Why Many NZ Doctors Are Reluctant to Prescribe Medical Cannabis

Limited experience, misinformation, lack of clinical evidence, regulations, and fear of judgement make many doctors in New Zealand hesitant to prescribe.

Medical cannabis has become a popular alternative treatment option for various health conditions in many countries, including New Zealand. Despite the increasing and legitimate demand for medical cannabis, many doctors in the country are still reluctant to prescribe it to their patients. In this article, we will look at some of the reasons why doctors are hesitant to prescribe and what to do when your doctor refuses to consider natural treatments.

Why are kiwi doctors hesitant to prescribe medical cannabis?

Limited experience and understanding of medical cannabis

Very few doctors in New Zealand have experience with prescribing medical cannabis and many GPs have had little to no training to improve their understanding of natural treatments. It is currently up to manufacturers and suppliers to educate doctors. As most doctors have not had the necessary training, it’s understandable that they would prefer to prescribe conventional treatments that they are familiar with.

Misinformation and old-school attitudes

Yes, even doctors can be prone to misinformation. When it comes to medical cannabis there is no shortage of harmful misinformation and propaganda. Unfortunately, this has influenced the public and medical professionals for decades. The good news is there are plenty of patients and those of us in the industry who are working hard to stamp out stigma.

Lack of Clinical Evidence

One of the biggest challenges with medical cannabis is the lack of robust clinical evidence to support its effectiveness. While there have been several studies conducted on the use of medical cannabis, the results have been inconsistent, and many doctors think more research is needed to establish its safety and efficacy. This lack of evidence makes it challenging for doctors to recommend cannabinoid-based medicine to their patients with confidence.

The legality of cannabis across the world has restricted research efforts. To date, much of the research on medical cannabis has been observational in nature, meaning that it has relied on patients self-reporting their symptoms. While these studies can provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of treatments, they cannot provide definitive evidence of its efficacy. More randomized controlled trials, which are considered the gold standard in medical research, are needed to establish the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.

Despite limited clinical evidence, many patients are still turning to cannabis medicines as a treatment option for conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.

Regulations and Guidelines

Medical cannabis is still a controlled substance in New Zealand, and there are strict regulations and guidelines that must be followed when prescribing it. However, the lack of clear guidelines on how to prescribe natural medicines makes it challenging for doctors to navigate the process. While there are guidelines for doctors looking to prescribe cannabinoids, doctors have to want to seek this information out and spend the necessary time upskilling.  

Fear of Judgement

Some doctors are concerned about potential damage to their reputation if they prescribe medical cannabis to their patients. There is still a significant amount of stigma associated with natural treatments, and some doctors worry that their patients or colleagues may perceive them as unprofessional or lacking in medical judgment.

Are attitudes changing?

Doctors in New Zealand are slowly warming to the idea of prescribing medical cannabis, particularly as they see more and more kiwis getting results. However, change will not happen overnight and we still have a way to go before the average doctor considers prescribing medical cannabis. At this stage, the best option is to book an appointment with a specialist clinic like RestoreMe.

We understand medical cannabis

At RestoreMe, we're on a mission to fix the patient access problem in New Zealand. We want to make sure that patients who need medical cannabis can get the care they deserve. We believe that everyone should be able to get their medicine easily, safely, and affordably, without having to worry about stigma or judgement.

We get that going to the doctor can be daunting, especially if it's for something new or different. If you’re struggling to find a doctor willing to have a conversation about medical cannabis, book a consult with RestoreMe today.