Cannabis is a complex plant that contains more than 144 different cannabinoids (Phyto-cannabinoids) including CBD (cannabidiol), CBDA (cannabidolic acid), CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBDV (canabidivarin) and tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THCA, THCV). THC and CBD are the most common cannabinoids, but others are becoming popular and found alone or in combination with CBD. The infamous THC is well known for its psychoactive effects, while many other cannabinoids are considered non-psychoactive with many possible health benefits. Cannabis varieties have been bred for specific aims, with marijuana focused on THC and low in CBD, while hemp is high in CBD with trace amounts of THC. Both marijuana and hemp varieties may contain other cannabinoids in various combinations, as can the resulting CBD products that have been derived from them.
The medical use of cannabis in South Africa is regulated in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Medicines Act). With respect to cannabis, the Medicines Act distinguishes between cannabidiols (CBD), which is non-psychoactive, and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is psychoactive in nature. CBD is listed as a schedule 4 substance, save for limited circumstances in which CBD may be classified as a schedule 0 substance (Unscheduled CBD Products). Like a schedule 6 substance, schedule 4 substances are only available on the prescription of an authorised prescriber. Schedule 0 substances can be purchased off the shelf at places like pharmacies, supermarkets, health shops or convenience stores. Unscheduled CBD products comprise of complementary medicines containing no more than 600mg CBD per sales pack, providing a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD, and making a general health enhancement, health maintenance or relief of minor symptoms (low-risk) claim. In South Africa, legal CBD products are required to contain no more than 0.001% THC. Cannabis Oil South Africa, a cannabis oil reviewer website, decided to blind test 10 CBD products and found only one that lived up to the label claim.
In line with iMed’s mission to improve the lives of South Africans, the need to meet the requirements that the exploding cannabis industry has created for quality testing of cannabis raw materials, oils and other pharmaceutical products, motivated us to provide a comprehensive Cannabinoids testing service to complement our ISO 17025 accredited forensic toxicology laboratory test scope. Our purpose is to support suppliers of cannabis raw materials and manufacturers of CBD products to be leaders in the market providing the purest possible products to the consumer.