What You Need to Know About Medicinal Cannabis in NZ
The year 2020 was memorable for many reasons. It was the year the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, but it was also the year we held a non-binding referendum to legalise the production, possession, use, and sale of recreational cannabis. It narrowly failed, with 50.7% of New Zealand voters voting against it.
However, there is still some confusion over whether all cannabis is illegal or only permitted for medicinal use. Below, you can find many of the answers you’re looking for surrounding medicinal cannabis in NZ.
What Is Medicinal Cannabis?
Understanding what medicinal cannabis is can be crucial for learning more about its importance. Medicinal cannabis or medical marijuana describes cannabis and cannabinoid products that doctors in NZ can prescript for their patients.
While you might believe that medicinal cannabis is an ideal solution for your ailment, only a healthcare professional can make that decision for you and provide legal access.
Many people experience relief from illness side effects when using cannabinoid products and cannabis. For example, some people use it to manage the symptoms associated with cancer treatment, such as pain, sleeplessness, nausea, and appetite loss.
Can You Get Medicinal Cannabis in NZ?
Yes, you can get medicinal cannabis in NZ, despite it being illegal for recreational use. When the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019 came into effect, so did the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme.
This scheme aimed to improve medicinal cannabis product access for those who needed it. Now, doctors can provide their patients with prescription cannabis.
However, patients can’t just buy their cannabis from anyone they find selling it. They must receive it from manufacturers and importers that meet minimum qualifying standards. Those suppliers must also hold a medicinal cannabis licence or work for a company with a licence. The licence type also makes a difference to access, such as a licence to commercially cultivate cannabis or manufacture and supply medical cannabis products.
How Much Does Medicinal Cannabis Cost in New Zealand?
Most people legally receiving medicinal cannabis will spend an average of $40 to $80 per week, not including medical professional appointment costs. Suppliers also set their own CBD and THC product pricing rather than national health bodies or the government.
What Is Medicinal Cannabis Used for in NZ?
Knowing that we can now access cannabis for medical conditions in NZ, you might assume that any ailment can see you provided with a prescription from your local doctor. However, that’s not the case.
Doctors take an evidence-based approach and prescribe it for specific ailments. For example, they might offer it to patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy since evidence suggests it might help treat these illnesses.
They might also prescribe it to help manage the symptoms associated with cancer treatment. All medicinal cannabis products in NZ are available to patients on prescription only.
What Is the Difference Between Cannabis and Medical Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is legal in New Zealand, but cannabis isn’t. What is the difference? The differences come down to this natural plant’s intended use. Some people use medicinal cannabis to alleviate symptoms of a particular condition, whereas other people use cannabis for its euphoric effects.
Why Do People Seek Out Medical Cannabis Prescriptions?
When you’ve been battling an illness for an extended period and have been unable to seek relief, you might decide to explore your medical cannabis prescription options. You’re not alone; many people ask their doctor for a medicinal cannabis prescription for some of the following reasons:
- They have been experiencing unpleasant side effects from pharmaceutical drugs
- They haven’t experienced relief from pharmaceutical drugs
- They have read research suggesting medicinal cannabis might assist with managing a health condition
- They have a preference for natural healthcare products
- They have experienced relief with cannabis before and want to access it legally
How Does Medicinal Cannabis Make You Feel?
If you’ve never used medicinal cannabis before, it’s only natural to be curious about how you’ll feel once your doctor provides a prescription for it. It’s not uncommon for people to experience psychoactive effects from the cannabis plant’s THC, such as sleepiness, relaxation, and euphoria. However, cannabis also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties. It might also prevent nausea and vomiting.
Knowledge Is Power
It can be challenging to make decisions about your health and the health of others in referendums when you don’t have all the facts. By answering some of the most commonly asked questions about medicinal cannabis in NZ, we hope everyday Kiwis can be well informed before they make choices about their health and the products they use to maintain it.