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


Groundswell of demand for medicinal cannabis, reveals poll

Groundswell of demand for medicinal cannabis, reveals poll

Over 400,000 New Zealanders say they would definitely seek out medicinal cannabis products when they become widely available from 2020, according to a large independent survey and the first of its kind, just released.

Gearing up to meet such significant demand, the country’s largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, has also announced the first national, accredited training programme on medicinal cannabis for New Zealand doctors, to take place in July and led by a global expert.

The move follows Helius commissioning Horizon Research to survey over 1,100 adult New Zealanders on whether they plan on accessing medicinal cannabis products once they become more widely and legally available next year.

The results provide the first real insight into the potential market size of medicinal cannabis in New Zealand.

On whether they would try seeking out products, a staggering 14% of respondents answered ‘definitely’ equating to 431,900 New Zealanders. Overall, 34% answered ‘definitely’, ‘most likely’, or ‘somewhat likely’ equating to 1,058,900 Kiwis.

Paul Manning
“Even if we just focus on those who would ‘definitely’ try accessing medicinal cannabis products, at 14% that represents phenomenal demand, set to be unleashed next year,” says Paul Manning, Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics.

Mr Manning says the survey results reaffirm New Zealanders’ strong desire for medicinal cannabis to be made widely accessible for the hundreds of thousands of patients who stand to benefit from its therapeutic potential. It also reinforces the importance of an effective Medicinal Cannabis Scheme that enables healthcare professionals to meet patients’ needs and expectations.

Medicinal cannabis won strong cross-party political support last year. New Zealand’s regulators are now tasked with developing the Scheme by mid-December, which will deliver the required regulations and framework for access.

“This survey is a serious wake-up call. It’s not just the sheer size of the potential market and groundswell of demand, but it’s a timely reminder that Kiwis are increasingly seeing cannabis as a mainstream heath product. New Zealand needs to be prepared for this demand shift.

“We know most New Zealand doctors would be willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis products for many conditions, particularly chronic pain. However, only a minority of doctors feel well enough informed. We know that healthcare professionals require more information before prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients, so we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he says.

Mr Manning’s comments reflect a recent survey of New Zealand healthcare professionals on their views around medicinal cannabis. Commissioned also by Helius earlier this year, that survey showed growing requests for medicinal cannabis products from patients.

“So we’ve got hundreds of thousands of Kiwis keen to access medicinal cannabis while, at the same time, our medical professionals are hungry to learn more. Subsequently, providing educational opportunities for physicians and pharmacists is what Helius will focus on next.”

First out of the blocks, Helius Therapeutics, in partnership with world-leading medical cannabis training organisation, The Academy of Medical Cannabis, is offering masterclasses in medicinal cannabis for prescribing physicians.

Sponsored by Helius, this will mark New Zealand’s first professional, CME-accredited training on medicinal cannabis for physicians on a national scale. The day-long events will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at the end of July, with Helius securing an internationally acclaimed figure to lead them.

Delivering the ‘Masterclass in Medicinal Cannabis for Physicians’ events will be Europe’s pre-eminent medical cannabis expert, British neurologist Professor Michael Barnes.

Professor Barnes is Director of Education for The Academy of Medical Cannabis, based in London. As well as publishing numerous books and papers, the British Government commissioned him in 2016 to assess the therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis. Now known as ‘The Barnes Report’, it changed the direction of legislation in the UK and acted as a catalyst to the eventual rescheduling of medical cannabis in November 2018.

“We’re expecting considerable interest around the visit of Professor Barnes in July. Europe’s experience in medicinal cannabis is relatable to what New Zealand is now going through, and so his insights and preeminent expertise will be in high demand.”

Mr Manning says Helius is not only focused on delivering many of New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis products, but also committed to investing in and creating educational opportunities for the country’s medical profession.

“We believe every New Zealander has a natural right to a pain-free existence. At the end of the day, well-informed doctors will be critical to ensuring thousands of patients here gain sound and sensible access to medicinal cannabis,” he says.

Any doctors interested in attending one of the Professor Barnes-led masterclasses in medicinal cannabis can register their interest through Helius’ website. The masterclasses will take place in Auckland on Wednesday 24 July; Wellington on Thursday 25 July; and Christchurch on Friday 26 July.

Commissioned by Helius Therapeutics and carried out independently by Horizon Research, the results are from a nationwide survey of 1,156 adults representing the 18+ population at the 2013 census, conducted between 15 and 28 April 2019. Respondents are members of Horizon’s nationwide research panels. Results are weighted by age, gender, education level, personal income, employment status and party voted for at the 2017 general election to provide a presentative population sample. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.9%.

‘Generally, do you think you will try accessing medicinal cannabis products once they become more widely and legally available next year?’
• 14% say definitely
• 10% say most likely
• 10% say somewhat likely
• 9% say somewhat not likely
• 23% say most unlikely
• 22% say definitely not
• 12% I’m really not sure

-- ENDS --

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available.

Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>


PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Mishandling Of The Alleged Sexual Assault

The focus of Labour’s alleged sexual assault scandal has now shifted from the party organisation to the Beehive... This is now a crisis of Beehive management and response, not something occurring at a distance within the party organisation. More>>


'History Rectified': Rua Kēnana To Be Pardoned

An official pardon for Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana is one step closer after the Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill was read in Parliament for the first time today. More>>


Mental Health: Initial Mental Health And Wellbeing Commission Appointed

The Government has announced details of the initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission which will play a key role in driving better mental health in New Zealand. More>>


people outside the meeting house at WaitangiEducation: NZ History To Be Taught In All Schools

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own history and identity. With this in mind it makes sense for the National Curriculum to make clear the expectation that our history is part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school and kura,” Jacinda Ardern said. More>>


Sexual Assault Claims Mishandled: Labour Party President Resigns

Jacinda Ardern: “This morning I was provided some of the correspondence from complainants written to the party several months ago. It confirms that the allegations made were extremely serious, that the process caused complainants additional distress, and that ultimately, in my view, the party was never equipped to appropriately deal with the issue…" More>>





InfoPages News Channels