Cannabidiol (CBD) can now be prescribed by doctors

A small but important step towards making it easier to access the medicinal cannabis extract cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-hallucinogenic extract and believed to be beneficial for a number of ailments and for pain relief.

There are very few products available in New Zealand, but was they become available the way is clear for doctors to prescribe them. Currently approval has to be sought through the Ministry of Health.

Australia has already dome something similar so it will allow New Zealand to access the same CBD based drugs that become available in Australia.

Peter Dunne has driven this, getting the approval of the National dominated Cabinet.

Beehive notice:


Government to ease restrictions on Cannabidiol

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says New Zealand is to remove restrictions around cannabidiol (CBD), in line with international developments.

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 Mr Dunne.

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,” said Mr Dunne.

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.

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13 Comments

  1. Conspiratoor

     /  June 2, 2017

    Dorty’s very ambivalent about this development. She won’t be the lone Ranger amongst the GP fraternity. Main concern apart from lack of hard medical evidence is the number of malingerers turning up expecting a cheap hit

  2. Kevin

     /  June 3, 2017

    So the old fuddy duddies at the EACD finally get it right.

    To help them in the future here’s a useful chart when deciding whether a substance should be banned:

    Is it psychoactive? – No. Don’t ban it. Bugger.
    |
    Have a few idiots killed themselves using it? – Yes. Ban it!
    |
    Is it illegal overseas? – Yes. Ban it!
    |
    Is it similar in chemical structure to another banned substance? – Yes. Ban it!
    |
    No
    |
    Oh well, ban it anyway!

    As you can see CBD would have failed on the first question.

  3. I agree that this is a tiny step forward, but as with Sativex.. it is not funded by pharmac & will any patients be able to afford to pay the excessive costs (from overseas companies) not produced in NZ.

    Its will still be cheaper to buy black-market herb & make a cannabis-oil (as Helen Kelly did), rather than pay the huge cost of these ‘big-pharma products’.. so have we really gained from this ?
    “Yes you can have a prescription.. but can you afford to pay for it ?”
    More B-S/misinfo. from the minister !

    • Kevin

       /  June 3, 2017

      It’d mean that cannabis-based products where the CBD component contains 2% or less of THC won’t need approval from the Ministry of Health. What this will mean in practice is cheaper CBD-based medicine but it’s hardly anything earth-shattering and it’s something that should have been done years ago. Even I argued on this blog that the government should allow low levels of THC as a mean of reducing the high price of CBD-based medicine.

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD) can now be prescribed by doctors – NZ Conservative Coalition