other med-use for cannabis

In my last post, I said that here in Aotearoa/NZ.. cannabis seems to be only really approved, for a few neurological conditions. I found a ‘pie-chart’ online that shows the ‘cannabinoids’ & many other uses, ascribed to them:

CBD; (Cannabidiols).. inc. CBDA, CBG, CBGA, CBC, CBCA

a) Antibacterial
b) inhibits cancer cell growth
c) neuro-protective
d) promotes bone growth
e) reduces seizures & convulsions
f) reduces blood sugar levels
g) reduces function in immune system
h) reduces inflammation
i) reduces risk of arterial blockage
j) reduces small intestinal contractions
k) reduces vomiting & nausea
l) relieves pain
m) relieves anxiety
n) slows bacterial growth
o) suppresses muscle spasms
p) tranquilizing
q) treats psoriasis
r) vasorelaxant

spec. CBCA; treats fungal infection,

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol); inc. D9-THCA, D9-THC, D8-THC, THCV

includes some listed above, but also:

i) aids sleep
ii) stimulates appetite

This is only a brief summary of the details, but as you can plainly see.. unlike the Dept. of Health in NZ, other countries do see a much broader range of potential uses for this plant & its compounds, than just; relieving M-S & a few other neurological conditions as is reported !

I have heard/read the testimony of kiwis that often use ‘illegal cannabis’ to self-medicate for pain & other conditions. GP doctors in NZ can prescribe opiates/opioids (Class A) for pain, but not cannabis (class B-C). This seems a total double standard to I & many others.

I think it is time that the medical profession here.. open their eyes, ears & minds, to the other uses happening in other OECD/western countries (Canada, USA, Aust., Israel, much EU, etc.) that do allow cannabis to be used for these other illnesses/conditions & CUT OUT all the irrational hysteria, double-standards & misinformation about this plant; mostly based on nearly a century of FEAR-mongering & LIES. The first anti-cannabis (& other drugs) law was passed in 1927.. following UK ‘Dangerous Drugs act’ but it was apparently about preventing unregulated supply & use, not ZERO-tolerance, as it has become over nearly a century… 😦

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Med-canna stats NZ

I recently came across a graph with the stats. of medicinal cannabis (legal) approvals, in Aotearoa/NZ over the last decade.. bearing in mind, that only one ‘Big Pharma’ product was legally available until recently.. now there are; TWO. All cannabis medicines in Aotearoa/NZ require a GP doctor to recommend a prescription, it then has to go to a specialist (for the medical condition) to scrutinise & give agreement.. then it has to go to the Dept. of Health for final approval. This is stricter than Opiates, which can be just prescribed by a registered medical doctor, as they see fit.

Here are some details from the graph:

2008; 5 applications, 4 approved

2009; 10 applications, 7 approved

2010; 6 applications, all approved

2011; 10 applications, 8 approved

2012; 14 application, all approved

2013; 4 applications, all approved

2014; 16 applications, all approved

2015; 50 applications, 45 approved

2016; 69 applications, 64 approved (5 were ‘non-pharma’ grade products)

2017; (6 months only ?) 29 applications, 27 approved

This just again, shows how backward this country, still is on this issue ! We have a population of about 4.5 million.. recent polls show about 15% use cannabis on a regular basis (amongst highest per capita in UN reports) for whatever purpose.. about half of these reportedly use it ‘illegally/self prescribed’ for medicinal/therapeutic use. The main reason (according to media etc.) why so few kiwis use ‘legal cannabis products’ being:

1) not funded by Govt. agency.. costs about $1000/month for Sativex or Tilray (imported extracts); prohibitive/unaffordable for most

2) many GP doctors are not ‘educated’ on it & are hesitant to recommend/prescribe it

3) cannabis drugs are only, apparently being approved for a few neurological conditions; MS, epilepsy etc. NOT for ‘pain relief’

4) NZ medical profession keep saying ‘more research needed’.. (lets reinvent the wheel ?) ignoring the much broader use & research already occurring overseas

5) a hesitation by politicians to take more than ‘tiny steps’ forward.. fear of upsetting ‘the establishment’

Methinks there is another ‘major block’ on the use of med-cannabis; ‘Big Pharma’ want to keep total control.. ‘follow the money’ !

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Med-use Doco Pt1

I just watched part 1, of a NZ Med-cannabis doco. titled ‘In Pot Pursuit’. They raised the following issues, around the drugs use in Aotearoa/NZ:

1) there is still a large split in the medical profession, those who support its use & those still opposed

2) there is still much demonisation/vilification around the issue, that has stopped; broader research & potential uses

3) there are only 2 legally approved cannabis drugs in NZ, both are imported from overseas & not funded by the Govt. agency; ‘Pharmac’. They cost patients around $1000/month. A recent survey found that about 5-10% of kiwis use Illegal cannabis for self-prescribed ‘medicinal/therapeutic uses’

4) there is a Govt. bill currently before the parliament, that could see broader access & use.. a report is due from the ‘Health Select Committee’ in the next few weeks, with the results/recommendations after public submissions were heard & evaluated

They spoke to a few people in NZ about their experiences, trying to access medicinal cannabis:

1) a lady who is paralysed from the waist down & currently is prescribed opioids etc. managed to get her GP doctor to write a recommendation for med-cannabis. It then went to a specialist, who replied that her case did not meet the very strict requirements & was denied. She then sent the recommendation to a ‘private specialist’ who has a $500 consultation fee & stated the prescription could be about $1500/month. The lady was still weighing up her options..

2) a young couple who had 3 children, 2 had a severe neurological condition (one has passed away) the other is on a ‘cocktail’ of prescription drugs, that seem to be just ‘managing the condition’.. were looking at med-cannabis, but had gone no further than researching it..

3) a lady (who has been in the media & is campaigning for better access) who has a severe neurological condition (MS ?), has been prescribed ‘Sativex’ for a couple of years (at $1000/month); who stated it has effectively replaced a cocktail of other drugs.. BUT is now facing having her supply cut off, due to cost. She said she had already spent about $28k. She can no longer afford to pay this excessive cost.

They also showed a NZ company that is ‘gearing up’ to set up a grow room, research & production facility in Aotearoa/NZ, pending possible law changes, in the next year ? The CEO said they had raised over $15million towards the setup cost.. but are on-hold awaiting law reform. He said it could create 100s of jobs & raise about $1billion in potential revenue, if they get the ‘go ahead’ soon

They then showed a brief preview of Part 2 (next week); the current situation in California (& many other countries ?) that already allow much broader medicinal cannabis.. than Aotearoa/NZ 🙂

watch this space..

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from global frontlines

I have been reading quite a few stories on cannabis issues.. from the global frontlines of the Drug War:

1) Hemp is being seen a ‘saviour crop’ in parts of Africa.. a whole raft of issues from food security to wider economic issues were mentioned

2) a report in ‘The Lancet’ (medical journal) seems to still be casting doubt on the medical efficacy of cannabis; especially for pain relief.. but there does seem to be some agreement that ‘it will help to give a good nights sleep’.. if nothing else

3) USA attorney-general has come out previously condemning the law reform of natural cannabis.. but it seems he has granted a ‘Big pharma’ company the monopoly on production of ‘Synthetic THC’ (for med-use ?)

4) 4000 legal medicinal cannabis plants in Switzerland have reportedly been pulled up.. but not removed. The licensed company has apparently lost about 1.3million Swiss francs, in potential earnings

*meanwhile here in Aotearoa/NZ, we are awaiting news on medicinal reform (bill before parliament) & the campaigns to ‘start the conversation’ on recreational use, in the lead up to the promised ‘reeferendum’.. maybe next year ?

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Med-bill Submissions posted

I was looking at the NZ parliament website (www.parliament.govt.nz).. nearly 1800 public submissions (Medicinal cannabis bill) have now been posted, for anyone interested to read their content. There is a mixture of; professionals (doctors etc.) business, lobby groups & private individuals (inc. at least 1 retired MP).. making up the majority. I noted that at least one person, highlighted that there are already provisions in the UN convention & MODA for medicinal use, but it has often been ignored, in the overzealous ‘WAR on Drugs’ which has seen effective ZERO-tolerance to cannabis !

I believe that the report from the ‘Health Select Committee’ is due about the end of July, it will then proceed to the next stages.. hopefully resulting in some substantive new law changes, before the end of the year.

The bill covers: giving terminally ill patients (with <12 months to live) an exemption from prosecution to use 'illegal cannabis' ('compassionate' stop-gap measure), setting up a regulatory framework for further medicinal use & removing CBDs from the current/outdated 'Misuse of drugs act'.

It seems that there is a broad consensus, that this bill; does not go far enough & many are calling for patients will 'chronic illness' to also get more access to cannabis drugs, if their GP doctor deems it 'beneficial' to treat them. Currently only 2 'big pharma' cannabis-based drugs, are approved for use in Aotearoa/NZ, neither are subsidised by the Govt. funding agency. They cost about $1000/month & require large amounts of paperwork/approval to get a prescription. It seems that many see this as excessively over-regulated & burdensome.

I will keep a close eye for updates… :/

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Reeferendum conversations

I read that the NZ lobby group ‘Start the Conversation’ (on Cannabis reform) are proposing a few questions be put forward, as examples:

1) Should cannabis use and possession be decriminalised ? Y/N

2) Should we have a regulated market of cannabis cultivation, production & sales in NZ ? Y/N

3) Should every NZer over the age of 18 be able to grow up to 6 plants at home for personal consumption ? Y/N

These are just discussion points, to ‘start the conversation’ in the run up to the referendum, proposed before 2020 Election.

I remember hearing that, many MPs think we need at least 1 year of discussion/debate before it is implemented, to ensure that the general public have a clear picture of the issues & what maybe expected..

‘Start the Conversation’ have scheduled at ‘winter panel’ (meeting) in Auckland on 5/8/18 at the Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, North Shore

I would like to attend, but I live at the opposite end of the country.. :/

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Hesitant voices

I have been reading quite a bit of info. on medicinal cannabis, including from doctors & ‘other experts’ in this field. Rather than the optimism of some others, they are taking a very hesitant; more research, wait & see approach. Many are likely aware of the ‘Endo-cannabinoid system’ that exists, within the brain & central nervous system.. with receptors that are activated, by the presence of CBDs & THC. (& other synthetics that mimic these chemicals) These seem to be, what it working with reducing epileptic seizures etc. BUT the natural extracts/compounds are the most effective.

BUT the issue, is that many of these doctors & others, are being asked to give ‘expert opinion’ on something, most were not educated in & really do not have expert knowledge on.. or so it seems ?

Most doctors in Aotearoa/NZ & other similar ‘western’ countries are educated in ‘western medicine’ (not herbal therapeutic alternatives).. ‘let me have a look at you.. here is a prescription for some pills etc. that will CURE your symptoms/illness’

Cannabis does not seem to work this way, in a ‘medicinal context’ (in fact the word ‘therapeutic’ maybe more suitable) it seems to relieve symptoms, but not actually cure the condition… needs to be taken on an ongoing basis, (more like Chinese herbal remedies) but other ‘western medicines’ are the same eg ‘Blood pressure tablets’.

It seems (IMHO) that many see cannabis as a ‘NEW drug’ that needs to be put through, all the rigorous testing that most other ‘new drugs’ go through.. BUT they seem to forget that cannabis, has been used for 1000s of years & much of the literature etc. still exists. ie We do not need to totally ‘reinvent the wheel’ with this plant & its compounds, we just need to open our minds & cut out the negativity/stereotyping & misinformation, that still surrounds this issue.. get on with allowing it to be used by folks who do benefit from it.. pain relief etc. It is 2018.. not 1975 (MODA introduced) & we need to stop the B-S & irrational hysteria & use of phrases like ‘Medical MARIJUANA’ which is a slang word, btw … :/

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