Cannabis referendum raises questions over its medicinal use

Those involved in the cannabis business in New Zealand say one of the biggest areas of confusion ahead of the upcoming referendum is the legality, or not, of medicinal cannabis.

Both a doctor specialising in prescribing medicinal marijuana and a medicinal cannabis producer say both sides of the debate are fudging their messages.

To be clear, medicinal use is already permitted, but there is only one approved drug on the market.

The rest are ‘unapproved’ drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor, but have not gone through the medical testing Medsafe deems appropriate.

One of those doctors is Mark Hotu, a GP at Green Doctors in Ponsonby.

“Even someone like myself who works with medicinal cannabis 24/7, 365 days a year, it’s even confusing for me,” he said.

“I’m not surprised that the average person in New Zealand is also confused as well.”

Dr Hotu said the confused messages around medicinal use are a reflection of the way cannabis has been perceived over a long time.

Cannabis based drugs have been the subject of only a few quality studies to determine their effectiveness.

Dr Hotu said that will change in coming years, as the stigma around cannabis lifts.

One company which hopes to run those clinical trials is Helius Therapeutics. [Read more @ RNZ]