Survey: GPs want cheap cannabis, no arrests
Why are the public and medical professionals so far ahead of politicians on the issue of cannabis? Are our public servants in thrall to a trillion dollar industry? The evidence suggests that this is a possibility.
75% of GPs surveyed at the North Island GP conference this year wanted cannabis as an affordable pain treatment. 88% agreed that it was a health issues not a crime, 73% felt it should be withdrawn from the Misuse of Drugs Act, and 64% thought that police should be directed to stop arresting cannabis users. These numbers are in line with public levels of support, yet behind the scenes the politics is depressing.
For example, although GPs agree with the 2017 National Academies of Science report that there is "conclusive evidence" of its efficacy in treating pain. The Ministry of Health has misrepresented the evidence to exclude Kiwi pain sufferers from the medical legislation before parliament.
This question must be asked; why do MoH and politicians resist pragmatic and compassionate reform when 1. they say that compassion, improved access, and evidence based policies are their goals? 2. the supporting evidence is "conclusive", and 3. public and GP support for immediate reform is 75%?
The evidence suggests that they are unethically focussed on protecting the market share of big pharma products, despite the much greater harms and lower effectiveness of these products. They seem oblivious that both cannabis and industrial hemp are uniquely healthy vegetables that contain essential nutrients for human health.
Instead, they will only accept it if access is restricted, and to less therapeutic forms as well. Presumably because, as the general manager of MedSafe, Dr Stewart Jessamine, said at Select Committee in 2017, “the danger is that it could be used to treat conditions for which there are already products on the market.”
Not many people know that at least 30% of pharmas 1.1 trillion dollar revenues are up for grabs. That’s because this essential food ensures general health and well being using the same G protein coupled receptors as pharmaceuticals. But humans run on food, not pills.
As one example of how it threatens pharma revenues, in the legal US states, doctors are prescribing, on average, 4500 less prescriptions a year, most of them for pain. That’s about a billion NZ dollars in savings.
This is possible because human health is regulated by our cannabinoid system, something 79% of kiwi GPs dont know about. Used correctly, industrial hemp, and normal cannabis, can optimise that system. Smoking cannabis is incorrect use.
This is because human health is regulated by a diet based cannabinoid system. This fact is well known to MoH, but unknown to 79% of GPs. Interestingly, the best way to take cannabis is as a non intoxicating food vegetable.
But the Ministry of Health has suppressed information on this from the medical profession and public for at least ten years, to the dismay of Rt Hon Helen Clark (L) and Rt Hon Paul East (N).
Yet the Minister of Health told The Hemp Foundation recently that, "the government intends to follow a medical model in which clinicians will determine the place of medicinal cannabis products alongside standard modern treatments and therapies."
If he is serious, the Minister will therefore act to remove cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act immediately, as supported by 73% of GPs,
If he is serious, the Minister will also direct police to stop arresting cannabis users (64% of GPs), and treat cannabis use as a health issue rather than a crime (88% of GPs).
However, based upon Official Information Act requests in our possession, we believe that minimal disruption to the status quo is their goal.
This is unfortunate, because there is an opportunity here to massively improve public health outcomes while saving and earning many billions of dollars for NZ, without even changing any laws.
All the Ministry has to do is stop stifling NZs legal industrial hemp industry and allow full spectrum hemp food products to market.
Although Dr Jessamine recently confessed that "the biggest problem with the legislation is the way we have been interpreting it”, his people continue to create obstacles at odds with science and decency.
For example, the governments own scientists at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) fought the Ministry “to defend the integrity of the criminal justice system” according to NZs Chief Forensic Scientist, Dr Keith Bedford. Because MoH are trying to legislate the lie that the most broadly useful cannabinoid (CBD) “is THC”, to prevent industrial hemp products from reaching the public.
This bizarre position is also refuted by the World Health Organisation, at which Dr Jessamine is our representative.
Everyone in the hemp industry knows that the Ministry of Health is the problem. The question is, why? Who benefits? Its not the public, and its not the industrial hemp industry, thats for sure. The Hemp Foundation, the New Zealand Hemp Industry Association, and NZ Hemp Brokers think it’s time for some real journalistic scrutiny of these inconsistencies and contradictions. Industrial Hemp is a legal vegetable superfood, but it seems that the regulators would rather it was an expensive and restricted pill.
Is lobbying just legalised bribery? Have our regulators been captured by industry? Are our politicians just uninformed? Or are they unethical? We need an educated public so that the Ministries misinformation won’t wash any longer. That’s how most other places have made progress, their people have understood the issues and demanded change. Successive governments have harmed our people and our wealth with their policies. It’s time that we demanded better of our public servants.
www.thehempfoundation.org.nz is a non
profit education organisation dedicated to improving the
health and wealth of New Zealanders.
We offer NZs first hemp medicine education programme for RNZCGPs, have educated 500 GPs in the last 12 months; and have been approved for NZs first clinical trials with the cannabinoid CBD. Tadhg is an honourary member of the NZ Hemp Industry Association Executive.