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Bhang is good food supplement, Scholar tells MPs

By Graham Kajilwa | Published Fri, March 23rd 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 23rd 2018 at 00:02 GMT +3
Simon Mwaura a scientist who has won a lucrative contract in United Arabs Emirates (UAE) to supply organic manures developed from aquatic weeds especially hyacinth. [Photo by Boniface Gikandi/Standard]

 

After establishing that maize cob has the ability to treat erectile dysfunction 2014, Professor Simon Mwaura is now petitioning to have bhang legalized.

 

The scholar became the second Kenyan in less than a year to have a one on one with law makers on why the outlawed substance legalized when he appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee yesterday.

While Gwada Ogot whose petition appeared before the senate last year wanted the plant be explored as an income generating crop, Prof Mwaura seeks to have the plant used as a raw material to create food supplements.

The supplements, he told the committee chaired by Matungulu (Machakos County) Member of Parliament Stephen Mule, are key in boosting the body’s immunity.

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“You can blend it with coffee, tea, beet, spirits; it has very good compatibility,” said Mwaura.

Mwaura, from Hyaquip Kenya (a science and innovation company) said he carried out research on bhang, alongside miraa and came up with a way to separate the plants’ psychotropic components and leave it safe for consumption.

The psychotropic components, which include caffeine and methanol are what give users the feeling of being high. However, once they are separated, the plant becomes safe and contains nutrients like, carbohydrates, magnesium key in boosting the body’s immunity.

He came up with the formula to separate the two components in 1996 which he said was confirmed by the government chemist.

However, his fight is to be allowed to handle the banned substance (marijuana) in all the 47 counties as contained in a letter addressed to National Assembly dated September 14, 2017.

Before, Mwaura had written to the Ministry of Health and that of Agriculture seeking permit for this business without success.

"Please note that marijuana plant and its products are prohibited by Kenyan law under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropics Substances (Control) Act, 1994," read a response from Registrar Pharmacy and Poisons Board Dr Kipkerich Koskei dated APril 15, 2014.

Mwaura said the two plants can be used as herbal remedies. He said if parliament agrees to the plan, Kenyan may become the only country in the world to export bhang as a herbal supplement.

“These two main plants offer both herbal and medicinal extracts that can be used by a six-month old baby to a 90-year-old,” argued Mwaura.

He added: “It can also be used if an individual is in pain or has just has a surgery.”

Some of the dangers associated with smoking marijuana include increased risk of heart attack, lung and neck cancers.

But according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the US, there are no substantial evidence to confirm the above. However, people who smoke marijuana are likely to get chronic bronchitis

Uruguay, some states in United States, Peru, Columbia and Canada for medicinal purposes.


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