Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Medical cannabis report disappointing

Medical cannabis report disappointing

A report on medical cannabis published yesterday by the Health Select Committee is a disappointing once-over glance at a medicine that is of increasing importance globally, the New Zealand Drug Foundation said.

The Health Select Committee Report was in response to the petition of William Joseph Rea and recommends that there be no change in the current approach to medical cannabis.

“This report offers little relief to the many people who would benefit from a robust medical cannabis regime in New Zealand,” New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said.

“Advice from the Ministry of Health to the Select Committee failed to canvas the latest knowledge and cited a widely debunked paper about the negative health risks of cannabis.

“The report also failed to recognise that any health risks from smoking raw cannabis can be mitigated through edible or vaporised alternatives.”

Mr Bell said that there is growing evidence to support the use of cannabis for a range of medical conditions.

“The drug has proven beneficial effects for relieving chronic pain, reducing nausea, improving appetite, improving the quality of life of people undergoing chemotherapy, and relieving muscle spasms.

“Cannabis is of particular interest for people with Dravet Syndrome, a genetic condition that begins at infancy and causes multiple severe seizures.

“There is the potential to grant many people a lot of relief if we were to adopt a robust and well regulated medical cannabis regime.

Mr Bell said that technically cannabis is already a legal medicine.

“Medical cannabis is, on paper, a legal medicine and we also allow the use of Sativex, a pharmaceutical cannabis product.

“However, no one has approval to use raw cannabis, and only 10 people have approval to use Sativex. The application process is a never-ending labyrinth of confusing paperwork, and Pharmac does not subsidise the pharmaceutical.”

Mr Bell said there are many countries that allow the medical use of cannabis.

“Canada and the Netherlands provide robust models for how we could regulate medical cannabis and make it easier for people to access medication,” Mr Bell said.

“These models address the issues raised in the select committee report about quality, testing, and dosage. Bedrocan, a type of medical cannabis, shows that these concerns are easily mitigated.”

Mr Bell said that the New Zealand Drug Foundation was currently drafting an application to Pharmac to subsidise Sativex.

“People with existing approval to use Sativex should be able to access the medicine with a subsidy from Pharmac and the future process for applying to use Sativex should be simplified.

“The Drug Foundation repeats its call for a compassionate approach to those using raw cannabis for medicinal reasons until a robust system can be put in place.”

The Health Select Committee report on Petition 2011/41 of William Joseph Rea can be accessed at http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/sc/documents/reports/50DBSCH_SCR6200_1/petition-201141-of-william-joseph-rea

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Election Day: Make Sure You're A Part Of It!

Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

“The people and parties we elect tomorrow will be making the decisions that affect us, our families and our communities,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “It doesn’t get much more important than that, and we need all New Zealanders to use their voice and vote.”

Voting places will be open from 9.00am until 7.00pm on election day. The busiest time at voting places is usually 9.00am - 11.00am.

“Take your EasyVote card with you when you go to vote, as it will make voting faster and easier, and vote close to home if you can. But don’t worry if you forget your card, or didn’t receive one, because as long as you are enrolled to vote, your voice will be heard,” says Mr Peden. More>>

 

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news