I read that the NZ Ministry of Health has issued a statement on Cannabis policy. The minister said he will continue to take a ‘robust & scientific’ approach. BUT this seems to be double-talk for : ‘Still NO Changes !’ I read the following issues:
‘Almost no changes have been made to guidelines for people applying for medicinal cannabis – a process that failed to deliver pain relief for former union boss (Helen K.).’
‘The guidelines were introduced last year after Nelson teenager, (Alex R.), successfully applied to Associate Minister of Health (name removed) for a cannabis product, Elixinol.’
‘Those guidelines were subsequently used by (Helen K.), former Council of Trade Unions boss, who criticised the process for being too complicated and requiring information that is “impossible to access”.’
‘(Helen K.) was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer more than a year ago – she is illegally sourcing her own cannabis for pain relief.’
* Sativex is the only currently, available cannabis drug in Aotearoa/NZ that does not require a ministerial approval.. BUT does need a G.P., a specialist & a final ‘rubber stamp’ by the Ministry of Health.
‘The feedback from the review was “unanimously supportive that the guidelines and process are sound,” (the minister) said.
‘His position of a “robust and scientific” approach to cannabis has not changed, which means “identifying the greatest therapeutic benefits and determining the most appropriate ratios, dosage and delivery mechanisms”.’
“Otherwise we are essentially flying blind and hoping for the best, an approach that flies in the face of evidence-based medicines policy.”
”It is my hope that by releasing this feedback it will go some way to balancing out the irresponsible and ill-informed messages being passed off as fact, and provide a degree of reassurance to those who are genuinely looking for respite to significant health issues,” he said.
‘In April (the Minister) approved Aceso Calm Spray, a non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based product, for a patient with a severe case of Tourette’s Syndrome.’
‘(the Minister) instructed ministry officials, in March, to undertake consultation with a range of medical specialists and the New Zealand Medical Association, to work out whether the guidelines were still “fit for purpose”.’
“The consistent feedback from experts in their field was that cannabis-based products should be treated no differently to other medicines – evidence-based principles should and will continue to be followed”.
‘The specialists recommended one of the guidelines – that a patient be hospitalised while being treated with a non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis product – be removed, which (the minister) has adopted.’
* WOW.. must have been a big decision for him !
‘The ministry has also made changes to the terminology used around cannabis.’
‘Instead of “medicinal cannabis”, the description has been changed to “cannabis-based products”.’
“The changes do not impact on the legal status of cannabis or any cannabis-based products. They have been made to provide more clarity and consistency in describing cannabis-based products, when compared to other products or substances in the area of medicines control.”
* Having read through these ‘changes’.. all I see is minor ‘tinkering’ around the edges.. BUT effectively the Minister has done ‘BUGGER ALL’ 😦
The minister stated he would continue to keep an eye on issues, occurring overseas. BUT has effectively ignored them: Australia, Canada, USA (24 states ?) & much of the E.U. have a wide range of medicinal cannabis products available to patients. Elixinol can be purchased ‘over the counter’ in USA, without a prescription; as a ‘health supplement’. It is apparently extracted from industrial HEMP plants.
I again highlight; Cannabis is ‘Class C drug’ in NZ, Opiates are ‘Class A’ (most harmful).. BUT opiates, require less stringent approval than cannabis !