From lunches and carols to markets and meeting Santa
Cape Town cannabis guide: Everything you need to know
Owner of CT’s legal cannabis club answers key questions
Last updated: 11 April 2023
The decriminalisation of weed in South Africa has really blown curtains open and is steadily raising interest about the use and benefits of cannabis. But what do we mean by legal and is dagga really safe to use? Where can you buy it (legally and discreetly) and how much does it cost? What weed strains are best? Pierre Sarembock, owner of Cannibisters, the first legal members-only cannabis club in Cape Town, helps us answer your key questions.
It has been Pierre’s lifelong dream to open this club in Cape Town. Image: Unsplash/Matthew Brodeur
WHAT IS CANNABIS?
Also called weed, pot, marijuana and dagga, cannabis is a group of three plants with psychoactive properties: Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, what you’re left with is consumed as weed.
Cannabis has been used for its alleged healing properties for millennia. “It’s an amazing product in terms of health benefits, if it’s not abused,” says Pierre.
A cannabis bud at Cannibisters. Image: Lara van Zyl
IS CANNABIS LEGAL IN SA?
The private use of cannabis by adults has been legal in South Africa since 2018. You’re allowed to possess a limited amount – 600g in a private space or 100g in a public place.
Producing and trading in cannabis remains illegal, unless you can get your hands on a licence, which Pierre was able to do, allowing him to operate the first South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approved cannabis dispensary and herbal apothecary in Cape Town.
“Cannabis is slowly being liberated. In South Africa we now have an opportunity to become a culture that can benefit from the responsible use of this incredible plant,” says Pierre.
Cannabis was prohibited from the 20th century. Image: Simone Strydom
THC vs CBD – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are substances found in the cannabis plant. Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same effects – THC can make you feel high, while CBD will not.
Even though THC plays a part in getting you stoned, it’s not the only element. “It’s the entourage effect,” says Pierre. Simply put, the entourage effect is the theory that all parts of the cannabis plant combined enhances the “high”, not just the percentage of THC.
WHAT ARE CANNABIS STRAINS?
They’re essentially different species of cannabis, grown to have specific effects. Some strains help reduce fatigue or stress, while others make you feel happier, giggly or relaxed.
“We still don't know the infinite number of strains that are in the world already,” says Pierre, who carries 85 strains that you can buy by the gram at Cannibisters, as buds, edibles or pre-rolled joints. If you’re a newbie to the world of weed, Cannibisters’ staff will help you put together the ideal “starter pack”.
Strains can also be combined to create a brand new strain. Image: Lara van Zyl
INDICA OR SATIVA?
“Indica makes you want to relax and sink into the couch. Sativa makes you bubbly,” says Pierre. The indica plant is believed to make you relaxed, while sativa has a more energising effect. You also get the hybrid which is a combination of the two.
When is it best to smoke it? Many people use sativa during the day for when they want an energy boost, and indica for the evening or when they want to relax. Pierre has kitted-out Cannibisters for every mood, with pillow forts, cosy couches, board games and a coffee bar.
WHERE CAN I BUY WEED LEGALLY?
There are loads of weed shops and restaurants dabbling in CBD-infused products. Cannibisters is Cape Town’s first legal SAHPRA-approved dispensary: It works on a membership basis and has over 8 000 members – and is growing.
As a member, you have full access to over 85 strains of weed (starts at R135 a gram), cannabis distillates (vapes), cannabis-infused coffee and tea or edibles (from fudge to gummies). You can smoke/eat the products in the club, while playing board games and hanging out with friends as long as you like. Or take your purchases home with you.
Cannibisters also does deliveries; you can order online for home delivery.
You have full access to the products and delivery options when you’re a member. Image: Lara van Zyl
DOES CANNABIS HAVE MEDICINAL BENEFITS?
“Cannabis is an antioxidant. It's good for your blood pressure and your cholesterol, and there’s no harm when it’s used properly,” says Pierre. He always intended for the club to provide cannabis-based medications to help with health issues, which is why Cannibisters has an in-house medicinal cannabis practitioner with 24 years of experience.
Cannabis may be helpful in treating epilepsy, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis symptoms and more. Find out more about the medicinal benefits.
DOS AND DON’TS FOR CANNABIS BEGINNERS
- Be upfront when you come to Cannibisters, says Pierre. “Then I know to give you the ‘101 course’ and start you on the lowest dosage.”
- Consider starting with edibles, again in small doses – ask the team at Cannibisters how much you should eat of whatever you’re buying (don’t eat the whole brownie)
- Be in an environment where you feel comfortable when you first try cannabis
- Grass before glass – don’t drink alcohol before consuming weed (rather don’t mix the two at all)
If it’s your first time, make sure you’re with someone who has experience with weed. Unsplash/Wesley Gibbs
MORE INFO ABOUT CANNIBISTERS:
Cannibisters is open: Daily, 10am – 10pm
Find it: 65 Regent Road (between Mojo Market and Checkers), Sea Point, Cape Town
Become a member: It costs R100 per month. No under 21s. You can sign up online
Contact them on: 066 344 3012, email@example.com, Facebook
By Lara van Zyl
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