New Zealand Medical Cannabis vs. Recreational
Medical cannabis is already “legal” in New Zealand but there is still plenty of confusion as to what that means. It’s no wonder that Cannabis is confusing for doctors, patients and the general public. Medical Cannabis has been legal since 2019, but there are still many problems with the current system.
“I’m for medical cannabis but not recreational” is becoming a common narrative in New Zealand. The problem is that medical cannabis depends on recreational and here is why.
Medical Cannabis is currently in a legal grey area, where it exists as “legal” for doctors to prescribe but is also a listed illegal drug. For doctors it must feel a little like the Schrödinger’s cat paradox. It’s no wonder why, the public can distinction between smoking opium and taking an opioid after surgery but has trouble discerning the nuance when it comes to cannabis.
Medicine doesn’t do well with uncertainty, which is why we have medical trials in the first place. So having busy doctors be uncertain as to if a medicine is helpful or harmful to patients has left cannabis off of prescription lists. This makes potential patients return to the illegal market to get their “prescription filled.”
The referendum will help untie these problems by uniting the legal system, and public thinking. It will better clarify what is illegal vs legal, and therefore “good vs bad” types of cannabis. This will free doctors to make decisions they think is best for the patient. It will also change the way the public sees patients.
It’s Too Expensive to Really Help
Cannabis is far too expensive to be considered a viable treatment for most patients. Due to its tricky legal situation, it currently has to be imported at a high cost. Even if you manage to get a prescription, you probably won’t be able to afford it.
The current cost problems with New Zealand’s medical cannabis has effectively crippled the medical cannabis law, therefore rendering it in effective. Its the tourism equivalent of winning “half off a trip to the space station”. Sure, you have the permission to go for half price but it’s still to expensive and therefore fewer (if any) will make the journey.
These problems are especially clear when the “No” campaign highlights that we “don’t need recreation because we have medical to help people.” The problem is the unpractical solutions that’s written into law is so limited that it won’t help everyday New Zealanders medical cannabis problems. This, intern feeds the “unofficial route” of illegal market dealings. Imagine having to solve your seizures by going to a drug dealer?
Illegal medicine isn’t fiction, a New Zealand women was recently profiled on Newshub as having solved her own anxiety and seizures after 15 years of suffering. She only turned to Cannabis after “The woman tried “every combination of medication she could try” before seeking out medical cannabis. These other medications just make you want to sleep. You didn’t want to eat. You just want to lie on the couch. It’s really like you have taken a drug.” With legal, safe, medical Cannabis in New Zealand she could have had 15 years of her life back.
The good news is that Marlborough medicinal cannabis company cannabis producer Puro was recently granted the ability to grow New Zealand largest ever medical operation. With 90,000 low THC medical plants, Puro is going to use the crop to export overseas for CBD and CBG medications.
Hopefully one day companies like Puro can help New Zealanders with New Zealand grown cannabis.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid (plant produced cannabinoid) found in cannabis, which doesn’t produce the ‘high’ associated with THC. Remember when we said that you have cannabis receptors throughout your whole body, including your digestive track, spleen, liver, stomach and nervous system? Well, CBD is one of many cannabinoids quickly stealing popularity away from THC, because it doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors, which means you don’t get ‘high’.