The recent Arthritis New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Survey revealed that consumers are keen to participate in future clinical trials which involve medicinal cannabis.

Consumers ultimately want to access medicinal cannabis that is safe, legal and affordable, however there is still some confusion around the status of medicinal cannabis and what forms of cannabis are legal or illegal.

Arthritis New Zealand published an E-News special on the subject of medicinal cannabis in May 2021 in response to a growing number of inquiries about the potential of medicinal cannabis to help people with arthritis.

Readers had an opportunity to have their say about their experiences and thoughts about using or trying to access medicinal cannabis via a short survey.

The survey was designed to give our staff a starting point to better understand some of the issues that our consumers currently face in relation to medicinal cannabis. We also however acknowledge that a number of our readers have used medicinal cannabis for many years and that the types of questions we asked were not as relevant to them. We aim to conduct a more comprehensive survey later in the year.

Who participated in the survey?

270 respondents completed our survey.

80% identified as female and 20% identified as male.

91% identified as Pakeha/NZ European, 8% as Māori, 2% as Pasifika and 7% as another ethnicity.

1% indicated they were 18-24 years of age, 8% were 25-34, 17% were 35-44 years, 26% were 45-54 years, 14% were 55-64 years, 23% were 65-74 years and 11% were 75+ years.

Main Concerns about using Medicinal Cannabis

“No concerns, just the stigma of CBD oil when I tell people I use it”

“At this stage, I don’t feel that I know enough about it to consider asking my GP to prescribe it for me”

“Cost, education, availability and who will prescribe the product and where will it be accessible from and when”

Wanted To Use In Past But Didn’t Know How To Or Couldn’t Access It:

Key Insights

  • More than half of our sample indicated they had used a type of medicinal cannabis at some point (56% vs. 42% who said no).
  • Over three quarters (76%) of our respondents have wanted to use medicinal cannabis in the past but reported not knowing how to or couldn’t access it.
  • 42% of our sample have tried medicinal cannabis in oil form.
  • Respondents have also used dried products (17%), oral liquid (16%) and other forms such as balms, “gummies” or recreational cannabis in the form of baked goods (44% other forms).
  • Arthritis New Zealand consumers are extremely keen to participate in future clinical trials which involve medicinal cannabis (86% indicated they would consider such an opportunity).
  • Consumers ultimately want access to medicinal cannabis which is safe, legal and also affordable.
  • There is still clearly some confusion around the status of medicinal cannabis: some consumers are not sure about which forms of cannabis are legal or illegal.

Perceived Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis

“My husband uses medicinal cannabis oil prescribed by a specialist – it is the only drug that takes away his osteoarthritis pain from his hips. It’s amazing stuff, more doctors need to get on board with prescribing as we were told by the specialist that GPs can prescribe but a lot are too scared or don’t know what dose rate to use”

“[I] have had very bad reactions to arthritis drugs including anti-inflammatory medication. Panadol is limited in its effect. Would appreciate being able to try something different”

“[My] rheumatoid arthritis inflammation score dropped from 28 to 2 in one week after being prescribed CBD and THC 10:10”

Would Consider Participating in a Clinical Trial Involving Medicinal Cannabis:

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