According to Medsafe’s website, in New Zealand, the minimum quality standard is used to verify medicinal cannabis products which have been derived from the cannabis plant. Photo: GOOGLE
Medicinal cannabis campaigner Steve Boggs is calling on Te Marae Ora to take a “common sense” approach and follow New Zealand in allowing over-the counter sales of cannabidiol (CBD) products.
Boggs made a statement
following news Medsafe in New Zealand had overridden its Medicines
Classification Committee on cannabis.
“It’s common sense that our
Health Ministry will follow suit and do the same for us.”
Cook Islands News reached
out to Te Marae Ora for comment.
Medsafe’s committee on
cannabis had advised against
over-the-counter CBD sales, but Medsafe has now approved it.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health went against earlier
advice of its Medicines Classification Committee and opted to allow cannabis
products to be sold over the counter by pharmacists.
Earlier this week New Zealand’s medicine safety unit
Medsafe reclassified cannabidiol (CBD) products from prescription only to a
restricted medicine, meaning it could be sold by pharmacists.
The CBD compound, which naturally occurs in cannabis,
doesn’t have psychoactive effects that produce a high, unlike the more commonly
known THC. It is instead used to treat pain, stress, anxiety and sleep
disorders, and can be sold at grocery stores and gas stations in other
jurisdictions such as America and the United Kingdom.
It typically comes in a drop or capsule format but is
also sold as gummy lollies and other novel forms including topical creams and
The move harmonises New Zealand with Australia, which
approved over-the-counter sales of low-dose CBD in December 2020.
Boggs said: “For
the past three years or so, and currently, the Cook Islands Government has
allowed for CBD products to be sold by retailers and wholesalers, examples
which include, CBD shampoo, skin care, hemp masks, hemp seeds and hemp burgers.”
“None of these products has
any THC psychoactive effect nor do the reclassified CBD products that are
going to be sold over the counter in New Zealand, namely oils, capsules, gummy
lollies, creams and bath bombs.
“The Ministry of Health in
New Zealand made this decision to allow for these CBD products to be easily
attainable to its people to promote their overall wellbeing.”
Medsafe’s committee reviewed low-dosage CBD again in
May and came to a similar conclusion, recommending against down scheduling due
to a lack of evidence.
Medsafe said the decision followed careful
consideration of the risk-benefit profile of low-dose CBD and included
consultation with healthcare professionals, industry, and the public.
“Those in the CBD industry have also previously
signalled that a change in classification may allow more opportunities for
research into the clinical efficacy and safety of CBD,” Medsafe said in a
“Subsequently, this could create greater opportunities
for the approval of low-dose CBD medicines.”
The change is unlikely to mean CBD products are
available any time soon, with no CBD products currently approved in New
Zealand. Any products approved in the future with dosing instructions of less
than 150 milligrams a day and not containing more than 4.5 grams of CBD will be
able to be sold to adults 18 and over.
Meanwhile legislation supporting availability of
medicinal cannabis in the Cooks Islands will be tabled in Parliament in