Medical cannabis and cannabidiol: A new harvest for Malawi

Gama Bandawe

Department of Biological Sciences, Academy of Medical Sciences, Malawi University of Science and Technology

Corresponding Author: Gama Bandawe; Email;

In February 2020 parliament passed the Cannabis Regulation Bill (2020) which regulates the cultivation and production of industrial hemp and medical cannabis. The country will only fully benefit from this development if the medical and scientific community can take the lead in enabling the country to exploit the plant’s potential to help address some of our economic and public health challenges. This special communication provides some basic information on cannabis and discusses its history and medical uses. Cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as one of the most important cannabis-derived phytochemicals and has formed the basis for the growth of the medical cannabis industry. The scientific data on the mechanisms of the effects of CBD on the human neuroendocrine-immune network is reviewed and the first effective cannabis-based FDA-approved treatment for epilepsy discussed. Some clinical research that is being done on the antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties of CBD is also reviewed. A case is made for the potential of CBD as a neuroprotective adjunctive therapy for the prevention of neuropsychological sequelae associated with complicated malaria. The safety profile of CBD is reviewed and finally, the potential importance of the re-medicalization of cannabis-based therapies for the broader field of phytomedicine is pointed out.

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