The Associate Health Minister of New Zealand, Peter Dunne, has announced the removal of restrictions on CBD that currently prohibit the writing of medical cannabis prescriptions.
According to the New Zealand Herald, doctors will now be able to prescribe up to three months’ worth of cannabis for patients who have chronic illnesses. Those using the medicine will need to return to a doctor once every three months for a check-in and refill.
Up until this time, much like in the U.S., the Ministry of Health in New Zealand considered CBD to be a controlled substance, even though it is not psychoactive. Before this law changed, it was not legal to treat conditions with CBD without going to another country. Several different campaigns and passionate activists worked to change this law to allow for more access.
“In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine,” explained Dunne.
He did make it clear that there will be limits; only pre-approved CBD with very insignificant amounts of other cannabinoids will be allowed for use. “However, we do know of at least one CBD product in development made to high manufacturing standards that will contain two per cent or less of the other cannabinoids found in cannabis,” he continued.
While many are happy with this measure, others see more work to be done. Since it is still illegal to synthesize CBD oil in the country, all product will have to be legally imported from overseas. Also, because of the skepticism in the country against CBD, many still fear it will be difficult to get a prescription from a doctor.
Still, despite flaws in the legislation, this is a major step forward for a country that has been extremely reluctant to get on board with medical cannabis.