In recent years, the use of medicinal cannabis has become more accepted around the world as a viable treatment for certain medical conditions. New Zealand is no exception, and the country has made significant strides in the availability and legality of medicinal cannabis.
The use of medicinal cannabis was first legalized in New Zealand in 2018. The Ministry of Health established a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme which allowed patients with certain medical conditions to access medicinal cannabis products from their doctor, with the approval of the Ministry of Health. The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme has since been updated to make it easier for patients to access medicinal cannabis products.
In order to access medicinal cannabis products under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, patients must first be assessed by a doctor and receive a prescription. The doctor must determine that the patient has a medical condition that could be treated with medicinal cannabis and that other treatments have been unsuccessful. Once the patient has received a prescription from their doctor, they can then purchase medicinal cannabis products from pharmacies licensed to dispense medicinal cannabis products.
The types of medicinal cannabis products available in New Zealand are quite limited, however. Currently, the only products that are legally available are those that are approved by the Ministry of Health. These include products such as oils, tinctures, and capsules. In addition, in early 2022, a limited list of cannabis flowers was also added to the list of approved medicinal cannabis products.
While medicinal cannabis products are available, recreational cannabis is still prohibited and can result in serious legal repercussions. Despite the fact that medicinal cannabis is legal in New Zealand, it is still relatively inaccessible to many patients. The cost of medicinal cannabis products can be prohibitively expensive for some patients, as the products are not covered by the public health system. In addition, many doctors are still hesitant to prescribe medicinal cannabis, as there is still a lack of education and understanding of the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis.
Overall, while medicinal cannabis is legal and available in New Zealand, there is still much progress to be made in terms of access and affordability. However, the progress that has been made in the last few years is encouraging, and it is likely that medicinal cannabis will become more widely available and accepted in the near future.