National’s Stance, another Rebuttal on Medicinal Cannabis

Below is the templated response that my friendly local National Party MP  sends to the constituents with regards to Medical Cannabis in NZ, the first mistake of the National Party is to not separate Medical Cannabis from  more broad issue of Cannabis Law reform, which doesn’t seem a hard concept to understand considering Australia  has made that breakthrough with the Greens, Labor, Liberal, Nationals and Democratic Liberal parties, as well as their Prime Minister all being in support of a bill going before parliament..

So anyway here is the MPs response letter

Thank you for contacting me regarding cannabis legislation in New Zealand.
This Government has no plans to change the legal status of cannabis.
We do not think that there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise,
which outweigh the harm it causes to society.
I have seen too much harm caused by this drug to have any tolerance for its broad decriminalisation.
Government policy over successive governments has been to not support the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.
In terms of medical use, such as for pain relief, there are already pharmaceutical forms of cannabis that provide measured doses and quality control.

Since 2008, a mouth spray called Sativex, which contains extracts from cannabis,
has been able to be prescribed by medical professionals.
It is used by multiple sclerosis patients and those with chronic pain, and it use requires ministerial approval (delegated to the Ministry of Health).

The Government’s position has always been, and will always be; NOT using any psychoactive substances is
the safest and best option for any individual, whether they are synthetic or natural. This Government has passed
legislation removing from sale all remaining so-called ‘legal highs’ until they can be reasonably proven to be low-risk.

Yours sincerely

 

I would like to post a public Rebuttal to this templated response from my Local MP on the case for Medical Cannabis,
The first point Minister, in what capacity have seen “too much harm” caused by cannabis? In poverty stricken families? people on benefits? in the mental health system?  what is your professional area of expertise again?

Causation is not correlation Minister, I have first hand experience of substance abuse, My biological Father had problems with Cannabis and Alcohol, I can assure you it was not Cannabis that provoked the domestic violence in my childhood home, including an assault on my Mother while pregnant with my younger brother.

“In terms of medical use, such as for pain relief, there are already pharmaceutical forms of cannabis that provide measured doses and quality control”

Sativex is simply not good enough, it is neither ideal nor cost effective. For Pain relief it is off label and nigh on impossible to get due to the lack of doctors familiar with it, and it is also apparent that there is a disproportionate amount of Specialists from overseas who prescribe Sativex, using it  as a place holder for Raw Cannabis that they do have experience of but can not prescribe in NZ, suggesting a lack of education in the NZ Medical community on the subject of Cannabinoid “receptors” or therapeutic targets.

It also less than optimal in costs, Methadone, a Class B opiate costs less than 19 cents for a 5mg tablet, for one patient with Complex Regional pain syndrome the cost of Sativex was estimated at 30 dollars PER DAY. Also you point out the virtues of measured doses, Unfortunately, we are stuck with one ratio of 1:1 THC:CBD  for the 2 primary ingredients of Cannabis that are contained in Sativex.

Paige Gallien, a child with intractable and disabling epilepsy, and also the only child in NZ to try Sativex has had good results so far in significantly reducing the occurrence and severity of her seizures.  She has, on the balance of probabilities, the ability to be “functionally cured” or virtually seizure free, if she was able to ingest more Cannabidiol (CBD).
Unfortunately, to escalate her dose of CBD, the main drug attributed to relief from epilepsy, would go hand in hand with an escalated dose of THC, which is the drug that causes the high, and is much more likely to have detrimental effects.

Epidiolex is on the horizon and is a high CBD extract from the makers of Sativex, but it is likely to have a similar cost to Sativex, of 10-30k per year.  This young girl has room for improvement, if not total remission with a more concentrated CBD product. The most cost effective method of doing this, is to grow it, specifically a “clone” or cutting from a plant with a known CBD:THC ratio, such as the headline grabbing strain Hippies Disappointment” AKA “charlottes web” although there are other varieties too.

I would also point out that for chronic pain. a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio is not ideal either, A journal reference Hyperalgesia: New Insights for the Healthcare Professional: 2013 Edition, states that the ideal ratio is 24:1 CBD to THC. Which is in the realm of such Medical Cannabis strains as “Hippies Disappointment” AKA “Charlottes web”

Because of the huge differences in effect for high CBD strains, none of which are available in NZ, we could also suggest your witnessing of “harm”  caused by this drug is invalid, the name “hippies disappointment” should be a clue to its value for abuse.

I would also counter your governments position of not using Psychoactive substances is the safest option. I by no means regard Cannabis as a first line treatment for nausea or pain in lieu of Ondansetron or Codeine etc, although there are those on the far left fringe who do, but I would like to demonstrate the problems with your broad statement in the field chronic pain.
This is a list of the Psychoactive substances prescribed for a close family member so far following a back injury with unreasonable delays to treatment imposed by ACC.

  • Codeine
  • Tramadol
  • Morhpine
  • Oxynorm
  • Oxycontin
  • Pethidiene
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Temazapam
  • Diazepam, including suppository….
  • Clonozapam
  • Lorazepam
  • Quetiapine
  • Gabapentin
  • Ketamine
  • Baclofen
  • Amytryptelene
  • Nortryptylene
  • Venlafaxine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Citalopram
  • Escitalopram
  • Pregabalin, – To be tried in the new year.

Minister, do you really believe that raw Cannabis,  a Class C drug is too harmful or dangerous to be used in a medical setting?   on what grounds is Fentanyl, or Clonozapam  safer?  Do I have to count the Class B drugs administered so far?  Are you aware of the cognitive deficits caused by regular medications for chronic pain?

I urge you to reconsider your stance.

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4 Comments

  1. Robert

     /  14th February 2015

    bull shit.The worse drug you can get that dose do a lot of harm for meany years and its legal.ALCOHOL

    Reply
    • It is also relative to rates of use in the General Public, Alcohol scores the highest on social harms due to its wide acceptance and use, I assure you it is not the most harmful, if people used Heroin like they use alcohol, (Binge use) then they would simply die……….

      Reply
  2. These troughers have no interest in cheap natural remedies.

    Reply
  3. Bill

     /  14th February 2015

    The governments reply above says it all, they’re not at all interested in what the public wants when it comes to Cannabis law reform,they have an agenda and when I say they, I mean the real power brokers the ones that have the governments ear and that’s not the people.
    The situation we are faced with has very little to do with public safety and everything to do with money, power and greed, If you had enough space to not just print the list of drugs above, but their side effects and interactions as well most people would be blown away by the dangers these drugs pose to the many thousands of patients whom consume these drugs habitually daily.
    any of the following side effects occur while taking oxycodone, check with your doctor immediately:
    Less common •Chills
    •cold sweats
    •confusion
    •difficult or labored breathing
    •dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
    •fever
    •tightness in the chest
    •twitching
    Rare •Abdominal or stomach pain
    •bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
    •blood in the urine
    •burning while urinating burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings
    •chest pain
    •convulsions
    •cough
    •decrease in the frequency of urination
    •decrease in urine volume
    •decreased urine output
    •difficult or painful urination
    •difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
    •difficulty with swallowing
    •dizziness
    •dry mouth
    •fainting
    •fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
    •feeling of warmth or heat
    •flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
    •frequent urination
    •headache
    •hives, itching, or skin rash
    •increase in heart rate
    •increased thirst
    •increased volume of pale, dilute urine
    •lightheadedness
    •muscle pain or cramps
    •nausea or vomiting
    •puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
    •rapid breathing
    •rapid weight gain
    •severe constipation
    •severe vomiting
    •shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
    •sunken eyes
    •sweating
    •swelling or puffiness of the face
    •swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
    •thirst
    •tingling of the hands or feet
    •trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
    •unusual tiredness or weakness
    •unusual weight gain or loss
    •wrinkled skin
    Incidence not known •Blurred vision
    •choking
    •clay-colored stools
    •cold, clammy skin
    •dark urine
    •diarrhea
    •fast, weak pulse
    •gagging
    •irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
    •loss of appetite
    •low blood pressure or pulse
    •pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
    •unconsciousness
    •unpleasant breath odor
    •very slow breathing
    •very slow heartbeat
    •yellow eyes or skin

    If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking oxycodone, get emergency help immediately:
    Symptoms of overdose •Change in consciousness
    •chest pain or discomfort
    •constricted, pinpoint, or small pupils (black part of the eye)
    •decreased awareness or responsiveness
    •extreme drowsiness
    •loss of consciousness
    •no muscle tone or movement
    •severe sleepiness
    •slow or irregular heartbeat

    Some oxycodone side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:
    More common •Difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
    •drowsiness
    •lack or loss of strength
    •relaxed and calm feeling
    •sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
    Less common •Abnormal dreams
    •acid or sour stomach
    •anxiety
    •belching
    •burning feeling in the chest or stomach
    •false or unusual sense of well-being
    •heartburn
    •hiccups
    •indigestion
    •stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
    •tenderness in the stomach area
    •trouble sleeping
    •weight loss
    Rare •Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
    •bad, unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
    •bloated or full feeling
    •body aches or pain
    •change in taste
    •change in walking and balance
    •changes in vision
    •clumsiness or unsteadiness
    •congestion
    •continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
    •cracks in the skin
    •crying
    •decreased interest in sexual intercourse
    •dental caries or tooth decay
    •depersonalization
    •depression
    •difficulty with speaking
    •dry skin
    •dryness or soreness of the throat
    •dysphoria
    •excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
    •excessive muscle tone
    •feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
    •feeling of unreality
    •general feeling of discomfort or illness
    •headache, severe and throbbing
    •hearing loss
    •hoarseness
    •hyperventilation
    •inability to have or keep an erection
    •increase in body movements
    •increased appetite
    •increased cough
    •irritability
    •loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
    •loss of heat from the body
    •loss of memory
    •loss of strength or energy
    •mental depression
    •muscle pain or weakness
    •muscle stiffness
    •muscle tension or tightness
    •neck pain
    •paranoia
    •passing of gas
    •problems with memory
    •quick to react or overreact emotionally
    •rapidly changing moods
    •red, swollen skin
    •restlessness
    •runny nose
    •scaly skin
    •sensation of spinning
    •sense of detachment from self or body
    •severe sleepiness
    •stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
    •stopping of menstrual bleeding
    •swelling or inflammation of the mouth
    •tender, swollen glands in the neck
    •unusual weak feeling
    •voice changes

    Side effects for Cannabis

    red, blurry, bloodshot eyes
    constant, mucus-filled cough
    rapid heartbeat
    hunger, referred to as munchies
    dry mouth
    anxiety, paranoia, or fear
    poor memory
    poor coordination
    slow reaction time
    loss of control
    addiction

    Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
    Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health. Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:
    Brain:
    Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    Heart:
    Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
    • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
    • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
    • Stroke
    • High blood pressure
    Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.
    Liver:
    Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
    • Steatosis, or fatty liver
    • Alcoholic hepatitis
    • Fibrosis
    • Cirrhosis
    Pancreas:
    Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    Cancer:
    Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:
    • Mouth
    • Esophagus
    • Throat
    • Liver
    • Breast
    Immune System:
    Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

    While Cannabis may have risks attached to its use, I think its pretty safe to say it falls into acceptable levels of safety when compared to just the two legal drugs I have shown above. .

    Reply

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