BIOMUTI’S RISESeeing the life-changing benefits of 
medicinal cannabis in action keeps 
Tebogo G Tlhopane and his team at 
Biomuti getting up in the morning.
Tebogo TlhopaneBiomuti is the only 100% black-owned CBD businesses in the country and is growing and evolving to meet the changing appetite and opportunities around CBD in South Africa.Tebogo is from an IT background but is also from a long ancestral line of healers and so natural plant medicine was a constant in his life as long as he can remember.

“I came to medicinal cannabis because I was looking for something new and interesting to sink my teeth into when I came back to SA after ten years of living abroad. I thought cannabidiol (CBD) sounded very promising but three years later I am more inspired than ever to bring this medicine to the people.”

Tebogo says his very personal hand in the business has not only given him valuable insight into how medicinal cannabis works but has also helped build loyalty with his customers.

CBD is not like allopathic medicine, but it can be quite specific to the patient.

“You need a plan and be willing to listen to feedback from the body. If you take too little or even too much, you won’t see the desired results and this is probably happening a lot in the market where people are taking low doses or incorrect doses of CBD and feeling disappointed with the result. We are working hard to ensure our customers are equipped for their CBD journey and we often work directly with them to formulate a plan.”

Some of the most astonishing results that Tebogo has seen have been with people who have faced major challenges like strokes.
“We had a client who had a stroke very young, by finding him the correct dose of CBD in the very early days, we were able to massively speed up his rehabilitation. He was at least four months ahead of the patients who were in the same programme and he made a full recovery.”
He has also seen great success with managing pain. “One of our customers had chronic pain as the result of her early-onset arthritis. We worked with her on a steadily increasing dose till we found the sweet spot to help alleviate her pain and we even noticed that the symptoms receded after a while. If it flares up again, she knows what to do now.”

As the company starts to grow, Tebogo is working on ways to scale up this very personal relationship with his customers, using technology to help more people and in more specific ways.

His vision is that not only will someone be able to stand in a pharmacy and make choices about which medicinal route (allopathic or natural) they want to follow, but that we will also see a growing fusion of science and nature to maximise the impact of plant medicine. Already new cannabinoids are being discovered and scientists are slowly understanding how medicinal cannabis works on the human system.
“We are also interested in bringing more plant medicines into our brand so customers will be able to choose combinations of CBD and other herbal or natural options.”
It's important
to ensure that CBD
 retains its fundamental
 place as a plant medicine
Tebogo is also the chair of the Cannabis Trade Association of South Africa (CTAA), an organisation giving voice to the industry. The organisation is championing better understanding and awareness of cannabis medicine and is lobbying government for a reasonable trading and regulatory environment to see the full potential of an industry that is estimated to be worth R14 billion.

One of the critical issues on the table is the dosage limits on CBD which are extremely low and not in keeping with standards in the USA and Europe. The CTAA is also lobbying for the reversal of stringent South African laws imposed on traders, such as a requirement to have a high salaried, responsible pharmacist on the payroll of all CBD companies, whether or not the CBD product is made on site.

While aware of the need to keep consumers safe and regulate standards, Tebogo feels this could be done more effectively through inspection and frequent testing.
The CBD industry in South Africa has been created by passionate individuals like Tebogo; a close tribe of pioneers who see the bigger picture and have risked the legally shaky and shifting frameworks to build a sector with a big contribution to make.
“It’s important to ensure that CBD retains its fundamental place as a plant medicine. All medicines derived from the earth should be widely available and we hope that as the regulatory and supply environments improve, the costs of CBD will come.

We are at an important crossroads however as bigger pharmaceutical companies are very interested in the growing CBD market and may well use their money and power to take the lion’s share of the sector.

It would be unfair and anti-competitive to see this happening, so we are really awake to the need to make the CBD environment as open and beneficial to the people of South Africa as possible."
Tebogo thinks the medicinal role of CBD is only just emerging, “There are literally new discoveries about CBD every day and the pandemic-fueled interest in health has created an even bigger appetite for natural, proactive ways to protect and strengthen our bodies.”
“We are very excited about where we might be able to go with CBD and we are committed to being a leading South African brand that consumers can trust and depend on.”