LIFE

Where mothers use bhang smoke and juice to treat children

In Kisumu traditional doctors use marijuana to treat measles in children.

So bhang can treat certain diseases in children, after all? Some traditional doctors in Kisumu can’t agree more.

They have been secretly treating measles using marijuana (bhang). The female ‘doctors’ who operate from their houses in Manyatta, Kondele and Lolwe, have been receiving steady flow of parents taking their children for the rare form of ‘drug’ whose use was banned by the government, according a report published by The Sunday Standard.

Standard reports its reporters witnesses a middle-aged woman use the weed to treat a two-year- old girl who has measles. Seated at a balcony of her house at Lolwe Estate, Joyce took the team through the treatment process but requested her real name not to be identified.

“This thing is effective in treating measles,” she said. “To some people, it is a bad drug. To those who know its medicinal value, it’s Godsend.”

Bhang leaves are dried ground into a powder, which is rolled in a paper into the shape of cigarette. Treatment begins when the doctor lights up the cigar and puffs the smoke into the ears and face of the toddler.

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“She has measles and this is one of the best medicines for it,” she says with confidence. “She will be fine in just a few hours.”

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Kisumu’s “bhang doctors” emerged after researcher and political activist Gwada Ogot appeared before a Senate Committee to push for legalisation of bhang. Mr Ogot said marijuana has immense medicinal value and should no longer be classified as a narcotic drug.

When he appeared before the Senate to seek decriminalisation of marijuana, Gwada said countries such as Germany, Israel and the Philippines have already legalised its use and it was time Kenya followed suit.

The government has been cracking hard on growers, peddlers and smokers of the drug.  Joyce says her daughter was cured of measles after undergoing  the bhang therapy. “It cost me Sh500,” she says.

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Other than blowing the smoke from the weed into the ears of the sick child, the women also make a liquid dose out of it. Two spoonfuls a day for three days. The treatment is effective, she says.

“The medicine works. The bhang will ensure that all the body agents that cause measles are killed. The bhang particles goes deep into the layers of the skin and removes the disease causing agents,” she says.

The women confess that their first experience with the bhang was sickening. “I felt like my chest was being consumed by fire. I had to drink a lot of water. I also had some headache and felt dizzy,” Joyce says.

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