South Africa has decided to remove the cannabis plant from the list of controlled substances but has classified CBD and THC to allow their use under certain conditions.
The country has also exempted industrial hemp from medical control but has set the level of THC in the plant at 0.2%, and in the finished products at 0.001%, effectively reducing the possibility of use.
CBD considered as a food supplement and a medicine
CBD is considered both a food supplement and a drug. It is placed on Schedule 4 of the list of controlled substances, requiring a prescription, except when it is presented in packages containing 600 mg or less of CBD and limited to a maximum dose of 20 mg/day, where it is then regulated in addition to Schedule 0.
The Schedule includes many over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and dietary supplements such as vitamins. However, this classification means that only products manufactured according to GMP standards will be allowed, and only when producers are registered as drug manufacturers and the products themselves are registered with the South African Health Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
THC and industrial hemp
The classification of THC in Annex 4 opens the door to the medical cannabis industry in South Africa.
The cannabis plant was removed from Annex 7, reserved for strictly controlled substances, and quickly came under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.
It thus exempts industrial hemp from classification but sets the limit of this exemption at 0.2%, a very low limit which corresponds more to a European climate than to the South African climate. Malawi, for example, has set its limit at 1% THC in order to take advantage of local varieties and allow a hemp industry.
Processed products, on the other hand, will have a THC limit set at only 0.001%, whether for fiber or food.