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.
  • It will cover topics like cannabis as a medicine, local legalities, plant genetics, organics, and how the body absorbs and metabolises whole plant medicines among others.
  • The training package, which costs R7,850 per person, also includes the Medical Professional Cannabis online course.
  • Together, the seminar and online course, are worth 34 Continuing Professional Development points accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
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The Medical Cannabis Roadshow, a two-day educational event lauded as the first of its kind in South Africa and the continent, will visit Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town in November.

South Africa’s cannabis industry is on the cusp of something big. Commercialisation could inject R28 billion into the economy and create up to 25,000 jobs, according to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), which is tasked with developing the country’s Cannabis Master Plan.

And while restrictive regulation continues to be a major stumbling block in the path of cannabis commercialisation, several high-profile investments, interest on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and export deals are shining a strong light on the plant’s potential.

The recent upswell in attention, including the development of the Cannabis Master Plan, stems from a landmark Constitutional Court ruling which decriminalised the private use of cannabis in 2018.

Part of this broader commercialisation plan includes the production of cannabis for medicinal purposes. This is already overseen by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), which is responsible for issuing licences for the cultivation of cannabis solely for medicinal research.

Advocates of medicinal cannabis use, Cheeba Africa, founded Africa’s first dedicated cannabis academy, with online courses launched in June 2020. Today, the academy features a Gauteng campus, offering a 3-month, full time course on the cannabis industry, including a month internship.

Online courses cover topics from cannabis growing and the Endocannabinoid System, to South Africa’s legal landscape and the plant’s broad therapeutic uses.

The academy also offers Medical Cannabis CPD courses which “have been developed to meet the educational needs of healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients who are considering using medical cannabis as part of their medical treatment plan.”

These courses offer CPD – Continuing Professional Development – points accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSCA). Registered healthcare practitioners are required to acquire CPD points every year.

Now, in another first for Africa, the academy is taking its Medical Cannabis CPD on the road. A two-day in-person seminar, accredited for 14 CPD points by the HPSCA, will start on 12 November in Durban. The Medical Cannabis Training Roadshow will then move onto Johannesburg on 19 November and Cape Town on 26 November.

In addition to the seminars, the training package also includes the Medical Professional Cannabis online course, delivered in partnership with Cheeba’s US-based partner, Medical Marijuana 411. The online course includes 20 hours self-study and is worth 20 CPD points. Together, the roadshow package earns attendees 34 CPD points.

Day one of the seminar covers the history of cannabis as a medicine, local legalities, plant genetics, organics, and how the body absorbs and metabolises whole plant medicines among other topics. The second day addresses delivery and dosing, adverse effects, diet and alkalinity, and Covid-19.

“The course has been designed to provide a solid foundational knowledge of cannabis as an effective medical intervention for a variety of pathologies, with the goal of reframing the prohibitionist stigma which has erroneously cast cannabis as a recreational drug with no medical use,” said Sharon Price, founder and owner of Carol’s Oil, who has collaborated with Cheeba Africa to develop the roadshow.

“Participants will learn how to identify a safe and efficacious medicinal cannabis product and how to incorporate medicinal cannabis into an efficacious treatment protocol, as well as correct dosage.  They will also gain practical knowledge of how medicinal cannabis interacts with common chronic diseases and how to effectively synergise medical cannabis treatment with the patient’s diet.”

It costs R7,850 per person for the training package, which includes the two-day seminar and online Medical Professional Cannabis CPD course. With two-nights’ accommodation included, the price goes up to R10,750.

“More and more patients are curious and interested in whether Cannabis could be included in their treatment plans,” said Trenton Birch, CEO and Co-founder of Cheeba Africa.

“This is an opportunity for GPs, psychologists, dietitians and other healthcare providers to increase their knowledge so that they are equipped to meet this new demand.”

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