Topic: Health

Cannabis compound a prescription medicine in NZ

By Leah Te Whata

Doctors can now prescribe cannabidiol. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says New Zealand will remove restrictions around the substance known as CBD in line with international developments but it could be a while before products become readily available.

Products comprising cannabis substance cannabidiol can now be prescribed by a doctor.

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne says, "Cannabidiol CBD which is a substance found in the cannabis plant which has potential therapeutic value is now being removed from the misuse of drugs act as a controlled drug so products comprising cannabidiol can now be prescribed for patients."

The news has been received well by East Coast-based economic development group Hikurangi Enterprises, who aim to develop cannabidiol-based medicines in the near future.

Panapa Ehau, Hikurangi Enterprises says, "It's really exciting it creates a lot of opportunities for job creation and utilizing a skill base that already exists within our community in the wider scheme of things it's a bit of a breakthrough for a lot of whanau around the motu that suffer from a number of medical conditions."

However, Dunne says that the product supply is more likely to be sourced overseas rather than domestically.

"The evidence suggests contrary to the public noise is that there will not be a significant demand there will be some demand for patients who will benefit and that's good but I think that market economics are likely to dictate that the supply is more likely to be from overseas products."

Although the substance can now be prescribed, regulation changes must first be implemented in order for restrictions to be removed.