Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Change to cannabis approval

Change to cannabis approval

Patients seeking medicinal cannabis will no longer need the approval of a minister, but will go to the Minstry of Health instead.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced the change on on Wednesday, following hints from Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman that a change in process was imminent.

Pharmaceutical-grade products already went to the ministry for approval, but non-pharmaceutical grade products needed to be signed off by a Minister. Dunne said initially this was because of the "complicated and contentious nature of the issue" but now that firmer guidelines were in place he could delegate the decision making to the ministry.

University of Otago professor of neuropharmacology Paul Smith said it was a positive step "that brings New Zealand into line with many other countries such as the USA".

However, cannabis-based medicines were not "magic bullets", he said. "The evidence that they work for some conditions like neuropathic pain is not entirely consistent or convincing, but they do appear to help some people. So, it is a question of benefit versus burden for a particular condition."

"In the case of terminal illness, there is not much reason to have concerns because the harm will be minimal and the patient may benefit." But for those with non-terminal illnesses, using oral or nasal spray products avoided the potential harm of smoking cannabis, Prof Smith said.

University of Otago senior lecturer Dr Giles Newton-Howes said the decision appeared "to be part of the process of 'medicalising' cannabis-based products that has been occurring internationally".

Clearer guidelines for the use of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis would help ensure the patient knew the limited nature of the literature, Dr Newton-Howes said, "albeit there is a risk that patients in considerable suffering will try anything, regardless of the sparse evidence for it".

The SMC gathered expert reaction to the announcement.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


ScoopPro: Helping The Education Sector Get More Out Of Scoop

The ScoopPro professional license includes a suite of useful information tools for professional users of Scoop including some specifically for those in the education sector to make your Scoop experience better. More>>

Big Tax Bill Due: Destiny Church Charities Deregistered

The independent Charities Registration Board has decided to remove Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited from the Charities Register on 20 December 2017 because of the charities’ persistent failure to meet their annual return obligations. More>>

57 Million Users' Data: Uber Breach "Utterly Preventatable"

Cybersecurity leader Centrify says the Uber data breach of 57 million customer and driver records - which the ride-hailing company hid for more than a year - was “utterly preventable”. More>>

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Having A Cow? Dairy Product Prices Slide For Fourth Straight Auction

Dairy product prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade auction, retreating for the fourth straight auction amid signs of increased production... Whole milk powder fell 2.7 percent to US$2,778 a tonne. More>>


Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>


Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>


  • Bill Bennett on Tech