“Use of industrial hemp for medicinal purposes is a game changer for Malawi” – Prof. Fanuel Lampiao

For many a decade, marijuana has been deemed inappropriate and not good for the society such that cultivation of the same is illegal. However, new research has revealed the several health benefits that this ‘forbidden’ plant has. Professor Fanuel Lampiao from the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences has since described the new development as a game changer for the country.

Lampiao said people need to know that there is a huge difference between the marijuana that the government legalized which he said has very low and controlled content of TetraHydroCannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that’s primarily responsible for the effects of marijuana on a person’s mental state which is responsible for psychoactive properties. In most of Malawi’s marijuana, the content of THC is high such that if people with stress and other problems use it, they might be at high risk of abnormal behaviour.

“The main purpose of this medicinal marijuana is to come up with products that can be used to treat different ailments, it is cultivated solely for medicinal purposes and this is done under instructions from medical personnel.” Said Lampiao.

Lampiao went on to say there is a Memorandum of Understanding with an Israeli company that produces marijuana medicinal products. He said this company will send their products to Malawi and upon proper studies and recommendations, Malawi will start using these products.

“At the moment, Malawi is still in the infancy stages of seeking approvals from regulatory bodies to start producing Marijuana products hence there is need for sensitization to clear out all misconceptions as people will think that any type of Marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes. In addition, the Malawi Cannabis Regulatory Authority has a huge responsibility to monitor stakeholders and act as a watchdog and warn people that developing products from cannabis varieties that are not regulated and not allowed in the country and have higher levels of THC is worrisome.” He said.

On the benefits of the medicinal marijuana to Malawi, he said this was a great opportunity for Malawi to make sure that the country cultivates higher quality Marijuana for this use.

“This could be a game changer for Malawi hence Malawians who have the capacity should be allowed to take part in the cultivation of the herb as this could also boost economy of the country through forex from the marijuana products exports. This could be a replacement of the tobacco that we have been cultivating for a while. Products from the medical Marijuana will also benefit Malawians suffering from different diseases including Epilepsy, Cancer, Glaucoma, seizures and neurodegenerative disorders which encompass a wide range of conditions that result from progressive damage to cells and nervous system connections that are essential for mobility, coordination, strength, sensation, and cognition. Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide. So medical Marijuana will improve quality of life in Malawi.” He concluded.