Peter Dunne has announced doctors will be able to prescribe CBD – but no products are yet available, and when they are, like Sativex they will be expensive and unaffordable for most people who could benefit from it.
The Ministry of Health claims CBD is a Class B1 drug that until now has required special Ministerial approval under the 1977 Misuse of Drugs regulations.
After years of denying medical benefits, then years of blocking patients from accessing cannabinoids, the latest change of heart follows Nelson lawyer Sue Grey’s threat of legal action against the Ministry of Health (supported by NORML and others), and the fast-tracking of a clinical trial that showed medical benefits from using CBD in children with epilepsy.
What is changing? Not a lot – yet. The intention is still to pharmaceuticalise CBD. This means registering a product under the Medicines Act – the application fee alone is $180,000 and they could insist on years of clinical trials – and until that happens nothing changes. Doctors cannot prescribe a product that is not available here, without a special permit that has only been granted in a handful of cases. Funding will also remain an issue, with a pharma-CBD product expected to be expensive like Sativex. If however we took a herbal remedy or food-based approach, local and affordable cannabis-based product could be available here within months. Regulations can be changed at any time.
More info is at https://norml.org.nz/2017/