Tea has been a huge part of New Zealand culture for several decades, and with the legalization of medical marijuana becoming more commonplace across North America, it makes sense that weed would soon be available in this form too.
The “parliament protest” is a sign that medical cannabis is now available in New Zealand. The country’s parliament voted to legalize the plant for medicinal use on October 12, 2018.
The Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) has obtained the first fully legal cannabis farm in Australia, and is already providing medical-grade cannabis to New Zealand pharmacies. The Ministry of Health has given ANTG permission to stock shelves with cannabis tea. Their goods are “confirmed as fulfilling the basic quality level,” according to the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Let’s take a look at the present state of cannabis in New Zealand, as well as an intriguing new therapy option.
New Zealand’s Approved Cannabis Product
“This is a terrific day for New Zealand,” said Dr. Mark Hotu, co-founder of Green Physicians. “Just over the Tasman, they’ve had dried flowers accessible to be prescribed by doctors for at least two to three years — we’ve been waiting a long time for this.” It’s a wonderful day, particularly for chronic pain sufferers like medical cannabis supporter Pearl Schomburg, who may now get an amazing alternative to harmful prescription therapies.
The tea may have been allowed as the sole form of medicinal cannabis to be given, according to New Zealand’s News Hub, but Medsade feels it is “unlikely how it’ll be utilized.” “A substantial majority of patients will go on to use it with a medically permitted vaporizer or maybe even smoke it,” says pharmacy owner James Yu.
While oral intake techniques are more acceptable by medical specialists than smoking cannabis, the tea may take up to an hour to treat symptoms. This may not be the greatest solution for those who seek immediate relief. Yu says that using a legal vaporizer to consume the tea might bring relief in minutes. “It took around 5-10 minutes before I felt the affects come on with the vape, it was a lot faster than with the tea,” Schomburg adds as a real-life patient.
“In the same way we trust individuals not to overdose on the morphine or tramadol we give,” Dr. Hotu says of medications, “we trust them not to consume cannabis more than what we recommend.” Furthermore, according to Schomburg, “people are not wanting to become stoned; they are utilizing these drugs to feel better, to treat their symptoms—for me, nausea, anxiety, and pain.”
While this is excellent news for New Zealanders, the bad news is that it will not be cheap. Dr. Hotu estimates that ten grams of cannabis will cost about NZD $220-250, almost twice what it would cost on the underground market.
The cannabis-based tea will be available in three products known as ANTG Mariposa (135mg/g of THC+THCA and <10mg/g of CBD+CBDA), ANTG Rocky (250mg/g of THC+THCA and <10mg/g CBD+CBDA) as well as ANTG Eve (10mg/g of THC+THCA and 125mg/g of CBD+CBDA).
Involvement of ANTG in the First Medical Cannabis Sales in New Zealand
The Byron Bay-based Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) is the first Australian firm to market its goods as medication, according to Business News Australia. NUBU Pharmaceuticals, New Zealand’s biggest medical cannabis distributor, has formed a relationship with ANTG. This relationship is a “landmark contract for both nations,” according to Matthew Cantelo, who added that “this arrangement is not just a historic first for New Zealand, but also advantageous for the Australian sector as a whole.”
“Australia’s high criteria for cultivating and manufacturing medical cannabis has placed us up as the finest in the world,” he continues. “Our Kiwi neighbors will also have access to the best grade Australian flower until their home-grown horticulture business begins producing,” says the company.
“Being the first company to legally sell cannabis in New Zealand is beyond exciting—I can’t even begin to explain the blood, sweat, and tears it has taken to get here,” says Mark Dye, co-founder and CEO of NUBU Pharmaceuticals, who is also excited for the patients who have “been calling out for this for decades.” “I’m really proud of the staff at NUBU for being able to make this happen for them [the patients],” he says.
What the Ministry of Health Has to Say
Medical cannabis products are only accessible on prescription if they have been approved by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency as satisfying the minimal quality standard and have acquired approval for distribution under the Medicines Act of 1981, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Health. They’ve even included instructions for using the ANTG products, which are as follows:
- In a covered pot, bring 500 mL (0.5 litres) of water to a boil.
- Finely granulate the product (using a grinder is easiest).
- Fill the jar with 0.5 gram of product.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the tea to simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on the saucepan.
- Remove the tea from the covered pot and filter it.
- If you want to drink additional tea the same day, save the leftovers in a thermos.
They also recommend adding a sachet of coffee creamer powder to the steaming tea to keep the active components from clinging to the inside of the teapot or cup after cooling.
After a ten-year battle with chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses, Pearl Schomburg became the first New Zealander to use the newly legalized cannabis products, and now many more will be able to benefit from cannabis’ medicinal capabilities. When compared to other medical cannabis products, which are accessible in the form of oil or pills, the fact that medicinal cannabis is offered as a tea is a very different approach. Coffee drinkers might explore pairing cannabis tea flower with coffee since the two may complement one other.
Chane Leigh, nicknamed The Bud Fairy, is a cannabis advocate and enthusiast from South Africa with a fiery personality and a desire to travel. She enjoys educating others and challenging social conventions.