CBD products

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017 allow some products containing cannabidiol (CBD) to be prescribed without first requiring Ministerial approval, and remove some other restrictions.

Key points

  • CBD is a class B1 controlled drug
  • Ministry of Health approval is not required to prescribe, supply or administer products for medical purposes if they meet the definition of a CBD product
  • Medical practitioners may prescribe CBD products to their patients
  • Medical practitioners and pharmacies are allowed to import CBD products, as are persons or companies holding a licence to deal in controlled drugs
  • Individual patients are not permitted to import CBD or any other cannabis based products
  • A maximum of three months’ supply is allowed on a prescription for CBD products.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a class B1 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (as an isomer of the class B1 controlled drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)). Cannabidiol is also a prescription medicine under the Medicines Act 1981.

CBD is a substance found in cannabis that has potential therapeutic value, with little or no psychoactive properties.

CBD products

A CBD product means a product that—

(a) contains cannabidiol; and
(b) if it contains other cannabinoids usually found in cannabis, contains those cannabinoids in a quantity that, in total, constitutes no more than 2% of the total quantity of cannabinoids in the product; and
(c) does not contain any other controlled drug; and
(d) does not contain a psychoactive substance (as defined in section 9 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013)

It is important to note that products such as Sativex are not CBD products (refer Prescribing cannabis-based products).

The Government has responded to advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs

In response to advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs, the Government has passed the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017, which reduced the restrictions that previously applied to CBD products.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017 have, from 7 September 2017:

  • exempted CBD products from the requirement for Ministerial approval to prescribe
  • exempted pharmacies, medical practitioners, and wholesalers from the requirement to have an import licence for CBD products
  • exempted CBD products from the controlled drug records and stock keeping requirements
  • extended the allowable period of supply for CBD products from one month to three
  • exempted CBD products from the requirement to be prescribed on a triplicate form, and
  • exempted specific controlled drugs that require refrigeration from the requirement to be stored in a safe in a pharmacy.

Bringing CBD products into New Zealand

These changes do not affect the current requirements for bringing medicines into New Zealand on your person. More information on bringing medicines into New Zealand can be found in the section: Bringing medicines into New Zealand.

Individual patients are not permitted to import CBD or any other cannabis-based product. This restriction is not affected by the changes to CBD products. Pharmacies, prescribers and wholesalers are able to import these products, and are not required to have an import licence.

There is a limited range of CBD products available

While the intent is to make it easier for access to CBD products, there is currently a limited range of CBD products available. None of the products currently available are pharmaceutical grade and do not have consent for distribution in New Zealand. Strict export restrictions on products sourced from other countries will continue to impact the supply of CBD products in New Zealand.

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