A ground-breaking event took place in Cape Town recently. In November 2020 a medical Cannabis course for healthcare professionals was held at the River Club.
Presented by HAPPY BY NATURE, the inaugural course was attended by healers from a wide range of professions; including traditional healers, medical doctors, unani-tibb practitioners, pharmacists, Cape bush doctors, veterinarians, psychologists, animal behaviourists, and physiotherapists. The strength of the course lay in the diversity, and the vital perspectives presented by wise, compassionate leaders of honourable traditions. Everyone in attendance was brought together by this extraordinary and controversial plant we call Cannabis. Following the success of this course, medical Cannabis courses are planned for other provinces of South Africa, with a Gauteng course scheduled for February.
The weekend course was both insightful and inspiring. It was incredibly helpful to hear perspectives I’d otherwise never have been exposed too – especially from the traditional healers.Sean Willard, Pharmacist, Rethink Representative
Sponsorship by Highlands Investments and Releaf Pharmaceuticals, and the extraordinary generosity of facilitators and guests speakers gifting their time and energy, allowed the 2-day course to be fully funded for two-thirds of course attendees. We appeal to all individuals and organisations that feel strongly about Cannabis medicine in healthcare to support this course in any way you can.
Overview of Course
The weekend focused on Cannabis as medicine and food, but included discussion on cultivation, processing, industrial and recreational use. Presentations and talks explored the nature of Cannabis, her qualities and chemistry, many benefits and potential harms. Cannabis-related regulatory, social and environmental issues were considered along with important legal, economic and ethical challenges. The course facilitators presented on various important foundational topics and all the primary disorders that may benefit from Cannabis. Guest speakers provided expert input on law, pharmacology, research, industry, economy. Delegates were invited to share information, research, and their clinical experience.
The course was very informative with a thorough sharing of Cannabis science and literature, as well as perspectives from various medical practitioners. It offered attendees proper guidance on developing our own unique protocols in South Africa, for both western allopathic medical practitioners and those in the complementary medicines, African traditional medicines, and indigenous knowledge practitioners.Ras Ramon Benjahman Adams – Cape Bush Doctor
There was a strong focus on safe use of Cannabis throughout the course; with contraindications, risks and possible side-effects discussed in detail. Evidence is mounting for the many possible medical benefits, but as with all substances (medicines, food, drugs, etc) cognizance needs to be paid to individual variation. What works for many or even most patients might not work for all, and there might be better treatments available for some patients.
As healers we benefit a lot in this course because we only use herbal Cannabis for healing our patients, We didn’t know that with Cannabis you can also make products like oils, etc. So we still need to gain more knowledge about Cannabis.Zanele Masombuka – Traditional Healers Organisation
The goal is to present traditional knowledge alongside scientific research, empowering healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to integrate Cannabis ethically, safely, effectively into practice – to make sound clinical decisions; to provide informed advice to patients; to support quality products and ethical business; and to contribute to Cannabis policies that nurture the wellbeing of all our communities, and the planet too.
It was such a privilege to have been part of a collaboration of healers from all backgrounds, sharing knowledge, stories and ideas. If one plant and its uses can bring so many enthusiasts together, I am very excited to see how other plants can guide us into working harmoniously to help large networks of people, animals and the planet!Tania Vermeulen – Veterinarian
Our immediate goal is to facilitate training on medical Cannabis for healthcare professionals around the country. Longer term, we intend the course on medical Cannabis to create a demand for further education in indigenous plant medicines. By integrating Cannabis and indigenous plant medicines, the healthcare system can begin to play a central role in good, green economic growth, biodiversity conservation, and wellbeing promotion for all. Our traditional healers, indigenous knowledge holders, and plant medicine professionals are key to our re-connection with Nature, and the evolution of healthcare through the reintegration of Cannabis and other indigenous plant medicines.
The potential of this plant extends beyond its promising medical applications, and into creating communities of healing and trust built on a shared respect for what plant medicine has to offer. This is a call to all healers. Come together and unite. Share your knowledge. It is time to heal ourselves, our loved ones, our fellow South Africans, our animals, and our beautiful country.Karen Niszl, Veterinarian, Course Facilitator
If you would like to find out more about the medical cannabis courses, or if you are interested in partnering, facilitating, or funding the project, send an email to Jimmy Symmonds and Cara Harris – firstname.lastname@example.org.