Medicinal Cannabis Considerations
Is it dangerous to smoke cannabis?
The burning of the cannabis plant releases toxic and carcinogenic substances, including carbon monoxide, tar and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These substances can have negative health effects. It is therefore not recommended to smoke cannabis.
Is it safe to drive after taking medicinal cannabis?
Patients prescribed any medicinal cannabis products should seek their doctor’s advice before driving or operating machinery due to the risk of experiencing drowsiness. While drowsiness is not a known side effect of CBD alone , it may occur if the CBD interacts other medications. Some medicinal cannabis products may also include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that might have the potential to impair driving. It is an offence to drive while impaired and with evidence in the bloodstream of a qualifying drug(eg medicinal cannabis).
The presence of a qualifying drug alone is not sufficient for an offence; there must first be impairment as demonstrated by unsatisfactory performance of the compulsory impairment test. It is important to note that the law provides a defence for a person who can prove that they were taking medicinal cannabis in accordance with a current prescription and instructions from the manufacturer, the doctor who prescribed it or the pharmacist who dispensed it.
Reference: Ministry of Transport 2019
How can you access medicinal cannabis in New Zealand?
Spectrum Therapeutics medicinal cannabis products are not currently registered in New Zealand. For more information about how to access medicinal cannabis, please visit https://www.health.govt.nz/.
What are the side effects of medicinal cannabis?
Like all prescription medicines, medicinal cannabis products can have side effects.
These may include:
• Fatigue and sedation
• Feelings of euphoria (intense happiness)
• Nausea and vomiting or depression
• Appetite increase
• Hallucinations or decreased paranoid delusions
• Dry mouth
• Psychosis or cognitive distortion (having untrue thoughts)
The extent of side effects can vary with the type of medicinal cannabis product and between individuals.