Kisumu has established itself as a tourist attraction that was once a humble fishing town by the shores of Lake Victoria. It’s also the only place where residents use cannabis to treat Chickenpox, Dysentery, Measles & Rabies. Does this treatment work effectively?
Is medical cannabis legal In Kenya?
The cultivation or use of marijuana in Kenya is illegal. However, the future seems optimistic after the government approved GoIP’s license to grow medical cannabis in western Kenya. A section of qualified doctors have lobbied for the legalization of medical marijuana to make cancer treatment in Kenya affordable.
Why do Kisumu residents prefer using cannabis as medicine?
1. It’s part of the traditional medicine culture
Traditional healing is still active and highly sought after in Africa. A variety of indigenous herbs and trees with medicinal properties grow in western Kenya thanks to the favorable climate. Studies show that traditional doctors in Kisumu have prescribed cannabis to patients for several decades and witnessed success.
Parents with children below 15 years have claimed that their children got cured off measles after administering boiled cannabis. The traditional doctor boils cannabis buds, stems, and leaves then uses the concoction to treat dysentery.
2. Highly affordable compared to visiting a hospital
Kisumu has approximately 250,000 fishermen however most of them struggle financially. This is mainly attributable to the lack of fisheries and insufficient government funding. To the average fisherman, going to a hospital is quite expensive compared to traditional medicine. However, the market seems to be attracting new customers due to tough economic situations. In the recent past, traditional healers have prescribed cannabis to children from middle-class communities.
3. Scarcity of well-equipped hospitals
Kisumu county has only two public hospitals situated near the business district. The private medical sector consists of clinics that are either too far or expensive to local residents. As if not enough, the lack of roads makes traveling to hospital a nightmare to patients.
These infrastructural and medical challenges position traditional medicine men as the better option for patients.
Possible future trends of medical marijuana in Kisumu
1. Higher demand for traditional medicine men due to COVID19 economic effects
COVID19 has hit the global economy hard resulting in massive unforeseen layoffs. In addition, some people are hesitant towards going to hospitals for fear of contracting COVID19. The current situation will make parents opt for traditional medicine because it’s affordable.
2. Increased lobbying for medical marijuana
In some cases, a traditional healer blows smoke continuously on the child’s face. This practice seems unsafe because it poses a high risk of COVID19 transmission. Doctors will definitely lobby for construction of more hospitals. They will also push the government to allocate resources for medical research on how cannabinoids fight measles.
Winding it up…
Kisumu’s underground medical marijuana industry has existed for several decades with zero government intervention. Perhaps this is the best time for Kenya to pioneer cannabis medical research in Africa by providing resources to study how cannabinoids interact with chickenpox and measles.
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