Medicinal cannabis telehealth service extends to Nelson
25 July 2022
“Time to take medicinal cannabis more seriously” says expert
The Pain Clinic – New Zealand’s fastest growing telehealth service for public access to medicinal cannabis – has opened a centre in Nelson. The Pain Clinic, owned by Medical Kiwi, provides access to medical practitioners with the knowledge and confidence to prescribe medicinal cannabis for a wide range of conditions.
The Pain Clinic Clinical Advisor Dr Tom Mulholland opened the new Nelson centre supported by guests, including Medical Kiwi shareholder Victoria University representative Jonathan Singh, local city councillors, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, Rachel Sanson, and Tim Skinner, and Chamber of Commerce CEO, Ali Boswijk. Dr Mulholland presented a plea for New Zealand to take medicinal cannabis more seriously for its beneficial health benefits, especially in regard to pain management, and for the fact that so many Kiwis are accessing cannabis but doing so illegally and without proper clinical supervision.
“Chronic pain costs this country more than diabetes or dementia but there is not a comprehensive plan to address it,” Dr Mulholland said, citing research undertaken for the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. ‘It is time for everyone to take medicinal cannabis more seriously given what we know about the side effects of opioids like morphine and tramadol and the NSAID class of medicines like voltaren and celebrex, and about the scale and complexity of pain as a health issue in general.”
The Pain Clinic was launched nationally in March as a telehealth service that enables New Zealanders to consult online with practitioners who have particular understanding of legally available medicinal cannabis products and can prescribe for individual patients with all the clinical supervision that is necessary. Anyone can go online to The Pain Clinic at www.thepainclinic.co.nz or call 0800 842 223. The Nelson centre follows on from the launch of the Christchurch centre in April, and nationwide, the service is experiencing rapid growth in demand.
Dr Mulholland highlighted the huge problem of Kiwis choosing to “self-medicate” with cannabis to treat pain and other conditions, with all the risks that arise from taking substances that vary widely in their type and level of active ingredients. “On latest survey results, between 11-15% of adults say they have consumed cannabis in the past 12 months, a large number of these people doing so to self-medicate without seeing a medical professional. That represents a significant health risk to people and also suggests that they are not accessing conventional evidence-based medicines that might well help them.”
Taking medicinal cannabis more seriously meant more responsible and careful use of pharmaceutical grade medicines and other regulated products, and less illegal consumption of cannabis overall, Dr Mulholland said. He also sounded a warning on the need for much more research and trialling of cannabinoid -based medicines. “There have been intriguing results from lab experiments looking at a number of different cancers including glioblastoma brain tumours, prostate, breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. But the big message at this stage is that different cannabinoids seem to have different effects on various cancer types, and so they are far from being a universal treatment.”
Aldo Miccio, Chair of Medical Kiwi Limited, emphasised his company’s role on helping develop a New Zealand industry capable of producing pharmaceutical grade cannabis for Kiwis and for people worldwide. Medical Kiwi – the company behind The Pain Clinic – has established a world-class cannabis cultivation and drying facility in Christchurch over the past two years.
“Today we have the most technologically advanced growing facility in New Zealand and we are about to begin exporting pharma-grade dried flowers initially to Australia and then, to Europe,” said Mr Miccio. “Our cannabis production to the highest standards, and our launch of The Pain Clinic show just how serious Medical Kiwi is about medicinal cannabis as a new category of medicines of potentially huge benefit to human health.”
The Pain Clinic provides New Zealanders with access to all available cannabis products legally available today, most being imported. “We see a future where Kiwis benefit from a widening array of cannabinoid-based medicines, including some produced in our own country,” said Mr Miccio.
Moses Nasalo, CEO of Medical Kiwi, spoke of the company’s vision and growth. “The opening of the Pain Clinic in Nelson & Christchurch is a celebration of a vision coming to reality, strategy coming into action and a testament to the hard work of everyone involved. Exciting times and growth stage for Medical Kiwi.”