CBD increases in popularity along with cannabis legalisation support
New Zealand’s cannabis acceptance has increased significantly in recent years. As of last year, 67 percent of the country support cannabis legalisation for recreational use, while over 87 percent supported legalisation for medical use. Just two years prior, these figures were 50 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
The increasing acceptance is not just a New Zealand phenomenon, but a global one. The trend explains why, in the last decade, several countries around the world have legalised cannabis for medical purposes. Some have even legalised the drug for recreational use — Canada, Uruguay, several states in the United States, and several European countries have decriminalised it.
New Zealand made its move last year, legalising the drug for medical purposes, which seems to be the first step towards legalising it for recreational use. In fact, a referendum has been set for 2020, placing the question of recreational cannabis legalisation in the hands of the New Zealand citizens.
When discussing cannabis for medical use, CBD (Cannabidiol) is a good starting point. Although THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) also has some therapeutic effects, CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that recreational users seek from THC products. Both are cannabinoids — just two of the 104 found in the cannabis plant — but the medical community finds CBD more useful as a treatment substance, perhaps due to that lack of psychoactive effects.
Given the country’s recent law legalising cannabis for medical use, let’s take a closer look into CBD oil in New Zealand.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is oil infused with CBD that’s extracted from either cannabis or hemp. Different carrier oils can be used in the manufacturing process, coconut oil being highly popular. Although CBD generally lacks psychoactive effects, THC is sometimes added to CBD oil, resulting in some psychoactive effects. However, in such cases, where medical purposes are the case, the THC content is significantly less than recreational cannabis products.
CBD oil can be consumed in different forms. It can be taken in capsules, droplets under the tongue, creams rubbed on the skin, and more.
Can you buy CBD oil in New Zealand?
Even before New Zealand legalised cannabis for medical use last year, there were instances where CBD oil could be purchased. Although CBD was classified as a Class B1 drug, it was available via prescription. For example, in 2017, Tilray, a Canadian company, was allowed to export its CBD oil product to New Zealand. However, given the Class B1 classification, it could only be purchased through a prescription but it couldn’t be advertised or promoted in anyway.
Now, after medical cannabis was legalised in December, CBD oil is available for medical purposes. CBD is not classified as a Class B1 drug any longer, and is now classified as prescription medicine under the Medicines Act 1981. In fact, not only is CBD now legal for medical purposes, but its products are allowed to contain THC contaminants, as long as they don’t exceed 2 percent.
Without a prescription though, CBD oil remains illegal.
Who uses CBD oil and for what?
Those who use CBD oil are usually seeking a treatment for some sort of discomfort or pain. It is usually medical-related, and there’s a wide range of conditions it is believed to treat. CBD is generally classified as the relief compound in cannabis, as opposed to THC’s euphoric nature.
Here are some conditions CBD is believed to provide some relief in:
- Chronic pain
- Loss of appetite
This list is by no means exhaustive, as testimonies and studies continue to emerge with new evidence of CBD’s benefits.
The most researched condition for CBD’s effects is epilepsy. For example, although cannabis is illegal in the United States on the federal level, a drug containing CBD oil, Epidolex, was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for epilepsy patients.
Is CBD oil legal elsewhere?
Globally, the legality of CBD oil depends on its source — marijuana or hemp. Hemp based CBD oil is legal in a lot of countries around the world because it lacks THC. Marijuana based CBD products, however, are illegal in a lot of countries because they may contain some THC. In countries where cannabis is legal for recreational use, both forms are legal. This is also generally true where the drug has been legalised for medical use.
Here’s a full list of countries where hemp-based CBD oil is legal:
Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Antilles, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Republic of Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
New Zealand’s decision to legalise medical cannabis has made CBD oil easier to obtain through prescriptions. With 2020 referendum approaching, and the increasing support for outright cannabis legalisation, CBD oil may soon become widely available not just for medical uses, but for recreational use.
Although the substance is widely seen as medicinal, it does have some recreational effects. Some describe it as having a refreshing feeling similar to those felt after exercising. This may open the door to CBD-based soft drinks, for example, given its reduced psychoactive nature and increased relaxing effects. New Zealand’s CBD future may feature such innovative products.