Governments around the world have made it very difficult for the study of cannabis to progress. Human studies on cannabis have been limited due to its classification as a schedule 1 drug making it very difficult for researchers to get hold of and to obtain funding for research. Drugs in Schedule 1 are defined as those with no medical use and a high potential for abuse. These are the drugs that are the most dangerous and the highest chance of psychical or physical dependence which include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and of course natures miracle, cannabis. As a comparison, Schedule 2 drugs are those with a high chance for abuse, but less than schedule 1 and can be prescribed and used legally. This includes cocaine, methamphetamine, OxyContin and Adderall.
Keeping cannabis as a schedule 1 drug goes directly against current scientific evidence, yet no rescheduling has taken place. In 2003 the US government took out a patent on cannabis’s ability to protect the brain from inflammation. Across many government websites cannabis is quoted to be beneficial for a range of health concerns and is clearly recognised as a promising health solution yet it remains a schedule 1 drug making new studies extremely difficult to take place. It is amazing to know the US government owns the idea of using cannabinoids to protect the brain, yet keeps cannabis illegal at the federal level making it extremely difficult to be studied and better understood.
However, over the last few years through growing public support, countries and states around the world are loosening their regulation on the cannabis plant and its extracts, especially CBD.
New Zealand Government on Cannabis
Unfortunately New Zealand still sits far behind the rest of the world when it comes to a regulated cannabis market. While most countries around the world have completely legalised hemp and CBD, a non-intoxicating molecule from cannabis, it still remains prescription only, difficult to get and extremely expensive in New Zealand.
As of May 2019 ministerial approval is required before most medicinal cannabis products can be prescribed, supplied or administered, in accordance with regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977. If you have a willing doctor and can prove you have exhausted all other options, you might be able to get your hands on some Sativex, a CBD:THC spray approved by the Ministry of Health.