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Cannabis in Zimbabwe: Meet the new health cure

Cannabis, also called mbanje in Zimbabwe, is no unknown word to people today. It has many health benefits like fighting cancer, and 22 countries around the world legalised it for medicinal use.

Zimbabwe is the latest country to legalise growing of this crop. South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, and Lesotho have also legalised medicinal cannabis.

Cannabis contains CBD (cannabidiol) which is a chemical that impacts on the brain, making it function better without giving it a high, along with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which has pain relieving properties. It is important to remember that a licence is still needed to plant cannabis. The license is valid for a maximum of five years and renewable, allowing growers to own, sell, and transport cannabis in dried and oil forms. Applicants are required to state plans for the growing site along with quantity for production and selling, as well as production period.

The first license to be granted for medicinal marijuana cultivation was to Precision Cannabis Therapeutics Zimbabwe, which went for $46 000 in early 2019. “The government has issued 44 licences since September 2020 when it announced rules for growing cannabis, and cannabis sales are predicted to reach $1,25 bn in 2021. Thirty producers are ready, and some were doing test production,” Clive Mphambela, Chief Director Communications at Zimbabwe Treasury, said.

Another crop that Zimbabwe is big on, is the tobacco plant, but Clive said that the country expects cannabis crops to earn almost three times as much as tobacco. Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest agricultural export product, and earned $444 m from the 2020 marketing season that closed in August, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. John Robertson, an independent economist based in Harare, said the projections for cannabis sales were ambitious.

“It is a massive over-estimate and ignores the fact that cannabis is grown in many markets outside of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“It’s sold in grams, not in kilograms or tonnes, so there will be disappointment,” John said. “The only enthusiasm will be from producers, but massive supply globally will depress prices.” In his budget statement on 26 November 2020, Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, Mthuli Ncube, said cannabis production for medicinal purposes has immense potential to generate export receipts and tax revenues.

“A so-called cannabis levy will be introduced next year, in line with export values,” he said. Mthuli also added that taxes of as much as 20% will be applied on oils, bulk extracts, and dried cannabis flowers. Growers, most of whom are locals with international partners, can produce $40 million to $46 million worth of cannabis a month, underpinning Treasury’s “very conservative” estimates, Clive Mphambela said.

Some of the health benefits of cannabis:

• Improves lung capacity

• Helps lose weight

• Regulates and prevents diabetes

• Helps treat depression

• Shows promise in autism treatment

• Regulates seizures

• Mends bones

• Helps with ADHD/ADD

• Is a treatment for glaucoma

• Alleviates anxiety

• Slows development of Alzheimer’s disease

• Deals with pain linked to arthritis

• Helps with PTSD symptoms

• Helps provide relief to individuals with multiple sclerosis

• Reduces side effects linked to hepatitis C and increase the effectiveness of treatment

• Treats inflammatory bowel diseases

• Helps with tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease

• Helps with alcoholism

What you need to grow a cannabis plant:

• Light – whether you are using sunlight or grow lights, you must understand the light needs of a cannabis plant to get the best bud quality and yields. That means also it needs to be grown outside.

• Growing medium – the stuff your plants grow in; soil is not your only choice!

• Air – a well-ventilated space with good air exchange and a slight breeze is best.

• Temperature – A good rule of thumb for cannabis plants is if it feels too hot for you, it is probably too hot for your plants. Just like humans, cannabis plants can die if exposed to extreme temperatures.

• Nutrients – you can buy pre-formulated nutrients that you just add to your water, or you can compost your own super soil so that it already includes all the nutrients you need.

• Water – Sufficient water is essential for the plant to survive.

Source: BizNews and www.growweedeasy.com and www.healtheuropa.eu.

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