Less Pain & Anxiety for the First New Zealand Cannabis Patients

New Zealand legalised medical cannabis in 2017. Now we’re finally getting to hear about the outcomes of their leap towards accessible medical marijuana.

CBD in New Zealand

Since 2017, it has been highly noted that CBD in New Zealand has worked wonders for those suffering from chronic pain and anxiety. 

The University of Auckland and their involved researchers have taken a look at the health records of the first 400 patients given access to CBD in Auckland. These patients suffer from various chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathy, arthritis, migraines and cancer. 

When asked to rate their pain, anxiety, mobility and depression before and after using CBD oil for a month, they received some promising feedback. Daily doses ranging from 40mg to 300mg were adhered to, with the recommended daily dose being 100mg. 

Those with non-cancer related pain showed significant improvements in pain management and their mobility. Some even went on to say that their appetite improved and they experienced a better quality of sleep. 

Patients with neurological symptoms did not seem to experience any improvement or reduction of their symptoms.

However, most patients were happy with the results of the CBD oil. Up to 70% of patients stated that the CBD was helpful, while 30% reported no benefits from the cannabinoid. The only reported adverse effects were that of sedation and vivid dreams, which were reported by about 10% of patients. Two patients, so a 0.8%, reported a worsening of their condition. 

Professor Bruce Arroll, head of the Department of General Practice and Primary Healthcare at the University of Auckland did say that “The study has limitations due to drop-out and other factors, but the findings are consistent with other evidence and underline the need for more research to allow us to fully realise the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis,”

What Arroll seems to have found from his research is that CBD was well tolerated by the patients, and can markedly ease various symptoms. He noted that more patients seemed to be keen and willing to have greater access to this medication. 

Many people avoid taking the CBD route as it can be costly. In NZ, patients paid $300 (US) (R4 500) for 2500mg of CBD oil, $150 (R2 200) for their initial consultation and $75 (R1 130) for follow ups. When put in local currency, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Although CBD is quite a lot cheaper in SA and can be purchased over the counter, it still isn’t exactly cheap. 

“Our evidence of CBD’s potential benefits in treating pain and anxiety, if corroborated by future clinical trials, suggests we may need to consider subsidising medical cannabis,” said co-author Dr. Graham Gulbransen, who operates the cannabis clinic in Auckland.

Seeing as the study was more observational and relied heavily on patient reports, it doesn’t quite establish a cause and effect relationship. More hard evidence is needed on these reports, but anecdotally it seems to be providing relief these people desperately need. 

For more on these findings on the use of CBD in New Zealand, you can read the report published in the British Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open)

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