New Zealand is to remove restrictions around cannabidiol, in line with international developments, says Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.
CBD is a substance found in cannabis that has potential therapeutic value. It has little or no psychoactive properties, yet it is currently a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“At present CBD products for therapeutic use are only available if approval is given by the Ministry of Health.
“I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly.
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.
“Australia has already taken a similar step while other countries are also responding to emerging evidence that CBD has a low risk of harm when used therapeutically.
“This change is about future-proofing access to CBD products, as the reality is that there will continue to be barriers beyond New Zealand’s control to people accessing such products from overseas,” says Peter.
Currently there is a limited range of CBD products made to a standard where prescribers can be sure the products contains what is claimed – and strict import and export restrictions on products sourced from other countries, which will continue to impact the supply of CBD products in New Zealand.
“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,” says Peter.
The changes will include removing requirements for:
- Ministerial approval to prescribe;
- pharmacies, prescribers, and wholesalers to have an import licence, and to meet certain requirements for storage, and the maintaining of controlled drug records and stock keeping.
Prescriptions would be allowed for up to three months’ supply, rather than one month. These measures can be achieved by amending the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977 in the first instance, pending any future amendment of the Misuse of Drugs Act.