- Nearly a third of New Zealanders will try medical cannabis when it is legalised next year
- However, nearly half said they are either “most unlikely” or “definitely’ not going to try medical cannabis
- 89% of medical professionals would prescribe medical cannabis products
- Professor Mike Barnes will be brought to NZ to help teach their medical professionals about medical cannabis
A new survey has found that a third of New Zealanders would try medical cannabis products when they legally become available next year.
Helius Therapeutics, New Zealand’s largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, commissioned the survey from Horizon Research to get an indication of how large the potential medical cannabis market will be in NZ.
For the survey, 1156 people were asked: “Generally, do you think you will try accessing medicinal cannabis products once they become more widely and legally available next year?”
- 23% “most unlikely”
- 22% “definitely not”
- 14% “definitely”
- 12% “I’m really not sure”
- 10% “most likely”
- 10% “somewhat likely”
- 9% “somewhat not likely”
While the results of the survey show that over a third of Kiwis are likely to try medical cannabis once it is legalised next year, nearly half of the respondents claimed they were either “most unlikely” or “definitely not” going to try medicinal cannabis, potentially as a result of years of global anti-cannabis propaganda.
However, a potential third of the population is still a sizeable market. Imagine a third of the population using another, pharmaceutical medication.
New Zealand’s Parliament recently voted to pass amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, with details relating to regulations, licensing rules and quality standards to be set out later this year.
Paul Manning, the executive of Helius Therapeutics, believes the results of the survey have provided an understanding of the potential size of the cannabis market:
“Even if we just focus on those who would ‘definitely’ try accessing medicinal cannabis products, at 14% that represents phenomenal demand… it’s not just the sheer size of the potential market and groundswell of demand, but it’s a timely reminder that Kiwis are increasingly seeing cannabis as a mainstream health product.“
Dr Richard Medlicott, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ medical director, said he wasn’t surprised by the findings:
“The point of this bill is to make medicinal cannabis more available to people with terminal illness or chronic pain.
“This bill has had quite a high profile, as has plans for a referendum on wider cannabis issues. This means that a lot of people have being thinking about these issues.
“The End of Life Choice Bill may also have people thinking more about these things.”
“Even if we just focus on those who would ‘definitely’ try accessing medicinal cannabis products, at 14% that represents phenomenal demand…”
– Paul Manning, executive of Helius Therapeutics
Horizon Research also conducted a survey of almost 1,100 medical professionals, discovering that nearly two-thirds of GPs, and three-quarters of head pharmacists have requested access to medical cannabis products over the last year.
The survey also found that 89% of medical professionals would prescribe medical cannabis products for “one or more of 20 medical conditions.” However, this was only on the condition that they had the appropriate information. Unfortunately only 6% reports that they were “very well informed” about medical cannabis.
Despite just 6% believing they had the best knowledge about medical cannabis, a further 18% claimed they were “well enough informed,” and 42% claiming they were “somewhat informed,” inspiring hope that as research progresses on the medicinal properties of cannabis, so to will the medical profession’s knowledge and willingness to prescribe medical cannabis.
Manning believes that is is clear that medical professionals need more information before prescribing the drug.
In order to bridge this gap in knowledge, Helius, in partnership with The Academy of Medical Cannabis, a medical cannabis training organisation, would offer masterclasses in medicinal cannabis for prescribing doctors.
Professor Mike Barnes, well known in the UK for his campaign work which has helped to legalise medical cannabis, would deliver this masterclass.
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