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New Zealand Launches Medical Cannabis Scheme for Improved Consumer Access

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Part of the government’s Ministry of Health, New Zealand’s Medical Cannabis Agency launched its new Medical Cannabis Scheme on April 1, 2020, to improve patients’ access to quality medical cannabis products.

The Ministry of Health developed the scheme for the allowance of the domestic commercial cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical cannabis. Furthermore, the quality and licensing requirements are also set out and the scheme is further aligned with the commencement of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019. Local cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products will be allowed by new regulations, potentially easing the pain of thousands of people, according to the Minister of Health, Dr. David Clark. Issuance of the first medicinal cannabis licenses is expected by mid-2020.

As of the current situation in New Zealand, prescriptions for cannabis products that are sourced from other countries can be filled y medical cannabis patients. However, this can prove to be extremely costly for the patient. Hence, this scheme aims to be cost-effective by bringing down the cost for patients through the availability of locally produced medicine.

Dried products, and a variety of tablets and liquids, are included in the list of the medical cannabis products that have been permitted under the scheme. However, cannabis products that can be smoked are not allowed. Furthermore, cannabis products can be acquired by patients, only from a licensed doctor.

The scheme was announced in December. According to Dr. Clark, watching a loved one struggle with chronic pain and/or particularly near the end of their lives is an experience that many New Zealanders had to go through. He further added how medical cannabis products are expected to potentially make a real difference in the quality of people’s lives. He further explained how the regulations will put the infrastructure in order, thus allowing New Zealanders to locally grow, manufacture, and provide quality medicinal cannabis products, which are intended to help and make a difference in the lives of people living in pain and the people who are nearing the end of their lives.

Before April 1, 2020, approval was needed from the Ministry of Health, by licensed medical practitioners, to be able to prescribe certain products on a case-by-case basis. Removal of these requirements will be made under the new regulations, providing more ease to licensed medical practitioners to prescribe medicines to their patients.

Expecting the issuance of the first license by the middle of this year, the agency has started taking applications for licenses. Potential applicants are required to already have a secured and suitable location, along with the certainty that the facilities that been built or purchased are suitable, along with adequate security for these facilities.

The Ministry has noted that the minimum quality standards are designed to help provide doctors, the confidence in the quality and consistency of medicinal cannabis products, that they prescribe to their patients, and that the standards do not have an inclusion of an assessment of the safety or efficacy of the product.

According to Dr. Clark, over time the suffering of people will be eased by the Government’s medical cannabis scheme, by increasing the availability of a wider range of quality medicinal cannabis products. He further added that the potential of medicinal cannabis holds a huge international interest. Furthermore, the regulations necessarily mean that the New Zealand companies will now be well-placed for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products for both, the local and international markets. He added, that considerable expertise in the market already exists with 20 licensed cannabis companies (for research) and another 238 growing industrial hemps. Dr. David Clark further added that he expects them to be potential applicants.

 

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CBD Terroir Matters

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cannabis terroir is important

of All hemp, species are not the same. The CBD you consume has engravings depending upon the circumstances it was grown in. The CBD terroir includes the soil characteristics of the extracted place, the method and time of growth etc.  You need to keep these things in mind while going for a specific brand.

Why it is important to investigate this?

Every herb has separate parlance for its characteristics. The ones who grow or consume them will have their knowledge. If you are a hemp fan and are not familiar with these basics, you NEED to know them.

To start with, hemp is a variety of cannabis Sativa grown especially for industrial usage. Cannabidiol is an offshoot of hemp. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the strain.

CBD is now prominent worldwide for its wide range of benefits. It is a great relaxer and can be used in depression, anxiety, insomnia and other neurological conditions.

CBD is also widely known for its effectiveness against different types of body pains. These include pain during arthritis, joint pain and many other different kinds of aches. The anti-inflammatory effects of the drug can make it useful against different kinds of infections and skin aches as well.

Also Read: CBD Cream as a Pain Reliever?

CBD is helping many people worldwide against their everyday tensions and pains. But are you taking the right product for your needs? Well, this depends. If you know what to look for, you’ll better understand where to find it.

How do we help you?

We’re here to guide you in this regard. Hemp is both famous and notorious for its absorbing capabilities. It absorbs every constituent of the soil including toxins, vitamins and minerals where it grows.

It is very effective against pollution for this reason. However, you should consider the CBD terroir in wider detail as you are ingesting it.

As a result of bioaccumulation capability of hemp, it is necessary to consider the farm and the soil of the hemp. Many cheap CBD strains are from China; a country with high pollution rates.

So, let’s discuss in detail what factors should you consider while choosing a particular product. These are the factors you should be vigilant about:

 

Cultivation Location

Location is one of the prime factors. Try to find out the characteristics of the land where you are growing the product. See if they match your requirement. Are there any shortcomings you need to worry about?

If the location is not clear in the product details, you should not consider it. Do not try to get cheap CBD from China as you can never be sure of its ingredients. You should prefer American Soil.

America has much higher standards of the soil used for agricultural products. That’s why it’s smarter to consider American companies, the top of which is Curaleaf.

    Also Read: Best Cannabis Growing Solution for Newbies

Certificate of Analysis

CBD products should always have complete details of ingredients calculated by a third party. Look for the details consisting of ingredients and their percentages. This shows the transparency of the growers.

This increases the trust of customers towards the company and you can rely upon such enterprises. A COA should test the cannabis profile and the presence of pesticides. You should look for a bar code on the packaging which directs you towards the details through scanning.

 

Mode of Extraction

The way of CBD extraction from the soil also affects the quality to a great extent. You should make sure that extraction is using safe solvents like CO2, propane, butane etc.

 

I hope this article serves you well and you are ready to determine the CBD terroir more efficiently than ever. Never again you can be made a fool of by these third-class sellers only looking to make some money!

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Medical Cannabis the cure for UK’s chronic pain issue

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One of the major issues of NHS right now is dealing with chronic pain patients. A recent study done by The British Pain Society disclosed that about 40 percent of the UK’s population suffers from chronic pain. This translates to about 26 million people that have been suffering from a pain that has lasted for longer than three months. It is about time the UK looks into its policy on Medical Cannabis.

Studies suggest that this percentage will only rise in the future. NHS is looking at about 60 percent of people suffering from chronic pain above the age of 75. The majority of the patients suffering from these issues just go from one prescription drug to the other with no favorable benefits. There are approximately 4.6 million appointments each year for this issue only. This issue also uses some of the major resources at NHS with about £69m in yearly cost.

The common treatment often directs patients to opioid painkillers. This is also an important issue. According to Public Health England, the UK has a dangerous growth rate in opioid use. The prescriptions are rising by 22% over the past decade. There are about 40 million prescriptions a year which shows how serious this issue is getting. NHS does prohibit patients from the consumption of opioid drugs as they can be addictive. In addition, they are looking for alternatives to opioid drugs.

One such alternative is the medical use of cannabis. UK law was amended in November 2018 to allow specialist doctors to prescribe a range of cannabis-based medicines to patients. Besides the law, there are very few instances of the use of medicinal treatments using cannabis. This is probably because of the complexities that exist in the process as well as the lack of study on the topic. A 2019 metric suggested that about 1.4 million people in the UK regularly use cannabis illegally for medicinal purposes. If the UK does legalize the treatment it can help a lot of people around the country.

Source: uofmhealth.org

Medical Cannabis, the alternative:

The UK’s pain problem has about 540,000 people nationwide addicted to opioids. With the percentage rising every year there is a dire need for THC-based alternatives. We currently need analgesics that are non-addictive and non-toxic at the same time. Interestingly, evidence from clinical trials showed the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis. The cannabinoids have shown reducing effects on the neuropathic pain intensity in various studies until now

Take the US for example, the US government has made the medicinal use of cannabis legal for a while now. Consequently, the prescriptions for opioids and anti-depressants have dropped by around 30% in the country. Not only that the medical cannabis legalization and prescription have helped in reducing about 31% of deaths linked to opioids each year. Further analysis also shows that with the new laws in place the opioid prescriptions fell by 2.21 million daily doses filled per year.

All these metrics provide one simple piece of information, Cannabis-based alternatives have far more advantages when compared to conventional drugs. We have seen from the example of how America benefited from the legalization. Since it is a major issue in the UK as well, the government can’t put it aside for long.

The UK currently exports cannabis-based medicines to 48 countries worldwide where medical cannabis is legal. The country itself has only three cannabis medicines that are licensed for use after extensive clinical trials. Uk is still falling behind on Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) in the country which is an important step in legalization. However, those are expected to happen by 2021.

Consequently, as the chronic pain problem grows in the UK, we can expect NHS doctors to call for a change sooner or later.  They can not just continue to deny the patients proper cure because of the missing legal framework in the country. Hopefully, we will see a change in the system after proper research in the field.

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Is it time for Japan to legalize cannabis?

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Cannabis in Japan is stigmatized with the illegal status. Advocates are now stressing for a change in attitudes.

Cannabis has been illegal in Japan since 1948.

Under the current legislations defined by the Cannabis Control Law, its use and possession can be punished with five years of imprisonment on top of heavy financial penalties. In addition, anyone found involved in the cultivation, sale or transport of the drug can land in jail for about 7 to 10 years and made liable to pay a hefty fine to authorities.

These stringent policies have led to a lot of stigmatization of cannabis in Japan. According to some legalization advocates in the country, this stigma is so strong that it can be analogous to pillory surrounding criminals.

This criminalization of the plant has led to a complete shift in social attitudes towards it. Therefore, in order to bring about policy reforms in the industry, many advocates consider raising public awareness about the drug as the most vital course of action.

History of cannabis use in Japan

A historical review of cannabis use in Japan reveals that it was cultivated in the region since the pre-Neolithic period. This means that it was associated with the culture of the region since thousands of years.

If that period seems too ancient to consider, data from 1954 can be far more convincing. According to statistics reported in Medical Cannabis Network Quarterly, there were about 37,313 hemp farmers in Japan in 1954, compared to barely 37 in 2016.

Therefore, it can be established that cannabis was a popular agricultural product in the country back in the day.

Before its US influenced legal ban in 1948, the plant was widely used in the country. It was also considered sacred. The followers of the Shinto religious tradition believed that cannabis had the power of purification. They also respected it as a symbol of the sun, the inspiration for the Japanese flag.

In addition to this, cannabis was widely used in producing fiber and various other products. According to Junichiro Takayasu, director of Japan’s only cannabis museum, “The cannabis-fiber weaving technique used by Japanese craftsmen is very conscientious handwork, and I think it is important to carry on the tradition. The clothes from genuine cannabis fiber are cool in summer and warm in the winter, which is perfect for the Japanese climate.”

Struggling for cannabis acceptance and legalization

Despite of the strict laws surrounding the cannabis industry, groups of legalization advocates are emerging in the country. Green Zone Japan and Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids are among the most prominent names that are striving to secure a legal status for cannabis in the country.

 Aim of Green Zone Japan

Green Zone Japan is a medical cannabis advocacy group that came into being in 2017. The main aim of the founders Naoko Miki and Yuji Masakata is to bring up to date medical cannabis information to Japanese medical professionals and the general public in order to educate them on the subject.

In a recent move towards its legalizing efforts, Green Zone is adding subtitles to a documentary called CBD Nation. The documentary will be virtually screened for members all year long for maximum viewership.

Aim of Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids

Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids is the official partner of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. It was established in 2015 to aid healthcare workers in conducting cannabinoid researches in Japan.

They are working to analyze and evaluate CBD clinical researches and the effects of foods infused with it.

Businesses using cannabis derivative, CBD

The lack of awareness about therapeutic benefits of CBD and the stringent laws have negatively affected businesses in the country.

It was among the most important agricultural crops when a complete ban was placed on it. The resulting outrage and disapproval by the most hard hit farmers forced the government to revise the laws. What we see today is the “revised” version due to the retaliation.

Today, cultivation of hemp is still possible, but under the strict control of the government. Growers have to obtain a cultivation license and permission before they can begin plantation. The bureaucratic process for obtaining and maintaining a license is so long and tiresome that agricultures are discouraged.

Despite of this, Japan is advancing small steps towards cannabis normalization. Entrepreneurs like Kota Shimomura, owner of CBD Coffee in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, are giving new business ideas and clientele to the cannabis industry. Due to the increasing demand, he believes that the CBD market will surpass tobacco in the nest five years. He is also planning to open a second location in Shinjuku by the end of this year.

Then there is another line of beauty products launched by Priyanka Yoshikawa, a model and former Miss World Japan. “I wanted to have my own skin care line for a long time. And I saw that no one was really doing a good, CBD-based skin care line.” She also believes that CBD will provide the much needed relief to the workaholic population of Japan. It will allow them some “relaxation and one-on-one time”.

This industry is expected to bring in a lot of job opportunities for it agricultural revival. According to Masakata, a neurologist by profession and volunteer at Green Zone, this revival will bring young people to come back to the countryside.

 

 

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