Changes to regulations will improve access to cannabidiol (CBD) products

  • Peter Dunne

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has today welcomed the removal of a range of controls on cannabidiol (CBD), calling the changes an important step in New Zealand’s continued implementation of a compassionate, innovative and proportionate drug policy.

The changes, to come into effect in early September will see CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, no longer subject to a range of conditions that other controlled drugs are required to adhere to.

“The Regulations’ appearance today at Executive Council, is the culmination of a process which I began early this year after receiving independent advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs”, says Mr Dunne.

“Following this advice, in May I took a paper to Cabinet arguing that the existing restrictions on CBD were no longer appropriate or justifiable.“

Today’s changes allow for a presence in CBD products of up to 2 percent of other cannabinoids usually found in cannabis, meaning trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, will not be a barrier for people seeking to access CBD products.

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.

“In practical terms, the changes mean that as CBD products become available, doctors will be able to prescribe them to their patients in a similar way to any other prescription medicine.

“The changes reaffirm this Government’s commitment to an evidence based approach to cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes and future-proof access to such products.

“I am satisfied that CBD has potential therapeutic value and, as such, should be treated no differently to other medicines,” said Mr Dunne.

Further Information

Specifically, the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017 will:

  • exempt CBD products with up to 2% of other cannabinoids usually found in cannabis from the requirement for Ministerial approval to prescribe;
  • exempt pharmacies, medical practitioners, and wholesalers from the requirement to have an import licence for CBD products with up to 2% other cannabinoids;
  • exempt CBD products with up to 2% other cannabinoids from the controlled drug records and stock keeping requirements;
  • extend the allowable period of supply for CBD products with up to 2% other cannabinoids from one month to three;
  • exempt CBD products with up to 2% other cannabinoids from the requirement to be prescribed on a triplicate form; and
  • exempt specific controlled drugs that require refrigeration from the requirement to be stored in a safe in a pharmacy.