Hot on the heels of recent changes to the medical marijuana application process, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has now released a highly anticipated list of cannabis-based products.
Which cannabis-based products are on the list?
While it’s certainly good news that we’re starting to see more options for cannabis-based products in New Zealand, it’s important to note that this list is far from a free-for-all. In the interest of patient safety, the government is maintaining fairly tight restrictions on prescription cannabis-based medicines.
The list comprises six products, all of which can be used to treat a range of symptoms and diseases, including chemotherapy-induced nausea, the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, anorexia and much more.
All the products included here are pharmaceutical grade or Good Manufacturing Practice certified – if you were hoping to get the legal go-ahead to treat your ailments by sparking up some locally grown produce you’re going to have wait a little while longer.
Be sure to visit our cannabis products information page for further insight into the list of products and how they might help you as a patient.
Why have so few cannabis-based products made the list?
As Mr Dunne noted in a press release, the list is relatively short due to ongoing issues with product availability and complications with exporting products from the United States.
“Unfortunately, Sativex, the one pharmaceutical-grade product that is available in New Zealand continues to be extortionately priced as big pharma continues to ignore the building resentment, both local and global, to the attitude these companies take to the sick and vulnerable,” explained Mr Dunne.
However, he was hopeful that this trend would come to an end in the near future as more and more companies ramp up their operations to meet the various manufacturing requirements.
“What we are seeing are new products slowly coming to market as manufacturers, such as Tilray in Canada, step up and meet the stringent requirements around Good Manufacturing Process.”
What’s the purpose of the list?
The list of cannabis-based products was included in a letter Mr Dunne sent out to medical and pharmaceutical groups earlier this month, asking them to keep an “open mind” about prescribing medicinal marijuana.
Well, despite the proven potency of cannabis as a form of medicine, many medical practitioners are hesitant to prescribe such products due to fear of criticism from patients and inaccurate notions about marijuana being dangerous or addictive.
It’s hoped that a formalised list of tested and medically proven cannabis-based products will encourage doctors around the country to at least consider prescribing medicinal marijuana.
How this will affect the medical industry remains to be seen, but even a slight uptick in medical marijuana prescriptions has the potential to drastically improve the quality of life for individual patients in New Zealand.
Of course, the fight is far from over. Mr Dunne commented that he wanted to investigate further into cannabis-based products in the weeks ahead, specifically in regards to the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs, who recently offered advice on the legal status of cannabidiol – one of the most medically valuable cannabinoids found in cannabis.
Check back soon for updates on this and other cannabis-related news happening in Aotearoa.