I was reading a press release, about the lack of availability of medicinal cannabis products, currently in Aotearoa/NZ.. post law reform in 2018; some details:
‘Other than Sativex (imported from ‘GW Pharma’ – UK) – an oral spray that combines THC and CBD – there is no MedSafe-approved cannabinoid-based medicine in New Zealand.’
‘Kiwis are asking their doctors for access to medicinal cannabis, but few GPs have written prescriptions for it, though many say they would be open to it with funding and good evidence.’
‘In a survey of 76 general practitioners published today (17/1/20 – PR) in the New Zealand Medical Journal 42 said a patient had asked for a prescription for medicinal cannabis in the past year, but only 14 had written prescriptions.’
‘Leading author (name removed), of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said cost, special approval, and a lack of strong evidence put most doctors off.’
“Those who have looked into prescribing it are coming up against some problems around access and the process, and those who aren’t necessarily prescribing it have issues around the evidence base for it and the products that are available in New Zealand.”
‘Other than Sativex – an oral spray that combines Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) – there is no MedSafe-approved cannabinoid-based medicine in New Zealand. Sativex is approved for management of multiple sclerosis, but it not subsidised by drug-buying agency Pharmac.’
‘GPs require hospital specialist as well as Ministry of Health approval to prescribe cannabis-related products, with the exception of medicinal cannabidiol or CBD or Sativex for multiple sclerosis.’
‘Most – 84 percent – said they would be “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to prescribe a Pharmac-approved, funded cannabis product if it was backed by good evidence.’
“I think the study says that GPs are open to prescribing medicinal cannabis product that has gone through all the testing that any other medication has gone through,” (Doctor/author) said.
“If it’s going to be treated as a medication it needs to be tested as a medication, trialled as a medication, then it would go into the pile of medications that can be trialled for people in specific medical conditions.”
‘Only 43 doctors – 57 percent of those surveyed – were aware of Sativex, but most indicated they would be prepared to prescribe it for pain, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy or seizures.’
‘The survey suggested people were using cannabis for health reasons without a prescription anyway, and two-thirds of the doctors surveyed said patients had told them they had used cannabis unlawfully in the past year – usually smoking it to relieve pain, anxiety, or for cancer and palliative care.’
‘Having good quality, easy-to-access information was essential for GPs to be able to have informed conversations with their patients.’
‘In December, Health Minister (name removed) announced new medicinal cannabis regulations would be introduced in April this year. These regulations will set out the quality and licensing requirements for manufacturing and distributing medicinal cannabis.’
‘At the announcement, (the minister) said 20 companies in New Zealand were already licensed to grow cannabis for research purposes and he expected some would apply for licences for medicinal cannabis.’
*It just seems, that this Govt. having promised, better access (in their first 100 days– 2017) are being bogged down by excessive hurdles, road-blocks & ‘red-tape’ OR is ‘the industry’, deliberately trying to stymie the process ?
** Aotearoa/NZ is now, years/even decades behind most other OECD/western countries, on medicinal cannabis access ! 😦
The biggest question is ‘Why are they buying a ‘product’ from UK, (sativex) that is not funded & is prohibitively too expensive, for most kiwis.. even if they can get a prescription ?’
This has left the majority, either just buying ‘raw buds’ from the black-market (often cheaper) OR turning to the underground ‘Green Fairies’ network; who work in the shadows.. for the benefit of sick kiwis, who want to access it: tinctures, balms etc. made in a cottage industry; supplied by the black-market 🙂
“THIS IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH !!” and so say all of us….