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Medicinal cannabis and MND in New Zealand

MND NZ, Research

26 February 2018

Cannabis sativa plant

We are please to introduce the ‘Review of Current Research Regarding the use of Medicinal Cannabis for MS and MND Symptom Management', jointly commissioned by Multiple Sclerosis NZ and MND New Zealand.

The review suggests that medicinal cannabis can provide some relief from pain and spasticity for people with MND. There are also risks involved. With the increasing interest in medicinal cannabis for pain management and with the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill in Parliament at Select Committee, MND New Zealand wanted to be in a position to contribute to informed debate around the use of medicinal cannabis for management of the symptoms of MND.

Together with Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand, we commissioned a report, completed in December: Review of Current Research Regarding the use of Medicinal Cannabis for MS and MND Symptom Management (PDF).

The report was funded by Walk 2 D'Feet MND research fundraising, and researched and written by Kerry Walker, who also runs our MND NZ Registry.

The report reviews current research on the use of medicinal cannabis for MND and multiple sclerosis (MS) symptom management, examines the risk/benefits of using medicinal cannabis, and reviews the current international recommendations for the safe use of medicinal cannabis for MS and MND symptom management.

The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill is currently before a Select Committee. The Bill proposes to introduce an exception and a statutory defence for terminally ill people to possess and use illicit cannabis and to possess a cannabis utensil; provide a regulation-making power to enable the setting of standards that products manufactured, imported, and supplied under licence must meet; and amend Schedule 2 of the Act so that cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD products are no longer classed as controlled drugs.

MND New Zealand believes it is important that further, well-designed scientific studies are conducted to investigate the effects of cannabis on people living with MND.

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