Maseru – MG Health (formerly Medigrow) has attained the significant milestone of launching their first full-spectrum cannabis oil products to the Basotho nation with sights set on Europe and the United Kingdom.
The availability of top-quality medical cannabis products produced and beneficiated locally is a dream come true for the development aspirations of Lesotho, along with many other developing countries.
The CBD rich Cann9 range was launched into pharmacies in Lesotho’s capital Maseru a few weeks ago. The name Cann9 references the company’s signature cannabis strain with its 9 cannabinoid profiles. Their mouth spray comes in both 30ml and 10ml options.
At the recommended 2 sprays a day, they proclaim 10ml should last a month, while their popular 150ml Cann9 liver tonic enriched with phosphorylcholine helps to support liver health which is vital to the body’s metabolic, detoxification, and immune system functions.
While scientific research needs to provide conclusive evidence, people who use cannabis products swear by its effectiveness. Nthati Molisana, one of the users of the newly launched health products told Public Eye, “Cannabis is a God-given, real medical plant. I see Cannabis products every day helping my father who suffers from arthritis. Before using cannabis products, he used to complain about pain and stiffness in his knees. Since he started taking the Cann 9 products the everyday aches have stopped.”
The company says ultimately consumers should at least check to see if a product they are purchasing has a certificate of analysis (COA) to ensure product safety and peace of mind. MG Health says there can be no shortcuts when it comes to producing medicines for human consumption and acknowledges there is much misinformation in the market. “Consumers need to know that what it says on the bottle is actually what’s inside.”
MG Health is quick to point out that their products have undergone rigorous independent laboratory testing at Lucan Labs which tests up to 73 pesticides, way more than many territories require. This is half the battle won to ensuring their products can be trusted, recognised and accepted locally and internationally.
From a patch of agricultural land to a vertically integrated single-site Pharmaceutical Cannabis cultivator, extractor and producer, it indeed has been a journey for MG Health.
The legal cannabis industry is in many respects in its infancy and therefore in constant flux. The ongoing challenge is to keep up with regional regulations in various territories, across multiple continents. Governments understandably err on the side of caution when it comes to approving medication for human consumption and generally look to global standard certifications for guidance.
It seems the decision by MG Health early on in their journey to pivot and focus all their energy into gaining EU GMP certification will soon pay dividends with their S.NCE products being launched in France, the United Kingdom and Geneva over the next few months.
EU GMP Certification
EU GMP certification is the highest rated certification that any company with pharmaceutical aspirations needs to acquire to give governments, importers and regulators the seal of approval that their products are fully traceable, consistent, laboratory tested and stable.
The decision to focus on attaining EU GMP Accreditation came after MG Health had begun the project, but at least it was in the early stages. This put pressure on the company as they suddenly required greater capital investment and precious time.
“We had to go back to the beginning and it felt like we were starting again. EU GMP guidelines on health and safety, staffing, skills development and operations are stringent, not to mention some architectural changes we had to apply to the facility, implementing new build specifications and adapting to required cultivation area upgrades.”
Bothma concedes, “the pain though was worth it and now, two years on, we are more convinced than ever that this singular decision will ensure that we not only survive this highly competitive space but become a global player.”
The company confirms that it is still on track to gain EU GMP Certification this year, which will arguably make this Lesotho-born company the first in Africa able to produce pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products to international standards – firmly elevating the Lesotho ‘brand’ on to the world stage.
In a 2017 report, the World Health Organisation said it found “preliminary evidence” that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of medical conditions such as epilepsy, pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety and arthritis to name a few, however, MG Health knows that ongoing scientific research will be fundamental to ensuring health care professionals feel confident in prescribing cannabis products to patients for treatment.
MG Health engages with regulators, healthcare providers, academics and consumers to develop an understanding of the science behind medical cannabis, what research is being done and most importantly, why cultivation, extraction and production should be scientifically led due to the complex nature of the cannabis plant.
On this note, company spokesperson Ms Mpho Sefali, is quick to point out that MG Health was recently one of a few selected to supply the largest CBD patient study in Europe – the only medical-grade cannabis producer in Africa to be appointed to the first and largest study of its kind.
The company seems to also be in alignment with the Lesotho government’s ambitious goals for the local cannabis industry. Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro told the media recently: “We don’t want to export bottles of raw oil . . . We want to export pharmaceutical products. And so we want to see the majority of investment going into processing pharmaceutical grade products. So when we make a product here, it goes straight into the shelves of pharmaceutical outlets.”